Airbnb bookings have "collapsed" in Queenstown and other tourist hubs as rental owners slash prices and target those needing to self-isolate in a bid to attract customers.
Auckland short-term rental owners were also stinging as new rules forcing overseas arrivals to self-isolate for 14 days led tearful brides to cancel weddings and foreign contractors to consider delaying work visits.
Tourist operators were now pleading with Kiwis to get out and see their own country as there might never be a cheaper time to visit Queenstown without the crowds.
Meanwhile, foreign tourists still arriving were scrambling to find places to stay as a new Facebook page - formed to match visitors with Airbnb rentals suitable for self-isolation - raced to more than 500 members in less than 24 hours.
Queenstown Luxury Property Management co-owner Aaron Murphy was among those listing rentals on the Self-Isolation Accommodation Group page and said the outlook was grim as tourist numbers plummeted.
"The general consensus across Queenstown is that all forward bookings and occupancy has completely collapsed," he said.
He called for a Government or business-led campaign to ramp up domestic tourism with Airbnb owners' pain looming as an early sign of what might be in store for the wider economy.
"The business owners and everyone operating in Queenstown are very worried because they can see what is coming," he said.
"We are all looking at our cashflow projections and how we can keep people employed."
Murphy said rental bookings from new arrivals in the country had dried up.
The only business was coming from travellers already in New Zealand, such as backpackers pooling their money for a villa so they could avoid hostels.
Despite this, Murphy was yet to have owners of the luxury properties he managed pull out of the short-term rental market.
Being largely better off financially, they were more able to wait out the crisis and keep their homes ready as personal bolt-holes should they need to personally self-isolate in them.
Elsewhere in Queenstown, however, some Airbnb owners heavily in debt were "scrambling" to turn their houses into long-term rentals, he said.
They now faced the prospect of charging much-reduced rents to tenants potentially unable to pay as they stared down the barrel of job layoffs.
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Auckland's Amy Rennell, owner of Furnished Rentals, said she also had been inundated with cancellations in what had been a "crazy week".
"On Monday it was very doom and gloom and I was wondering what on earth it is going to mean for my business," she said.
"I've got one poor lady who booked one of my houses in Browns Bay almost a year ago, and she rang me in tears because she has had to not only cancel all her guests coming out but also her own wedding."
Another team of foreign contractors at first cancelled their rental booking but then rebooked due to being legally contracted to complete their job in New Zealand.
The workers now planned to fly into the country and self-isolate for 14 days before completing their three-month contract.
Rennell said another home owner - who had been on a dream, year-long holiday with her family - was forced to take her house off the short-term rental market after she cancelled her overseas holiday and returned home.
On the flip side, she said there had been a small rebound in business from people needing rentals to self-isolate in, including some from the Self-Isolation Accommodation Group Facebook page.
Argentinian traveller Flor Garcia was among those posting on the page, but now said she was likely to put off her trip to New Zealand as the "most responsible decision" was to stay at home.
Alexandra Khamsopha and her partner on the other hand were still coming. They were in Bali and half way through a year-long trip from France through Asia to South America.
She said they were lucky to find an affordable rental to self-isolate in where the owners offered to leave essential foods for them and later help with the groceries.
They were now likely to spend longer in New Zealand due to France being aflame with the coronavirus and potential disruptions lying ahead in South America.
"After the self-isolation period (we are going to discover) the beauty of this country," Khamsopha said.