Continue Reading Below
The home-sharing platform plans to implement a new “cleaning protocol” recommendation to give guidance on the safest sanitation practices for homes and rooms, the company said Monday. As a result, rentals will be required to stay vacant for at least 24 hours between check out and a new reservation.
Airbnb’s new mandate is based on the Centers for Disease Control to “address the possibility of particles that remain airborne for a few hours” to reduce the chances of a guest coming in contact with the virus.
The company is offering cleaning tips that specify how to disinfect rooms. Hosts are not mandated to follow the protocol, however, Airbnb said it's urging them to adopt the “enhanced cleaning practices.” Perspective Airbnb guests will be able to see if hosts are following the cleaning protocol.
The move to enhance cleaning procedures comes as the travel industry grapples with lower occupancies as less Americans travel with shelter in place mandates across the country. Hotels in the U.S. had just 23.4 percent of rooms filled between April 14 and April 20, a 64.4 percent slump compared to the same time period a year ago, according to data from market research firm STR.
What's more, with recent travel restrictions, Airbnb bookings have plummeted more than 50 percent in the United States this February., according to AirDNA.
Health experts have urged travelers to proceed with caution when using the home and room rental service during the COVID-19 pandemic, warning there’s no guarantee that it has been adequately cleaned and safe from the novel coronavirus exposure.
“Entering a rental property which may not have been adequately cleaned -- let alone disinfected, sterilized and decontaminated -- could ultimately result in COVID-19 exposure," Dr. Louis Morledge, an Internist who specializes in travel medicine at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, told FOX Business earlier this month. "Stay home, don't travel and certainly don't pursue a vacation rental”