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How the pandemic affected Ireland’s Airbnb market this summer

The COVID-19 pandemic brought tourism to a near screeching halt in Ireland due to travel restrictions and lockdowns. Airbnb hosts were hit particularly hard, as many watched their summer bookings completely wiped out.

In some parts of Ireland, many short-term rentals are returning to the long-term market. In other parts of the country, hosts are looking to capitalize on the staycation trend. Both can benefit from the help of professional property management.

Airbnb’s Growth Stagnated by Dampened Summer Travel
Last July, Ireland imposed strict restrictions on short-term rentals. The “one host, one house” rule meant that Airbnb hosts could only rent out rooms in their primary residence. Hosts renting out holiday homes and other properties would be required to obtain a “change of use” approval from the local planning department.

The goal of the regulation was to get more properties back into the long-term rental market, which had been suffering for years. In cities like Dublin, short-term rentals had eroded the rental market, driving prices from around 1,200 euros five years ago to 1,700 euros or more just before the pandemic.

The new restrictions coupled with a steep decline in tourism has dampened the short-term rental market in Ireland, particularly in Dublin. But there’s a silver lining: Those properties have moved back into the long-term rental market and eased rental prices.

It’s important to note that this trend is mostly concentrated in Dublin, where rent affordability has been a hot-button issue.

Still, throughout the rest of Ireland, Airbnb rental listings have scarcely changed. However, hosts are seeing a new kind of guest. With a lack of foreign travelers, hosts are seeing more bookings from locals looking to book a staycation.

The Rise of the Staycation
For many, the pandemic has made them rethink their summer abroad and instead, plan a staycation. Rather than booking a holiday overseas, people are booking stays at Airbnbs in Ireland.

Airbnb rentals offer the comforts of home, but with a change of scenery. Self-catering and an easy check-in process allow for contactless stays.

In areas of Ireland where Airbnb listings have remained relatively the same throughout the pandemic, staycations may be the answer that hosts have been looking for. In fact, domestic searches quadrupled in early February 2021 compared to early January.

People want a change of scenery, and they’re happy to book a domestic Airbnb stay for this purpose. Expectations have shifted, but that doesn’t mean that hosts aren’t facing their fair share of challenges when it comes to managing their properties.

The Challenge of Property Management
One of the biggest challenges Airbnb hosts face, whether they’re transitioning their property to the long-term market or offering bookings for staycations, is property management. Managing short-term rentals can be challenging enough, but long-term rentals, particularly during this time, can be even more difficult to manage.

Even as travel restrictions ease, international travel will still be sometime away. Airbnb hosts can capitalize on the staycation trend, but property management is key. Professionals ease the burden and allow for a contact-free way to let and maintain properties.

For hosts that choose to move into the long-term rental market, professional property management allows for a stress-free way to find and screen tenants, collect rents, and arrange for maintenance of the property.

The pandemic has forced a shift in the short-term rental market, and while Airbnb suffered significant losses in summer 2020, hosts are finding new ways to keep their properties afloat. Those that don’t find a way to make it in the short-term market are moving their properties into the long-term market. Still, management will always be a challenge, and that’s something professionals like JCMC Property Management can handle for them.

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