As major hotel brands begin to announce dramatic changes to their cleaning practices, it was only a matter of time before Airbnb did the same.
The homesharing giant is launching a new “Advanced Clean Initiative” to change standards of hygiene across its properties, including in the Caribbean.
The company said Tuesday that guests would be able to “identify and book accommodation included” in the program, which will launch globally in May.
First, Airbnb said it was developing advanced cleaning standards, with enhanced procedures and guidance on how to clean every room in a home.
They will also include COVID-19-specific guidelines, such as a waiting period before entering, the use of personal protective equipment and approved disinfectants and sanitizers.
Hosts can also opt in to a feature that creates a vacancy period between stays.
“Through an easy tool on the platform, hosts can commit to keeping their home empty for a set period in between stays, with no activity other than cleaning,” Airbnb said.
That will block out reservations for 72 hours.
“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. I’m 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, who is providing guidance on the program.
Hosts are “committed to hosting,” the company said, with 92 percent of hosts reporting in an internal survey that they “plan to host as often as before, or more often, once the pandemic is over.”
“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. “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.”