Airbnb owners may have to follow a new set of property cleaning protocols when the tourism industry re-opens on 4th July, it has been revealed.

The UK Short Term Accommodation Association (STAA) has developed the protocols with many of the UK’s leading tourism bodies for self-catering and short-term lets rentals.

The document has been shared with the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and are designed to support DCMS Secretary Oliver Dowden’s efforts to open up this part of the tourism industry if ‘consistent with public health’.

Merilee Karr, Chair of the STAA says: “Self-contained accommodation has a lower risk than other areas, so I would hope that that will be at the front of the queue and the industry wants to ensure everyone is ready and able to meet the right standards,” he said recently.

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“These protocols should provide consumers with the confidence to travel safely to any property that meets them,”

“I agree with Minister Dowden that short-term rentals which adhere to these cleaning protocols, offer a comparatively low-risk option for customers looking to book a holiday in the current environment.”

For landlords with Airbnb or other short lets platform properties, one of the best steps they can take is to get independently accredited by the STAA industry partner Quality in Tourism, through its Safe, Clean and Lega assessment scheme.

The protocols include:

Risk assessment

  • The core principle of the guidance is risk management which is why a risk assessment of the property is the first thing that needs to be done. Broadly speaking, it involves identifying potential risks within a property and taking active steps to mitigate those risks.

Cleaning

  • Cleaners must wear appropriate protective clothing, avoid using microfiber cleaning cloths and instead use disposable sanitising wipes because they are less likely to spread the infection accidentally. They must use products which both sanitise and disinfect and keep any contact with guests to an absolute minimum.
  • It’s recommended that a cleaning checklist is given to cleaners with a clear set of instructions to follow, guidance on the basic materials and equipment to be used and specific areas that cleaners should be mindful of. Also, provide a cleaning standards tick list for incoming guests to show what has been cleaned.

Guest contact

  • Contact may sometimes be inevitable e.g. when checking passports/IDs. In these circumstances, operators should wear protective clothing and maintain a safe two metre social distance whenever possible.
  • Operators should consider using contact-free check-in methods, such as key safes, although they must be mindful that such methods still pose a contamination risk.
  • Operators should ensure that guests have all of the relevant information that they need ahead of their arrival. Tips include providing information for guests via email before they arrive such as helpful numbers and contacts, guidance in case a guest shows COVID-19 symptoms, a list of local walks/attractions that are open under social distancing rules and appliance and heating instructions.
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