Many people are eager to travel in the coming months after having spent much of the past year and change cooped up at home. But some travelers aren't ready to book hotel stays just yet. Rather, they'd prefer the privacy -- and safety -- of a privately owned short-term rental. This may especially hold true for parents of children who aren't yet old enough to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
If you're a real estate investor with a short-term rental in your portfolio, you have a prime opportunity to capitalize on travel-related demand. But if you don't have a clear COVID-19 policy in place, you may be inadvertently turning guests away.
A good 55% of potential short-term renters are more likely to stay at a property with a clear COVID-19 policy, according to a recent survey by Cinch Home Services. If your rental doesn't have such a policy mapped out yet, here are some key points to address.
Cleaning and sanitation
Though COVID-19 isn't said to spread frequently via surface transmission, guests these days still want to be reassured that any property they stay at will be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized. When you list your property, whether independently or through a booking site like Airbnb or VRBO, spelling out your cleaning procedures could go a long way.
You may attract more guests -- and a higher nightly rate for your property -- if you call out the ways you wash your sheets and linens, scrub down surfaces, and sterilize high-touch areas, like doorknobs. It also wouldn't hurt to provide your guests with hand sanitizer and wipes in case they feel the need to go the extra mile themselves.
Time between guests
Some short-term rental owners are now making a point to have a full 24-hour gap between guests to give themselves plenty of time to clean and alleviate new guests' concerns. You may want to consider implementing a similar policy for your property, especially during off-peak times when it's easier to maintain.
People who book travel during a pandemic need flexibility. A good bet on your part is to be as accommodating as possible with your cancellation policy. But also, make sure that policy is clear from the start. If guests can cancel for a 50% refund, not a full one, up to 14 days before their arrival, make sure that message gets through. It could also help you avoid a battle if guests try to cancel last-minute and demand all of their money back.
The Millionacres bottom line
While many people are apt to find the idea of booking a private rental a lot less daunting than other types of plans during a pandemic, the reality is that some may still be a bit skittish to commit to travel. If you want to increase your chances of having your rental fill up, make sure you not only have a COVID policy but a clear one that's easy to understand. Having that policy will benefit you as much as it will benefit the guests who seek to rent from you.