Hosts create direct booking platforms in response to COVID pressures

US: With demand and trust in major short-term rental companies falling, many hosts are creating their own direct booking platforms.

According to an article from CNBC, hosts across the US are moving away from the larger platforms.

For many, these websites had been previously in the works, as many professional hosts looked for ways to maximise profitability. However, Airbnb’s shift in cancellation policy, which left hosts with lenient cancellation policies without company support, has caused them to accelerate these plans, seeking a way to find extra income.

One of these is San Juan host Gianrene Padilla, founder of short-term rental management firm Hostpitality. While he continues to list on Airbnb and Homeaway, the unveiling of the extenuating circumstances policy drove him to create his own direct booking platform.

He said: “We felt like Airbnb is doing what any rational business owner would do, which is ensure the survival of their company. That’s totally respectable, but we should do the same for us.”

Others have banded together to create larger alternatives. Such an example is Indianapolis business LetsConvention.com, which focuses on creating a host driven platform for the convention industry.

Also singled out are Shortyz award-winning platform Zeevou, who provide both direct listings, as well as channel management for hosts. The business recently launched its tailor-made PMS and channel management on the 30th of March.

Zeevou CEO Na’im Payman said: “If you’ve been a host the last two months, you realise that you’re not in control of your own business. This is about giving control back to hosts.

“That doesn’t mean taking control from guests. It’s just about rebalancing the power dynamic.”

Hosts do note additional work created by the shift, primarily singling out the strong marketing that listing on Airbnb and Vrbo provides, as well as the contracts they provide.

Airbnb’s potential host flight is only part of the company’s pandemic woes. The company committed yesterday to trimming 25 per cent of its workforce to help survive the crisis.