CLEVELAND — Just like everything else this year, the holidays are going to look and feel much different. A new national survey by the American Hotel & Lodging Association revealed 72% of Americans are unlikely to travel for Thanksgiving and 69% are unlikely to travel for Christmas.
But that leaves some who will choose to hop on a plane or hit the road to see family and friends. If you're part of the small population who plans to travel during the pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said getting a rental home, like an Airbnb or VRBO, is safer than staying with friends or family or at a hotel.
The agency said a rental makes it easier to limit contact with people who aren't from your household and they might also have more access to fresh air than hotel rooms.
Carrie McConville is an Airbnb host in Northeast Ohio. Her company, Bonvoy Host, manages about 20 rental homes throughout the Cleveland area. While many small business owners have struggled this year, McConville has thrived.
"For a company like mine, I did, I lucked out, " she said. "Almost all my properties were completely booked almost all of COVID."
McConville said going into the holiday season, once again, she is lucking out with nearly 90% of her homes already booked for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
"We've definitely seen an influx of people wanting to come around the holidays," she said. "We've spoke to different guests and a lot of them are saying the same thing: they want to be close to their families but they don't necessarily want to stay with their families," she said.
To help keep guests safe during their stay, McConville said her company made a big investment at all 20 rentals.
"We implemented a program called Microsheild 360," she said. "And it's actually cleaning while it's sitting on these surfaces."
McConville said the solution is sprayed on highly touched surfaces and furniture throughout the homes killing pathogens and bacteria. She said it was a pricey investment but worth every penny.
"It was absolutely imperative to make us feel like we were offering a sanitized, safe and friendly environment for our guests," McConville said.
The Airbnb host said she also leaves plenty of hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies inside her rentals for guests to use during their stay.
If you're traveling for the holidays and opt to stay at a hotel, the CDC recommended travelers to check to see what safety steps the hotel is taking. Many hotels have enhanced their cleaning procedures and are encouraging social distancing in common areas.
Health experts said travelers should consider omitting housekeeping services to ensure fewer people enter the room.