I’m an Airbnb host and it’s not possible for me to book a vacation rental right now

I want to resume travel, but Airbnb’s new cleaning protocols don’t make me feel safer.

When COVID-19 started spreading in March, I pressed pause on a lot of things in my life. One of the first? My Airbnb listing.

For the past four years, I’ve rented out the guest bedroom in my charming 1830s brick farmhouse on Airbnb. The Hudson Valley, where I live, is a magnet for city dwellers looking to #upstateandchill, whether it’s attending a friend’s wedding in a rustic barn, following a personal transformation workshop at the nearby Omega Institute or hike the local trails. When New York was becoming the epicenter of COVID-19 in the United States, the urban exodus intensified, tensions have increasedas the number of cases.

Airbnb-ing my spare room had been a good way to earn some extra cash, but there was no way I was opening my house up to more one of an unpredictable airborne virus. Or share my bathroom with strangers.

Airbnb news improved cleaning protocol, based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), suggested guests aggressively sanitize and sanitize everything from light switches and door locks to standard-rate bathroom fixtures . While I was fine with the suggestions, in theory the logistics of spending more time and money keeping things clean with the few products I could panic buy from my local target weren’t just not feasible.

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While I used to travel almost exclusively through the platform, there’s no way I’m booking an Airbnb now. While I appreciate their enhanced cleaning protocols for hosts who derive the majority of their income from lodging and must continue to do so in these times, ultimately the new cleaning protocols are a band-aid, not a solution.

Airbnb’s new enhanced cleaning protocol, based on Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) recommendations, suggested hosts aggressively sanitize and sanitize everything from light switches and door locks to fixtures. bathroom at the standard rate.

Airbnb listings can be ambitious: every listing, including mine, is basically marketing material and pretty photos, carefully edited to show only the best features of a space. I’ve been disappointed with stays often enough to know that what you see isn’t always what you get. Even if a host says they’ve done an enhanced cleaning, can I really be sure? When people are desperate to replace lost income, they can lie…or at least omit the kind of information I would need to make informed decisions.

I could bring my own cleaning supplies and sanitize all surfaces on arrival for peace of mind, but not only does that destroy the holiday mood, it also doesn’t solve the real risk :l unfiltered indoor air.

I can’t find out who a previous host or guest has contacted and who this puts me in contact with. At a time when basic safety measures like wearing a mask are causing some people to have wheezing attacks, I must keep my distance until we are able to restore public trust and belief in Science.

However, interviewing cleaning professionals for an article on the restaurant industry helped me understand what might make me feel safer when traveling. Interior spaces are generally not surebut there are ways to improve them: filter the air, disinfect with uv lightand apply protective antimicrobial treatments that automatically clean frequently touched surfaces, such as doorknobs.

In these times when cleaning protocols must be followed and monitored so closely, I might be better served by a hotel that invests in the right cleaning measures rather than relying on a host I may not even meet ever to take precautions that will keep me safe.

I can’t find out who a previous host or guest has contacted and who this puts me in contact with.

Although vacation rentals are personally off limits for the foreseeable future, I’ve still moved forward with summer travel. I recently took a camping trip to Acadia National Park, which is proceeding with a phased reopening for COVID-19. Campgrounds are closed for the 2020 season and the “Island Explorer” bus service is postponed indefinitely, but many parts of the park are fully open to visitors (check online for the latest visitor information). When I visited, the only restaurant in the park, where we grabbed popovers to go, was doing a contact tracing. Rangers provided socially distanced guidance from tents outside the visitor center. With the exception of a 10 minute trip to the park store, I was outside the whole time and could easily walk away from anyone who made me feel unsafe.

Rather than Airbnb, our typical way of staying, we opted for a private, backcountry-style tented campground near the park’s little-known and little-visited Schoodic neighborhood. Since there were only five campsites, the campground wouldn’t put us near the crowds. And since there were no amenities (like a pool, lake, or laundromat), campers wouldn’t really hang around. It was a basic place to sleep that allowed us to experience the park while meeting our safety needs – staying outdoors and away from others.

With fall on the way, it will soon be too cold to camp. And I’m not ready to go back to Airbnb. Hotels might be my preferred choice until there’s a vaccine because of their commitment to cleaning, customer service, and hospitality.

What I appreciate about Airbnb is the flexibility the platform offers and the way it democratizes travel. I can travel where, when and how I want, spending more for a special occasion and booking a cheap room to save. But accountability and customer service aren’t Airbnb’s strong suits. The platform can be quite handy when issues arise. Except in an emergency, Airbnb leaves it up to the host and the guest to find a compromise in the event of a problem. In my experience on both sides, these endless negotiations are lose-lose situations. I was willing to deal with the occasional stay for the flexibility and convenience that Airbnb offers, but now my needs are different.

Policies like enhanced cleaning might entice some travelers to give Airbnb a try, especially if they sanitize everything upon arrival. But before I travel with Airbnb, I want to feel like I can trust my host to minimize risk and care about their well-being as well as mine. And I need accountability and better customer service from Airbnb if something goes wrong.

When Airbnb was preparing for its IPO earlier this year, the company admitted they needed to improve customer security, accountability and transparency. All of that was halted when the coronavirus hit, but now Airbnb is going public with the IPO. These shared values? No comments yet. But I will listen.

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