As governments handle the health crisis and begin to review restrictions in advance of reopening their communities for travel, Airbnb has revealed that they are working hard to support the community and prepare for the future of travel, focused on health and prevention.
Airbnb announces Enhanced Cleaning Initiative, which includes the first overarching standardized protocol for cleaning and sanitization in the home sharing industry. This 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, a new Cleaning Protocol will be launched by the company 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 its 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 Airbnbs 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 and encourages to commit and adopt these enhanced cleaning practices. 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 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 Airbnbs Frontline Stays project, through which hosts have offered over 200,000 places for medical workers and first responders around the world.
"As a society, we need to observe the physical distancing recommendations made by public health officials while finding ways to preserve and strengthen human connection. Im looking forward to helping the Airbnb community as it develops a health and science based approach for safe travel lodging and experiences. These approaches will continue to evolve as our knowledge and understanding of COVID-19 grows," said Dr. Vivek Murthy.
Guests will be able to search for and easily identify Airbnb listings that meet their needs and expectations and are part of the program. Hosts will have access to expert-backed cleaning educational materials and will be supported to show that they take cleanliness and prevention seriously.
Governments, health authorities and communities will be able to refer to this inventory, allowing for a controlled approach to reopen travel and reignite tourism economics. Airbnb informs that they will continue to collaborate with local governments, medical experts and other authorities to help ensure appropriate precautions are taken, support COVID-19 response efforts, and carry out any other applicable requirements.