Economics/Class Relations

Airbnb hosts are fed up

August 22, 2023
Hiya! It might sound like a bad joke — or a case of cold feet — but a groom-to-be’s dog ate his passport two weeks before his wedding in Italy.

Speaking of traveling, some Airbnb and Vrbo hosts have had enough. More in today’s big story on why hosts are considering getting out of the short-term rental market.


What’s on deck:

But first, don’t forget to lock the doors on your way out.
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Courtesy of Jen Kelman
It turns out that renting your home to strangers can be a real pain in the butt.

That’s the realization some Airbnb and Vrbo hosts are coming to as they navigate the short-term rental business in a post-pandemic world.

Demand for short-term rentals remained relatively high this summer, but an influx of properties, particularly in once-hot markets like Phoenix, has meant more competition.

Some have stepped up to the challenge, with one host creating a “romance package” for his rental. But others are considering just throwing in the towel, Insider’s Dan Latu reports.

It’s not just the pressure of attracting renters. The headaches of maintaining a property and answering guests’ questions are forcing some hosts to reconsider.

To be sure, a self-culling of hosts seemed inevitable. Short-term rentals saw steady growth throughout the 2010s. But the pandemic was rocket fuel for the market. Typical host income jumped 85% from 2019 to 2021.

That kind of bump in business piqued people’s interest. But the era of set-it-and-forget properties where hosts could bank on high-priced bookings well in advance didn’t last.

It also wasn’t long before a disconnect grew between travelers’ expectations and hosts’ reality.

Chores that hosts expected their guests to complete, sometimes on top of a cleaning fee, proved to be a hot-button issue. One host even placed signs with rules on nearly “every surface” of their home.

Fraud also became a problem, with some hosts using a bait-and-switch scam where they change addresses or units at the last minute.

So what’s next for hosts looking to get out of the short-term rental game?

Long-term renting is an option, as hosts might give up potential revenue for stability. Outright selling the property is another route, but don’t bank on an influx of homes upending the under-supplied housing market.

A lot depends on when the host entered the market, Dan said.

Veteran hosts are in the best position. They might have already paid off the mortgage on their property and now just view it as some extra income.

For those who got in before or right after the start of the pandemic, it’s a bit trickier. But at least those hosts benefited from generating revenue when business was booming.

Meanwhile, new hosts, particularly those with properties tied to sky-high mortgage rates, are under the most pressure. 


3 things in markets

Before the opening bell: US stock futures are up slightly Tuesday, after the Nasdaq index broke a four-day losing streak on Monday.
Tyler Le/Insider
  1. There’s still a real threat of a recession. Wall Street bulls have been happy to celebrate the economy avoiding a recession. But there are plenty of reasons to be pessimistic, from a rise in credit-card delinquencies to industrial production trending downwards, writes Insider’s William Edwards. (But that might not be so bad for the housing market.)
  2. US and Mexico are trading BFFs. Mexico surpassed China and Canada as the US’ top trade partner since the start of the pandemic. There was $263 billion worth of goods traded between the US and Mexico during the year’s first four months.
  3. Wall Street’s expectations for Nvidia’s big day. The AI chip company reports second-quarter earnings after market close on Wednesday. Here’s a rundown of what analysts from across the Street are expecting from Nvidia.
3 things in tech
Reuters; Clerk’s office, Manhattan Supreme Court; Alyssa Powell/Insider
  1. The tiny clue in the beheading of tech CEO Fahim Saleh. New evidence alleges a massive underlying embezzlement four times larger than Saleh ever knew. Prosecutors claim a mini piece of paper — smaller than a dime — ties the crime scene to his former personal assistant.
  2. Tech’s broken promises. Streaming is just about as expensive as cable. Ubers cost around the same as taxis. And the cloud is no longer cheap. As tech companies struggle for profitability, they’re starting to look a lot like the companies they set out to disrupt.
  3. Former Amazon exec is helping New York’s largest health system with generative AI. Northwell Health’s $100 million venture partnership is to make new products for providers. The first goal is to help cut down time on paperwork and processes that keep clinicians away from their patients and families.
3 things in business
Sylvia Jarrus for Insider
  1. Hidden investors took over a leading prison healthcare company. Corizon Health has hundreds of active lawsuits against it, alleging medical negligence. But they’ve all been paused after the company split and filed for bankruptcy — a controversial move that protects Corizon’s assets from these legal claims.
  2. Remote workers are forgetting how to hang out with people. After 2020, the amount of time Americans are spending socializing with each other has plummeted. Organic social opportunities are fading away. Plus, going out is getting more expensive.
  3. Major brands aren’t adopting Elon Musk’s new X logo. General Motors, American Express, Amazon, Comcast, and other major companies are still using the Twitter logo. “How many people really know what ‘Follow us on X’ means?” asked a chief strategy and innovation officer.

Heavy rain, Amazon, & more

  • Microsoft removed multiple embarrassing and offensive AI-generated travel articles.
  • A survey found that the best time to send an email is on Sunday at 3 p.m. (but it could make your colleagues uncomfortable).
  • Climate change is creating wine hotspots in unexpected — and historically colder — countries like Sweden, Russia, and England.
  • A federal judge ruled that AI-generated art can’t be copyrighted, since “human authorship is a bedrock requirement of copyright.”
  • Dogfluencers wanted: Pet wellness brand Honest Paws will pay dogs $100 per hour to be peanut butter ambassadors.

Earnings, plant milk & birthdays

  • Earnings on deck: Macy’s, Lowes, and other companies.
  • Bottoms up! It’s World Plant Milk Day. The international observance celebrates plant-based milk alternatives. The plant-based milk industry is projected to reach a value of $30 billion by 2030.
  • Dance The Night away — it’s Dua Lipa’s birthday! Jimmy and Jey Uso, Keith Powers, and Ty Burrell were also born on this day.

Mansion demolition
Photos of the $23 million mansion that Derek Jeter and Tom Brady have both lived in. The 21,796-square-foot home is set to be demolished.
The Insider Today team: Dan DeFrancesco, senior editor and anchor, in New York City. Diamond Naga Siu, senior reporter, in San Diego. Hallam Bullock, editor, in London. Lisa Ryan, executive editor, in New York City.
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