Phased-in Reopening Plan

Like many, I am missing our guests but am reluctant to jump into “busines as usual”. Rather than a complete shutdown I’m considering a phased-in opening starting when our governor begins relaxing the stay at home directive. Would appreciate comments on the plan.

Context: In-home host with split entry house. Seperate bedroom and bathroom downstairs. Family space almost exclusively upstairs (downstairs laundry room)

Pricing; There are 96 similiar in-home STRs with a median price per night of $48, Average ppn $45, just over 1/2 have a cleaning fee.

Our current price $39/no cleaning fee. Changing to $49 with a 3 day or longer discount (current limit 14 days - proposed limit 10 days) Since we have opened over 1/2 our stays are one day (passing through) visits.

Removing from listing:
Breakfast Items
Kitchen Use
Iron (because it is set up in a common space)

Adding to listing - not mentioned in new write-up until it is completed in about a month:
Outdoor picnic area to bring in take-out food

New opening statements (will change to present tense when we actually re-open.)

"We will be re-opening on the date the ”Stay At Home” recommended shutdown is lifted but recognize there will still be Covid-19 concerns. Due to those concerns we will be implementing enhanced health safety measures. Although we have always cleaned to a high standard we have increased the disinfecting routine between guests. All frequently touched surfaces (light switches, doorknobs, cabinet handles, remotes, etc.) are cleaned and wiped down with disinfectant wipes before you check in. Additionally, there will be a 72 hour block between each guest to allow for airing the room.

Since the room will be vacant for extended time frames, we would like to encourage longer stays. Stays of 3 days or longer will receive a discounted price of $39 per night. If you are planning a 3 day or longer stay, please message before requesting to book and we will give you a “Special Offer” with the reduced price."

Anyone doing something similiar or have additional ideas?

I will miss out “tea-time” and long chats with guests but that will eventually come back - after there is a vaccine/when scientific data suggests this has been reduced to minimal risk. Recognizing that may be 18 to 24 months. sigh


I’m not sure where you are or what type of travelers you are getting, but you might reconsider removing the iron completely. A lot of the people who are and will be traveling will be for work and may need an iron. I understand not wanting to share one in a common space but perhaps you can provide a different iron and a table-top ironing board (both easily acquired online) for the guest room?

I’ve been seeing statements like this on listings (I have a credit to use by end of Oct) and they make me cringe a bit, it makes me think that the cleaning wasn’t great to begin with. For instance:

Was this not already happening? It makes it sound like you didn’t use to wipe down these things between guests.

Perhaps it’s best to say, “We clean to the highest standards, including…” and then list out that stuff because then it sounds like a clean place - and not that you just started being clean.

You can set this to happen automatically in your Pricing settings under Length of Stay Discounts (just set a discount percentage for 3 nights that makes the price be $39/night, e.g. a 20% discount for 3 nights or more of a $49/night rate will make it $39/night).

If you don’t set it to automatically adjust the price with the discount, guests who are searching are unlikely to see you. When they search for 4 nights, your place will come up but at $49/night; however, if you set the 3 night discount, your place will come up at $39/night when they search for 3 days or more. I can’t see the discount being relevant otherwise.

Me too :cry:

I have long term stays through the summer but it is so boring :expressionless:


We were discussing yesterday what protocols we can implement as and when we are allowed to reopen.

One issue is that both of our garages are 300m away, all via our little narrow streets.

The only practical method of check in for us is that folks drop their luggage, then one of us gets in the car with the driver and directs then to the garage.

Will the guest be happy with, effectively a stranger, at such close proximity? And vice versa!

Not that we have to rush any decision, no one has any idea when we’ll be able to reopen. Best case scenario is June, worst case August or later depending on how things go over the next few months.

Today was first time I’d looked at our calendar for a couple of weeks, seriously depressing!

The next six weeks had been booked solid as normally we’ve got Moto GP, the horse fair and a couple of music festivals, and generally the guests for these are a great bunch.

Ach well, next year!


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I really like it but might take some of the small edits suggested in other posts. We are only blocking one day in-between. Our business has many one night guests so I’m still toying with managing the lengths of stay. I do wonder if people will read anymore than they do now. A fews sentences seems like the limit.

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Can you put a mini refrigerator, coffee maker, water kettle, microwave, etc. in the guest bedroom and have dedicated breakfast items?

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My thoughts…

  • The only “phase-in” that I am going to do is wait until our bought-and-paid-for governor (who declared WWE wrestling an essential business!!!) lets private STRs open up again.
    *I would not offer a discount for any length of stay. Hotels don’t why should you?
  • Keep the Breakfast items. IMHO that draws guests. BUT set up a “breakfast table” in the guest room with a mini-fridge, coffeepot, and packaged breakfast items like bagels, oatmeal packets, cold cereal packets, milk, coffee and tea.
  • “We always clean to the highest standards.”
    *Iron – in the 21st century??? Most clothing is ‘permanent press’, and has been for 40 years. If a guest wants an iron, let them ask; but don’t offer it up front.

Thanks for the edit suggestions, I knew I’d find a word-smith on this site!

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I debated on the one, two, or 3 days between but the various sites talking about the life of the virus on different surfaces made me want to start with an abundance of caution. Will reevaluate as more info becomes available.

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Don’t know what clothing you prefer, but only items which are polyester or part polyester are “permanent press”. “Most” clothing isn’t permanent press. 100% cotton and linen wrinkle and require ironing.


Regarding the iron, I assume you had it listed as an amenity before. How many guests actually used it? My guess is that it wouldn’t be used often by guests and that it’s relatively easy to sterilize (maybe get a spare cover for your board so you could swap it out quickly). Of course, if very few guests ever used it, then it’s unlikely to be something that attracts guests anyway, so removing it from your amenities list wouldn’t matter.

