Holiday letting – cleaning protocols

To open on 4th July, the hospitality industry needs full guidance petty soon.


This info comes from OneonOne Communications for the UK Short Term Accommodation Association:

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With the Government provisionally earmarking Saturday 4 July as the date when certain sectors of the travel and hospitality industry can re-open, the short-term accommodation sector is preparing itself for a safe and successful restart by implementing the new ‘Cleaning protocols for self-catering properties and short-term lets in the context of COVID-19’ that have been developed collaboratively by a number of industry bodies including the UK Short Term Accommodation Association (STAA), the Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers, Quality in Tourism, the Professional Association of Self-Caterers and the Wales Tourism Alliance.

With the recent statement made by the Secretary of State for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), Oliver Dowden: “…I am keen that we get the tourism sector going as rapidly as possible. We have set the ambitious target of 4 July, and if we can do it consistent with public health, we will do so. Self-contained accommodation has a lower risk than other areas, so I would hope that that will be at the front of the queue,” the industry wants to ensure everyone is ready and able to meet the right standards.

The protocols have been shared with the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and have now been submitted to Governments for approval to augment the hospitality guidance developed by UK Hospitality at a national level. They are supported by a number of the UK’s tourism bodies and are based on guidance provided by organisations such as the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), World Health Organisation (WHO) and Public Health England

The STAA believes that the adoption of these new protocols by self-catering properties and short-term lets will ensure the health and safety of guests, hosts and company staff.

Merilee Karr, Chair of the UK Short Term Accommodation Association (STAA) and CEO of UnderTheDoormat, said: “We have a responsibility to reassure guests about the safety of short-term rental accommodation. These protocols should provide consumers with the confidence to travel safely to any property that meets them. I agree with Minister Dowden that short-term rentals which adhere to these cleaning protocols offer a comparatively low-risk option for customers looking to book a holiday in the current environment.

The new industry cleaning protocols provide good, high-level principles to follow in preparing a property correctly for incoming guests and cleaning it during and after their stay. They focus on three main areas:

• Conducting a risk assessment of each property
• Recommended cleaning protocols
• Safely managing contact with guests

The main areas of guidance provided by the cleaning protocols include:

Risk assessment
The core principle of the guidance is risk management which is why a risk assessment of the property is the first thing that needs to be done. Broadly speaking, it involves identifying potential risks within a property and taking active steps to mitigate those risks.

Cleaners must wear appropriate protective clothing, avoid using microfibre cleaning cloths and instead use disposable sanitising wipes because they are less likely to spread the infection accidentally. They must use products which both sanitise and disinfect and keep any contact with guests to an absolute minimum. Not great for the environment, mind you! 

It’s recommended that a cleaning checklist is given to cleaners with a clear set of instructions to follow, guidance on the basic materials and equipment to be used and specific areas that cleaners should be mindful of. It also suggests providing a cleaning standards tick list for incoming guests to show what has been cleaned.

Guest contact
Contact may sometimes be inevitable, e.g., when checking passports/IDs. In these circumstances, operators should wear protective clothing and maintain a safe social distance (2 metres) whenever possible. Operators should consider using contact-free check-in methods, such as key safes, although they must be mindful that such methods still pose a contamination risk.

Operators should ensure that guests have all of the relevant information that they need ahead of their arrival. Tips include providing information for guests via email before they arrive such as helpful numbers and contacts, guidance in case a guest shows COVID-19 symptoms, a list of local walks/attractions that are open under social distancing rules and appliance and heating instructions.

More info as we get it.

Will this all be possible within the often relatively short changeover periods many holiday lets have in place between visitors? You tell me.

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