As governments handle the health crisis and begin to review restrictions in advance of reopening their communities for travel, Airbnb will roll out in May the Enhanced Cleaning Initiative – the first standardized protocol for sanitisation and cleaning in the home-sharing industry. The protocol work is informed by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published standards; leading experts such as Dr. Vivek Murthy, former Surgeon General of the United States; and companies in the hospitality and medical hygiene sector, such as Ecolab, a global leader in cleaning and hygiene technologies and services.
In May, Airbnb will launch the new Cleaning Protocol, with enhanced procedures and guidance on how to clean every room in a home. These guidelines will include a learning and certification program to empower host community. And guests will be able to identify and book accommodations included in this program soon after hosts enroll. This effort builds off of Airbnb’s strong historical track record of cleanliness: To date 94 percent of all Airbnb reviews show that guests are satisfied with cleaning, scoring it at 4 or 5 stars after their stays.
The host Cleaning Protocol will include specific information on COVID-19 prevention, such as the use of personal protective equipment, 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. The protocol will be available to all hosts. 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 our Cleaning Protocol, they can alternatively 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 hour wait period before entering, and hosts should still observe CDC recommendations and other applicable local guidance. This concept is expert-backed and was first conceived for Airbnb’s Frontline Stays project, through which hosts have offered over 200,000 places for medical workers and first responders around the world.