Aloha. In Hawaii this says more than hello and goodbye; it is the communal spirit by which we live.

It is the coordination of an individual’s mind and heart, and it emotes good feelings into the world. It’s a spirit integral to the Islands, and integral to those who visit.

The novel coronavirus has upended daily life for all of us; however, there are signs of hope. As we adapt and move toward a new normal, it’s imperative that we reopen Hawaii safely and responsibly.

Moreover, it is necessary that we recognize short-term rentals for what they are: essential.

At the onset of the virus, proposals targeting short-term rental communities were made with the intention of curbing infections. In Hawaii, a mandatory 14-day quarantine was enacted for any visitor to the Islands, and tourism effectively came to a halt.

A screen shot from the website of the Vacation Rental Management Association, which offers tips on cleaning in the wake of COVID-19.

vrma.org

Now, we have an opportunity to work together to safely reopen Hawaii. We are taking every possible step to ensure that the reopening happens swiftly and carefully. It will take a collective effort from short-term rental owners, state and local government officials, and travelers.

Hawaii is an economy that leans heavily on tourism. In order for that ecosystem to be restored, travelers, hosts, and communities need to feel confident their safety is a top priority.

The Needs Of Customers

My wife and I started our company in 2017 and managed 15 employees before the pandemic began. As we look to reopen, we are conducting surveys to best assess the specific needs and wants of our customers.

More specifically, our survey asks three questions that allow us to better prepare for the future and best serve the needs of our guests:

  • How soon would you be willing to travel to Hawaii?
  • What are your biggest concerns related to travel?
  • What else do you expect from us as hosts as we enter a new phase of tourism?

By understanding the needs of our customers, we are becoming better equipped to adapt to a new travel normal and safely reopen Hawaii.

This feedback is allowing us to make necessary adjustments to provide that confidence. Moreover, we are working closely with community officials and actively implementing the cleaning guidelines outlined by the Vacation Rental Management Association.

This guidance is part of an industry-wide approach and is closely aligned with recommendations issued by groups such as the U.S. Travel Association and Vrbo.

Some of the protocols outlined include proper PPE usage, including the requirement that all staff wear masks and gloves, in addition to disinfection that goes beyond standard cleaning, and rigorous training by vacation staff on safe cleaning techniques.

It’s also recommended that owners share their story and properly inform new and potential guests that their property has been thoroughly cleaned and prepared prior to their arrival.

Short-term rentals have become the favored, and sometimes necessary, alternative to hotels. In a post-COVID-19 world, crowded hotel lobbies, bars, and restaurants are not only antiquated, but can be unsafe.

And while some locally owned hotels offer curated experiences and uphold the highest standards, the vast majority are owned by large corporations that may not have the necessary oversight to ensure that every handle is washed, every cup cleaned, and room thoroughly disinfected.

Our properties are more than curated spaces; they are opportunities for travelers to enjoy the beauty of Hawaii while maintaining that feeling of “home.” There’s a personal element, a human component to our properties — something a hotel cannot replicate.

Our business exists on this island and within this self-contained ecosystem that is largely dependent upon communal reciprocation. Simply knowing the island, its restaurants, its local businesses, and its people, we are able to provide a level of service that is unrivaled by large hotel chains. All the while, this helps support the local economy.

Hawaii and the rest of the world will open again.

We listen, we adjust, and we curate our spaces to the needs of each guest. From in-unit laundry, to stocked kitchens, to our personal recommendations about the island — our company and our commitment to our guests is unwavering.

Hawaii and the rest of the world will open again. We may find that it is a place entirely unknown to us, but we will soon travel, vacation, and visit friends and family in faraway places.

More than ever before, the need for clean, sanitized spaces is of paramount importance. Short-term rental properties are essential to providing safe accommodations to travelers and helping to rebuild Hawaii and its economy when appropriate.

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