From poorly-timed TV and internet interruptions, to washing delays and guest frustrations, it’s fair to say that hosting on Airbnb during loadshedding comes with its challenges.
We’ve spoken to Hosts around South Africa to source helpful tips to keep you hosting sustainably during power cuts. You can read the Host-approved advice below. We hope that with a few small actions, Hosts on Airbnb can not only survive during loadshedding, but thrive and provide a fantastic experience for their guests.
The story you share in your listing description can help shape your guests’ experience. International guests may not have heard of loadshedding, so it’s important to let them know upfront what they can expect from their stay. When communicating with guests around loadshedding, let them know that even with backup power, such as an inverter, power constraints still exist. Encouraging guests to stick to energy efficient practices is key. You might suggest guests to do the following:
- Water consumption: Be mindful of your water consumption, especially hot water. If possible, consider taking a shower instead of a bath.
- Lighting: Turn on lighting only when it is necessary to feel comfortable, use multiple smaller light sources rather than one large one and make sure lights are turned off when you leave the accommodation.
- Washing: Please do not use the washing machine/dishwasher for a few items only. Wash at a lower temperature, for example at 30°C and avoid short programmes as they consume more electricity and water.
Host tip: Jovana, a Host Leader who Hosts on Airbnb in Johannesburg, advises her guests to download one of the many apps available. Her preference is ESP, but you might also try the City of Cape Town app.
Loadshedding can last for up to four hours at a time, so ensuring you have back up power for guests to charge their phone, use wi-fi, or watch TV is essential. An uninterrupted power supply (UPS) with a USB port is great if you need to ensure a constant power supply for wi-fi for example. These ‘UPS’ units can be plugged directly into your devices or electrical systems. If you’re looking for something more hardworking, a backup power system consisting of an inverter and batteries which are charged when the power is on, could be an option for you. You might also consider providing fully charged power banks to guests for easy phone charging, too.
Light the way
Rechargeable LED light bulbs, many of which stay on for up to 10 hours when fully charged, are a cost-efficient way of ensuring the lights stay on when loadshedding hits. Lights with a built-in battery can last up to five hours.
Host tip: a rechargeable torch which also charges a cell phone placed next to a guest’s bed is a thoughtful touch.
Be prepared for water shedding
As the water supply may be affected by loadshedding, you might consider installing a water tank and pump. To ensure the water flowing from taps is hot, solar geysers are the go-to solution for a number of Hosts we spoke to.
Improve energy efficiency in your home
Consider which appliances draw the most energy. Electric kettles and electric stoves, for example, use a lot of electricity in a short space of time, so you might consider moving to a gas hob or induction stove and using a stove top kettle instead. Of course there is also a trusty gas cylinder to have on hand. Always make sure that any gas cooker meets safety standards.
Host tip: If you’re not ready or able to take the plunge to full solar, you might consider renting panels as Jovana has done. “I’m now able to list my home on Airbnb as ‘loadshedding free!’” she says.
Guest safety during loadshedding is a concern for many Hosts. Solutions include ensuring battery backups for garage doors and main gates to ensure guests are not locked out – or in! Ensuring outside lights stay on during loadshedding is also essential, so be sure to install high voltage solar or battery powered lights in these areas.
Host tip: place solar jar lighting or fairy lights in outside areas for a welcoming touch.