Booking.com is sending a clear message to the owners and managers
of the 6.5 million alternative accommodations on its platform – score at least
six out of 10 in your cleanliness rating or you will be removed from our site.
The new “Minimum Cleanliness Score Commitment” is being phased in
over the next six months, in partnership with quality management platform Properly.
the two companies have been running a pilot of the program, which alerts
properties with an average cleanliness rating below six that they are at risk
of being delisted and gives them free access to Properly’s best-practice
cleaning protocols and tools, including checklists available in 30 languages. Booking.com says less than one percent of its alternative accommodations are below six in cleanliness.
Properly CEO Alex Nigg acknowledges that verification of cleaning
and hygiene protocols is challenging. But he says one way to improve compliance
is by helping property managers provide clear expectations to the people doing
the cleaning, such as with the mix of text and illustrated instructions within
Booking.com’s minimal cleanliness program has been in development
since before the COVID-19 pandemic, and its cleanliness ratings are impacted by
a broad range of factors such as mold, smell and linen cleanliness. While these
things are not necessarily related to COVID, Nigg says they do impact a guests’
“Guests correlate how well the cleaning program works to how well
the disinfection should work. They extrapolate from one to the other – if a
property has a thorough cleaning program than the chances are much higher the
disinfection program is good too,” he says.
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Properties with a cleanliness rating below six must commit to
making changes to raise that score and have until May 4 to do so before they
are removed from the Booking.com platform. Properties that refuse to agree to
the Minimal Cleanliness Score Commitment are removed immediately, and those
that do not respond will be deranked in search results.
“Cleanliness and comfort have always been important factors in a
great stay, and today even more so than ever. With use of the words ‘clean’ and
‘hygiene’ increasing by over 60% on our platform since the start of the
COVID-19 pandemic and alternative accommodations representing one-third of all
new bookings during the third quarter, the introduction of our Minimal
Cleanliness Score Commitment reflects our continued commitment to ensure
traveler peace of mind,” says Eric Bergaglia, global head of Booking.com’s
homes and apartments business.
Properly works with other short-term rental platforms including
Vrbo and Airbnb. Airbnb’s
“Enhanced Cleaning” protocol is a five-step set of guidelines that hosts
agree to implement and those who do receive a notation on their listing to let
guests know they have committed to the routine. The program also provides hosts
guidance from hygiene experts, safety tips and checklists.
Beginning Friday, Airbnb hosts that have not attested to the five-step
process or who are found to be violating it “may be subject to warnings, suspensions,
and, in some cases, removal from Airbnb” according to information on its