Will Airbnb make a play at the long-term rental market?

[Editor’s note: This is an excerpt from the conclusions from the category product review series for the small landlord property management software sector. It is an answer to one of the questions posed in the mini-series introduction. Originally published in the Geek Estate Mastermind.]

It’s just a matter of time, particularly with Covid-19’s destruction on the short-term rental sector. Resources and capital are obviously not an issue, which is even more true after Silver Lake and Sixth Street Partners put another $1 billion in Airbnb to mitigate the fallout from the COVID-19 coronavirus. CEO Brian Chesky mentioned that “the future of Airbnb will focus on three core products: hosts, long-term stays and Airbnb Experiences.”

But going long-term does present a challenge with product confusion. That’s why I believe it will come via a joint venture with an existing long-term rentals portal rather than putting that inventory on its own site. Short- and long-term rentals are regulated differently, and there’s not a ton of overlap between DIY landlords doing both short- and long-term rentals, though Covid-19 is going to flip that a bit—as the short-term rentals market tanks due to travel restrictions, a portion of that inventory is moving into the long-term rental market. Zumper would seem to be a natural partner that aligns well. When that happens, they will nearly instantly rival Zillow as the place to go.

Longer-term rentals have already made its way into the product…in the form of a “Monthly Stays” tab on their primary search. Don’t say I didn’t give you advance warning.