Vacation Rental Cleaning: Best Practices

vacation rental cleaning

By  The Hospitable Team

Although many travelers choose to book vacation rentals instead of hotels, they all have high expectations about their experience and look for hotel-level cleaning standards. Guests want to enjoy their stay and relax with their loved ones, but a dirty vacation home can ruin a good vacation fast.

That’s why you must prioritize cleanliness and always keep your vacation rental spotless before welcoming new guests to ensure they are satisfied. That will help you improve your overall rating on booking platforms and get 5-star reviews that can win you more bookings.

Whether you handle cleaning yourself or prefer to hire professionals, in this blog, you’ll find answers to the most common questions about vacation rental cleaning.

How Does Vacation Rental Cleaning Differ from Regular Cleaning?

Vacation rental cleaning is far more extensive than regular cleaning of your own home. To meet guests’ expectations, you must ensure that your STR property is spotless and looks as great as it does in the listing photos. As a result, the cleaning process may take longer, requiring more attention to detail, tasks, and efficiency. It must also be fast enough to limit downtime between check-out and check-in.

Regular cleaning typically involves cleaning tasks such as dusting, vacuuming, mopping, and wiping surfaces. Vacation rental cleaning is a more comprehensive cleaning process involving tasks such as deep cleaning, disinfecting, and sanitizing. You need to clean the kitchen, bathrooms, bedrooms, living areas, and all other inside and outside areas of your vacation rental property.

Additionally, you’ll need to change bed linens, restock toiletries and other essentials, replace towels, and assess your vacation home for any damage. These tasks require more time and effort; typically, you don’t need to do them during regular cleaning.

That’s why leaving enough time between guests is always a good idea. Then, you can have enough time to make your vacation rental clean and tidy and inspect it thoroughly to ensure everything is in place and ready for guests.

You can also provide your guests with a vacation rental welcome pack to show that you care about them and make them feel special from the start.

Ensuring that your rental space is spotlessly clean is one of the most effective things you can do to impress your guests and get more excellent reviews. If you ensure proactive communication with your guests during all stages of the customer journey using vacation rental software like Hospitable, you’ll improve your overall rating on booking platforms and get more bookings.

Have conversations with your guests even when you sleep.

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Why Should You Use a Checklist?

As you see, vacation rental cleaning requires good organization and structure to ensure your rental is perfect for the next guest and makes a great first impression. Whether you outsource your cleaning or take the DIY route, designing a detailed plan with clear guidelines always helps to stay on schedule and avoid missing something.

A comprehensive cleaning checklist will make it easier for you to keep your property in top condition. It will take the guesswork out of how to clean your vacation rental property so you can consistently deliver a five-star experience for all your guests.

You can share this checklist with your cleaners and feel confident they will follow the same cleaning process after each booking. Remember that it’s important to provide clear instructions for each space in your home, including the living room, the kitchen, the bathroom, the bedrooms, the laundry area, and your property’s outdoor area.

For example, a checklist for cleaning your vacation rental kitchen may include the following steps:

  • Run and empty the dishwasher;
  • Clean and sanitize all surfaces, including tables, countertops, cabinets, etc.
  • Clean and sanitize the kitchen appliances inside and outside, including the toaster, coffee machine, oven, microwave, etc.
  • Remove all food left in the fridge to avoid bad smells, then disinfect all the surfaces.
  • Check the freezer for food and, if necessary, defrost it;
  • Remove trash and clean and sanitize the trash can;
  • Sweep and mop the floors.

If you’re unsure what steps to include in your checklist, you may download our professional vacation rental cleaning checklist and use it as a template. Although this list is not exhaustive, it gives you an overview of the primary household tasks you should focus on preparing your rental space for the next guests. You can make any changes depending on the specifics of your property.

Cleaning Checklist

Vacation Rental Cleaning: Should You Handle It Yourself or Hire Professionals?

If you only manage one or two STR properties, DIY cleaning may be an option for you (if cleaning your rental is something you want to do, of course). This way, you’ll be able to save on costs. But it’s only possible if you live locally and have the necessary time to carry out a deep clean once a week on average.

You should also remember that in peak season, you may need to clean your property several times a week and work with tight turnarounds that can become a source of constant stress. This can cut into your personal quality time, and if you manage several properties, it can even become a lifestyle on its own.

That’s why it always makes sense to outsource your cleaning responsibilities to professionals trained to do the job quickly and thoroughly. Cleaning pros can prepare your property for your next guests in just a couple of hours, saving you time and effort.

Managing vacation rentals is always rather time-consuming, so a smart approach is to automate your routine tasks using vacation rental software like Hospitable. Our system can help you automate different aspects of running a vacation rental, including guest communication, updating calendars and prices on multiple platforms, and assigning tasks to your cleaning team. Then, you’ll have more time to focus on providing a memorable experience for your guests and marketing your vacation rental to attract more travelers and get more bookings.

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What Are Your Options When Hiring Cleaners?

There are many cleaning services out there, but since vacation rental cleaning differs from residential cleaning, it’s important to look for professionals with experience in cleaning short-term rentals. Luckily, now that the vacation rental market has grown so much, there is a wide choice of professional cleaners that offer Airbnb and vacation rental cleaning services.

So, how can you make the right choice and ensure your business runs smoothly? A useful place to start is online marketplaces and apps that can help you quickly find experienced cleaning staff for your property. But not all vacation rentals are created equal, so you should consider the size and the specifics of your vacation rental.

For example, if you have a small one-bedroom apartment or a tiny home, the most reasonable option might be to hire an independent vacation rental cleaner who sets their rates. And if you own a 5-bedroom family house with kid-friendly features or manage several properties, your best bet might be to look for a large cleaning company.

