Is Airbnb Still A Good Option for Rentals in Malaysia?
There is no question that we’ve all been drastically affected by the Covid-19 Pandemic which is taking us straight into a massive recession. As we continue to deal with pay cuts, reduced business and passive income revenues from our property investments, is Airbnb Still A Good Option for My Rental Property in Malaysia?
It was a fear of ours, as well as many others who are operating Airbnbs or short-term rental units, that Covid-19 might have destroyed the short-stay industry completely.
How were we going to make money from our properties if nobody is allowed to travel into Malaysia?
Would things ever return to normal?
Many hotels were shutting down, with some declaring bankruptcy and others being sold off to larger conglomerates, would they share the same fate?
The answer would come fairly quickly…
Coming out of the MCO, anyone who was running a short-term rental or Airbnb at one of their properties, would have noticed that most Airbnb hotspots in Kuala Lumpur began to get bookings once again.
The proof was in the bookings and Airbnb alone recorded a 190% month on month increase in domestic bookings from May to June.
This is following the end of the MCO and the beginning of the CMCO, which began on May 4th which permitted people to stay at Airbnbs again. So, it wasn’t an increase from 0 during the initial phase of the MCO.
Unsurprisingly, 93% of these bookings were from locals.
I thought it would’ve been 100% from locals but I guess there are still some foreigners in the country who are in need of a place to stay, as at the moment, foreigners are not allowed to enter Malaysia without having obtained approval from the Malaysian Immigration.
Looking at more than just Airbnb, (seeing as how majority of our bookings come from Agoda and Booking.com) we have noticed a similar increase in our bookings from both these platforms which are close to 70% of our regular off-peak occupancy levels.
This revival has come at lower price points, however.
These low prices were only temporary, and we have already increased prices back to pre-MCO levels in June.
We have not seen any decrease in bookings for most of our units following putting our price back up to where it was before – which is also very encouraging.
Unfortunately, this has not been the case for everyone.
Locations that rely heavily on foreigners for their bookings have not recovered and are still facing extremely low occupancy rates.
As I’ve said before, it really does come down to the area of which your property is located and whether it is better suited for short-term or long-term rentals.
To give some perspective, our units that rely heavily on foreigners such as those located in Kuala Lumpur City Center are far from recovering to their regular occupancy rates.
Our units that are located in Putrajaya, Cyberjaya and Ampang have been performing relatively well.
What we’ve described above is merely the current situation which we are at while we are still wallowing in the depressed state of closed borders and the absence of foreign tourist arrivals in the country.
What about things moving forward though?
If you take a look at the news you might have noticed that there have been a record number of closures of budget and boutique hotels across the country and even news of some big hotel chains overseas missing out on loan payment deadlines and even some declaring bankruptcy.
It is estimated that close to 460 of such hotels will likely not be able to survive the pandemic and this means that there is going to be a significant reduction in the overall supply of short-stay accommodation in the country.
Despite Airbnbs and short-term rentals not being in direct competition with budget hotels, it will mean that the available options for travelers will still be far less moving forward and this lower supply could lead to more people looking at these forms of accommodations instead.
Lower supply almost always makes something more desirable especially if the next point is true.
I don’t particularly like this phrase, but it seems to be going around a lot.
It’s the idea that people will engage in increased activities following a long period of restriction or inability to do so to get back at the world, hence the word – Revenge.
I am quite skeptical about this whereas foreign travel is concerned because even after borders open up there are going to be restrictions and regulations for citizens returning to their own countries after their holidays.
What I do agree with though is the resurgence in the bookings from domestic travel.
Due to the problems that will arise from travelers going away on holiday and then returning home, local travelers are going to consider staying within the country instead of going abroad for their holidays.
I believe this will significantly increase the amount of bookings that people will make domestically and the main beneficiary of this will be local tourist hotspots where we will see people from other states travelling into KL and vice versa.
According to a recent survey by tourism Malaysia, on post-MCO domestic travel, it was found that 50.9% respondents believed that travelling within the country is going to be safer after the MCO.
It also found that 84.2% also believed that Covid-19 has changed their attitude towards travelling and 71.3% chose Malaysia as their holiday destination compared to abroad.
As with all things, there will be a beginning and an end.
The same will be for all these crazy lockdown procedures and precautions that have been taken to contain the covid-19 pandemic.
Things will go back to normal.
People will resume travel and foreigners will come to Malaysia again.
The answer to the question, “Is Airbnb Still A Good Option for My Rental Property in Malaysia?” is quite simply – Yes.
It might not be applicable to all properties, but it still is, most certainly, an option to be considered.