Airbnb releases new cleaning program in response to coronavirus

Airbnb’s Enhanced Cleaning Initiative is the first standardised protocol for cleaning and sanitisation in the home sharing industry.

Airbnb has developed new cleaning protocols for hosts in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The company said its newly announced Enhanced Cleaning Initiative is the first overarching standardised protocol for cleaning and sanitisation in the home sharing industry.

The cleaning procedures have been developed in partnership with Dr Vivek Murthy, the former surgeon general of the US and Ecolab.

The company said the guidelines have also been informed by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published standards.

“Although risk in travel can never be fully eliminated, and the science is still evolving, this initiative is designed to support and protect our stakeholders,” the company said in a statement.

The Enhanced Cleaning Initiative will launch in May and will provide enhanced procedures and guidance on how to clean every room in a home.

The guidelines will include specific information on COVID-19 prevention, such as the 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.

A CDC recommended 24-hour wait period before entering is also required, as a precaution to address the possibility of particles that may remain airborne for a few hours. Listings enrolled in the Cleaning Protocol will be available for stays immediately after the enhanced cleaning is performed.

If hosts are unable to commit to the Cleaning Protocol, they can opt into a new feature called Booking Buffer, to create a vacancy period between stays. Hosts can commit to keeping their home empty for a set period in between stays, with no activity other than cleaning.

Reservations will be automatically blocked during that time frame, currently set at 72 hours. This option includes the same 24 wait period before entering, and hosts should still observe CDC recommendations and other applicable local guidance.

“‘We are working with leading experts in health and hygiene so that our community’s trademark hospitality can incorporate official guidance and fulfil new personal preferences, with hosts and guests uniting to offer, manage and enjoy cleaner accommodations,” said Greg Greeley, president of homes at Airbnb.

“We have seen indications that hosts are committed to hosting and we think people will be eager to travel in the future. In a recent company survey, 92 per cent of hosts around the world responded that they plan to host as often as before, or more often, once the pandemic is over.”

It comes as global hotel chains including Hilton, Marriott International and Hyatt also announced new cleaning measures in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Hilton announced this week it has partnered with academic medical centre, the Mayo Clinic, and Reckitt Benckiser (RB), maker of Dettol, to introduce a new set of cleaning protocols across its 6100 hotels.

Marriott International has established a Global Cleanliness Council, which will include input from both in-house and outside experts including senior leaders from across Marriott disciplines like housekeeping, engineering, food safety, occupational health and associate well being.

Based on an Airbnb survey conducted on April 1-5, 2020 of hosts located in the US, Great Britain, Australia, France, Italy, Brazil, Korea and Mexico.

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