Airbnb plans enhanced cleaning initiative for post-pandemic travel

28 Apr 2020492 Views

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Airbnb is introducing an enhanced cleaning initiative next month, providing guidelines on how properties should be cleaned by hosts.

Airbnb plans to introduce an “enhanced cleaning initiative for the future of travel” next month, helping hosts on its platform to clean their properties more effectively during the ongoing Covid-19 situation and beyond.

The company is developing a new cleaning protocol for hosts, with guidance from former US Surgeon General, Dr Vivek Murthy, in partnership with experts in hospitality and medical hygiene.

Though the travel and hospitality industries have taken a significant hit from the coronavirus pandemic and travel restrictions put in place to limit the spread of the virus, companies in this sector have been preparing for what lies ahead.

Last week, Expedia raised $3.2bn in funding, with its chair Barry Diller announcing plans to “conserve cash, survive and use this time to reconstruct a stronger enterprise to serve the future of travel”. Meanwhile, Airbnb has also raised $2bn in recent weeks to get through “the storm of the pandemic”. Both Expedia and Airbnb’s fundraising efforts were backed by private equity firm, Silver Lake Partners.

Airbnb’s cleaning guidelines

Airbnb said that while governments have been dealing with the health crisis and reviewing the possible lifting of restrictions, the company has been working to prepare for “the future of travel” with a focus on health and prevention.

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Its new guidelines, to be launched in May, will show hosts how to clean every room in a home and will offer a learning and certification programme. Hosts who adopt the protocol will have the details included on their listing page, so it will be visible to guests if a host has committed to the new guidelines.

The protocol will include information on Covid-19 prevention such as the correct use of personal protective equipment (PPE) like masks and gloves for hosts or their cleaners, as well as disinfectants that are approved by regulatory authorities.

Leaving properties empty

As a precaution, it is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that Airbnb hosts wait 24 hours after guests have left to clean the property, as particles may remain airborne for a few hours.

If a host is unable to commit to Airbnb’s new cleaning protocol, or they choose not to, they can alternatively opt into the company’s new feature called ‘Booking Buffer’, which creates a 72-hour vacancy period in between stays.

“Hosts can commit to keeping their home empty for a set period between stays, with no activity other than cleaning,” Airbnb said. “Reservations will be automatically blocked during that time frame, currently set at 72 hours.”

Kelly Earley is a journalist with Siliconrepublic.com

editorial@siliconrepublic.com