Airbnb announced the Enhanced Cleaning Initiative for hosts on Monday, marking the first standardized cleaning and sanitization protocol in the home-sharing industry.
Launching in May, the new initiative will include reinforced cleaning procedures for every room in the home based on guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as well as leading experts like former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy and hospitality and medical hygiene sector companies such as cleaning and hygiene technologies and services leader Ecolab.
The Enhanced Cleaning Initiative will include specific information on coronavirus (COVID-19) prevention, including the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) like masks and gloves for hosts and cleaning crew and disinfectants approved by regulatory authorities.
The new protocol also requires a CDC recommended 24-hour waiting period before entering a home as a precaution due to the possibility of particles that may remain airborne for a few hours. Airbnb confirmed that the protocol will be available to all hosts, who will have added incentive to enroll as participating listings will be available for stays immediately after the enhanced cleaning is performed.
However, hosts unable to meet the new standards will have another option in a new feature known as Booking Buffer that creates a vacancy period between stays. Reservations will be automatically blocked during that time frame, which is currently set at 72 hours. The Booking Buffer option includes the same 24-hour wait period before entering and encourages hosts to observe CDC recommendations and other applicable local guidance. The alternative concept, which Airbnb says is expert-backed, was first conceived for the platform’s Frontline Stays project offering hundreds of thousands of stays for medical workers and first responders all over the world.
Moving forward, Airbnb guests will have the ability to search for Airbnb properties that are a part of the enhanced cleaning program.
“Homes have become a place of shelter, and the future of travel will also rely on a new comfort zone, with the privacy and benefits of a home away from home, without crowds or high turnovers. We are working with leading experts in health and hygiene so that our community’s trademark hospitality can incorporate official guidance and fulfill new personal preferences, with hosts and guests uniting to offer, manage and enjoy cleaner accommodations,” said Greg Greeley, President of Homes at Airbnb, in a statement.
Citing a recent survey and booking data as of late March 2020, Airbnb reports that more than 90 percent of hosts plan to host as often or more often than before once the COVID-19 pandemic is over while reservations beginning at least six months out were greater in comparison to the same time last year.
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