Local Airbnb owners Dean and Helen Andrew say the lockdown worked out in their favour. Photo: Jacqui Rawson.

Short-term accommodation numbers on the rise

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The coronavirus might have stopped international visitors filling up vacation accommodation, but it’s also meant Kiwis are unable to fly north for the winter.

Instead of leaving, they’re seeing their country in a different climate, the cold no longer a hindrance.

With current figures, New Zealand is taking the global lead, ahead of countries like Germany, France and Australia, in terms of the increase in short-term rental bookings.

Six weeks ago, local Airbnb owners had all bookings for the foreseeable future disappear.

Some of the owners are pensioners, relying on the income from their short-term accommodation to bolster their pension, for others it provides the opportunity to save money for their own future holiday.

“Airbnb contacted us, letting us know they would cover 25 per cent of our loss, but we haven’t seen that to date,” says one owner who did not want to be named.

Other Airbnb owners were fortunate enough to have international travellers stay over lockdown.

Originally planning on staying two or three days, some ended up staying weeks.

Dean and Helen Andrew, Airbnb owners from Hope, had a booking from a UK woman who was traveling around New Zealand on her bike, staying in a tent.

“But someone recommended our caravan to her as a better option with winter coming on. She ended up with us for five weeks,” says Dean.

Airbnb customers, on the other hand, did not lose out as a result of cancelling their bookings during lockdown.

This has helped to ensure the same customers are booking accommodation again as they run with the new sense of freedom Level 2 lockdown has given them.

Winter is normally a slow time for vacation accommodation which is perhaps a reason that the numbers are looking a lot better post lockdown.

Tony Terrell from Discover New Zealand Motorhomes, says, this time of year they are usually shut and he is on holiday.

“But we’re currently booking 4-5 hires a day at the moment”.

Tony who says mobile homes are cheaper this time of the year and, they’ve only dropped prices slightly compared to normal winter prices.

Most international visitors don’t traditionally come to New Zealand until the summer when they’re escaping their own winters.

Winter here is normally the time many Nelsonians head off to warmer climates.

Finally, being able to get away from the home they’ve been locked up in for the last eight weeks might have more to do with the increases in numbers.

It’s another way in which the Covid-19 has changed the way people view their lives and that things don’t have to remain the way they’ve always done them.

But whatever the reason, people are getting out and about throughout the nation and that has to be beneficial for many businesses as well as short term accommodation.