Coronavirus: New Zealand self-isolation Facebook page connects travellers to accommodation

The page is helping Airbnb owners find customers after recent travel restrictions.
The page is helping Airbnb owners find customers after recent travel restrictions. Photo credit: Getty

A Facebook page has been launched in New Zealand to help travellers put into mandatory two-week isolation find accommodation options.

Entrepreneur James Punnett started the 'Self Isolation Accommodation Group NZ' on Monday evening and it now has over 150 members.

Punnett, who owns a couple of short-term rental properties, says he set up the page so people needing to self-isolate can connect with property owners and managers who are happy to accommodate them for 14 days. 

"I realized that with the new travel restrictions, a lot of travellers either returning to NZ or visiting us would probably struggle with finding suitable accommodation," he says.

"Two weeks is a long time, and staying in a short-term rental property is going to be much more workable for some people."

The Airbnb market has been massively impacted recently by travel bans and restrictions. 

Punnett says the page is "helping them to fill massive gaps created by vast cancellations over the last few weeks".

The page is also helping travellers, many of whom are finding it hard to secure accommodation where the owners are okay knowing they may be infected.

James Punnett started the Facebook page on Monday.
James Punnett started the Facebook page on Monday. Photo credit: Supplied

Punnett says anyone can list their properties on the page as long as they agree to specific cleaning requirements and additional services the guests may need.

He says the community has embraced his idea and are even offering their time to help those in self-isolation.

"When I discussed this with other owners, there was huge support for helping out, even offering to provide grocery deliveries or other services which might be needed."

"I am lucky that I have some people who can help me with this," Punnett says. 

"It takes a while to filter the requests to make sure they are bona fide. If it keeps growing at the rate it is, we might be under pressure for a bit."

The page has now had properties listed from all over New Zealand including Cromwell, Arrowtown, Queenstown, Auckland, and Taupo.

Some travellers have also been connecting over the page, linking up to share homes and split the costs.