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Renting a UK holiday cottage after Coronavirus

(60 Posts)
GrandmaKT Sun 21-Jun-20 02:53:00

We have a holiday cottage in the Lakes. Obviously all bookings from mid March until now have been cancelled. I am now beginning to get enquiries for 4th July onwards, so light at the end of the tunnel!

Airbnb (who I must say have been excellent during this crisis, issuing clear guidance and giving guests full refunds), have developed a cleaning handbook, and it is very rigorous! Some of the points below:

Cleaners shouldn't enter the cottage until at least 3 hours after the guests have left.
Each room should be thoroughly cleaned, then sanitised, then shut off and not re-entered.
Extra cleaning materials to be left for guests.
Vacuum cleaner to be cleaned and sanitised after every use.
Obviously masks to be worn, and disposable gloves to be changed between cleaning and sanitising.

I am fully supportive of all these measures, and if I was a guest they would give reassurance, but do wonder if they can all be practically achieved. It is fine if you only have one cottage to clean, but what if, like my cleaner, you have two or three to get through? How will hotels manage to comply with these rules (esp. the waiting 3 hours before entering!)

I have changed my check-in time from 3 to 4 and hope that guests will understand. Check-out will have to be a strict 10am.

Annoyingly, I am being contacted by people wanting to get a discount (probably thinking we are desperate!) With all these extra measures, meaning extra time and pay for the cleaners, added to the income lost by holiday home owners over the last few months, I do hope people will be kind when they come back!

Whitewavemark2 Sun 21-Jun-20 07:11:07

We are users of holiday cottages, and honestly I would expect nothing less.

You haven’t mentioned bedding which I believe should be changed after every guest. I mean pillows and duvets etc.
Every piece of equipment should be put through the dishwasher.
There is a guideline on line.

Yes it is extremely rigorous, but much of it I would assume is being done as a matter of course in any case.

We wouldn’t think of requesting any form of discount as I would much rather that the owner ensure a virus free environment - if that means paying extra so be it. But I on the other hand expect the rules to be strictly adhered to.

You can’t put a price on your health.

Shelmiss Sun 21-Jun-20 07:14:59

We’re due to go to a holiday cottage in the wilds of Scotland in August and I have absolutely no qualms about going. I’m sure it will be clean and tidy. Can’t wait!

Willow73 Sun 21-Jun-20 07:23:31

I have a booking for a cottage which was booked way before lockdown. We are going to keep the booking and have a good time and know that we are helping someone keep their business and staff going. As long as the cottages are clean before you go in I don't see a problem.
We are all starting to have to use public toilets, shops and transport do we have 3 hours between someone else using them, I think not!
All the best for your future business.

ginny Sun 21-Jun-20 07:34:25

I have a cottage booked for the end of July ( booked way before lockdown).
I should be going with one of my Daughters and my Grandson.
At the moment I can only spend time with them outside. I am not a single household nor is she.
Unless that rule changes we cannot go. I suspect this might apply to many others who might have booked to share accommodation with family and or friends.

MerylStreep Sun 21-Jun-20 08:09:42

Do Airbnb give instructions as to how far the cleaner goes with this deep clean
Does this involve all accessible walls ( up to a certain height)
The same with all doors.
The same with all windows.
If Airbnb are serious about deep cleaning your cleaner is going to be very busy.

sodapop Sun 21-Jun-20 08:28:18

Not going to happen is it MerylStreep there is a limit to what is sensible and achievable.

Yes I wondered about duvets and pillows Whitewave, I have a bit of a thing about pillows in any case ( no pun intended) If practical I would take my own.

Franbern Sun 21-Jun-20 08:34:47

My daughter, her cousin have booked for the two families )3 adults, two teenage childfren), to go to a self-catering cottage last week in July - first week of school holidays. Cousin is a teacher. They only booked this a week ago, as, obviously, all their plans for holidays in Europe had long been cancelled.

They paid the same price as this had been advertised for this week all the time, were glad to be able to get the booking, to give them all a much needed break. My daugherhas been working from home, very much full time, her cousin part from home, part in school. Her older brother had died (from Cancer) only a few weeks back, so it has been very fraught time.

They are happy and confident to go to this, feeling assured that all appropriate measures will take place. They will take most of their food with them, but will do some shopping locally. Do hope to have some days out whilst there, but really looking for a good week being able to relax.

