Before You Hire a Cleaner for a Vacation Rental Make Sure You Know the Differences Between Residential and Hospitality Cleanings

By Properly / Jul 7, 2016

The success of your changeover cleanings affects the success of your own short term or vacation rental business.

Why? Because the first physical experience a guest has is observing how clean and well prepared the rental is when they walk in. First impressions last the longest and more often than not, a comment on the level of ‘cleanliness’ will show up in the review. Reviews then affect your future bookings. Travelers use reviews as a strong deciding factor when booking vacation homes. And it goes without saying that when your bookings go down, so does your revenue.

That’s why it’s crucial to make a great first impression by ensuring you have a clean house.

But there is a catch. A home that is clean enough for you to live in is not necessarily ‘clean’ enough for paying guests to stay in (even if you are super clean!). There are key differences between what perfect cleanliness means for a residential home and for vacation rental home, as well as what a home that is prepared for guests looks like compared to a home that is prepared for residents.

But there is a catch. A home that is clean enough for you to live in is not necessarily ‘clean’ enough for paying guests to stay in (even if you are super clean!).

It’s important to keep all these differences in mind when you hire a professional cleaner who may only be familiar with cleaning private residences so you can avoid any missing pieces before you have the chance to see them in your reviews!

1. Doing the laundry and changing linens

A residential cleaning doesn’t require washing or changing the sheets and towels.

But vacation rentals absolutely require this service. If the cleaner or housekeeper does not wash the linens her/himself because the laundry service is outsourced, he or she has to strip and replace all linens in the house anyway. Linens include bedsheets, bath towels, hand towels in the bathrooms, bathroom stepping mats, pool towels, and kitchen dish towels.

2. Washing dishes

Residential cleaners don’t usually have the time to wash all of your dishes. Picking them up from around the house and placing them in a dishwasher is what you can expect, anything beyond that is hoping for the best.

In a hospitality cleaning, washing, drying, arranging dishes properly is a must. Why? Imagine renting a holiday home and finding dishes in the dishwasher — it would definitely put a bad taste in your mouth.

3. Emptying the refrigerator and cleaning inside the microwave and oven

Residential cleans do not require cleaners to open your refrigerator and sort through your food. In fact, if a cleaner threw away those delicious Korean BBQ leftovers you might be quite miffed!

Vacation rentals must have thoroughly cleaned and emptied refrigerators. Those same BBQ leftovers would more than likely cause you trouble from guests. Everything has to be thrown away after every single check-out. The same goes for cleaning inside microwaves and ovens. Remnants of frozen pizzas past and pasta splatters will not fly with paying guests.

Many hosts put complimentary gifts like bottled water or champagne in the refrigerator, so replenishing those, if specified is also part of the hospitality clean.

4. Finding and removing items left behind in personal spaces

You would never ever expect your housekeeper to go inside your nightstand or drawers for any reason. That’s an invasion of personal space!

On the other hand, it’s necessary for the cleaner to check inside nightstands, under beds, in closets, and the occasional junk draw, bathroom drawers and cabinets to remove items left behind from former guests.

5. Dusting and removing cobwebs

A great cleaner or housekeeper will dust your home regardless of the type of cleaning you hired them for. But it’s a highly missed task that doesn’t affect a homeowner as much as it affects a guest’s experience.

Vacation rentals cannot have dust anywhere. These types of jobs require checking for dust in hard to remember places like: on top of paintings, in corners, on plants, baseboards, ceiling fans, on top of the refrigerator, under the bed etc.

6. Organizing the backyard and patio

Your residential cleaner would not think twice to check your backyard and pick up old cigarette butts or recycle cans and bottles from past parties.

But a vacation rental must have a presentable backyard or outdoor space. It doesn’t take much, but it’s necessary to empty all ashtrays, wipe tables, and arrange the chairs nicely.

7. Replacing amenities and refilling supplies

Residential cleaners don’t have to restock any of your home supplies for you, but restocking is essential in a vacation rental changeover.

Replacing toilet paper in all bathrooms and ensuring there are extra rolls for guests is crucial in a changeover. Tissue boxes need to be checked and replaced if they are not more than half full. And it’s nice to put a fresh roll of paper towels in the kitchen rather than keep a used one lying around.

Soap dispensers in the kitchen and bathrooms plus any large shampoo or conditioner bottles should be refilled. Personalized amenities such as shower gels, lotions, shampoos need to be replaced and arranged.

Many hosts leave out breakfast snacks and coffee or tea for their guests, so it would be necessary to refill the supply and arrange it.

Other tasks required in a hospitality cleaning that don’t apply to residential cleanings

Time constraints

Timing may or may not be an issue for a residential cleaning. But for a hospitality changeover, time is of the essence. Often the session must take place inside a small window of time between guest checkouts and new guest check-ins. Because changeovers take longer, the cleaner has to keep track of how long the job is so the new guests don’t arrive in the middle of the cleaning!


Now that you know the differences, use Properly to make every changeover a success

As far as changeover cleaning used to go, ‘if you wanted it done right you had to do it yourself.’ But you don’t have to do it yourself anymore. You don’t even have to hire a cleaner then follow in their footsteps after they leave to stage and prepare the place.

To get amazing results from anyone you hire and to save yourself the time of explaining a hospitality cleaning or finishing the job yourself, you can just use Properly like thousands of other vacation rental owners, Superhosts, and property managers around the world.

Properly is the tool that eliminates any uncertainty of knowing whether your cleaner knows how to prepare a listing for guests or not. It also also saves you precious time explaining unusual cleaning tasks (see 1-7 above) to new cleaners.

By making and sending visual checklists that become interactive when cleaners start the job, hosts and homeowners give cleaners an unprecedented understanding of what they want done. Hosts can also monitor the progress of the whole cleaning to make sure it’s finished before guests arrive, as well as receive damage reports from the cleaner working on site.


It’s simple to start and right now the app is free during our trial period. Users can connect their Airbnb and HomeAway accounts to directly import listing photos and hit the ground running on the first checklist! If you’re ready to make every changeover a success, head over to Properly and download the app.

Share Story

Subscribe

Subscribe to our monthly newsletter to get more VR hosting and cleaning tips

Ready to get started?

Get Started Request a demo