16 Apr Power Outages: 5 tips for Airbnb hosts
Disaster can strike at any time, whether large or small. As an Airbnb host, you need to prepare your property for a range of emergencies. Power outages are a common situation that guests and hosts have to deal with. Storms, city works, renovations, fallen trees, earthquakes, and fires can all trigger outages.
How Common Are Power Outages?
The frequency of power outages varies by state. In 2016 USA residents experienced an average of 1.3 interruptions. And the average time without power was 4 hours, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. But those numbers are an average and will often be higher. States in hurricane alley will usually suffer power outages more often. Other states like California may cut power during fire seasons.
Who Is Responsible?
Airbnb can force a refund under some circumstances during a power outage. Hosts may also choose to offer a partial refund in cases where power is out for an extended period of time. Responsibility is dependent on the situation. Say, for example, your apartment HOA is renovating. The builders then accidentally knock out the power for a few hours. If you, the host, are aware of these renovations then you should take responsibility.
But in cases of natural disaster, a power outage is often unavoidable. In these situations, guests would also not be able to get power anywhere in the area. Usually, a situation such as a fire, storm, earthquake, and so forth won’t be the host’s responsibility.
Preparing Your Airbnb For Power Outages
The best way to mitigate the risks from a power outage is to prepare. Every Airbnb host should prepare their property and guests in the event of a power outage. So here are five things you can do today:
1. Ensure you meet basic Airbnb safety requirements
You must meet basic Airbnb safety guidelines for a power outage or other emergency. These include:
- Working smoke detectors
- Functioning carbon monoxide detector
- Clearly marked fire escape route
2. Keep contact information up to date
Update your phone number and email address with your electric company. That way you can get help faster in the event of an outage. Keep the numbers of your electric company handy and report outages as soon as possible.
3. Prepare an emergency outage kit
Prepare a kit for emergencies and keep it well stocked. For an electrical outage this should include:
- Matches (waterproof)
- Bottled water
- Emergency blankets
- First aid kit (it’s smart to have it even in non-emergency)
- Battery-operated radio
Add checking the emergency kit to your maintenance schedule. Be sure the batteries haven’t expired and the flashlights and lighters are in working order.
Pro tip: this is my favorite power bank for my guests. Most of my guests freak out if their laptops run out of batteries during a blackout. And best of all, this power bank has solar panels, so on sunnier days, I leave it out on my balcony for 4~6 hours for a full charge. I just bought 10 more for our newest units.
4. Prepare an emergency manual
Your welcome kit should include important information for guests should an emergency arise. Your emergency manual should include:
- Information on where to find the emergency kit
- Emergency reference material, including a first-aid book or information from www.ready.gov
- List of local emergency contact details. This should include the number of your local electric company to report outages
- Directions on how to manually open electric doors and garages
- Instructions for turning off electric appliances to prevent fires. NOTE: The U.S. Energy Information Administration recommends you turn off all appliances. This includes your furnace, air conditioner, water heater, and water pump. That way, you can avoid a circuit overload, more outages, or fires. Leave on one lamp to know when power is restored.
5. Go above and beyond
The above tips are the least you should do to prepare for outages. If your area often experiences outages, take your preparation further. Some of you guys might have a cabin somewhere more remote, then I’d highly recommend getting a backup generator just in case. You want one that’s easy to operate so guests don’t have to fumble to get it to work. For that reason, I recommend an electric generator like this Yeti Goal Zero.
Here are some more ideas for hosts who want to make things as smooth as possible for their guests:
- Keep battery-powered lamps in all rooms
- Have a battery-powered USB charger available
- Provide board games or other entertainment that doesn’t require electrical power
- Furnish the pantry with ready-to-eat items, canned foods and a manual can opener, and a single burner butane stove
- Supply battery-powered fans and heaters if your area has an extreme climate
- Add a bottle of wine to your emergency kit!
If you live in an area that is prone to power outages inform guests in advance that outages are a possibility. If you are in a high-risk area you must provide adequate emergency information.
In some areas, Airbnb provides free emergency preparedness training to hosts. You can also check out their safety guides for more information.
Natural disasters happen and aren’t the fault of Airbnb hosts. By implementing these five recommendations, you’ll maximize your guests’ comfort even in the midst of the inconvenience.
Want more Airbnb advice and tips? You can click here to learn more about successful hosting. Then, you’ll find out how you can leverage other people’s properties to build a 6-figure business on Airbnb.