Tuesday, 28 April 2020

Cleaners Decry Site's New Rules, Lamenting the Reality of Hygiene in Corona Era

April 28, 2020 — Private accommodations along the Adriatic may have to ditch their usual post-checkout cleaning practices to continue using online booking services. Gloves may be worn and then tossed, hands washed repeatedly and disinfectant maniacally sprayed. The early days of tourism during the coronavirus era offers new, still-evolving protocols that may slice into profits even in the best of seasons. Hosts and cleaners along the Dalmatian coast suggest they might be shuttled into hibernation, or worse, close up shop.

New hygienic protocols, like cleaning recommendations Airbnb released on Monday, are designed to lure travelers by highlighting accommodations' cleanliness. The voluntary and extensive to-do list reportedly reads like an obsessive-compulsive germophobes' ritualistic scrub-down, but following it earns a prominent certification which could innoculate against rampant vacancies. The company argues hosts will benefit from the positive feedback of providing clean accommodations while guests will rest easy knowing their room is thoroughly disinfected.

But at the other end stand private cleaning services and hosts along the Adriatic, who consider the measures cumbersome, excessive, and costly.

"It is, in my opinion, pure nonsense," Mira Barbarić, owner of "Čisto," a cleaning services company, told Slobodna Dalmacija, among others who complained to the paper. "I clean as I always clean. I don't know what else I can do that's better than what I've been doing until now, except drew my soul out of my own body. All this together is on the verge of madness."

Barbarić and other cleaning services are sometimes a one-person operation, arriving at apartments just as guests checkout. They transform into a whirligig of spray bottles, vacuums, rags, and mops as they prep for new guests scheduled to arrive in a few hours. All of that work may not be enough anymore.

Airbnb announced its Enhanced Cleaning Initiative on Monday, creating a de facto checklist for all hosts which will affect the flow of guests to their homes. The crib-sheet reportedly reads like a minimal routine at a healthcare facility. Rigorous hand washing is followed by donning personal protective equipment (disposable gloves, masks, and aprons) and opening all doors and windows to let through a breeze.

Surfaces must first be cleaned with water and detergent (or soap), then sprayed with disinfectant which stands for a few minutes before being wiped dry with disposable wet wipes or paper towels, if possible. (Cleaning rags are allowed, but must be clean).

Linens and towels should also be washed at higher temperatures while wearing disposable gloves. Then, empty the vacuum cleaner after each cleaning and disinfect it.

Barbarić said a market already awash in black-market exchanges and deals will only grow thanks to this measure and thinning wallets. She's been in the business for 15 years, currently charging about 70 kunas an hour but expects it to fall.

"Anyone who is relatively healthy can take a cloth and clean," she said. "Of course, someone who has no money won't call the cleaning service."

Airbnb said its protocols align with recommendations from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as epidemiologists and companies in the hygiene and hospitality sectors. Hosts can enroll in the program and earn a certification which signals to guests they're adhering to the new guidelines.

Airbnb's initiative is voluntary for now, but the certification inherently incentivizes enrollment, since guests will likely seek certified accommodations.

The crux of the guidelines for hosts lies in the waiting period after checkout, where a room remains untouched for 24 hours first before cleaning begins. The recommendations follow epidemiological suggestions to reduce the odds of renters contracting a previous occupant's illness. The measure eliminates the chance of stacking guests in rapid succession, building immovable vacancies into a host's schedule. 

Many hosts and cleaners rely on razor-thin margins, high volume, fast turnover, and low overhead to turn a profit. Every night a room stays vacant is a loss. In the corona era, that will happen more and more often as online travel agencies and short-term rental apps continue searching for some semblance of normalcy (and revenues) during the coronavirus era.

Saturday, 1 June 2019

Check Out Price of Most Expensive Airbnb Accommodation in Croatia

If you've ever visited Croatia and you're not the hotel type, the chances are you've used the massive private accommodation booking and reservation platform Airbnb. The company, despite having faced numerous obstacles from multiple countries around the world, has gone from strength to strength since its ''birth'' not so long ago, and after having entered the Croatian market a few years ago, its popularity among travellers who fancy a much more personal and local experience has done nothing but grow.

Airbnbs can be found all over the country, from the glitz of the Dalmatian coast and its many islands to overlooked Eastern Croatia, not to mention in the capital and in the rolling green hills of Lika and Gorski Kotar. The ''liberalisation'' of the market has opened many a door for those who feel that the classic hotel experience draws away from the authenticity of a destination, and in most cases, especially outside of the height of the tourist season in Croatia, you'll get a very good deal on Airbnb indeed.

That being said, there are many extremely expensive villas listed on the popular booking platform and many of them are located right here in Croatia. Let's take a look into the prices of the most expensive Airbnb listing in the whole country. Where is it located you ask? If the first thought that came to mind was Dubrovnik, then you'd be right.

As Novac writes on the 31st of May, 2019, tourist experts and those in the know point out that Dubrovnik's stunning Villa Eden is certainly one of the most luxurious pieces of accommodation in the Republic of Croatia offered by the world-renowned Airbnb booking platform, and that such accommodation can barely be afforded by any ''normal'' person. This Dubrovnik villa, located near the Sveti Jakov (Eastern) part of the city offers an uninterrupted and truly incredible view of the sparkling Adriatic sea and the UNESCO-protected historic core of Dubrovnik, which is only about five hundred metres from the villa itself.

Specialised portals for tourism and travel emphasise the intimate and luxury atmosphere it provides, coupled with the soothing sounds of the crickets, a classic Mediterranean summertime sound, are the blend of dream holiday. As far as the beach is concerned, it is only five metres away. Six bedrooms can comfortably accommodate up to twelve guests, and there are seven bathrooms in the house, so guests don't have to bother dancing around uncomfortably and waiting their turn.

The interior covers approximately 700 square metres, and there are also an impressive 7,000 square metres of greenery with a swimming pool. A wine cellar with some rare labels in it, a fitness and spa area and even a piano are all a part of this incredibly expensive Dubrovnik villa's package, not to mention a home library which can serve as an inspiration for rainy days. But let's be honest, rainy days are certainly not something you'd want if you're paying what this listing wants you to.

The price of an overnight stay in this villa stands at around 60,000 kuna during the season. For a week (seven nights), which is the minimum stay for booking Dubrovnik's Villa Eden, will see lovers of luxury have to shell out about 484,000 kuna, an almost incomprehensible price tag for a holiday.

Click HERE for photos.

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