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Round-Up: Checkin Debuts Damage Shield, Wales Mandates Registration, Airbnb-Friendly Turns One

Round-Up: Checkin Debuts Damage Shield, Wales Mandates Registration, Airbnb-Friendly Turns One

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For local inhabitants and businesses, the disaster is also economic. Florida is a big travel market. With great beaches and world-famous attractions such as Walt Disney World and Universal Studios, the state attracts many families who book a vacation rental for their stay. Cities like Orlando and Kissimmee usually rank high in market size for vacation rental revenues.

Check-in Automation Platform Chekin Introduces Free Damage Protection Feature 

Key Takeaways for Vacation Rental Managers:

  • Chekin, a guest check-in automation platform, has introduced Damage Protection – an advanced feature to ensure safety against guest damages and theft for vacation rental managers.
  • This feature allows hosts to either request a deposit or opt for protection coverage during online check-ins, providing financial security and enhanced property protection.
  • Over 2,000 Chekin clients have adopted this free service, which also offers potential extra revenue generation for rental owners.
  • Security Deposits offer immediate financial protection, simplifying the collection process, fostering guest responsibility, and allowing customized refund periods and amounts based on individual business needs.
  • The Damage Protection Coverage Program provides broad, zero-deductible coverage for various situations, including accidental or intentional damages and theft, backed by Waivo.
  • The Coverage Program also eliminates the need for interaction with guests during claims, saving time and avoiding potential conflicts, while allowing users to add a margin to the final fee for additional revenue.
  • Chekin’s platform, used by over 50,000 properties globally, automates the entire check-in process, from booking confirmation to check-out, providing features like guest registration, remote access, police communication, upselling, and more.

About Checkin:

  • Chekin is an automation tool for vacation rental managers, streamlining the check-in process from booking to check-out across 50,000+ properties worldwide.
  • Key features include guest registration and identification, remote access for property entry, police reporting of guest information, online deposits, and upselling capabilities.

Uvika’s View:

  • Damage protection is a significant concern for hosts who need to safeguard their properties against potential destruction or unforeseen problems.
  • Chekin’s new built-in Damage Protection feature provides a convenient way for hosts to protect their investments, acting as a deterrent for guest carelessness.
  • By charging for this service, hosts can ensure their properties are maintained to a certain standard.
  • While the tool alleviates many administrative hassles typically associated with charging for damage protection, it also introduces the potential for revenue generation. This aspect could be problematic considering the growing discourse around short-term rentals becoming as pricey as traditional hotels. The added cost could deter potential guests, thereby affecting the overall demand.
  • Property managers will need to weigh the benefits of this feature against potential guest backlash. Balancing the need for property protection and maintaining competitive pricing will be crucial, without causing consternation among guests.

Wales’ New Registration and Licensing Scheme for the Short-term Rental Sector

Key Takeaways for Vacation Rental Managers:

  • The Deputy Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism in Wales, Dawn Bowden, has announced plans to implement a statutory registration and licensing scheme for all visitor accommodation. This legislation is expected to be introduced before the end of the year.
  • The aim of the scheme is to deliver a register of visitor accommodation types, including holiday lets or short-term rentals, and enable providers to showcase their compliance with safety and quality requirements.
  • This initiative is intended to enhance visitor experience and safety in Wales by ensuring that all accommodation providers meet a set of standards.
  • Similar schemes have been adopted across the world and within the UK. The Welsh Government plans to design a scheme that is simple and easy for accommodation providers to use.
  • The initial phase in Wales will be a statutory registration scheme for all accommodation providers, creating a comprehensive register of visitor accommodation across the country.
  • Following which, a licensing scheme for all visitor accommodations will be introduced. This will initially focus on confirming compliance with safety requirements.
  • The Welsh Government’s Co-operation Agreement with Plaid Cymru includes a commitment to a statutory licensing scheme for holiday lets as part of measures to address the negative impact of second homes and short-term holiday lets on housing availability and affordability for local people.

