BUSINESS

Greek hosts eye share of Airbnb payout

NIKOS ROUSSANOGLOU

TAGS: Property, Tourism

Those who let their properties on the short-term rental market are seeking ways to retain their presence there, having invested time and money in developing what is effectively a new economic activity in response to the decade-long financial crisis in Greece.

Amid a tempest of booking cancellations by travelers due to the coronavirus pandemic and the bleak prospects for the next few months, hundreds of Greek hosts are currently in daily contact with leading online platform Airbnb and its support center in Italy trying to find out what comes next.

What Greek landlords want to know is how they can obtain a share of the $227 million assistance program Airbnb has announced.

According to its terms, as those personally interested confirm, the US group intends to compensate the hosts for the bookings canceled by paying them 25 percent of the value of each booking. This is provided that the bookings concern the period from March 14 to May 31.

More details on this program are expected to be made known to hosts in the coming days. However, what is clear is that Airbnb payments to hosts will be made on a monthly basis: That means they will get one payout at the end of April and another at end-May. It remains unclear whether this support will concern all of Airbnb’s markets or just a few of them, led by the United States.

Short-term rental market officials in Greece say there is a sense that this amount is destined mainly for the US, and if there is any left over it may be distributed to other markets.

They also express their serious reservations over whether that 227 million euros would suffice to cover the losses stemming from the hundreds of thousands of canceled bookings around the globe, even at the 25 percent rate that Airbnb has set.

In any case, even if Greek hosts do receive a share of that support from Airbnb, it is considered unlikely that it will cover much of their losses. It is therefore possible that the company may take another step, as its main aim is to avert an exodus of hosts from its platform due to the crisis.

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