Vacation Rentals Gain Popularity Amid Coronavirus
A recent Article on AARP.org Points to Vacation Rental Homes as an Alternative to Hotels
As a traveler, Theresa Blanding has always considered herself a hotel person. But in the age of coronavirus, a bustling hotel lobby and crowded elevators give her pause. “I’m confident that hotels will be careful about cleaning, but I’m not sure how it’s possible to avoid contact with other guests, not to mention staff,” says the 71-year-old Boulder, Colorado, resident.
As coronavirus lockdowns slowly begin to ease, people are slowly starting to contemplate future vacation plans.
Donna Racette, a 70-year-old retiree in Niwot, Colorado, was traveling in California in early March when the coronavirus-related travel alarms started. “I noticed the hotel staff weren’t cleaning the doorknobs,” she says. “I became fastidious about having my own wipes and would go into a hotel before my husband to wipe down the doorknobs and elevator buttons.” When she starts to travel again, Racette says she’ll definitely book through a Vacation Rental Home. “I like knowing I am in control of cleaning all the rooms and surfaces in a home during my stay,” she says. “I can’t have that control in a hotel.”
A recent survey conducted by market research company OmniTrak examined travel-related perceptions of risk related to the coronavirus pandemic and found that hotels (46 percent) were seen as a greater risk than a vacation rental (39 percent). The survey of 2,500 people did not ask participants to go into detail about their travel confidence, but it’s rather easy to surmise that respondents perceived home shares as less risky because the volume of travelers to a vacation rental is likely smaller than at a hotel. A vacation rental is also less likely to have common areas frequented by guests and staying at a vacation rental you don’t have to eat out every meal.
Increased safety precautions
Our enhanced cleaning protocols for our guests is being implemented where the cleaning protocol is based on the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published standards, The new cleaning protocol includes using single-use cleaning products, bagless vacuums and, it also includes requirements for cleaning staff to wear masks, gloves and use certain disinfectants. It’s estimated that housekeeping is allotted just 45 minutes for hotel room cleaning. Within that time frame, they have a long list of responsibilities. This includes replacing toiletries, sheets, and comforters and removing the trash. Sanitizing and disinfecting surfaces and objects oftentimes is not a priority, putting guests and staff at risk for infection. In hotels, many people share the same surfaces, objects, and areas each day, which allows germs to spread easily. A recent study revealed that hotel elevator buttons have nearly 40 times more bacteria than a toilet seat, and a whopping 81% of surfaces in more than 100 hotel rooms tested positive for fecal bacteria during an inspection. Common infections guests acquire in unclean hotels and rooms include MRSA, Staph, influenza, rhinovirus (the common cold) and norovirus. As a precaution, along with our enhanced cleaning procedures, we will also observe at least a 24-hour waiting period before booking new guest to occupy our property. We have set up our system to keep in touch with our guests to 2 weeks after their departed to inquire about their current health so we may follow up on illnesses to help with contact tracing. (Hotel Cleaning Challenges & Statistics)
A More selective host
Travelers opting to stay with us can expect us to be more particular and inquisitive about our guests. We will be asking: “In the last two weeks, have you or anyone you live with traveled to any areas impacted by COVID-19?” and “Do you currently have any travel restrictions in your area due to COVID-19?” We’d prefer longer stays vs a shorter one to lessen the foot traffic and the extra time involved in the cleaning process for the next guest.
Compared to other resort properties, we as an owner of the property have the ability to have more guest-friendly rules when it comes to cancellations or rescheduling guest to future dates. Due to some of the Extenuating circumstances of the Pandemic we have given from 50% to 100% refunds to our guests, rescheduled guests stays up to 18 months into the future in the past, and anticipate if necessary due to a rise in Covid Cases or Government places restrictions on travel will continue these policies.
Still, no guarantees
Despite the extra cleaning measures, host-guest education and flexibility, companies like Airbnb, HomeAway and Vrbo aren’t liable in the same way hotels and we are, stresses David Sherwyn, a hospitality professor at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. Ultimately, the homeowners, not the booking platform, decide how thoroughly they clean their home and whether to issue a refund, Sherwyn says. “Home rental companies can say, “We tell our people to follow these procedures,” but they cannot guarantee it,” he notes. “You are counting on the homeowner.” In this case My Kauai Vacation Rental will be standing by our commitment to cleanliness and enhanced cleaning protocols to help ensure our guests safety.
See the entire article on AARP.org https://www.aarp.org/travel/travel-tips/lodging/info-2020/vacation-rentals-amid-coronavirus.html