Somewhat ironically, the internet is littered with post-Covid cleaning tips for the accommodation industry. There’s checklists and step-by-step guidelines. There’s accreditation schemes and deep cleaning 101s. There’s protocols and online cleaning courses. There’s even advice on the best cleaning products. However, there’s only one product that is highly-effective, simple to implement and easy to manage: automation.
Increased control over housekeeping
Every client is different and therefore giving guests control over their cleaning rota is the most effective antidote to Covid anxieties. With automation, customers can use an app to choose the regularity and thoroughness of housekeeping - such as weekly cleans of the heavy-touch surfaces - while housekeepers can alert guests to cleaning times so they do not inadvertently cross paths. By increasing control, serviced apartment and co-living companies can boost guest experience and confidence, while also keeping them and housekeeping staff safer.
Proof of cleanliness
There are some innovative ways of proving a deep clean, such as break-seal tabs on recently-cleaned doors, but nothing beats eye-witness proof. With automation, cleaners can tick off online checklists and upload photo evidence to an app, while also logging the time they are in each apartment. Whether pre-booking or post-booking, customers can remotely check the app and rest assured their apartment has been cleaned to a post-Covid standard.
Removal of heavy-touch surfaces
Most cleaning guides recommend focusing on heavy-touch surfaces, such as light switches, keys, door handles and taps. Thanks to automation, operators can say goodbye to some of the main offenders.
With keyless check-in, there is no need to hand over keys or sign documents with a concierge at arrival as key codes are delivered by email in advance. Instead of laminated guest information packs, all relevant info is accessible via the app and emailed to the guest ahead of their booking. Operators can even remove heavy-touch surfaces in lobbies, such as chairs, pens and desks, as there is no need for in-person check-in.
Personalised, real-time checklists
With automated checklists, operators can update requirements according to changing regulations and inform housekeeping staff across multiple units by simply editing the app. In addition, if a guest wants to add a particular cleaning request to their apartment during their stay - don’t touch the sheets, for example - they can make a digital note and notify housekeepers, who check guests’ personalised checklists before entering their apartment.
Keep guests informed
Cleaning is about safety, but it’s also a marketing tool. Operators should share their changeover processes and cleaning procedures to put guests at ease. With an automated platform, operators can easily inform guests of their protocols, accreditation schemes, safety benefits (in comparison to hotels) and the cleaning control they will have if they make a booking.
Airbnb’s Enhanced Cleaning Initiative recommends a 72-hour buffer between guests checking out and new guests arriving. This gap greatly reduces the risk of contamination (research shows the virus disappears from most surfaces after three days) and provides ample time to thoroughly clean and disinfect an apartment before next use. With automation, you can set ‘stop-sells’, which automatically prohibit guests from booking a particular apartment until after a set number of days.
Protect against lawsuits
No matter how meticulous the cleaning operation, it’s a case of when not if someone contracts Covid in rented accommodation. Covid liability is a murky area, but at a time when operators are already penny-pinching, a potential lawsuit is not ideal. Automated services best prepare against the eventuality by giving operators oversight over different properties at different times, minimising human interaction and ensuring your risk is at its lowest possible levels.
Professionally managed, professionally cleaned
Andrew Boldt, founder of pay-per-stay insurer Guardhog, recently told Short Term Rentalz that “it has never been more important than now to be able to demonstrate that you manage your property [or properties] in a professional way, and top of everyone’s checklist will be your cleaning regime.”
At res:harmonics, we know that professional management and professional cleaning go hand-in-hand. We may not be cleaning experts - we’re not going to lecture you on the difference between sanitiser and disinfectant any time soon - but we do know automation and our property management system can help serviced apartment and co-living companies nail post-Covid cleaning. Get in touch if you want to find out