Short term rentals crunched by pandemic, but glimmer of hope is on the horizon

Airbnb owners emerging from months of no bookings

The COVID-19 pandemic has battered short-term rentals in the Columbia Valley every bit as viciously as it has hammered the more formal accommodation industry, but the last week or so has shown a few glimpses of things potentially starting to turn around.

“With COVID-19 it’s been literally no bookings at all ever since mid-March, when it started,” said Jamie Archibald, who offers his condo in the Peaks in Radium out for short term rental through Airbnb.

Archibald uses the condo first and foremost as a recreational second property, and occasionally rents it out to help subsidizes his condo fees.

“I never bought it as a business to generate profit. The rentals are just to help try to at least partially cover the costs,” Archibald told the Pioneer. “But even doing this on a part-time basis, we’ve lost quite a few booking due to COVID-19. I can’t imagine if you were doing this full time: you would really be hurting right now.”

Archibald added the relatively empty streets of Radium and Invermere (compared with how busy they usually are this time of year) are testament that “everybody’s hurting”.

Still, there is a ray of hope, as the past week, Archibald had starting to see a few more inquiries and even a few bookings for the future.

“I think a lot of people are interested in coming and joining in the water sports,” he said, noting this makes sense since these activities are great for social distancing.

Unsplash photo by Filios Sazeides

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