Back in March, Airbnbs around the world shut down as the coronavirus pandemic swept the world. Airbnb cancelled and refunded many reservations as would-be travelers hunkered down at home and owners found themselves managing empty rooms and houses. Now that travel restrictions are beginning to ease in some areas, some Airbnbs are able to reopen and start accepting guests for the first time in several months. If you’re one of those hosts, here are eight things you should do before you reopen your Airbnb for bookings–from sanitizing everything to finishing up home improvement projects, like installing cheap mini blinds.
Follow Airbnb’s new Cleaning Protocols.
Instituted in May, the new Cleaning Protocols mirror CDC best practices, with some additions that specifically address the unique situation of Airbnbs. Hosts or their cleaners will be required to wear masks and gloves and use disinfectants that are approved by regulatory authorities. They must also wait at least 24 hours to enter the unit to let any potentially airborne particles settle. Hosts unable to commit to the cleaning protocol can opt into the Booking Buffer, which creates a stay period of 72 hours between guest visits so that cleaning may take place. These guidelines are likely to change over time as the pandemic continues to evolve, so make sure that you’re always in compliance with the latest rules.
Wash and sanitize everything.
All sheets and towels should be washed and dried on hot to get rid of any germs and dust mites. You should also dust, vacuum and mop the space to clean up any dirt on surfaces or the floor. Wash any dishes or utensils that you make available for guests and put them away. Scrub bathrooms and disinfect with Lysol or another similar product. Sanitize any high touch areas, such as door knobs, cabinet handles and faucets. For extra protection, wear a mask and gloves while you clean up to keep both yourself and your future guests safe.
Do a safety check.
Coronavirus isn’t the only hazard you need to worry about. Check your Airbnb for exposed wires, loose rugs and other liabilities your guests could potentially injure themselves on. Make sure any smoke alarms or carbon monoxide detectors are functioning and fire extinguishers are stocked and ready to go. Restock the first-aid kit and put it in a bathroom cabinet or somewhere else obvious and easily accessible. Make sure your contact information is on the keyring, coffee table or somewhere else your guests can easily find it in case they have an emergency.
Spruce up your home.
If you’ve been wanting some home improvements but never had enough downtime between guests to do so, go ahead and do it now before you reopen. For example, you can install cheap wooden blinds to replace broken ones or mount some plug-in wall sconces in the bedroom to add some more light without having to hire an electrician. If you need inspiration, browse Airbnb listings in your area and see what other amenities hosts are offering. Even small updates like painting a room or getting new bedding can make your listing significantly more appealing to potential guests.
Clear away your clutter.
If you live in the same house you rent out, you’ve probably let your clutter creep into your guest rooms since you haven’t had anyone staying with you during the pandemic. That’s totally understandable, but guests won’t want to deal with your belongings while they’re staying with you. Clear out your guest rooms and make sure there are no personal belongings in them. Replace items for guests, such as blankets and suitcase stands, if you moved them during the pandemic. Put away your valuables and consider locking them in a personal safe or transferring them to off-site storage if they are larger.
Consider taking new photos.
Now more than ever, guests will be looking for Airbnbs that look like they will be maintained by conscientious hosts who follow all of the cleaning guidelines. Having clean, good-looking photos in your listing is a huge factor in this decision. If your current photos are a little sloppy or you’ve taken the pandemic to make some home improvements, break out your camera and take some new images for your listing. While you’re at it, proofread your copy again to make sure it’s accurate and doesn’t have any spelling or grammatical mistakes. Potential guests will be paying attention to small details like this now more than ever.
If you’re like many people, you’ve probably gone through most of your toilet paper stash during the pandemic. Even in ordinary circumstances, Airbnb recommends bulk buying paper products and stocking them in the bathroom and kitchen, and that’s even more important now that shortages can strike at any time. Don’t hoard products, but make sure your guests won’t run out of toilet paper or hand soap during their stay. While you’re at it, double-check any coffee, tea and condiments you usually keep on hand. Throw out any items that have expired or gone bad during quarantine and replace them with fresh ones.
Review your recommendations.
Many hosts give guests recommendations for restaurants, attractions and more that they can do in the city during their visits. This is a great practice and can make you seem more personable and attentive as a host. However, due to the many changes caused by the pandemic, you should review your recommendations and make sure that they’re all up to date. Some restaurants might be closed, either temporarily or permanently, and some events, such as sports games and concerts, are still prohibited. Given that reopening guidelines are rapidly evolving for cities, you might want to switch to a digital-only email instead of a print-out so you can update it on the fly.
Follow these eight steps to safely and carefully reopen your Airbnb for booking. Remember to always put health and safety first!