The COVID-19 pandemic has put the entire world on pause. With flights canceled, weddings postponed, and major industry events delayed, we are just starting to see the ripple effect of coronavirus on a global scale. Still, the closing of borders is already having a far-reaching impact on the short-term rental and travel industries in particular.
Although it’s tough to predict how COVID-19 will develop even over the coming weeks, we already know that hundreds of thousands of people will need to be quarantined. Whether they have already been exposed to the virus, are self-quarantining of their own accord, or are medical personnel isolating to keep their families safe, these people will need a place to stay.
This post was written to help property management companies adapt to the changing reality of the short-term rental ecosystem during the coronavirus outbreak. Right now that means learning how to cater to those guests who might be looking for an SQR, a self-quarantine rental.
Stock your SQR with all the essentials…and more
Any guest who is self-quarantining, whether by choice or out of necessity, will need a fully stocked rental with all the amenities and essentials required for a 14-day stay. This includes everything from toilet paper to laundry detergent, to toothpaste, coffee and snacks, and more.
Food and supplies that you should stock up on:
- About 2-3 weeks worth of non-perishables — load up your self-quarantine rental with dried beans, rice, pasta, popcorn and other canned goods.
- Bathroom essentials — toilet paper, shampoo, towels, soap, toothbrushes, contact lens solution, toothpaste, laundry detergent, etc.
- Kitchen essentials — coffee, snacks, dishwashing detergent, paper towels, extra sponges, disposable dishware and cutlery, etc.
- Extra linens, pillows, towels and blankets
- Water purifier and filters
- Kettle or boiler
- Takeout menus
- First aid kit
- Extra hand sanitizer
- Spare phone chargers
- Reliable WiFi connection
Make sure to leave contact information for home-visit doctors or other medical resources in your area in case any of your guests start feeling unwell.
Provide plenty of entertainment
In order to make your guests’ stays as comfortable as possible, provide them with some extra activities and entertainment to enjoy. They will be spending at least 14 days alone, so leave them a selection of books and games, access to Apple TV or Netflix, and even a yoga mat or a set of dumbbells to help them pass the time. If your property has a backyard, provide sports equipment or lawn chairs so they can spend some time outdoors.
You can also take the opportunity to work with the restaurants, independent shops and cultural institutions near your properties, which are likely suffering during this time. Talk to local businesses and incorporate their services into your entertainment plan for self-quarantined guests: at-home ceramic kits created by a local crafts store, live-streaming personal training sessions, virtual concerts or museum tours and more.
Implement technology that facilitates social distancing
While we’re limiting personal contact as much as possible now, many travelers prefer self-service options whether or not they’re practicing social distancing. Use this opportunity to implement tech solutions already available to property management companies that minimize the need for human interaction.
Incorporate online check-in/check-out processes so your guests can manage without meeting you face-to-face; implement keyless entry services to avoid having a physical key drop-off; and consider using automated messaging tools, so all guests’ questions are answered instantly.
If you are opening your rentals’ doors to guests in quarantine, then you must stay on top of up-to-date information about coronavirus from reliable sources and make business decisions accordingly.
Here are a few resources we’ve put together for you:
- The World Health Organization
- The Center for Disease Control
- Guesty’s Help Center
- Transparent’s coronavirus data and infocenter
- Airbnb’s Help Center
- Booking.com’s Help Center
- Skift’s coronavirus liveblog
- AirDNA’s coronavirus analysis
- Rentals United’s tips for cancellations
- Properly’s tips on reassuring guests