The 2020 coronavirus pandemic changed the way everyone does business, including Airbnb hosts. While many people put traveling on pause to shelter in place and prevent the spread of the virus, others found new reasons to look for lodging beyond their own homes. Not only did the way guests travel change, but their expectations did too. They want to know that the places where they stay are clean and disinfected and that their hosts are taking the virus seriously. If you’re an Airbnb host who wants to experience continued success throughout the pandemic and beyond, follow these tips.
Understand and Follow Airbnb’s Cleaning Protocol
Your guests are expecting to stay in a place that they know is clean and virus-free. Get started in upholding these standards by following Airbnb’s cleaning protocol. The protocol was created by Airbnb with the help of Ecolab, a company that provides infection-prevention cleaning solutions, and former surgeon general Dr. Vivek Murthy. Much of the protocol also incorporates suggestions from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The protocol is broken into five easy steps. First, you prepare to clean safely. Next, you clean dust and debris. After that, you sanitize the space with disinfectant, and then you go through room-by-room checklists Airbnb provides. The final step is to reset the room. For more details on each step, you can visit the Airbnb website and log in to view the guide.
To demonstrate to guests that you’re committed to cleanliness even more, Airbnb offers a quiz for hosts to take. If you pass, you’ll receive a highlight on your listing page that guests can see when they look at your property. You may also want to consider leaving masks, hand sanitizer and cleaning products in your property for your guests to use.
Next to cleanliness, flexibility may be one of the biggest keys to success as an Airbnb host during the coronavirus pandemic. This may mean changing some of your settings so that guests can modify or cancel their plans if necessary, even if they need to do so close to their original booking dates.
Travel restrictions are still in place throughout the world, and plans are constantly evolving. With this in mind, Airbnb is allowing hosts to make temporary changes to their cancellation policies. With the more flexible policy, guests can receive a full refund if they cancel at least 14 days in advance. It’s important to be prepared for this to happen with some of your bookings.
Minimize or Eliminate Person-to-Person Contact
One reason travelers are choosing Airbnb over hotels is that this type of lodging typically minimizes their contact with others, especially when they can book standalone properties for themselves. You can go the extra mile by making them feel safer with some new policies, particularly if your lodging is a room or area inside your home where you’re also living.
Allow guests to check themselves in without meeting you in person. If you do require a personal meeting, wear masks and maintain a distance of 6 feet or more between each person. Highlight spaces that have private entrances and their own restrooms, and give guests the opportunity to refuse any routine maintenance or housekeeping.
Offer Discounts and Extended Stays
Offering discounts on your listings during the pandemic is a great way to entice travelers to stay at your property — airlines and hotels are doing it all over the world. However, something else many hosts are noticing is that people want the ability to rent an Airbnb for a longer period of time; the number of extended stays has doubled during the pandemic, particularly in rural areas. Reasons for this range from more people working at home and looking for quiet places to set up offices to kids being out of school and families looking for an escape to people quarantining themselves away from family and friends who are at greater risk of contracting the virus.
Not only should you update your listing to let guests know you’re open to longer stays, but you should also update your space to make it more comfortable for someone who wants to spend weeks or even months at your Airbnb. Consider upgrading your Wi-Fi, setting up a comfortable workspace, making a space child- or pet-friendly or even offering discounts for extended stays. Stock your property with amenities like extra towels, sheets, toiletries and kitchen utensils that a person may need for the longer duration.
Let Guests Know How You’re Making a Difference
It’s reassuring to guests to learn that you’re committed to ensuring they have a safe and healthy visit to your Airbnb. Mention in your listing anything extra you’re doing to clean your space or to limit person-to-person contact.
If a guest has to cancel due to a travel restriction or other extenuating circumstance, allow them to rebook a future date at a discounted price. Be available to answer any questions and concerns, and never encourage your guests to ignore government advisories or restrictions. Guests will remember that you provided helpful, prompt communication during their time of need, and it may increase the likelihood that they book with you in the future if they remember the positive experience.