This is the first in a series of articles in our ‘Getting back to normal’ series where we look at the measures you can take to get your short let, Airbnb listing or holiday let business back on track in the midst of this pandemic. Whilst the short-term letting industry patiently awaits the green light for the hospitality sector to be allowed to resume in the UK, new cleaning protocols are being implemented to ensure properties are kept virus-free to minimise the chance of spreading infection. With uncertainty around travel restrictions abroad it is widely reported that there will be a boost in ‘staycations’ following the Covid-19 lockdown, with people opting for short term holiday breaks within the UK. Now is the time for hosts to take steps to ensure they have sufficient measures in place to protect themselves. Here at Pikl we have researched some top tips for you to offer support and guidance during these unprecedented times.
When your guests start arriving again, it is imperative that you reassure them that the property will be correctly cleaned for their stay. A whole host of information relating to cleaning protocols and sanitisation techniques can be found online, however we hope you find this quick summary helpful.
- The government’s website is a good starting point to keep up to date with the latest information. Check out their page on cleaning for non-healthcare settings including tips on how to clean using the right disinfectant.
- Airbnb also has some useful information on cleaning protocols. You can use their checklist as a handy guide to make sure your cleaning protocols are consistent.
- Give yourself enough time to clean your property thoroughly before the next guest arrives, which means you probably do not want to book guests on back to back days. A good time to allow in between guests is 3 days, giving you enough time to go over the property thoroughly and address any problems. This may mean less income but until the crisis is under control, being thorough can help reduce the changes of people (yourself included) becoming infected. All surfaces that guests encounter must be disinfected and be careful not to overlook “high-touch” areas such as door handles and light switches. Avoid making splashes when cleaning with liquids as this may spread any contaminated areas onto new surfaces.
- Do not forget about cleaning upholstery in the property and pay special consideration to rugs, sofa covers, curtains and other porous fabrics when cleaning. Take care to remove any visible dirt and use appropriate cleaning products, and where possible cover the furniture with washable sheets. Keep the property well ventilated by opening windows when cleaning.
- Help your guests whilst they stay in your property by providing hand sanitiser in each room to encourage guests to sanitise as they move around the house. Hand sanitiser that contains at least 60% alcohol is considered to be the most effective. By also ensuring that your property is stocked with items such as disposable gloves, paper towels and tissues you can help to reduce the risk of contamination.
- When you leave the property after cleaning, ensure that the entry areas are appropriately cleaned, including keys or keypads. If you are looking to minimise person to person contact, you could offer guests self-check-in or checkout options. The installation of smart locks where you give your guest a code to get in or key safes are possible ways of doing this.
- When your listing is active again, be sure to make potential guests aware of your cleaning protocols. Clean properties may give guests confidence in booking your accommodation and help build trust.
- When thinking about cleaning, do not forget about your own safety. Wear disposable gloves when cleaning and wash your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds with soap and water once you are finished. You may want to have hand sanitiser on you in case this option is not available.
During the pandemic there will naturally be a strong focus on sanitisation and cleaning initiatives. Taking these into consideration will help to regain the confidence of guests when bookings resume. You may find that guests will be anxious about travelling after lockdown and want to know what you have done to help prevent the spread of Covid-19. Robust cleaning protocols will reassure your guests that you value their health and safety whilst they stay in your property.