Local Airbnb hosts were busier than ever this summer

This South Dakota industry is seeing pretty good business this summer, despite the pandemic.
Published: Sep. 7, 2020 at 2:29 PM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - One South Dakota industry is seeing pretty good business this summer, despite the pandemic.

“After the cancelations, we started getting a whole bunch of rebookings right behind there, and we’re like ‘Well, what’s going on here?’ said Robert Heckel.

“We are fairly new, and then the coronavirus hit in February, so we really didn’t know if we had made a mistake in going this route, but it drops off in February. Then it was down a little bit in March and April, and then since May 1 through now, we have not had one open day,” said Amanda Erhard, Airbnb host.

Both hosts said they had been totally booked this summer, and Heckel said it’s more than just tourists.

“A lot of people are looking for different places to work from because they’re tired of working from home too. So we’re getting a lot of different variety of people that are coming here that are remote working, renting a place just to get away from their house and work,” said Heckel.

Airbnb hosts are now required to follow stricter cleaning guidelines to ensure everyone’s health and safety.

“There’s not only how you clean things but in what order and you think that Pledge and Windex are going to do the job and it doesn’t,” said Erhard. “You really have to use that bleach solution, and there’s a shortage on that, so you have to be creative with how you’re going to get that and how you’re going to get cleaning products that kill pathogens, and then there’s an order that you clean.”

Erhard said that peace of mind is one of the reasons her guests wanted the Airbnb experience as opposed to staying at a hotel.

“People feel really good about renting. They don’t want to go to a hotel. When you rent from Airbnb, you can have no contact with anybody,” said Erhard. “It’s a wireless keypad that we have on our door, so we give you the code, you checkin, you never have to see anybody if you don’t want to,” Erhard said.

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