The current situation for holiday rental companies in response to COVID-19
So no one could anticipate this happening. Smoobu and the entire tourism industry have arrived at one of our most challenging stages in our sector.
We have all seen the media reports and kept up to date with the news, so will leave the tips on hygiene and how to deal with the situation on a personal level up to the professionals!
Our thoughts are with our amazing Smoobu customers in this challenging time and we have sat down and formulated plans for how you can best handle the next steps.
We would like to take the time to communicate tips on how to handle bookings, and for the best possible preparation for the post-coronavirus period. We hear you - Not only are bookings often missing, bookings are cancelled and any cancellation rules on the major portals have also been voided.
However, as landlords we can now cancel without incurring fines, which is a good step for our society, because we all want to reduce the impact of COVID-19. Although it will likely take months to completely bounce back, the situation will hopefully improve in a few weeks. This is how to see it with consistent adherence measures in China. Travel restrictions are already being lifted there, which gives us hope.
Our internal measures and what has happened so far
Quick to act, we have had our team working from home weeks ago and have been working hard ever since. More than a month ago, we cancelled all trade fair visits to protect our employees, luckily (and through discipline) we are relieved to say our team are all healthy and happy. We have also invested in equipping our staff at home, in order to continue providing great support with no disruption. For us it is business as usual!
Now we have moved to a completely remote working culture, we ensure that Team Smoobu can continue to be your part of your business, but also that we will be out of this crisis more than others, together with our partners and customers. Nevertheless, it comes as no shock that this crisis is hitting us enormously. New customer deals have decreased. As a startup, we depend solely on our customers and we will do everything we can to maintain your trust and loyalty even during this crisis.
After planning and talks, we are back with a new game plan to be better than before. The more disciplined we continue to work, fully committed, the sooner we can repair the losses after the crisis.
So what does this all mean?
We’re happy to announce some new features will be rolled out in the coming days and weeks. You can view your subscription as an investment in the future, and we see the crisis as an opportunity to stand up more to competition. Take the chance with us, even more so now!
What we should all do as landlords now
After careful consideration and planning, here are some concrete tips and first steps for you.
We will continue to detail and formulate these points in the coming days and weeks. Perhaps you have thoughts or wish to contribute also?
- Set up your calendars as long in advance as possible. We have recently automated the process for continuous backup - https://bit.ly/38LoPqU
- Change your cancellation policy. Maybe it sounds contradictory at first. These should not be stricter, but as flexible as possible. Guests will then book with you for the summer. And in the event of an ongoing corona crisis, strict cancellation policies are void anyway.
- Use the time to set yourself up as well as possible for the following:
- Add more portals on a commission basis
- Automate your processes. From smart locks (Igloohome is live, Nuki goes in Beta on 25.03. - Register now) to registration slips, messages, payment processing
- Renew your photos, write new text for your Airbnb and other listings - We are happy to check them, send us a link and give tips
- Expand your guest service - Create the Smoobu Guest App, offers services such as luggage storage, airport pick-up, updated corona information for guests, tours, let your imagination run free - https://bit.ly/2ILzqaz
- Check your insurance policies. It's may be too late for Corona, but we can now learn from it for next time.
- Contact your former guests and secure Direct Bookings now. From next week you can offer guests Voucher Codes in the booking tool :)
- Checks prices, use connected services like BeyondPricing completely without risk. Good for now and later - https://bit.ly/38TVYk2
- Organize your employees. We are currently working on a connection / cooperation with TurnoverBnB - https://bit.ly/3aUCIED
- More tips to follow, what would you give to the Smoobu community?
Regardless of the current situation, we had long planned to build a forum for our Smoobu community to exchange ideas and facilitate conversation and support among property owners and managers.
This will go live in the next few days /weeks, and will be moderated by us.
While we will always help you on current issues, we are aware of the importance on community and support, to help each other out also. In these uncertain times, we want you to feel as connected and supported as possible – regardless of where you are in the world.
Know that guests will come back to holiday apartments first. Because these are simply safer compared to hotels, resorts, cruises and many other places due to the geographic location, or isolation. In addition, while a lot of bookings have been cancelled, many holidays will have to be rebooked.
Be ahead of your competition.
We are developing faster than ever before, and our roadmap is long.
In the coming days, we'll inform you about updates, plans and launches to give you an even better Smoobu version than ever before. Our investment is in the future! You can help us too, by sharing any suggestions. Or tell us how you are dealing with the current situation, also as a comment under this post.
Here's to a great second half of 2020.
Stay tuned, we will update this article again with further news.
All the best,
Philipp, Fabian and the entire Smoobu team
- Airbnb Updates
- Booking.com Updates
- AirDNA - Impact of the Coronavirus on Global Short-Term Rental Markets