Ellianne Sun 21-Jun-20 08:42:34

We are holiday cottage users too, but aren't booked until September. Thank you for the information provided.
I think other posters are right in that the cleaning could be variable. One cleaner may have very different standards to another, so yes a checklist is essential. I would be happy to check out earlier at 9 am and check in as late as 6 pm if it meant more time could be allowed.
I did have the brainwave to wait until
a few weeks nearer the time to book and see if I could choose a house that had been empty the previous week, but sod's law I would probably choose one that suddenly took a last minute booking the week before mine.
I think I will take our own pillows too. I will also be giving the place my own deep clean before we settle in.

ginny Sun 21-Jun-20 08:48:15

Still , if they are from different households , the rules on meeting up will need to be changed. If it is decided that people from different households can holiday in one property then it will be almost pointless having a social distancing rule.

MerylStreep Sun 21-Jun-20 08:59:37

I was being facetious. This use of the term deep clean is no more than what most people who like a clean home do all the time, without the sanitising of course.
All Airbnb are doing is ticking all the boxes as advised by the government to keep their licence. This is no more than a good hotel and b&bs do month on month.

Grammaretto Sun 21-Jun-20 09:19:18

I daresay there will have been a lot of cleaning done during lockdown.
I browsed holiday cottages yesterday and was surprised to find them mostly fully booked! Of course they would be since so many, including me, have had to cancel foreign holidays.

A friend was visiting the hospital and found the ward in question was being cleaned! She had assumed cleaning was a common occurrence.
We agreed that hospitals are far dirtier than they were when we were young.
I hope whether you are hosts or guests your holidays go well.

Ellianne Sun 21-Jun-20 09:54:05

I think another reason the cottages are fully booked up Grammaretto is because all those who booked in April, May, June have had their weeks pushed to later on. They have probably done well out of it if they are getting the paek months for the same price. Maybe not?

GrandmaKT Sun 21-Jun-20 10:09:32

Thanks for your feedback ladies. I hope everyone is as understanding as you!

@Whitewavemark2 - no the Airbnb guidance doesn't mention changing duvets and pillows for every guest. Since reading your comment I have read several other guidelines and cannot see one that recommends this, or putting every item through the dishwasher - which would literally take all day!

I think I will remove extra bedding - throws, extra pillows etc and advise guests that they may want to bring their own. The cottage is always spotlessly clean, so it's just the extra sanitising that is needed.

Another owner said that they are asking guests to strip the beds themselves and leave the bedding in a sealed zipper bag so that the cleaner can store them 48 hours before washing. How would you feel about that as a guest?

Ellianne Sun 21-Jun-20 10:13:42

Yes, good idea. I always strip the beds and leave in a pile. It doesn't take a minute or two, and given the current circumstances I think it is respectful to the cleaner. Same for towels and bath mats, tea towels etc.

Whitewavemark2 Sun 21-Jun-20 10:35:10

grandma I’ll try to find it for you.

It is about holiday cottages specifically. Government guidance.

Teetime Sun 21-Jun-20 10:38:54

We have a cottage booking for September and have always found our rental cottage to have excellent standards. I'm really looking forward to it. Not worried at all.

Whitewavemark2 Sun 21-Jun-20 10:39:52

I can’t find it but will keep looking.

I do know they mention things like keys, locks, hard surfaces etc.

Duvets etc should not be used twice and if not washed there should be at least a 72 hr gap between use.

GrandmaKT Sun 21-Jun-20 10:42:16

Thanks, would be really helpful if you could find it. I am not in the UK, so trying to handle all this long distance!

Whitewavemark2 Sun 21-Jun-20 10:46:20

It is driving me mad, it was definitely a government site.

GrandmaKT Sun 21-Jun-20 10:47:49

@Teetime - yes, I'm sure all our previous guests would say the same about cleanliness, we always get 10/10. It's just extra things that I am trying to get my head around - what if a guest alleged they had caught Covid in my cottage? I've just read that if someone comes down with the virus whilst holidaying they and all the family should self isolate in the property (which would obviously mean cancelling upcoming bookings). It's a minefield!

mumofmadboys Sun 21-Jun-20 10:56:24

I dont think for a minute pillows and duvets will be washed between guests. It is not realistic. People will be sitting on the chairs surely. There is no difference.

Whitewavemark2 Sun 21-Jun-20 11:00:16

This seems pretty comprehensible and I expect you have seen it. It doesn’t mention the 72 hrs though so it isn’t what I saw.

