With the ongoing COVID-19 and various strains continue their outbreak, many people are concerned about the spreading of the infection. Considering that few sectors have been hit by COVID-19 as hard as the hospitality industry, taking the necessary precautions is of the utmost importance not only to protect everyone, but also to make guests feel more at ease and even persuade them to choose your vacation rentals for their stay.
Because the emergence of COVID-19 requires vacation rental property managers to take additional cleaning and disinfection measures, here are some cleaning guidelines you should consider.
Cleaning and Disinfecting Vacation Rentals Properly
Cleaning and disinfecting are two different processes required to reduce the risk of contamination. If you use an external cleaning service, check with them about the equipment and cleaning products they will be using to clean your vacation rentals. As well, they should follow a series of protocols to ensure the health and safety of your guests.
If you have an in-house cleaning team, the first thing you need to do is provide appropriate cleaning equipment and products. It’s also important to train your staff on the proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE), which can reduce exposure to various germs and viruses and mitigate its spread.
Because PPE can drastically cut down on potential health risks, your cleaning staff should wear appropriate PPE every time they clean a vacation rental. Making sure that your employees also use specific equipment for each area (rooms, kitchen, and bathrooms) and clean rentals by moving from lower risk areas (living room and bedrooms) to higher risk areas (kitchen, bathrooms) is another important aspect that could prevent potential cross-infection.
To reduce the spread of COVID-19, your staff should clean and disinfect all surfaces. High-touch surfaces, such as doorknobs, door handles, light switches, remote controls, phones, pens, desks, tables, countertops, toilets, toilet flush handles, faucets, and sinks, should be disinfected more frequently than other surfaces. As well, all vacation rentals should be equipped with soap, alcohol-based hand sanitizers, and touchless trash cans, (if possible). To avoid delays and ensure the best check-in experience for your guests, it’s important to choose EPA-registered cleaning products and disinfectants that allow for a quick turnover.
Encourage Hand Hygiene and Social Distancing
As a vacation rental manager, you need to support proper hand hygiene for staff, guests, third-party service providers, and anyone else visiting the properties you manage. Besides offering soap, alcohol-based hand sanitizers as well as household cleaning and disinfecting products, consider providing instructions on how each product should be used. For instance, you could place signs in the bathrooms that promote proper handwashing procedures. Additionally, ensure that cleaners disinfect their hands before entering and after exiting a vacation rental and follow proper hand hygiene before and after removing gloves.
If required, it’s also critically important to follow social distancing guidelines during interactions with and among guests, employees, contractors, and visitors. If multiple employees and/or contractors are present at a property at the same time, they should wear masks and remain at least 6 feet apart from each other at all times.
Take Additional Precautions
If a guest tested positive for COVID-19 and self-isolated in one of the vacation rentals you manage, a series of additional precautions should be taken when cleaning and disinfecting the home after he or she checks out. To begin with, you should allow some extra time before the deep-cleaning and disinfecting procedures to take place.
After the guest checks out, the cleaning staff should wait at least 24 hours before entering the home. Once inside, they should open the windows and doors in order to increase air circulation. Because the coronavirus lives on surfaces, the entire home should be thoroughly cleaned and all surfaces disinfected, including the aforementioned surfaces as well as doors, windows, mirrors, TV screens, kitchen cabinets, bathroom vanities, and any other surface the virus could have landed on.
As well, linens, comforters, blankets, and pillows should be washed and dried on the highest setting safely possible. Soft surfaces, including carpet, rugs, drapes, and upholstery, should be vacuumed and then disinfected with appropriate products from the EPA’s list N. The staff should also clean and disinfect the cleaning equipment after use in order to minimize the risk of cross-infection. After the rental has been appropriately cleaned and disinfected, it can be reopened for guest use.
Lodging management software solutions cannot prevent infection from the virus that causes COVID-19. However, our software can help you comply with COVID-19 cleaning guidelines and reduce the spread of infection by allowing you to:
- create custom cleaning checklists that better address the particularities of each property;
- assign specific cleaning tasks based on staff availability;
- track the status of each vacation rental from “dirty” to “ready for inspection” to “ready for guests”;
- update reservation, occupancy, and availability data in real-time to avoid double booking and improve your check-in process;
- communicate with the guests via texts.
When it comes to vacation rental management, the right software solution can improve many areas of your business, including reservations, channel management, revenue management, housekeeping, reporting, and accounting. To learn more about the lodging software solution that we make available, you can request a free, personal demo today!