Uvika’s View: 

  • The growth of the short-term rental sector has prompted a wave of regulatory changes aimed at standardizing the sector and ensuring fairness for all parties involved.
  • The introduction of a statutory registration and licensing scheme in Wales marks another step in this direction.
  • Meanwhile, the European Union is developing its own registration regulations for the sector, indicating a broader trend towards more rigorous oversight of short-term rentals globally.
  • The proposed registration scheme can help the Welsh Government monitor safety standards in short-term lets, gauge the effect of short-term rentals on local housing availability, and track potential housing inflation. 
  • It can also provide a mechanism to record instances of disruptive behaviour associated with some short-term lets.
  • Not everyone views these regulations as entirely positive. Airbnb, for instance, has previously expressed concerns that similar schemes in England could impose additional administrative burdens on hosts, potentially hindering their ability to benefit from short-term letting as a supplementary income source.
  • Despite these concerns, registration can provide an opportunity for short-term rental operators to make a stronger case for themselves. Having a comprehensive record of the sector can help demonstrate its value and contribution to local economies, and ensure that any future regulations are based on hard facts rather than assumptions.
  • Andy Fenner, CEO of the Short Term Accommodation Association (STAA), highlights this point in his reaction to the Welsh Government’s announcement: “The most important aspect of the Welsh plan is that all visitor accommodation will be required by law to register, not just holiday lets. For the first time in Welsh history, policymakers, officials and residents will have a clear picture of how big the hospitality sector is in each area, how it is constituted, and how big an economic contribution each type of provider is likely making. Moves to restrict any part of the tourist accommodation sector will, in future, be based on hard facts, not rumour and innuendo, giving decisions a proper basis.

The Airbnb-Friendly Apartments (AFA) Marketplace Connecting Renters and Landlords Turns One

Key Takeaways for Vacation Rental Managers:

  • Airbnb’s marketplace designed to help hosts earn additional income by renting out their primary residence part-time on Airbnb, Airbnb-friendly Apartments (AFA), recently celebrated its first anniversary.
  • This program was launched in response to high housing costs and the increasing popularity of renting over buying.
  • Over the past year, Airbnb has expanded the AFA program from 175 to over 400 buildings, with a total of 125,000 units available across 40 markets and 127 cities in 17 US states.
  • Major rental players like Greystar and Equity Residential were initial partners, with recent additions including Sentral, Starwood Capital, Millhaus, and Camden Property Trust. Potential real estate partners are invited to join the AFA program.
  • Since its launch, over 900 renters have created listings through the AFA program and earned approximately $7 million.
  • According to recent data released by Airbnb, a typical AFA host earns about $3,500 and has hosted for 30 nights since the program’s inception.
  • Atlanta ranks as the city with the most active AFA listings.

About Airbnb-Friendly:

  • Airbnb-Friendly Apartments (AFA) is a marketplace that enables renters to offset their rent by hosting guests and offers landlords a streamlined way to manage short-term rentals.
  • The platform features a dedicated section on Airbnb’s website for users to find pre-vetted, Airbnb-friendly properties with agreements in place for short-term rentals.
  • AFA caters to various U.S. cities, facilitating easy location-based searches for both hosts and guests.

Uvika’s View:

  • The Airbnb-Friendly Apartments (AFA) marketplace brings together renters, landlords, and homeowner associations (HOAs) under one platform, with the goal of fostering transparency and clear communication of building rules.
  • By facilitating all transactions through Airbnb, AFA ensures that renters can list their residences without the fear of upsetting landlords or HOAs and violating lease agreements. This feature gives renters confidence and peace of mind, knowing they are operating within agreed-upon terms.
  • Renters share a portion of their earnings with landlords, creating a mutually beneficial arrangement that encourages participation from both parties.
  • That said, the arrangement only works when it takes into account long-term residents, if any, in the contracted buildings
  • Also, historically, occasional hosts have shown greater loyalty to Airbnb due to its user-friendliness in this regard, especially compared to other platforms like VRBO or Booking.com. Thus, the AFA marketplace could potentially unlock a new generation of occasional hosts for Airbnb.
  • It’s worth noting that before the Covid-19 pandemic, 65% of Airbnb bookings were in multifamily buildings. The AFA marketplace provides a pathway for Airbnb to reactivate this significant segment of their business.

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