Airbnb rolls out new cleaning protocols, including buffer periods between stays

Apr 27, 2020

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We’re still in the middle of the coronavirus outbreak, but there’s certainly a light at the end of the tunnel.

As the curve begins to flatten, governments and companies around the world are starting to outline steps they plan to take to gradually and safely open cities, states, countries and businesses. Airbnb is the latest company to do so and shared a new sanitation plan for its global hosts to follow.

The hope here is that guests can search, identify and book Airbnbs that suit their standards, while hosts will feel empowered to clean and sanitize their homes with the help of expert-backed guidance and protocols.

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Here’s a closer look at what’s changing.

The company is launching a new host Cleaning Protocol. It includes the use of personal protective equipment (such as masks and gloves) for hosts and cleaners, as well as disinfectants approved by regulatory authorities. Most noteworthy, though, is that there will be a CDC-recommended 24-hour wait period before the next guest can enter the Airbnb, according to a company-issued press release.

An Airbnb spokesperson told TPG that the new Cleaning Protocol will launch in the United States in May and then globally, although the company did not have a specific timeline for the global roll-out. Guests will be able to select these listings “as soon as the inventory is available,” the spokesperson added.

Hosts can complete a learning and certification program, and their listings will be clearly identified as part of the Airbnb Enhanced Cleaning Initiative inventory that guests can book.

Related: Here’s how hotels can prove to guests that they’re safe after coronavirus

That’s not all, though. If hosts aren’t able to commit to the new Cleaning Protocol, they can opt into what’s called a “Booking Buffer.” This new feature will create a 72-hour vacancy period, in which they commit to keeping their home empty to focus on cleaning and sanitizing. Guests won’t be able to make a reservation during that buffer period.

If a host does not abide by the new protocols and undergo the certification process, their listings will not be shown in the Airbnb Enhanced Cleaning Initiative inventory.

“We trust that our host community is eager to follow through with their commitment to keeping and providing excellent hospitality to their guests. Trust in our community is also built on our review system, and in the very rare cases when things go wrong, we encourage our users to contact Community Support so we can respond accordingly,” a company spokesperson told TPG.

Both of Airbnb’s new protocols were developed with guidance from the former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy, as well as experts in both hospitality and medical hygiene. The company is optimistic — as we are at TPG — about the future of travel, noting that a whopping 92% of global hosts are planning to host guests either as often as, or more often as they did once the pandemic is over.

Featured image courtesy of Thomas Trutschel/Photothe/Getty Images.

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