Start ups

Airbnb teams up with SweepSouth, Propaclean

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Airbnb has established partnerships with local on-demand cleaning start-ups SweepSouth and Propaclean, to train hosts, cleaners and domestic workers in the latest cleaning protocols.

This forms part of the home-sharing platform’s newly introduced Airbnb Enhanced Clean programme – Airbnb’s overarching standardised guidelines for cleaning and sanitisation for hosts in SA and across the globe.

The new protocols, aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), are global cleaning and safety measures which have been awarded a Safe Travels seal by the World Trade and Tourism Council and are informed by guidance from the EU and US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, according to Airbnb.

SA’s tourism industry has suffered a huge blow since the introduction of the lockdown regulations in March, aimed at limiting the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The deadly virus has so far infected over 311 000 South Africans and claimed the lives of 4 453 people, with over 161 000 recoveries.

Although the local tourism sector was given a lifeline last month, after government unbanned essential international and domestic travel under strict conditions, Airbnb is still awaiting guidance on the safe re-opening of operations on the home-sharing platform.

“Airbnb has partnered with global experts and South African innovators to set new industry-leading cleaning standards for hosts,” says Velma Corcoran, Airbnb country manager for Sub-Saharan Africa.

“While local hosts stand ready to welcome guests back, many tell us they are confused by the government’s decision to re-open hotels and hostels ahead of private self-catering accommodation − especially when other countries said it will be at the front of the queue due to its lower risk.”

Airbnb says it is engaging policymakers to include local hosts alongside international hotel chains when the time is right to reopen tourism, helping to reignite local livelihoods and the South African economy.

Propaclean, a division of Propati Cape Town, is an online subscription platform designed to upskill cleaners and domestic workers, and give them continuous access to learning at their fingertips. In partnership with Airbnb, the company has integrated modules on Airbnb’s enhanced cleaning protocols into its platform, and is offering a subscription to the entire platform to hosts on Airbnb and their cleaners at a discount.

In March, SweepSouth introduced new protocols to help protect the safety of clients and its cleaners, who are dubbed SweepStars. This includes educating SweepStars about the precautionary measures they need to put in place when attending a booking at a client’s home. This information will now be imparted to the Airbnb ecosystem, along with the provision of cleaning services.

The new announcement comes after Airbnb announced it has provided R1 million in financial support to hosts on its Africa Academy Programme, which was developed as part of Airbnb’s $1 million commitment to inclusive tourism in Africa.

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