Airbnb is rolling out recommended cleaning and vacancy procedures for its more than 7 million global rentals as the coronavirus pandemic has made travelers extra-cautious about cleanliness and safety.
The company will begin requiring that rentals stay vacant for 24 hours between check out and when a new reservation begins. The new requirement is based on a recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control to “address the possibility of particles that may remain airborne for a few hours.”
The company also announced Monday a new cleaning protocol for hosts, establishing the “first overarching standardized protocol for cleaning and sanitization” in the home-sharing industry, according to Airbnb.
It offers tips on how to clean rooms and what types of disinfectants to use. The program is not required for hosts to follow, but Airbnb said it’s encouraging hosts to “commit and adopt these enhanced cleaning practices.” Customers will be able to soon identify which hosts oblige by the program the platform’s search results.
Airbnb previously published a “cleaning checklist” for hosts that detailed basic cleaning requirements after Covid-19 began spreading.
Hotel bookings have fallen drastically, and occupancy levels have tumbled to 23.4% of rooms in the United States in use for the week ending April 18, according to recent data from hospitality analytics company STR. Airbnb is a privately held company, so it’s doesn’t make booking figures public.
Earlier this month, Airbnb announced it received a $1 billion loan from investors during the pandemic and travel slowdown. It also relaxed cancellation deadlines for guests and created a $250 million fund to pay affected hosts. Some of those changes ignited outrage from hosts, who said the relief money isn’t enough to cover losses from mass cancellations.
Travel has been hit especially hard by the virus and has forced several companies to roll out new cleaning procedures.
Airlines, such as Delta, have begun “fogging” planes with disinfectants each day and have blocked middle seats for social distancing. Marriott last week announced it began spraying rooms with “hospital-grade disinfectant” that sanitizes surfaces and rearranged lobby furniture to keep people apart.