The change is a necessity for many, who have seen revenue dry up as the virus spreads, and Airbnb promised to refund any guest who canceled a booking after March 14.
Ambur Storozynsky, who manages properties in Canada, said the business model shift was inevitable as the need for short-term rental has dried up due to the lack of people traveling while the virus spreads. Storozynsky was busy recently converting two of her rentals into long-term units.
Liam McLaughlin manages 14 properties in Pittsburgh and said the decision by Airbnb to offer full refunds for cancellations had led to an "avalanche" of cancellations almost immediately thereafter. He said the new mode of survival for Airbnb renters was offering people week- or month-long leases to come and stay at their properties.
The loss of Airbnb renters to other rivals could be damaging for the company, which has been seeing setbacks thus far this year, likely having to delay its initial public offering (IPO) until next year with the way things are going. Analysts said the lower the amount of properties a home rental site has, the lower its overall value to customers.
But renters have to make a living. One inventive way of doing so is offering housing for medical professionals, as Nashville, Tennessee-based Travers Xanthos has been doing as he obtained the domain name MedReliefHousing.com. Now, he's cornering a market for himself offering space for medical professionals to stay as they travel to the area to treat coronavirus patients. As of Wednesday (March 25), he has booked three of his units to traveling nurses.
While long-term rentals can be reliable, short-term ones offer more revenue overall.