With lockdowns and international travel bans attempting to stem the tide of the COVID-19 pandemic, booking a holiday or travelling to a different country is probably out of reach for most of us. The COVID-19 pandemic has managed to disrupt every industry across the world. Some, such as tourism and hospitality, have suffered more than others.
While a handful of countries, such as China and New Zealand, chose more robust measures to contain the virus, those that didn’t are now in the midst of a second COVID-19 wave. This has led to the virus hitting countries that include the US, Brazil, India, Italy, Mexico and the UK extremely hard. Restriction-free destinations are few and far between.
Hospitality is looking to reinvent itself in order to appeal to holidaymakers in 2021. Spain, one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, welcomed 83.7 million tourists in 2019 and, although it’s also battling a second wave, there’s hope that the country could receive its first vaccines in January 2021.
Home to avant-garde architecture, bewitching beaches and delectable dishes, Spain is a traveller’s dream. But the pandemic is impacting all businesses that provide lodging services across the country, irrespective of size. From hotels to serviced apartments, holiday-lets to hostels, every business should be working on plans to ease the post-lockdown anxiety of potential guests.
The Airbnb Story
Not many businesses come bigger than Airbnb. Founded in 2008, the company offers over 7 million places of accommodation across the globe, all powered by local hosts. With more than three-quarters of a billion guest arrivals during its time, Airbnb is accessible in over 220 countries and regions, including Spain.
And just like every other hospitality business, Airbnb has had to ensure its hygiene-savvy guests are better protected without compromising on service and guest experience. That’s why Airbnb teamed up with the global leader in hygiene services and pest control, Rentokil Initial, to maintain high standards of hygiene and ensure maximum protection for its guests in Spain.
Rentokil Initial’s integrated hygiene solutions help hosts to take care of their guests and safeguard their properties. Mónica Casañas, General Director of Airbnb Marketing Services, said: “Cleanliness has always been a determining aspect to offer the best experience to our guests, but this year, it has a special importance due to the entire health crisis generated by COVID-19.
“This agreement with Rentokil Initial will help facilitate hygiene and prevention tasks for our hosts and guarantee maximum safety for our guests, thus demonstrating Airbnb’s commitment to everyone’s health.”
As disinfection services partner for Airbnb across Spain, Rentokil Initial provides services to eliminate any trace of viruses and other contaminating agents from a host’s accommodation with the professional application of disinfectant products that are approved by the Ministry of Health.
After successful treatment, the host obtains a Certificate of Disinfection to certify that the accommodation complies with all safety and hygiene measures.
“We’re happy to offer all our experience in environmental disinfection to a company like Airbnb,” said Jacinto Diez, Communication Director at Rentokil Initial Spain, “which is helping to revive tourism, one of the pillars of the economy in our country. We’re sure that our work will increase the trust of thousands of guests throughout Spain.”
This agreement is part of Airbnb’s new campaign to boost proximity tourism and the travel industry after the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The company first introduced its ‘Enhanced Cleaning’ procedures back in April as reservations plummeted.
Since then, according to Airbnb’s internal data, more than 1.5 million Airbnb listings have been “approved” after meeting COVID-19 guidelines, resulting in a three-fold increase in reservations for those properties compared with accommodation that wasn’t enrolled in the programme.
As of 20 November 2020, based on guidance from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), all Airbnb hosts and guests will be required to adhere to mandatory enhanced cleaning procedures. Hosts that fail to do so risk being suspended from the platform.
Hygiene advice for holiday lettings businesses
If you’re a holiday-let business owner, having mandatory cleaning procedures in place will allow guests to feel safe, relax and enjoy their break. Preparation is a key factor, so you’ll need to ensure:
- existing health risks have been identified and addressed;
- measures and solutions are in place to guard against transmission of germs;
- a protocol is in place as a response to confirmed cases of COVID-19.
Here are three essential ways to reassure guests that hygiene and safety are your priority.
1.Good hand hygiene
Washing hands regularly helps to reduce and remove potentially harmful bacteria and viruses. Our research shows that fingertips and thumbs often get missed during hand washing.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water the length of time it takes to sing Happy Birthday twice — and then rinsing and drying properly. You can find more information here.
At the very least, your accommodation needs to have the right provisions in place so that your guests can practise good hand hygiene in the first place. The washroom should be clean and well-stocked with the appropriate products, equipment and consumables that encourage good hygiene practices, and because wet hands can spread more bacteria than dry hands, don’t forget suitable hand-drying methods.
2. Sanitisation of surfaces and appliances
Keeping furniture and surfaces clean and maintaining the right personal hygiene standards to protect guests can be a challenge. Risk hotspots with the greatest degree of cross-contamination include:
- door handles and handrails on stairs
- furniture, equipment and surfaces in areas such as lounges and bathrooms
- food preparation areas, kitchens and dining rooms
A range of sprays and surface wipes are available that can kill pathogens and prevent cross-contamination. Some surface sanitiser spray for large surface areas and surface wipes can even provide up to 24-hour protection.
3. Disinfection services
Disinfection solutions from Rentokil for regular deep-cleans or for when you have suspected cases of COVID-19 ensure high levels of hygiene and return your property to operational safety quickly. Our professional disinfection service teams use the highest level of PPE and comply with safety regulations at all times.
- Surface disinfectants can protect from contamination for 24 hours, cleaning all the key touchpoints and surfaces in the property.
- For rapid disinfection of larger areas, ultra-low volume (ULV) disinfection fogging can be used, reaching areas that may be difficult to access by manual cleaning methods.
Following our hygiene advice will help you to stop the spread of germs, reassure guests and demonstrate high hygiene standards.