The room is too small to create a breakfast nook and it also has wall to wall carpeting that continues throughout the entire lower level. We have added a throw rug to the most heavily trafficed area so if there are spills, hopefully it will be on the throw rug and not the wall to wall one.

In the nice weather I could think about bringing down a picnic basket of items to the outdoor table, setting up a kurig style coffee maker and tea kettle. Will think on that - don’t want to promise things that will end up getting too elaborate to carry out. We are an easy drive to coffee shops - if ambitious one could walk to one as well.

We toyed with the idea of setting up a mini kitchenette outside under the deck. It is doable and we might reconsider but we are also looking to buy a new (to us - not newly built) house and don’t want to make major investments in this one. That is also up in the air as we wait to see what the economy does. Our area has been a sellers market but if local industry/businesses don’t rally who knows what housing will do.

The iron has only been requested once in about 3 years so I could leave it on the list just to have a longer amenities list.

Thanks for everyone’s thoughts! Since we don’t have any current bookings and are still in “stay at home” mode there is time to tweek the details.

Thinking about something else: I think the biggest problem for shared-space listings in opening up after COVID-19 is the fact that the space is shared. Thinking about how many complaints hosts and guests previously had about shared spaces, concerns about COVID-19 could bring those to a completely new level.

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I have a shared home listing and I’ve never had any complaints from guests in 3 and a half years of hosting nor have I had complaints about my guests. What kind of complaints are you referring to?

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I sure don’t wear 100% Cotton or Linen. Cargo shorts or pants and Hawaii’an shirts or tees for everyday. Part-polyester long sleeve fishing/sun shirts. Here in the tropics nothing stays ironed anyway.

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Well I’m sure you look quite dapper. I have 2 cotton shirts and a dress that require ironing, but other than that, I don’t care if stuff is a bit wrinkled.
But I do have to iron quite a bit in my sewing business. Which I don’t enjoy, but you can’t make curtains without a lot of ironing up of hems before you stitch them. Not so bad when someone just needs one or two sets of curtains, but I’ve had clients who needed 20 sets. I literally did about a mile of ironing. In the tropics. In the heat.

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I’m in a similar situation, with less physical barriers. I fear the days of home-sharing will be numbered if this continues too long. We have a shared entrance, bath, kitchen, & common area (which is rarely used by guests). It’s not hard to physically distance ourselves once a guest settles in, but we’d need to be extra vigilant about cleaning common surfaces while guests are here.

We do not offer food of any kind, lest we catch the attention of our local board of health inspector. She’s been issuing citations to restaurants and food stores when families and couples stand too close together cued up outside. I’m not going there by offering food in my home.

I like the idea of a phased-in approach, even lagging behind recommendations from the CDC and local government. I guess the first phase would be welcoming friends and family over for dinner and drinks again, and then we can think about overnight strangers.

We grew to rely on the STR income, so this is taking a toll on our expenses. I’ve delayed every possible payment obligation I could (mortgage, student loans, credit cards), and even I’m considering reducing our charitable giving. My partner can longer work either. He’s self-employed.

I’m thinking of rewriting our listing description a little to reflect some of the new normals. As for our nightly rate, I’ve increased it little. Not to price-gouge - we’re already one of the cheapest and cleanest places to stay around here - we need to recoup some of our losses and cleaning will become more expensive.

We don’t mind longer stays. Our last 2 guests were here for 3 months each. At this point, the longer a guests stays, the less exposure we might have.

Right now, in Massachusetts, May 4 is the presumptive timeline for most of the governor’s stay-in-home and essential services order. It remains to be seen if that will be extended or relaxed. Even if it is relaxed, we’re considering leaving our calendar blocked.

I haven’t paused or unlisted our two guestrooms - I blocked the calendar. We haven’t received any inquiries or requests for future stays, and our one booking in May was cancelled.

Anyway, this is getting long-winded. Basically, I like a phased-in approach. I’m leaving Instant Book turned off, and screening all inquiries or requests. I may even add a one day buffer btwn stays to make sure I have enough time to adequately clean. I tihk it will take longer for home-shares like ours to get back up and running if we follow the guidelines.

Thanks for the help here and an excellent convesation with a Customer Service lady, this is what I came up with in our description. Really shortened because I ran up against the word count with what I was trying to post. (Had to call CS because the site wouldn’t tell me what was wrong when I was trying to edit - she figured out it was a word count thing and helped in the rewording. Will change the “tense” after opening.)

“We will be re-opening when the Stay at Home is lifted, recognizing there will still be Covid-19 concerns. We clean to the highest standards. There will be a 72-hour block between each guest & all frequently touched surfaces will be disinfected. Our house is in a quiet residential neighborhood that is easily accessed from ___and Rt. ___. Centrally located, we are just minutes from most local attractions, the Convention Center, hospitals, the airport, and major local employers.”

I raised the price by $6 and added a 18% discount for a weeklong stay but kept our max at 10 days. I don’t want someone self-quarantining here. That puts us at one of the highest price point of the rooms that appear on the first 2 pages of a search but around the median for our area. This won’t compensate for closed days but my main concern is to stay just busy enough to keep from dropping much lower in the search. Currently we are consistanty on page 1, occasionally on page 2 and have the second highest number of reviews for in-home rooms in the area.

At this time we do not have any bookings but out views are at the highest ever.

I’m almost positive that the CDC Guidelines recommend waiting 3 days between guests, and opening windows to let fresh air in. I think Airbnb also says this for Hosts who open their place to First Responders.

She said 72 hours. That’s 3 days.

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This is almost exactly what we are doing in MA. In MA we are getting refunds from our car insurance companies in light of the lack of driving. Wish we could get that for our short term rental insurance.