Vacation Rental Cleaning Tips
Checklist for Vacation Rental Owners
Written by Jade Shojaee
What does it take to get a 5 star review? It might be a lot easier than you realize.
Did you know that most negative reviews are written by guests dissatisfied with messy, poorly cleaned vacation rental. Shocked? Hopefully not. A well-cared for vacation home goes a long way to ensure guest satisfaction, rave reviews and loyal direct bookers. Doable, right?
Absolutely. As long as you understand that maintaining a vacation rental is much more demanding than the upkeep of your own home. That is why we’ve spoken with some of RedAwning’s savviest Vacation Rental Managers and Owners to bring you a DIY guide to keeping your property immaculate, well-maintained and 5-star review worthy whether you are responsible for the upkeep of one home or 100.
Park City-based homeowner, Rina Slade knows what it takes to keep her vacation homes spick and span no matter how tight the turn around or how untidy the guest. While she herself owns only one vacation rental, she helps manage the vacation homes of a few friends – with the help of her crew, a local couple, Susie and Luis.
Rina, Susie and Luis have cultivated a well-oiled system with solid communication and teamwork. Two absolute musts according to Susie who streamlines housekeeping schedules and maintenance checks. Tight check in/check out times means Susie and the crew must be meticulous with their schedules, and efficient (but thorough) with their cleanings and post-stay inspections. Here are their tips for post-checkout cleanings.
This includes anything that has been broken, chipped or torn. Those items will need to be replaced before the new guest arrives. It will also be helpful for you when attempting to keep track of damage waivers and liabilities.
Susie also suggests regular AC/heating, TV and WiFi inspections. These are the details that can make a satisfied guest an ecstatic one or unfortunately, vice versa.
We also spoke with Lake Tahoe Accommodations’ Lisa Calderon, who manages over 100 vacation rentals in Tahoe. Lisa’s head of housekeeping, Blanca has a team of 14 house cleaners who do their best to maintain tight check in/check out cleanings. While not everyone has over 100 properties to manage and may not necessarily need 14 house cleaners, Lisa and her crew have a few tricks up their sleeves when it comes to staying on top of a hectic schedule and still managing to come out of checkout with rave reviews (and everyone’s sanity).
A thorough cleaning after every checkout is an absolute must, but to get that 5-star quality, she suggests doing the following regularly:
This includes washing curtains and replacing blinds periodically.
Don’t let conspicuous dirt and grime buildup in your lights fixtures ruin what could have been a rave review. Keep them clean and replace lightbulbs when they go out! Nothing says dinge like a flickering light.
Air conditioning and heating vents collect dust when left to their own devices for too long. Long term neglect is a sure fire way to permeate compromised air into your vacation home and we assure you that an asthma induced cough is not the kind of souvenir your guests want to bring home with them.
Out of sight, out of mind right? WRONG. We all know the terrors of what goes on in those deep dark, unreachable crevices of our kitchens, especially under the oven and refrigerator. It’s a pain to deal with but the longer you avoid it the worse it’s going to get so take the time to move major appliances and deep clean the spaces under and around them. You’ll thank us later.
Keep Backups of Everything
Lisa sets her crew up for success by keeping backups of everything. This includes sheets, glasses, toiletries, silverware and anything else you can think of. This keeps the team prepared for anything that may come their way…broken glasses to stained sheets…you name it.
“When guests arrive they want to feel they are in the comfort of their own home,” says Calderon. “What if there are 12 wine drinkers and only 10 glasses? Always keep a set and a backup set just in case.”
Take Inventory After Every Checkout
A housekeeper who knows the house will be able to easily spot when something is missing. Take a walk-away inventory every time a guest checks out and look to your RedAwning Damage Waiver to ensure your lost or stolen items are accounted for.
Consider Value Adds to Sweeten the Deal
Rina suggests sending the guest a pleasant welcome letter that includes restaurant and activity recommendations plus all of your contact information should the guest need to reach you. Lisa swears by welcoming guests with a tote bag and a bottle of complimentary wine. She is known by guests for going above and beyond for those who book her rentals and her rave reviews certainly reflect that. New RedAwning Owner, Jennifer, offers fresh eggs and juice to her new arrivals, which is especially appreciated by travelers who get in late at night and would not have had time to shop.
Keep guests educated about potential penalties and fines to protect them from being surprised when the bill to fix that broken window arrives. Lisa suggests taking the time to meet your guests in person to establish rapport and leaving behind a brief pamphlet that kindly reminds guests to do things like throw away trash, put dishes in the dishwasher etc.
Let the Rave Reviews Roll On In
It doesn’t take a magic wand, a team of oompa loompas or a winning lottery ticket to get great guest feedback on your vacation rentals.
What does it take?