Source: Airbnb, Inc.
  • We are developing a new Cleaning Protocol for hosts, with guidance from the former US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy and in partnership with leading experts in hospitality and medical hygiene.
  • As communities gradually reopen, travelers and governments will be able to refer to this specific collection of accommodation to support their preferences and the tourism economy.

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 Enhanced Cleaning Initiative, which includes the first overarching standardized protocol for cleaning and sanitization in the home sharing industry. 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 sector, such as Ecolab, a global leader in cleaning and hygiene technologies and services.

Source: Airbnb, Inc.Source: Airbnb, Inc.
Source: Airbnb, Inc.

In May, we will launch the new Cleaning Protocol, 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 our 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 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 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 we encourage them 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 our 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 Airbnb's Frontline Stays project, through which hosts have offered over 200,000 places for medical workers and first responders around the world.

Source: Airbnb, Inc.Source: Airbnb, Inc.
Source: Airbnb, Inc.

"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, and carry out any other applicable requirements.

"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.2 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.

Source: Airbnb, Inc.Source: Airbnb, Inc.
Source: Airbnb, Inc.

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.

About Ecolab

A trusted partner at nearly three million commercial customer locations, Ecolab (ECL) is the global leader in water, hygiene and infection prevention solutions and services. With annual sales of $15 billion and 50,000 associates, Ecolab delivers comprehensive solutions, data-driven insights and personalized service to advance food safety, maintain clean environments, optimize water and energy use, and improve operational efficiencies and sustainability for customers in the energy, food, healthcare, hospitality and industrial markets in more than 170 countries around the world. ecolab.com

  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.

About Airbnb

Airbnb was born in 2007 when two Hosts welcomed three guests to their San Francisco home, and has since grown to over 4 million Hosts who have welcomed more than 1 billion guest arrivals across over 220 countries and regions. Travel on Airbnb keeps more of the financial benefits of tourism with the people and places that make it happen. Airbnb has generated billions of dollars in earnings for Hosts, most of whom are individuals listing the homes in which they live. Among Hosts who report their gender, more than half are women, and one in five employed Hosts are either teachers or healthcare workers. Travel on Airbnb also has generated more than $4 billion in tax revenue around the world. Airbnb has helped advance more than 1,000 regulatory frameworks for short-term rentals, including in 80% of our top 200 geographies. In late 2020, to support our continued expansion and diversification, we launched the City Portal to provide governments with a one-stop shop that supports data sharing and compliance with local registration rules. We continue to invest in innovations and tools to support our ongoing work with governments around the world to advance travel that best serves communities.

About Airbnb.org

Airbnb.org is a nonprofit organization dedicated to facilitating temporary stays for people in times of crisis around the world. Airbnb.org operates independently and leverages Airbnb, Inc."s technology, services, and other resources at no charge to carry out Airbnb.org"s charitable purpose. The inspiration for Airbnb.org began in 2012 with a single host named Shell who opened up her home to people impacted by Hurricane Sandy. This sparked a movement and marked the beginning of a program that allows Hosts on Airbnb to provide stays for people in times of need. Since then, the program has evolved to focus on emergency response and to help provide stays to evacuees, relief workers, refugees, asylum seekers, and frontline workers fighting the spread of COVID-19. Since then, Hosts have offered to open up their homes and helped provide accommodations to 100,000 people in times of need. Airbnb.org is a separate and independent entity from Airbnb, Inc. Airbnb, Inc. does not charge service fees for Airbnb.org supported stays on its platform.

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