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Airbnb vs Hotel: Experts Advise Which Option Is Safer Right Now
The world is slowly starting to reopen after weeks of self-quarantine and social distancing measures. Many of us are starting to feel like the possibility of travel is also within reach. But is it safer to stay at a hotel or Airbnb? Experts recently weighed in on the pros and cons of each option and ways you can take matters into your own hands when traveling to ensure your accommodations are clean and sanitized, no matter where you decide to rest your head.
When it comes to hygiene, “I do think hotels may have a near-term advantage,” Henry Harteveldt, a lodging industry analyst and the founder of Atmosphere Research Group, told the New York Times. If you decide to stay at a hotel, you can be reassured that national hotel chains have consulted with medical experts to improve their official health and safety procedures. From deep cleanings using medical-grade chemicals to contactless check-ins, safety policies will be implemented uniformly across the country as hotels begin to reopen.
According to Reader’s Digest, Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts is rolling out a new program in collaboration with Johns Hopkins Medicine, which will appoint a “hygiene officer” at each property to oversee practices such as hourly cleaning of public areas, daily room disinfecting with EPA-approved products, contactless housekeeping and food delivery services.
Airbnb’s Enhanced Cleaning Initiative is rolling out across the country. The new cleaning protocols for hosts, with guidance from the former US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy and in partnership with leading experts in hospitality and medical hygiene, include cleaning with government-approved disinfectants, and waiting 24 hours after a guest checks out before anyone else enters.
However, there is no guarantee that hosts are following these guidelines since it’s not a requirement. When you arrive at your hotel room or Airbnb, Brian Sansoni, senior vice president at the American Cleaning Institute, suggests inspecting the space thoroughly. Areas where dirt or grime has accumulated, especially near the corners of the room and bathroom, are “red flags for me on-site,” says Sansoni. If you are concerned, be sure to ask your host what they have done to ensure the space is clean and sanitized.
Although hotels may have stricter policies in place, Airbnbs could have the edge on social distancing practices since hundreds of guests pass through hotels in a given week. For this reason, “when individuals do start traveling again, they will likely increasingly opt for private properties with more space over traditional hotel stays,” Amiad Soto, co-founder and CEO of Guesty, said in a press release.
Clearly, there are pros and cons to each option. Travelers should go with what feels most comfortable and call or email ahead to ensure that cleaning policies are in place at Airbnbs and hotels.