Short-term rental managers and hospitality providers have experienced a rollercoaster of a year with the pandemic: navigating travel restrictions, cancellations and dramatic demand swings. One constant over the past seven months has been the focus on clean, safe and high-quality properties.
Results from Breezeway’s 2020 Property Operations report show that 97% of managers feel that the pandemic has increased guest sensitivity towards cleanliness, and that 99% of those operators plan on strengthening their property care programmes accordingly.
Here are some ways many of our leading clients are improving their procedures to provide clean and safe properties for their guests.
Customise housekeeping checklists for each property and each clean
No two properties are the same, and your updated housekeeping checklists should reflect that. We recommend following a room-by-room structure to ensure your work complies with internal brand standards, and so that nothing falls through the cracks. Being organised and methodical in how you brief your cleaning team will create a more seamless workflow.
Pay particular attention to high-traffic areas like the kitchen and bathroom, as well as high-touch surfaces such as doorknobs, locks, light switches, thermostats, windows, appliances and electronics. Staff will need to spend more time on these areas.
Take guidance from leading authorities
Keep housekeeping and inspection checklists up-to-date with the latest advice on products and techniques from entities like the CDC (Center for Disease Control) in the United States, WHO (World Health Organization) and US EPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency).
The CDC recommends ventilating each property prior to cleaning and cleaning all surfaces before the next stage of sanitisation. Following this guidance will protect the safety of future guests and housekeeping teams.
The CDC also advises washing all laundry and linens at a high temperature. The EPA gives helpful guidance on approved disinfecting products and how to best put these to effective use. Staff should be provided with personal protective equipment (masks and gloves) for safe field work, and they should be trained on how to use the equipment and dispose of these items safely.
Increase the time needed to clean
In order to conduct more thorough cleans in response to the pandemic, many property managers have increased the length of standard pre-arrival and post-departure cleaning programmes.
According to our research, 42% of managers planned to incorporate a waiting period between stays to give housekeepers and staff more time to complete work correctly and ensure compliance with cleanliness and safety standards. The duration of waiting periods often ranges from four to 24 hours, depending on local regulation and the discrepancy of each agency.
Build into your schedule or routine time to confirm that each property adheres to cleaning and safety protocols by independently inspecting each property (something that 70% of professionals plan on doing).
Communicate cleanliness and safety measures to your guests
Telling your guests and owners about cleaning procedures has become more commonplace since the pandemic. Short-term rental managers are marketing cleaning protocols through dedicated landing pages and listing details. This helps to give guests confidence when they are booking, and it creates a more comfortable guest experience.
Managers can also provide guests with disinfectant and additional cleaning starter kits for use at the property after check in, as well as details about the work done at the property prior to their arrival.
Consider smart tools to automate cleaning programs
Vacation rental operators can be inundated with operational tasks: scheduling jobs, coordinating work and monitoring compliance with service standards. Now more than ever, the pandemic has shown the need for highly detailed, quality-assured and controlled property operations that can be validated and shared with clients.
Automating property care programmes through smart and purpose-built tools makes it easier to schedule cleans, monitor compliance with regulators and deliver a better guest experience.
- When cleaning, pay attention to high-traffic areas like the kitchen and bathroom, as well as high-touch surfaces such as doorknobs, locks, light switches, thermostats, windows, appliances and electronics
- Transparency is key when it comes to easing guest concerns around cleanliness. Highlighting your cleaning procedures in your listing can reassure travellers
- Following the latest advice on products and techniques from entities like the World Health Organisation can help ensure your housekeeping and inspection checklists are up-to-date
- According to Breezeway research, 42% of managers plan to incorporate a waiting period between stays to give housekeepers and staff more time to ensure compliance with cleanliness and safety standards