Record breaking bookings for local Airbnb hosts

JOPLIN, Mo. — After a couple of years with little-to-no business, area Airbnb’s are now reporting a record number of bookings.

One local Airbnb host is Scott Springer, who has rented out his Route 66 themed location for the last five years.

His secluded two bedroom, two bath rental home sits in the middle of a wooded vista just two miles from the famous Route. You can view Springer’s Airbnb location, HERE.

SLIDESHOW: Scott Springer’s Airbnb Rental

Since first transforming his location into an Airbnb rental in 2017, Springer says people have continuously been quick to book, some staying for one night, while others booked for weeks or even months at a time.

All was going well for Springer and his small business, until the COVID-19 pandemic struck, and brought his bookings all the way down to zero.

“Going into the Spring of 2020, when everything shut down, we didn’t have any idea what would happen. Then we began to immediately see one cancellation after another, and then, no bookings at all and that continued for quite some time to where we didn’t have any calls from people looking for a place to stay,” said Springer.

Another local Airbnb host shares in Springer’s experience with bookings.

Lisa Klaver has been a host in the Airbnb business for four years now.

Her poolside one bedroom, one bath cottage is located just west of Joplin and sits in a sparsely populated area, about a mile from Route 66. You can view Klaver’s Airbnb location, HERE.

SLIDESHOW: Lisa Klaver’s Airbnb Rental

Since 2018, Klaver’s bookings have been steady, keeping her busy all year long, especially on the weekends.

It’s a story nearly identical to Scott Springer’s, including the time when bookings for Klaver dropped to zero due to COVID.

“I mean, it was a very uncertain time. We saw a complete drop-off. There were no bookings and no travel at all. As a small business, we just didn’t know what the future would hold, and going from being really booked to just a dead decline and absolutely no bookings, it was just very uncertain,” said Klaver.

Few tech companies were rocked harder by the pandemic than Airbnb.

In the spring of 2020, a rush of trip cancellations caused the company’s revenue to drop by 67%.

By May of that year, Airbnb had laid off a quarter of its employees.

At the time, Airbnb CEO, Brian Chesky said, “The travel we knew is over… and it’s never coming back.”

Airbnb’s fate, like so many other businesses, both large and small, was tied to the world’s ability to manage COVID-19. But, as we now know, it wasn’t the end for travel and for companies like Airbnb.

And, it wasn’t the end of bookings for Scott Springer and Lisa Klaver.

Both Airbnb owners said it took close to two years for their businesses to return to post-COVID numbers.

Now that they’re no longer in the “pandemic phase” of COVID, both Springer and Klaver said the number of booking that they receive are setting new records.

“We’ve really done well since the COVID shut down. Our Airbnb rental has come back, and in fact we’ve had our best month last month. I’ve had four groups stay with us in just the last week-and-a-half,” said Springer.

“Really just this late winter and early spring we have seen bookings pick up, and pick up rapidly. We would like to have ten bookings in a month, and in April we probably had 22 bookings and then 15 the month before, which is a record for us.”

Currently, Airbnb could be considered “king of the travel industry.”

The $97 billion vacation-booking platform’s post-pandemic bounce-back is looking to be more profitable than ever.

Chief Executive, Brian Chesky took necessary risks.

At the height of the COVID pandemic in the U.S., Airbnb adapted to a world of lockdowns and travel restrictions, as bookings shifted away from densely packed cities and refocused on domestic getaways, like we’re seeing here locally in Joplin.

After Airbnb’s profits dropped considerably in 2020, last year’s nearly $6 billion in revenue came in roughly 25% above 2019.

Results released yesterday (5/3) show growth gathering momentum: Revenue for Airbnb is up 70% year-over-year to $1.5 billion for the current quarter.

The turn-around in profits the travel company is currently experiencing is echoed by local Airbnb hosts, like Scott Springer and Lisa Klaver.

Both expect their bookings to continue breaking records during the upcoming summer months.

“I think people are getting out more than they did, pre-COVID and I think people are just happy to really feel like things are getting back to normal,” said Klaver.

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