Booking a Vacation Rental Is Complicated This Summer. Here’s How to Stay Safe and Get a Good Deal

Usually summer is the busiest time of the year for Tiare Cowan, a longtime Airbnb host in St. Augustine, Fla. But after the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a pandemic in mid-March, Cowan, who rents out two units of her family’s beach home, saw a tidal wave of cancellations.

“We lost every single reservation through June over a three-week period,” Cowan says. “It was terrible.”

Click here to read the full story.

How to Decode an Airbnb Review

The average Airbnb rating is a whopping 4.7 do-you-want-5-starsout of 5 stars, according to a recent study by Georgios Zervas, an assistant professor of marketing at Boston University’s Questrom School of Business. That’s a surprisingly high number when compared to hotel reviews on TripAdvisor, where the average rating is only 3.9 out of 5 stars for hotels with more than 100 reviews, a Cornell survey found.

Zervas suspects there’s a psychological component at play. “People might feel bad leaving a negative review because they know that many hosts are using Airbnb to supplement their income and help support their family,” says Zervas.

Some Airbnb customers might also be hesitant to write a negative review because they fear repercussions. “Hosts also review guests, and future hosts can see every review you leave,” says Emily McNutt, an editor at ThePointsGuy.com. Translation: “if you write a scathing review, a future host might be less inclined to let you stay at their place,” McNutt says.

Click here to read the full story.