With the World Health Organization declaring a Public Health Emergency of International Concern at the end of January 2020, many travelers are concerned about the impact the current outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) will have on their upcoming travel plans.
We strongly recommend that all travelers, property owners and property managers follow health and safety information from local health officials, as well as travel advisories from local authorities.
While this remains a fluid and changing situation, below are some suggestions for both travelers and vacation property owners:
According to the Associated Press, COVID-19 may live on surfaces for up to 3 days. A disinfectant consisting of 70% alcohol is recommended for all touch points, including door knobs, kitchen and bathroom surfaces, faucets, handles, light switches and drawer pulls/knobs.
If you provide dishes and cutlery, run them through the dishwasher and use the heat dry cycle to sanitize prior to guests arrival. Use plastic gloves to remove and put away dishes from dishwasher.
For properties that utilize a cleaning service, it is recommended you discuss intensive sanitizing efforts prior to guests' arrival. Additionally, set guests at ease by communicating your efforts to prepare a safe environment for their visit. It is also recommended to provide a cleaning service a checklist of expectations and share this with your guests and if they see something wrong or not up to par, they should communicate that to you.
We recommend a more flexible temporary cancellation policy be implemented. As an example this could include changes from cancellation acceptable 30 days out, to 15 days (or even 7) due to unforeseen travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 virus. Obviously if they just change their mind last minute, that is not acceptable. Please consider adding something simple or contact an attorney for a recommended COVID Exception Paragraph.
Going above and beyond is an important part of building trust with potential guests. We would encourage you to consider leaving 3 days in between guests to further reassure guests you are doing everything possible for their safety.
The more transparency during these times, the better our outcome.