19 Replies Latest reply: Jul 12, 2019 6:07 PM by juniperus RSS

    traveler side search filter - "low-allergen environment"

    juniperus Contributor

      I've seen the low-allergen environment filter for years on traveler side.  However, I've never located corresponding option on owner side.  It's not under amenities nor safety features tab.  Anyone seen it... anywhere... ever?

        • Re: traveler side search filter - "low-allergen environment"
          koko Contributor

          There was something on the hospitality side of the website. I am not sure if it is still there. The filter is very common in Europe and here most states require low allergen certification before you can advertise as an low allergen rental.

          The certification process can be quite involved.

            • Re: traveler side search filter - "low-allergen environment"
              juniperus Contributor

              I never delved into the hospitality manager so if it ever resided there that makes sense.  I did wonder if they wanted to avoid the edges of medical terminology etc.  I also wondered why it was there if it didn't apply... but it makes sense if it's a common filter in non-US sites.  I've been confused as to all the properties that do show up when that specific filter is applied on traveler side though, nothing I could see special in that regard about any of the results when I last looked.

               

              I had no idea a facility could certify as low-allergen, I should look into it, something I should have considered long ago.  Thanks, that filter has perplexed me for a long time

                • Re: traveler side search filter - "low-allergen environment"
                  ohst8er Premier Contributor

                  When you do a search, my condo comes up "low allergen environment."  Perhaps it's because I have no pets and no smoking clicked?  There is NO button designating "low allergen environment" on the owner's side, nor is there in the hospitality side. 

                   

                  Of course, if a traveler does not have to let you know they are bringing a service animal, and they do bring one, and you are none the wiser and therefore take no steps to clean up after the animal (did you know that German Shepherds, and Labs, two of the most common breeds for service animals, are also two of the most "allergy prone" dogs as well?)   then your condo/home is NO LONGER a low allergen environment.   Just food for thought.  In addition, what if someone sat on your sofa and ate almonds and pistachios, wiped their hands off on the arm rest or the couch cushion, and your housekeeper did not take steps to clean that up, then uou are now no longer a "low allergen environment."  Frankly I think that VRBO should eliminate that designation altogether.  It potentially opens up a giant can of worms. 

                    • Re: traveler side search filter - "low-allergen environment"
                      juniperus Contributor

                      @ohst8er

                       

                      All valid concerns... Unfortunately.

                       

                      However, it’s nearly impossible for some to travel due to health concerns.  There are a few owners here and there who go to extraordinary efforts to attempt to accommodate and it would help those searching for such if there was some sort of filter.

                       

                      I’ve not yet found any certification standards.  I have doubts we would meet every requirement of a broad brush certification but would like to see certification standards. If nothing else it would help to have a more official punch-list of things we do (or do not) address.

                • Re: traveler side search filter - "low-allergen environment"
                  christinel New Member

                  Half the properties including my own in my area show up as low allergen. I called cs many months ago about this as we are not low allergen and I did not want to show up under that filter. They could not help me or even tell me where this feature was located to turn it off or on.

                  • Re: traveler side search filter - "low-allergen environment"
                    koko Contributor

                    As far as I recall it was listed somewhere with safety and wheelchair accessibility.

                    I had researched then what constitutes a low allergen environment in my state and found that it was not something one could claim without lying about something.

                    As I understand it it is not so much what people do and eat in the house - which is not controllable anyways. It refers to the usage of air conditioning vs evaporative coolers, cleaning with hepa filters, low allergen cleaning products, using flooring which is classified low allergen - and that is not your wall to wall carpeting, providing down free pillows and blankets, using low allergen laundry detergents and furniture without open laminates.

                    In my interior design business I had a couple of "low allergen" clients and to keep a house that way is in my opinion almost impossible if you rent it out.

                    The costs associated with it comes down in green everything cleaning supplies to the towels and bedding you provide. Mattresses are a common harbor for every mite in the book.

                    I believe that this classification was first listed at Booking and ABB and must have slipped into the VRBO lsitings with the indoor grills and fireplaces people did not have.

                    Just a further testament to the desire to be like the other booking sites without consideration of the benefits or downfalls of such action.

                    • Re: traveler side search filter - "low-allergen environment"
                      ha-moderator-amanda HomeAway Employee

                      Hi everyone, we're currently looking into this and we will post more information as soon as we learn more. Thank you!

                      • Re: traveler side search filter - "low-allergen environment"
                        ha-moderator-amanda HomeAway Employee

                        Hi juniperus, ohst8er was on the right track and we confirmed that to qualify for the 'Low-Allergen Environment' you must have 'No Pets Allowed' and 'No Smoking' selected for your property.

