Cleanliness is next to godliness, or so the saying goes. It also happens to be the mark of an excellent vacation rental host.
Research conducted in the last year has shown that roughly 9 in 10 travelers are making accommodation decisions based on cleaning protocols. Of course, that number is slightly inflated due to the pandemic, but the point remains: vacation rental cleaning has always been important, and maybe now more than ever.
If you’re a property manager, you can decorate your vacation rentals like a pro. You can market your vacation rentals with no mercy for the competition. Heck, you can even name your vacation rental properties and really carve out your own space in the industry. But none of that’s going to matter if your vacation rental cleaning game falls short.
Cleanliness standards are different for vacation rentals than they are for normal homes. Due to constant guest turnover, rental properties require a deep cleaning after every check-out. The only feasible way property managers can keep up with vacation rental cleaning themselves is if they live nearby and treat their rental business as a full-time job. Even then, it’s a ton of work, and most property managers are already running a tight schedule.
Hiring professional cleaners ensures industry standards—and guest standards—are met every time. Of course, hiring vacation rental cleaning professionals can be its own ball of yarn, so here are a few questions to ask yourself to get started:
This really depends on your property (or properties). If your rental is a small condo, the most cost-effective vacation rental cleaning option could be an independent professional and not necessarily a big company. However, if your rental is a large family home or you’re managing multiple properties, full-on cleaning companies are the way to go—especially since they can oversee cleaning schedules for you, which saves you time (and scheduling headaches).
Once you’ve determined the type of cleaning service that fits your property, you can set out to find some suitors. A great strategy to do that quickly and reliably is to simply contact other owners in your market and ask what cleaning services they use. If that fails, you can go online and search for cleaning companies that are licensed, bonded, and insured.
A corresponding task you need to tackle at this stage of the process is to identify what you value in a vacation rental cleaning professional or company. Necessities vary, of course, but there are plenty of big-picture questions that you’ll want answers to when you begin to vet your options:
Be sure to write all your questions down and thoroughly interview your options to ensure you get exactly what you need.
Here’s something else you’ll want to write down: a vacation rental cleaning checklist so you and your cleaning professionals are always on the same page—literally. There are so many different potential tasks for each property, a checklist gives you an organized space to call out specific to-dos, from standard responsibilities like swapping out towels to more nuanced cleaning tasks like removing stains from a carpet.
Putting together a vacation rental cleaning checklist is a proactive way to identify your priorities, not to mention, it can really foster your relationship with the cleaning professional or team you hire and remove guesswork from the process. If they know precisely what you’re looking for, they can deliver those pristine results for you—and more importantly, for your guests—time after time.
Look, hiring vacation rental cleaning professionals can be expensive. Perhaps we’ve buried the lede here, but not without reason: hiring professionals is worth it, and as a host, there are things you can do to cover those costs. Namely, you can include a rental cleaning fee in the deposit.
Several major online travel agencies automatically include a cleaning fee in the total rental price to make it easy for you. Plus, your guests want a spotless accommodation, so even if you have to add a fee yourself, it’s not something you should feel guilty about. If you’re unsure how much a cleaning fee should be, hop on one of the OTAs and do some competitive analysis to gather a better understanding of what similar rentals in your market are charging.
Vacation rental cleaning is a necessity, but many non-essential extras fall under its umbrella. For instance, vacation rental cleaning apps aren’t technically required for the job, but they can totally make things easier depending on your situation. A few popular vacation rental cleaning apps include:
Obviously, you don’t want to put your guests to work. But you can absolutely ask them to take care of a few simple chores before they check out, which will make your job and your cleaning team’s job that much easier.
A few common things hosts ask their guests to knock out before they leave include: starting the dishwasher, taking out the trash (or leaving it in a designated area), throwing towels and bed sheets into a laundry basket, and removing any food items from the refrigerator. Simple as they might be, little tasks like these can help make the cleaning and turnover process that much more efficient.
Not all vacation rental cleaning products are created equal. Your properties might have specific product needs, but those aside, it certainly doesn’t hurt to team up with cleaning professionals who use green, eco-friendly supplies that are safe for the environment and for people. You can search for green cleaning companies during your initial vetting process, or you can simply ask what products are used when you begin to interview potential candidates. Once you’ve hired a match, be sure to tout your property’s eco-friendly cleaning regimen on your listings, since that sort of detail has the potential to resonate with many travelers.
Vacation rental cleaning is different from standard household cleaning, and deep vacation rental cleaning is different still from both of those. About two times per year, you or your cleaning crew should conduct a deep cleaning of your properties—likely right before your peak season begins and again when it ends.
A deep cleaning is the time to clean your properties on a micro level, from the dust that collects on the crown molding down to the grout between the tiles on the bathroom floor. Bi-annual deep cleanings also give you the chance to check off larger jobs, such as paint touch-ups and steam-cleaning furniture.