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Vacation Rental Romance Gone Bad

Written by E.F. Sands

I've been a super host with airbnb since 2015 and I was like so many, romanticizing the concept of having multiple vacation rentals, while I sit on the beach, have a mai tai and let the passive income roll in. If you have ever been a host, you know the reality is much different. It's a 24hour job and requires you to take on more roles than you may have expected. I was a cleaning woman, customer service liaison, local travel ambassador, interior designer, landscaper, and handywoman all under the same "Host" banner. You might think, that hiring a team of people to do the above jobs is the answer but good help can be hard to find and cut deeply into your bottom line. Overall, the preparation and forethought necessary to be a host is demanding, especially if you strive for badges like "Superhost" or if you choose to manage multiple listings. I can guarantee that the majority of us will not be on a beach sipping mai tai's while our listings run seamlessly.

From Warren Buffet to Bloomberg they are all screaming to buyers "beware" of the vacation rental investment bubble and its looming end. Meanwhile city regulations are cracking down on host, requiring stricter permits and limiting the number of days per year a host can earn income from their listing. Although there are several predictors signaling a slow down in the vacation rental industry, what it means to be a host is also changing. In my experience when navigating serious situations like squaters, disgruntled guest or damages to your property, platforms like Airbnb and VRBO at its simplest form are just an algorithm. If you find yourself in a crisis, you soon realize that the only help they truly offer is a call center in a far away location.

In an era of housing shortages and high interest rates, owning multiple properties attached to a mortgage, can sounds less and less romantic and more like bad business. However some people are made for this job. Some host have the perfect capacity for hospitality and like any great love, it will find a way and ride the waves of change. If you love this industry and you are passionate about hosting the market will find a place for you. There is no shortage of people traveling and the unique experience of boarding guest was here before Airbnb and will be here long after.

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