Hope it helps

y Rentals
9th Jun 2020 by Philip | Leave a Comment
Reading Time: 6 minutes
Providing a safe and clean property has always been one of the highest priorities for holiday let owners and managers. It’s now more important than ever to re-evaluate your cleaning procedures and take measures to clean and disinfect your rental to protect yourself and your guests.
It’s essential to regain the trust of travellers that you reassure them that your holiday rental will be correctly cleaned for their stay.
From disinfecting to using the right products and step-by-step cleaning guidelines, here are some coronavirus cleaning tips to help protect your cleaners and guests during COVID-19 and beyond.
Protect your cleaners
Cleaning Kitchen Worktop
COVID-19 is still a relatively unknown virus and how the virus lives on surfaces is yet to be fully understood. It’s possible for someone to contract COVID-19 by touching a contaminated surface – like a door handle or light switch, and the virus may live on some surfaces for several hours or even days.
It’s likely that your cleaner(s) will be the first ones to enter your property after the last guests depart, so it’s essential to protect them with the right equipment and procedures so they stay healthy.
Share information on how they can protect themselves and keep them updated on the latest Government safety advice, so they know you are looking out for their wellbeing.
Here are some recommendations for your cleaning crew:
Cleaners should not work at all if they have symptoms of COVID-19.
Cleaners should wear masks as it’s possible that they are contagious but not experiencing symptoms.
They should wear safety glasses, shoe covers, gloves and avoid touching any uncleaned surfaces then touching their face.
They should wash their hands immediately on arrival (following the correct procedure for handwashing) and immediately after gloves are removed. If that’s not possible, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
Make sure your cleaners know how to safely remove any cleaning gear, dispose of it, or sanitise accordingly after use.
Reward them for the additional time and effort
Your cleaners are likely to be as concerned as you are about their health and protecting their families. When you ask your cleaners to complete additional tasks to disinfect your property, make sure you let them know that you value their hard work and reward them accordingly for their commitment to keeping your property clean.
Adding a cleaning fee to your bookings or adjusting your existing one can help offset any additional cleaning costs.
Coronavirus cleaning tips
Cleaning equipment
While every holiday rental is cleaned thoroughly between guests, many of the “high-touch” areas (such as light switches and handles) may get overlooked. The coronavirus requires taking additional steps to sanitise your property to ensure that a previous guest does not infect a future guest.
Many NHS staff and frontline healthcare workers have made the difficult decision to live away from their families while they go to work during the coronavirus outbreak. Although traditional bookings have been cancelled, some holiday lets are offering their properties to such professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you are, here are some tips for property managers and cleaning staff during and post COVID-19:
Don’t just sanitise – clean first then sanitise. It’s better to first clean the area with warm soapy water and then apply disinfectant (let it stand for a few minutes before wiping) to kill viruses, bacteria, and germs.
Allow fresh air to circulate the property during the entire cleaning process and ask guests to air the property during their stay.
Use disposable cloths or paper towels when possible or machine-wash reusable cloths at the highest heat setting appropriate after use.
Disinfect kitchen brushes and sponges with detergent and warm water. You could also put sponges or cloths in the microwave on high for a minute or two.
When items cannot be cleaned using detergents e.g. upholstered furniture, steam clean.
To prevent contamination of upholstery, cover the furniture with washable sheets. Ideally, remove decorative scatter cushions or cover with washable covers.
Bedding & linen – ask guests to strip beds and place linen into bags on departure. Bedding (pillows, duvets and throws) should be sprayed with disinfectant or rotate a set between guests.
Machine wash at 60°C all linens, blankets, throws and towels (even unused ones as guests may have touched them). Run the washing machine on empty once a week, either at a high temperature or with a chemical disinfectant to prevent the growth of germs.
All surfaces that guests have come into contact with must be cleaned and disinfected, including:
Door handles
Light/lamp switches
Remote controls
Window sills and window handles
Key lock box
Stair railings
Ironing boards and irons
Plugs and cables
Dog basket
Indoor/outdoor furniture & chairs
Cabinets & handles
Fridge and freezer
Run all your dishes and utensils and through the dishwasher – not just the ones that the guest used as it’s likely they will have touched many of them
Every surface in the bathroom should be disinfected
Toilets – flush handles, seats and lids
Disinfect your toilet brush
Showers and bath
Toiletries – shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and soap dispensers
Hangers and luggage racks
Bed frames
Laundry basket
Vacuum cleaners
Cleaning supplies & equipment
Hot tubs
Disinfect external touch points (handles, lids, steps and control panels) and follow the recommended maintenance and sanitisation guidelines.
Kids’ items:
High chairs
Other amenities:
Guest information – email guests all the relevant guest information that they need ahead of their arrival or provide a digital guestbook.
Some properties are de-cluttering and removing non-essential amenities and making them available upon request.
Finally, as your cleaner leaves the property, make sure the entry process is disinfected. This might be a keypad, key safe or keys.

Ellianne Sun 21-Jun-20 11:04:41

You need a supercleaner to accomplish all that! But good advice.

trisher Sun 21-Jun-20 11:06:30

We have had a holiday cottage every summer for the last 15 years. They have varied considerably in the levels of cleanliness. One we complained about had a high chair with black mould on it (the owner did bring us another one) another looked fine until a toy rolled under the settee and was pulled out along with a lot of dust and dirt. We haven't booked this year and I don't think we will.