Our team has deep roots in the vacation rental industry with more than 85 combined years of experience working with vacation rental managers. We are committed to being a resource as our community navigates coronavirus (COVID-19). Below you will find a list of FAQs and strategies to best prepare properties, guests, owners and staff in wake of COVID-19.
What is COVID-19 and can it be transmitted at a vacation rental?
The coronavirus is an infectious disease that causes respiratory symptoms. The outbreak was first identified in Wuhan, China, in December 2019, and was recognized as a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) on March 11, 2020.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the virus spreads from people who are in close contact with one another (within six feet) through small droplets from the nose or mouth. Someone can also contract COVID-19 by touching a surface or an object that has active virus droplets, and then touching his or her mouth, nose, or eyes. According to the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), COVID-19 can survive up to three hours in the air, four hours on copper surfaces, 24 hours on cardboard, and 48 - 72 hours on plastic and stainless steel.
What extra steps can I take to make sure properties comply with strict standards for cleanliness and safety?
Since COVID-19 can be transmitted at a vacation rental property, ensuring comprehensive sanitation and cleaning protocols are applied across properties will be critical over the coming months. We recommend spending extra time disinfecting touch-points such as doorknobs, tabletops, appliances, electronics, light switches, among others. After reviewing more than one thousand cleaning checklists from our platform, along with resources from the CDC, World Health Organization, EPA and leading managers in the vacation rental space, we created this master COVID-19 disinfect and deep clean checklist.
Which geographic areas is COVID-19 being impacted the most?
The Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University provides real-time tracking of global cases. With respect to the vacation rental industry, KeyData Dashboard has leveraged insights from millions of units to provide impact reports for many short-term vacation rental regions. These reports include global bookings by lead time, U.S. vs Europe booking activity, and detailed market reports, and are updated in real-time.
How can I instill more confidence with my guests?
Communicating the additional precautions you’ve taken at the property will build confidence in the safety, cleanliness and quality of your rental properties.
We’ve created a guest communication guide with templated messages for upcoming and current guests based on examples from leading rental managers. We recommend you customize these templates to fit your COVID-19 communication plan, and use this language in other forms of communication like blog posts, text messages, landing pages, and website banners.
Using checklists and tracking tasks help your staff sufficiently disinfect your properties and give you leverage and data to reassure future guests that your property is safe. For your review, we’ve created a COVID-19 disinfect and deep clean checklist that follows all CDC, EPA and WHO cleaning and disinfection guidelines.
How can I proactively assure my owner clients?
It is important to proactively communicate with owner clients to assure them that you are taking every precaution to protect and maintain their property.
Our owner communication guide provides professional messaging to guide these conversations and demonstrate to owners the work that is being done to ensure property safety.
How can I ensure staff and workplace safety?
Vacation rental managers share a responsibility to keep their employees healthy and safe during COVID-19, and there are precautionary steps that managers can take. There are a number of policies and procedures that can be implemented to protect staff from contracting or spreading COVID-19. We teamed up with HR4VR to offer guidance and best practices for preparing vacation rental workplaces for COVID-19.
How can I best communicate property care and safety precautions with staff?
Communicating the additional precautions you’ve taken at the property helps ensure the safety of your staff and service providers.
We’ve written a staff communication guide based on examples from leading vacation rental managers, which can be tailored to fit your COVID-19 communication plan.
How long do I need to wait in between reservations for my property to be safe again?
As outlined above, the lifespan of COVID-19 virus droplets depends on the surface material, but is no more than 72 hours. Professionals that take the recommended steps and precautions to disinfect each property do not need to block off multiple days in between reservations.
Should I be doing anything at properties that don't have upcoming reservations?
First and foremost, property care professionals should adhere to local guidance regarding their safety and movement (e.g. shelter-in-place, quarantines, social distancing, etc.). Provided that the health and well-being of staff are accounted for, managers should focus on what they can control now.
Professionals can take advantage of the downtime by auditing their property operations and internal processes for coordinating remote staff. Managers can also review property updates, cleanliness and safety items in preparation for the upcoming rental season. This might mean tackling preventative maintenance, replacing air handling and ventilation systems, updating exterior lighting, or upgrading appliances that would typically be delayed until the offseason.
Can managers apply for relief funding as per the stimulus package?
To support the U.S. economy during the COVID-19 outbreak, the Senate recently passed a $2 trillion economic stimulus package. This package includes a Paycheck Protection Program which offers $350 billion in small business loans. The funds will help small businesses pay their employees, utilities, insurance, and reduce layoffs. These loans will be administered through banks as well as the Small Business Administration (SBA), and can be forgiven if certain criteria are met.
Property managers can apply for this program if they employ fewer than 500 people, verify that they’ve been affected by COVID-19, and were incorporated before February 15, 2020.
Managers are eligible to apply starting on Friday, April 3, and loans will be administered on a first-come, first-served basis. Managers can access the Paycheck Protection Program form here.