For the last two years, Booking.com has been working steadily to ensure the quality of short-term and vacation rentals listed on its platform with initiatives like the star-based classification system it implemented in 2019.
However, today, Booking.com is taking a giant step toward guaranteeing quality stays in home rentals with the launch of a new required Minimum Cleanliness Score Commitment for short-term rental listings.
The phased initiative will require rental managers and homeowners to maintain a Minimum Cleanliness Score of 6 out of 10 in order to remain on the platform. After a successful pilot program launched earlier this year, Booking.com is partnering with Properly to provide guidance, standards, tools, and technology to help rental providers improve the quality of the home and the guest experience.
According to Booking.com, a property’s cleanliness score is “an average of the cleanliness review scores you receive from all your guests. It’s an indicator of the comfort you provide guests, which is why we require all our partners to score at least a 6 on cleanliness. A property that’s doesn’t meet these cleanliness standards will be notified and put on a warning list.”
The partnership with Properly serves to coach its rental providers as they work to improve and maintain their cleanliness score using detailed guidance which includes Properly’s best-practice cleaning protocols. These custom checklists are designed to give rental managers and owners easy-to-implement directions to meet Booking’s guest expectations for cleanliness and create actionable guides to help improve guest experiences.
The resources draw on Properly’s experience providing quality management frameworks for property managers and hosts around the world. Additionally, through the partnership Properly offers Booking.com partners an exclusive discount on access to its mobile app that allows hosts to distribute, monitor, verify and certify the use of standard operating procedure protocols. Booking.com partners can also find qualified cleaning providers through Properly’s global network of service providers.
According to Eric Bergaglia, global head of Booking.com’s homes and apartments business, “Cleanliness and comfort have always been important factors in a great stay, and today even more so than ever. With use of the words ‘clean’ and ‘hygiene’ increasing by over 60% on our platform since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and alternative accommodations representing one third of all new bookings during the third quarter, the introduction of our Minimal Cleanliness Score Commitment reflects our continued commitment to ensure traveler peace of mind.”
How it Works
Properties that do not maintain a Minimum Cleanliness Score of 6 out of 10 will be notified by Booking.com and put on a warning list. Once on the warning list, rental providers are required to agree to the Minimal Cleanliness Score Commitment. They will have six months to give guests a better cleanliness experience and earn better reviews that raise the cleanliness score to a 6 or higher.
If a rental manager/owner will not commit to improving their cleanliness score Booking.com will remove the property from Booking.com. According to the site, “This is in accordance with our General Delivery Terms, which give us the right to restrict or suspend properties for repeated poor ratings or reviews.”
If the rental manager/owner doesn’t respond, the property will be deranked in search results.
“During the six-month probation period, we’ll be monitoring guest feedback for clear proof of cleanliness improvements. Once your new cleanliness score reaches an average of 6, we’ll remove your property from the warning list. If it doesn’t improve to at least 6, we’ll remove your property from our platform.”
A Win for Guests and the VR Industry
This Booking.com initiative is a strong move in the right direction for the professionally managed vacation rental industry that is consistently working to maintain superior quality and provide top-tier guest experiences. Weeding out low-quality rentals helps everyone.
“As many travelers begin to choose alternative accommodation for the first time, it has become even more important that they find quality and comfort,” said Alex Nigg, Properly CEO and longtime advocate of establishing cleanliness standards in the short-term rental industry. “A recent survey of Properly partners found that when hosts are provided with long and complex protocols, the result is often low compliance. With this highly targeted and responsive program, Booking.com focuses on those partners that can most benefit from help and provides them with tools to help them succeed.”
Booking.com’s Bergaglia added, “Alongside other key product updates made this year to make it simple for properties to navigate evolving traveler preferences, we are excited to work with Properly to bring this tailored support to alternative accommodation properties as they commit to improve their cleanliness score.”