                          • Re: traveler side search filter - "low-allergen environment"
                            koko Contributor

                            If that is all what is required then maybe there should be a qualifier what HA understands " low allergen" to be. A person who looks for a true allergen low environment would define this a bit more complex.

                            This also would be true with green certifications - if HA thinks to put that sticker on properties - I do not hope they will.

                            • Re: traveler side search filter - "low-allergen environment"
                              margaret CommunityAmbassador

                              I think koko has a great point. I would definitely expect Low Allergen to be more than simply no pets and no smoking. There should be some clarity for the guest who are choosing homes based on this filter. sanlord review is a perfect example of the guests expectation being very different than HA/VRBO intended definition of low allergen. I would not want my properties showing as Low Allergen and misleading guests, the results could be very damaging.

                                • Re: traveler side search filter - "low-allergen environment"
                                  ohst8er Premier Contributor

                                  download (1).jpg

                                   

                                  Tough decision, which to pick? 

                                    • Re: traveler side search filter - "low-allergen environment"
                                      koko Contributor

                                      All three ohst8er!

                                      HA opened the floodgates to Pandora's box (=not defined filter attributes) and thereby opened a can of worms which are now crawling all over allergenic floors and beds. Great job!

                                      Seriously, this nonchalant attitude of including this a s a search filter could have deadly consequences for someone with severe allergies in a remote cabin or a place in the middle of the desert where life flight takes 1 hour to get there. Most people know their allergies and have first aid supplies with them - it just takes one incident though to EVERYONE attached to the website a bad name. I shudder to think someone with a dander allergy to move in after a service dog guest.

                                      You can follow that train of thought.....right down to the devastating review at the least.

                                    • Re: traveler side search filter - "low-allergen environment"
                                      juniperus Contributor

                                      @margaret and @koko

                                       

                                      I agree, travelers implementing that filter need definition as to what it actually entails.  Our regular guests would definitely assume it involved significantly more than non-smoking/no pets.  They also used to grill me for details (which I gladly and truthfully answered) when they could still access our phone number prior to reservation. 

                                       

                                      Maybe an option for owners to opt-out of those particular filter results is in order.  No one is suddenly going to want to allow smoking or pets just to exit those results.  If implemented a heads up when owners login (for anyone who doesn't read forum messages) would be helpful. 

                                       

                                      It is unfair to owners whose properties show up under that filter to be held accountable for perceived standards they didn’t actually promote.

                                    • Re: traveler side search filter - "low-allergen environment"
                                      juniperus Contributor

                                      @Amanda


                                      Thanks very much for looking into this/confirming.

                                       

                                      Though that makes ohst8er’s valid point re: service dog’s being allowed (no matter what) a serious concern/conflict that needs to be reexamined.


                                      Doesn’t matter for us though as we do allow canines, which must be why we’ve never shown up with that filter active.  Actually, the only official service animal I can recall staying, guest insisted on paying the pet fee regardless and left a glowing review.


                                      We have someone with canine allergies in residence at present who is fine and has done extremely well for 4 visits. We do put in at least 12 man-hours of cleaning between guests, if there are canine guests it’s more. As to ohst8er’s other concerns... if someone truly messes up... it’s happened 3 times that I can recall... it can mean a 3 day decontamination depending on situation.  We use hospital grade and hepa grade vacuums and due to other concerns brought up... have been cleaning ourselves with a helper for 10 years.  I believe we do actually qualify from HomeAway's perspective... but... we’re in a catch 22 on the canine issue.


                                      Appreciate the info though.


                                      Edited to add:


                                      I really do appreciate your looking into that.  I can see how someone implementing it on the site who was not versed on the subject (and it is a huge and complex subject) could have easily not realized the impact it could have on a seriously allergic/reactive/sensitive individual.  What is most important to me now is that travelers not be misled by the filter (for their sakes) and secondly that owners/managers who had no intentions of offering such can opt out.  It was an oversight, what matters now is how it's handled.

                                    • Re: traveler side search filter - "low-allergen environment"
                                      sanlord Active Contributor

                                      Well this may explain a not so great review we got for one of our beach condos (see below - carpet in bedrooms). 

                                       

                                      Pretty good

                                       

                                      A bit allergenic. Especially in bedrooms.

                                      I had no idea all of our properties show up as " low-allergen properties', even the log cabin, which is certainly not low-allergen.  Log cabins are by nature dusty (allergen) especially if it's been awhile since it has been restrained and sealed.