Airbnb is raising the bar when it comes to COVID-19 safety practices: All Airbnb hosts are required to agree to these COVID-19 safety practices by November 20, 2020. Those who do not complete this requirement before the deadline may be unable to accept new reservations on airbnb.com.
When Airbnb announced this new Health and Safety mandate, it shared that close to 1.5 million host listings had already voluntarily enrolled in the Enhanced Cleaning Protocol. If Airbnb has somewhere between 6 and 7 million listings, it meant that less than 27 to 33% of hosts had enrolled.
Why make it mandatory? Airbnb links it to its efforts to stop the coronavirus from spreading, for instance, by banning COVID-19 house parties. As the Airbnb IPO is getting closer, it may also be that getting 100% of hosts to commit to more COVID-19 safety practices helps paint the company as a responsible corporate citizen.
Airbnb COVID-19 safety: Host requirements
In April 2020, Airbnb announced its Enhanced Cleaning Initiative. The optional program rolled out in early June 2020, with hosts invited to go through the Airbnb Hosting Cleaning Commitment. Now, what was optional becomes mandatory: Instead of an open-table quiz based on the Airbnb cleaning handbook, hosts are now required to:
- wear masks (along with guests),
- practice social distancing,
- and follow the 5-step enhanced cleaning process.
Masks and social distancing
The COVID-19 Safety Practices agreement
This is what Airbnb hosts have to agree to, unless they want to risk their listings being suspended or removed:
- Airbnb hosts agree to wear a face covering and maintain 6 feet/2 meters of distance whenever they interact with guests.
- They agree to implement the Airbnb enhanced cleaning protocol’s 5-step process for all my listings on the Airbnb platform and follow all local laws and guidelines.
- Hosts will ensure that their hosting team and cleaning partners follow these guidelines, and I understand that any non-compliance with the COVID-19 safety practices may result in their removal from the Airbnb platform.
Cleaning, a new tab in the Performance section of the Airbnb Hosting Dashboard
Once hosts agree to Airbnb’s COVID-19 safety practices, they are taken to a new Cleaning tab in their dashboard: airbnb.com/progress/cleaning/
This page acts as a mini-hub for all things Airbnb cleaning. You can find there
For each of their properties, hosts will find a cleaning checklist. It is very similar to the contents of the Airbnb Cleaning Handbook. The checklist is made up of 6 sub-lists:
- Supplies to have on hand
- Prepare for cleaning
- Common rooms
The cleaning checklist for each space is organized along Airbnb’s 5-step protocol:
- Prepare your equipment and get the space ready for cleaning
- Clean each surface by removing dust and debris
- Sanitize all high-touch areas, appliances, and electronics
- Check that the space has been thoroughly cleaned and sanitized
- Reset the room for the next guest and restock your supplies
Cleaning Supplies and Services
Depending on the host region, the “Supplies and Services” tab presents different offers that hosts can take on. For instance, French Airbnb hosts can shop online for cleaning supplies and protective gear from Simply Supplies and Ekoclean.
French hosts can also schedule professional, sustainable cleaning services through Ekoklean.
Will hosts really enforce the Airbnb COVID-19 safety practices
For the moment, it is a bit early to see how Airbnb will know that hosts are enforcing COVID-19 safety practices, especially those around sanitizing and disinfecting. This is very hard for guests to tell whether Lysol has been used over high-touch surfaces, for instance.
Airbnb is making new efforts to help hosts take action. For instance, it helps them find the right cleaning supplies and offers a discount. Airbnb also makes it very easy for hosts to share their cleaning checklists with their cleaning teams via Whatsapp.
What guests will be able to report, though, is whether the hosts are wearing a mask or practicing social distancing or not. So, it may create a feedback loop that Airbnb can use to sanction hosts that do not respect the COVID-19 safety practices.