You’ll need to do some online research to find reliable cleaning businesses in your local area and take the time to read customer reviews to make an informed decision on which of them you can rely. You should look for cleaners who can adapt to your needs and booking schedule and do their job thoroughly, even if you allow last-minute bookings, early check-outs, and late check-ins.

Hiring professional cleaners can save you time, ensure consistent cleaning standards, and help keep your guests happy. Knowing that your property is well-maintained and your guests’ needs are met, you’ll have peace of mind. 

How Much Does a Vacation Rental Cleaning Cost?

The cost of cleaning your vacation rental will vary depending on the property’s size and location and the company’s fee structure. Expect to pay more than you would for regular house cleaning, but the good news is you can charge your guests a cleaning fee to help cover these costs.

It’s important to keep your competitors in mind when calculating your fee to ensure that your prices are competitive. Check out your competitors’ listings to find out what they are charging, and use this info as a reference.

What Apps Can We Recommend?

Cleaning your STR property is one of the many responsibilities you need to oversee daily as a host or property manager. Fortunately, different handy apps can help make booking an experienced cleaning team much easier.

Here, we list four apps that have integrations with Hospitable. They can help you find cleaners for your vacation rental, assign tasks to specific providers, track the progress of each cleaning job, and pay for it. These software tools also support uploading checklists and will send them to your contractors.

Cleanster.com

Cleanster.com is a cleaning app for users in the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada. It allows them to easily book top-rated professional cleaners for their apartment buildings, homes, or short-term rentals and pay for their services.

You can connect your Hospitable property to Cleanster.com, and the app will sync property and booking data to automate scheduling cleanings after a guest checks out and before the next check-in. Check out our Help Article to learn how to automate cleanings with Cleanster.com. After you integrate your Hospitable account, you can use the Cleanster.com app for free.

You’ll be able to schedule cleans, inspections, maintenance repairs, and other property care tasks and monitor real-time changes in inventory to ensure that your properties are well-stocked with supplies and amenities.

Turno

Using Turno, vacation rental property owners and managers can browse the marketplace of local cleaners and see their cost per turnover, location, and reviews from previous cleaning jobs. And cleaners have the opportunity to bid on cleaning jobs available close by.

All Hospitable hosts can now get Turno’s cleaning and turnover management software for free. Check out our Help article to find out how to integrate Hospitable with Turno and get access to a network of over 25K cleaning professionals competing for your business. This way, you’ll be able to take advantage of better rates and get more consistent service.

When you accept the bid, you can connect with the cleaners and start a conversation with them using Turno Chat. Turno will also save you time managing your cleaning staff. Thanks to Hospitable’s integration with Turno, you can sync with your booking calendars and schedule your cleanings automatically based on check-in and check-out dates.

Hosts also have the option to automatically pay cleaners and save over forty hours of their precious time each year. You and your cleaners can use this app to track amenities and cleaning supplies and get notifications when something is missing or running low.

ResortCleaning.com

ResortCleaning.com is housekeeping and property management software for vacation rentals. It gives property managers access to an extensive network of housekeeping and maintenance providers to help them find exactly what they need and manage their team. It gives you tools to simplify your workload and elevate your guest experience.

Hospitable users can connect their accounts with ResortCleaning and automatically schedule cleanings after each reservation. Check out our Help article to find out how you can do that. ResortCleaning will automatically schedule a cleaning upon check-out each time you get a booking via a listing connected to a Hospitable property.

KeyNinja

KeyNinja is a great tool for Hospitable hosts based in Australia and New Zealand that allows them to streamline their hosting needs with automated Airbnb cleans, easy check-ins, and instant reports. They operate in several locations, including Melbourne, Mornington Peninsula, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, and Gold Coast.

The platform will connect you with professional Airbnb cleaners with years of experience and ratings synced and backed by Airbnb guests. With just one click, you can connect your Airbnb account with KeyNinja, and the system will import all your properties and bookings. This way, you can manage all your jobs (cleans, inspections, key exchanges) in one central dashboard.

You can also opt for KeyNinja’s two-step cleaning process. Check-out cleaning will be completed immediately after your guest checks out—linen will be stripped, and all areas will be cleaned. A check-in cleaning will be automatically booked right before the next guest’s arrival—fresh linen will be set up, and spot cleaning will be performed to ensure your place is guest-ready.

Final Thought

Maintaining your vacation home involves a lot of work, but hiring professionals to do a cleaning job for you will help ensure a pristine rental experience for your guests and save you a lot of time. That will allow you to focus on other important aspects of your business.

And if you automate your vacation rental cleaning using Hospitable and cleaning apps, you can become even more efficient. You’ll be able to manage your team’s tasks from one centralized platform so no cleaning task is overlooked.

You may also want to check out our article, where we talk about the Certificate of Occupancy. This legal document proves that your STR property is safe for people to live in and meets all the necessary building codes.

airbnb cleaning fees

Airbnb Cleaning Fees: Here’s Everything You Need to Know

Airbnb’s cleaning fees are hardly the hot topic you’ll be discussing at your next dinner date (if they are, you probably need to get out more). But, they are important nonetheless. And that is why in this post I’m going to give you everything you need to know about Airbnb’s cleaning fees and how to use them effectively.

airbnb host checklist

Airbnb Host Checklist: Setting Up for Airbnb

Planning to start a short-term rental business on Airbnb and are looking for an Airbnb startup checklist? In this post, you’ll find an Airbnb host checklist of essential things you will need to invest in for the greatest experience for your guests.

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