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Airbnb

With millions of listings in almost every country, Airbnb has become a major player in the travel industry, disrupting traditional hospitality models. The company during the pandemic faces challenges, but it remains a leading force in the ever-evolving world of accommodation.

There was a significant drop in the number of listings and revenue in Airbnb during and after the COVID-19 era. Here’s a breakdown:

Impact on Listings:

  • According to AirDNA, a data analytics firm focused on short-term rentals, Airbnb lost 5% of its total listings from January through June 2020 compared to the previous year.
  • While the overall number of listings has recovered somewhat since then, it has not reached pre-pandemic levels.

Impact on Revenue:

  • Airbnb’s revenue decreased by 31% in 2020 compared to 2019 due to the pandemic’s impact on travel.
  • However, the company has seen a rebound in recent years, with revenue increasing by 40% in 2022 compared to 2021.

Reasons for the Drop:

  • Travel restrictions and lockdowns significantly impacted travel during the pandemic, leading many hosts to remove their listings or switch to longer-term rentals.
  • Concerns about health and safety also discouraged some travelers from using Airbnb and other short-term rental platforms.

Recovery and Changes:

  • While listings and revenue have recovered, the post-pandemic landscape has shifted somewhat.
  • Long-term stays have become more popular, with many travelers seeking alternative accommodations for work-from-home options or extended vacations.
  • Additionally, some cities have implemented stricter regulations on short-term rentals, which might affect the number of available listings in certain locations.

Other platforms

Vrbo (Vacation Rentals by Owner)

Often considered Airbnb’s closest competitor, Vrbo boasts over 2 million listings in 190 countries. It focuses primarily on standalone homes and condos, catering to families and those seeking a more traditional vacation rental experience. Unlike Airbnb, Vrbo displays the total price upfront, including cleaning fees and other charges. Additionally, Vrbo is part of the Expedia Group, which gives it access to a vast network of potential renters.

Booking.com

Primarily known for hotels, Booking.com also offers a wide variety of vacation rentals, including apartments, villas, and unique properties. It has a strong presence in Europe and Asia, making it a good option for travelers looking for rentals in those regions. Booking.com is known for its user-friendly interface and extensive filtering options, allowing travelers to find rentals that meet their specific needs.

Expedia

Similar to Booking.com, Expedia offers a mix of hotels and vacation rentals. It has a large global presence and offers competitive prices. Expedia also offers package deals that combine flights, accommodation, and activities, which can be a good option for travelers looking to save money.

HomeAway: Similar to Vrbo, HomeAway offers a wide selection of vacation rentals, including houses, apartments, and unique properties. It is particularly popular in North America and Europe. HomeAway allows individual owners to list their properties and manage their bookings directly.

FlipKey

This platform, owned by TripAdvisor, offers a curated selection of vacation rentals in popular destinations around the world. Rentals are typically inspected and meet certain quality standards before being listed. FlipKey is a good option for travelers who are looking for a balance between affordability and quality.

Novasol: This company is popular in Europe and offers a wide variety of vacation rentals, from beach houses to ski chalets. Novasol properties are professionally managed and come with amenities like bed linens, towels, and basic cleaning supplies.

Kid & Coe

This platform caters specifically to families, offering vacation rentals that are child-friendly and well-equipped with amenities like cribs, high chairs, and toys. Kid & Coe also provides resources and recommendations for family-friendly activities in the local area.

Photos that will make your listing stand out

Airbnb has a guide that you find here https://www.airbnb.com/d/pro-photo-guide according to this, a checklist is to be performed before starting to shoot photos. One of the points made is that it is better to shoot with natural light and the curtains and window shades open to let the light in and the output photo to be more welcoming and natural.

This Airbnb guide for the pro photos can be found here.

Although in general, I agree with this, there are always exceptions that shooting with artificial lights will have another impact on the presentation of the place. Now, that does not mean that you only shoot with lights, or without lights, but having a combination of photos that show the place in different light conditions can have an impact on the better presentation. After all, you live in places where the curtains are closed, or the natural light is not always present, so presenting a place that is appealing in some variation of conditions can be an advantage. However, what needs to be avoided, is harsh shadows or the complete absence of shadows. Shooting in time of a day where the dynamic range of composition is high, will create an unappealing output, even if photographic techniques like HDR, shooting with flashes, or the flambient technique is deployed. The result might improve by decreasing the difference between the places in the photo that are lit and the ones that are in the shadows, but still, the outcome will look weird and not natural. The same applies when trying to eliminate all the shadows, by shooting with flashes since the output, will look more than a 3D render rather than a photo.

Photos that artificial light contributes to the composition

Photos with only natural light

Essential Photos:

  • Exterior:
    • Front of the house: Capture the curb appeal with a clear shot of the entire house, including landscaping and any unique architectural details.
    • Backyard: Showcase the size and layout of the yard, including any patios, decks, pools, or other amenities.
  • Living areas:
    • Living room: Capture the overall feel and layout, highlighting furniture arrangement, natural light, and any unique features like fireplaces or entertainment systems.
    • Kitchen: Show off the cleanliness and functionality, including major appliances, counter space, and any additional features like breakfast bars or dining areas.
  • Bedrooms:
    • Each bedroom: Take individual photos of each bedroom, showcasing the layout, furniture (beds, dressers, nightstands), and any views or unique features (e.g., en suite bathroom, balcony access).
  • Bathrooms:
    • Main bathroom: Capture the overall cleanliness and layout, including the toilet, sink, shower/bathtub, and any additional features (e.g., double sinks, vanities).

Highlight Features:

  • Balcony: Take photos showcasing the balcony’s size, view, and any furniture or amenities like a table and chairs.
  • Yard: Capture different areas and features of the yard, like gardens, patios, seating areas, or play equipment.
  • Unique features: If your house has any unique features like a fireplace, swimming pool, game room, or home theater, take dedicated photos to showcase them.

Additional Tips:

  • Use high-quality photos: Invest in good lighting and take clear, well-composed photos.
  • Stage the photos: Declutter the space, arrange furniture for flow and functionality, and add decorative touches to create a welcoming atmosphere.
  • Capture different angles and lighting: Take photos from multiple angles and during different times of day to showcase the best aspects of the space.
  • Maintain consistency: Use similar editing styles and angles for a cohesive look across all photos.
  • Consider professional photography: While not essential, professional photography can significantly enhance the quality and appeal of your listing.

Remember, the goal is to showcase the best features of your home and entice potential guests to book their stay. By taking high-quality photos and highlighting the unique aspects of your property, you can create an Airbnb listing that stands out from the crowd.

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