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Property Management Companies Lending a Hand During COVID-19

As people around the world practice social distancing and brave the difficult circumstances brought on by coronavirus, we are also finding new ways to connect and to help one another. Now that we can’t join a friend over dinner after a hard day, we might send her delivery from her favorite restaurant. We may not be able to visit grandparents and other elderly relatives, but we can make a point of having frequent video chats with them. 

Extreme situations tend time and again to breed innovative and thoughtful responses from our communities. And the same is true now for the short-term rental community. Property management companies around the world are offering up their rentals to doctors, nurses and healthcare professionals for free or at steep discounts. They are partnering with local restaurants and brands to increase visibility and attract business at a challenging time. 

Inspired by these meaningful initiatives, we’ve compiled a list of some of the ways property management companies, industry leaders and local community members are lending a helping hand during COVID-19. 

Accommodation for Medical Staff 

Doctors, nurses and healthcare staff fighting COVID-19 need safe places to stay to avoid exposing their families to coronavirus. Many of them are also working around the clock, and need accommodation closer to hospitals. Recognizing this need, property management companies and short-term rental industry partners have opened their doors to lifesaving professionals.

Here’s a list of a few of the key programs across the globe pioneering these initiatives:

Worldwide: Airbnb has announced that together with its community of hosts, it will be offering 100,000 apartments to frontline medical workers for free or at subsidized rates. Through this program, healthcare staff can book stays in 160 countries and regions, and Airbnb will waive all fees on the first 100,000 stays booked through the program.

The US: Property management companies across the United States are providing free and low-cost rentals to healthcare workers on the frontlines. Among them is Guesty user So Suite, which has been reaching out to hospitals in Philadelphia to offer reduced rates to doctors and nurses — plus they are also providing rentals at a deep discount to anyone seeking an extended stay due to COVID-19, including self-quarantiners and people who have been displaced by the virus.

The UK:  The UK Short Term Accommodation Association (STAA) has adopted a program offering free housing to London’s frontline NHS workers. The program was initially started by UnderTheDoormat, a London-based business that provides luxury short-term rentals. They had partnered with laundry service Laundryheap to offer their unused properties to medical staff, and seeing the popularity, joined forces with the STAA. Rebranded as the NHS Homes program, it has now grown to include many new partners — among them onefinestay, Homes & Villas by Marriott International, Altido and LoveHomeSwap and has since gained government support. There are now staff from seven hospitals being housed through this program. 

Similarly, Guesty user Seven Living is offering dozens of self-contained luxury apartments entirely free of charge for periods of up to 14 days to NHS staff who require isolation from their loved ones. Their homes are all self check-in, with no human contact needed, and all properties have high-speed WiFi, internet TV, cooking utensils and linens and towels.

The properties are being offered on a first come, first serve basis, however Seven Living will endeavour to support as many key workers as possible. To fnd accommodation through this program, NHS staff simply need to email [email protected] with a photo of their official NHS work ID as well as location and dates required.

Portugal: The Rooms Against COVID nonprofit initiative is offering accommodation for frontline staff in Lisbon, Porto, Faro, Funchal, Coimbra and Braga. They ensure that all participants offering properties as part of the program — as well as guests — follow strict hygiene and safety protocols to keep the virus from spreading. 

Italy: The “State a Casa Nostra” program — pioneered jointly by Altido, CleanBnB, Halldis, Italianway, Sweetguest and Wonderful Italy — is designed to help house doctors at short-term rental properties across several cities in Italy. Similarly, Airbnb has created a local Italian campaign for doctors, nurses and medical staff to find safe accommodation. 

Spain: Madrid Aloja, a local vacation rental association, has banded together with short-term rental owners to offer free and reduced-price accommodation to healthcare workers fighting COVID-19. 

Community Initiatives 

In addition to housing doctors and nurses, communities around the world are mobilizing to help one another. One German website is offering free downloadable signs in several languages so that neighbors — and guests — within apartment buildings can indicate if they are able to help vulnerable community members with tasks like grocery deliveries. Another initiative in the Netherlands allows people to register to either offer or receive help during this difficult time. These creative, thoughtful programs provide new opportunities to help, in addition to charities, foodbanks and other key nonprofits. 

Empathy is the New Currency

The short-term rental ecosystem was already one of great partnerships and collaboration. With the aforementioned initiatives to help one another navigate this time period, it’s clear this community will come out stronger than ever once the virus subsides. 

As we weather the COVID-19 storm together, we here at Guesty would also like to share with you our resource center to offer information and actionable strategies for navigating your business during the coronavirus pandemic.

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