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Airbnb's Advanced Clean Initiative for the future of travel

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Airbnb hosts will be able to optimize for COVID-19 prevention through new advanced cleaning standards or a new optional tool to block reservations and create a vacancy period in between stays, currently set at 72 hours.

NASSAU BAHAMAS - As governments handle the health crisis and begin to review restrictions in advance of reopening their communities for travel, at Airbnb we are working hard to support our community and prepare for the future of travel, focused on health and prevention. Today we are announcing our advanced clean initiative to provide hosts with educational resources and two options to offer accommodation according to enhanced cleaning and prevention measures. Guests will be able to identify and book accommodation included in this program, which will be launched globally in May. Our 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 industry.

1. First, we are developing advanced cleaning standards, with enhanced procedures and guidance on how to clean every room in a home. These guidelines will become the leading standards in the home sharing industry and will include a learning and certification program to empower our host community. They build off of Airbnb's 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.1 The advanced cleaning standards will also include specific information on COVID-19 prevention, like a wait period before entering, use of personal protective equipment, like masks and gloves, as well as disinfectants and sanitizers that are approved by regulatory authorities. These standards will be available to all hosts and we encourage them to commit and adopt these enhanced cleaning practices.

2. Alternatively, hosts can opt into a new feature to create 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. Reservations will be automatically blocked during that time frame, currently set at 72 hours. This option takes into account that some hosts may not be able to commit to certification or source necessary products -but should still observe CDC recommendations and other applicable local guidance (such as wearing a mask). This concept is expert-backed and was first conceived for Airbnb's 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. 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. He also led the US Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and responses to Ebola and Zika outbreaks, hurricanes and health care shortages, among others.

Future of Travel
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. 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. And we will continue to collaborate with local governments, medical experts and other authorities to help ensure appropriate precautions are taken, support COVID-19 response efforts.

"Homes have become a place of shelter, and the future of travel will also rely on a new comfort zone, with the privacy and benefits of a home away from home, without crowds or high turnovers. We are working with leading experts in health and hygiene so that our community's trademark hospitality can incorporate official guidance and fulfill new personal preferences, with hosts and guests uniting to offer, manage and enjoy cleaner accommodations," said Greg Greeley, President of Homes at Airbnb.

We have seen indications that hosts are committed to hosting and we think people will be eager to travel in the future. In a recent company survey, 92 percent of hosts around the world responded that they plan to host as often as before, or more often, once the pandemic is over. As of late March 2020, Airbnb booking data reflected that the number of reservations beginning at least six months out was greater in comparison to the same time last year.

At a moment of heightened concerns about COVID-19, people may want to avoid excessive interaction or high-traffic areas. According to Skift's US Travel Tracker for March 2020, the pandemic "will make people drawn to activities and experiences that involve less exposure to crowds, more control of their surroundings and more assurances of cleanliness, at least in the short term." Historically, guests have shown interest in Airbnb travel because of amenities like private kitchens and laundry. Now, more than ever, travelers may choose Airbnb listings, which inherently offer more control over their environment and travel experience.

We will continue to develop and enhance our platform, tools, educational resources and enforcement, in line with governmental guidance and to help our hosts adjust to consumer needs -all to keep our hosts, guests and communities protected.

 

1. Internal Airbnb data referring to guest reviews on a stay’s cleanliness as of March 31 2020.

2. Based on an Airbnb survey conducted on April 1-5, 2020 of hosts located in the US, Great Britain, Australia, France, Italy, Brazil, Korea and Mexico. 

 

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