‘My wife and I, and our employees will be on all fours, scrubbing toilets, sinks, tubs and showers’: Airbnb hosts brace for busy summer season
Bryan and Kristen Deptula, owners of a hostel in Reheboth Beach, Del., are busy getting ready for a big summer.
Along with the influx of guests staying at their Canalside Inn, the couple are experiencing increased demand for their spaces for events, such as birthdays, weddings and corporate events. “It definitely forced us to hire a full-time person” to focus on those bookings, Bryan Deptula said.
They are hopeful and grateful that the worst days of the pandemic are behind them. “I’m grateful to have even survived COVID and to have been part of this journey,” he said.
The resurgence in travel has forced Deptula – along with other family businesses and large hotels – to hire more people. Although it has been difficult to find reliable candidates, they know that everyone is on deck to ensure they are ready for the resurgence of “revenge trips” in the summer of 2022. If they can’t find additional workers? They will do what they have to do.
““We’re going to put food in our kids’ mouths and we’re going to create jobs for the community.””
“My wife and I, along with our employees, will be on all fours to clean the toilets, sinks, tubs and showers, and we will be grateful that we had the opportunity to do so because we will put some food in the mouths of our children. , and we will create jobs for the community. And I don’t care if that is the price we have to pay.
After two years of depressed demand, hotels are teeming with customers amid a boom in leisure travel.
Occupancy has rebounded, trending slightly above pre-pandemic levels, according to accommodation data analytics firm STR.
Data from CoStar, a commercial real estate data company, also revealed that hotels in the United States sold more rooms during the recent Memorial Day weekend than in any previous year.
Even business travel is showing “its first signs of recovery,” the company said, as travelers surveyed showed “less negative” signs about their likelihood of traveling overnight for work.
Related: “You only live once, man. I think it’s time to really accept what we have’: Americans brace for a summer of searing inflation
Airbnb hosts are recovering from the darkest days of the pandemic
Airbnbs, which is a popular alternative to traditional hotels, is doing even better and is on track to hit new records, according to data from AirDNA, a provider of short-term kidney testing.
“Last year was the best year ever for the short-term rental industry,” Jamie Lane, vice president of corporate research, told MarketWatch. “Demand is about 25% higher this year than it was last year.”
In terms of occupancy, as of June 1, top locations hitting their upper limits include North Carolina’s Outer Banks, Downeast Maine and South Carolina’s Pawleys Island, according to AirDNA. These booked destinations have achieved an occupancy rate of over 70% for the upcoming summer months of June, July and August.
““Last year was the best year ever for the short-term rental industry.””
Lane noted that while mountain towns, beaches, national parks were all common destinations for travelers in 2021, this year “we have now seen the return of travel to many major cities… [and] destination resort markets.
The amount people are willing to pay for hotels and Airbnbs has also increased, he said.
But hotels continue to catch up: while the short-term rental industry had fully recovered to pre-pandemic 2019 levels by May 2021, making the environment less recovery-oriented and more a “massive expansion in short-term rental demand,” Lane said, hotels are just returning to 2019 occupancy levels.
The difference is obvious for the Deptulas, who also happen to be a super host on Airbnb. They said they have, in fact, seen more bookings going through Airbnb ABNB,
platform than other booking sites.
The travel boom has been a boon for many Airbnb hosts, amid rising inflation in the United States. Airbnb recently reported that more than a third of hosts on their platform said setting up their apartment for short-term visits helped them cover the rising cost of living – including using this money for their rent or mortgage.
But the boom was a scourge for others. In Delaware, the Deptulas said they were having trouble hiring for key positions. For a housekeeping position, more than 100 people applied – 96 of them did not show up for interviews. “That’s a real stat,” Bryan Deptula said. “The four who showed up were hired because that’s literally the only thing we needed them to do was show up.”
The four people they hired didn’t show up on the first day of work.
The couple said they also applied for a job as an innkeeper, which resulted in 50 applications. They conducted 25 telephone interviews. Two showed up in person. The Deptulas hired them both, but one of them didn’t show up on the first day.
“It’s really a new phenomenon,” Bryan Deptula said of the job market.
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