You may have been hearing lately about a solar superstorm 2023 and what this means for our life as we know it today. It seems that the solar storm energy that draws tourists to the magical Northern Lights phenomenon may also be responsible for an “internet apocalypse.”
If this is the case, because nearly every business today relies so heavily on the internet, the result for your Airbnb business could be very worrying.
What is the Solar Superstorm 2024?
A solar superstorm is effectively spectacular space weather. It involves two primary phenomena: solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs). These events are powerful forces capable of affecting our planet in profound ways.
Solar superstorms consist of immense bursts of energy and superheated plasma that the sun ejects into space. Solar flares, which are intense bursts of radiation, can happen suddenly and are often associated with sunspots. Coronal mass ejections (CMEs), on the other hand, involve a significant release of plasma and magnetic field from the solar corona, the sun’s outer atmosphere. These CMEs can send billions of tons of solar material hurtling through space at incredible speeds, which is where the problem lies.
When they collide with the Earth’s magnetic field, they can create geomagnetic storms (hence the term, solar superstorm.) These storms create beautiful auroras, but unfortunately, the impact can be devastating.
According to NASA, such a storm is most likely to occur in the next solar maximum – the peak of the Sun’s 11-year activity cycle, which may be bound to happen around 2024.
Why would it cause an internet apocalypse?
Why hasn’t the internet been impacted until now? According to industry experts, the internet was developed during a time when solar energy around the sun was pretty inactive.
It’s the first time in human history that there’s been an intersection of increased solar activity with our dependence on the internet and our global economic dependence on the internet.
Even more concerning is that the odds are about 10% that over the next decade, “something really large is going to happen that could potentially wipe out the internet.”
How will your Airbnb Business be Affected?
Today, the Airbnb industry is very much dependent on the Internet. From marketing your STR to collecting enquiries via Airbnb and other STR platforms, to collecting formal documentation, and communicating with guests.
Almost all official activity for your Airbnb property is done online. It will be almost impossible to run your Airbnb business without an Internet connection.
How to prepare and protect your Airbnb in such an event?
There is a formal international approach being prepared to protect all of us from such as event. However, if you want to start making your own preparations, here are some ideas.
- Assume booking new guests during the” Internet apocalypse” superstorm will not be possible. All the Airbnb and STR platforms will be down.
- Offering an extension to existing booked guests whilst they are there is a great option. Or you may ask whether they would like to stay again during an empty time in your diary. Entice them with a special discount.
- Your host onsite can complete the paperwork for next time. Obtaining a deposit may be difficult, depending on Internet connection. You could ask for cash or arrange for it to be given to you next time.
- Organising for payment will be complicated because guests may not be able to provide it. Cash may be an option. Or you may need to accept payment after your guest’s stay, once the problem is resolved.
- People in your personal circle may be interested in staying at your Airbnb property, or you may occupy it yourself. Take a vacation!
- Effectively, those properties booked out far in advance will be in a better position to survive the” Internet apocalypse.” Those without bookings are likely to have more difficulty because marketing them online won’t be possible.
- If you have a property management service for your Airbnb like Alice’s Home that offers a lifeline – offline marketing, phone marketing, transaction handling, errand running, field work and a powerhouse team with an extensive network, When the storm hits, Alice’s Home keeps your Airbnb ship sailing!
Relevant bodies like NASA are working on creating solutions for such an event. Establishing resilient backup communication networks is critical.
We require alternative, robust communication channels, especially in critical sectors like emergency services. This could involve the use of satellite phones, shortwave radios, or other technologies less susceptible to solar-induced disruptions.
As with the global concern around the ‘2000 bug’ this also may be similarly a “storm in a teacup.”