Vacation rental housekeeping tips for owners

How to manage your housekeepers, plus drive repeat bookings
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When you own a vacation rental from afar (whether from across the country or even just down the street), it’s typical to worry. Worry if your home is being taken care of. Worry if your guests are happy. Worry if your housekeepers are cleaning as diligently and thoroughly as you would.

How do you tackle your biggest cleaning concerns? By finding, keeping, and managing reliable vacation rental cleaners.

At Vacasa, we manage 2000+ housekeepers across North and Central America who thoroughly clean every vacation home and make sure they’re ready for the next guests. Here’s expert advice for working with vacation rental housekeepers and achieving the level of cleanliness that inspires guests to book again and again.

Bedroom of vacation home designed by Vacasa Home Interiors Program

1. Set your cleaning standards high (way high)

Working with the right housekeepers matters. There’s a lot at stake—your bookings, your reviews, your bottom line. Guests are a tough audience and they arrive ready to scrutinize and write a bad review (which can drive down your Airbnb and Vrbo ratings).

The cleaning process for vacation rentals is far more extensive than cleaning your own home. Cleaning a short-term rental requires so much more—more attention to detail, more efficiency, and more cleaning tasks. So, your housekeepers must adhere to high standards.

Modern vacation rental management.

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2. Know what makes the perfect vacation rental housekeeper

There’s more to consider than just how well someone cleans. Here’s what to look for when searching for a housekeeper:

A licensed, reputable cleaning service

Instead of hiring an individual or a small business with only one or two employees, turn to a professional cleaning company for your Airbnb. The benefits alone will help you sleep better at night. Licensed cleaning companies are usually bonded and insured, conduct thorough background checks on their employees, and have multiple staff members ready to fill in as a backup if needed (after all, with vacation rentals there’s no consistent cleaning schedule).

Does more than clean

Consider areas that need extra attention beyond simply wiping down, vacuuming, or dusting. Think outdoor barbecues that need scrubbing or fireplaces that need to have soot removed—and ask cleaning companies if they can fulfill those requests.

Vacasa housekeepers do more than clean. They conduct thorough checks every time they’re in a home to ensure the next guests have a seamless experience. For example, Vacasa housekeepers:

  • assess your home for any damage from previous guests
  • stock your home with the essentials, like hand soap, paper towels, and more
  • ensure TVs and appliances are working
  • set out the remote controls
  • test WiFi speeds
clean white kitchen with blue accents

Flexibility and open communication

Late check-outs and last-minute bookings happen. As do housekeepers who run into traffic or get behind in cleaning another home. That’s why communication is key. You should be able to text, call, or email your housekeeping service and trust that you’ll get a quick reply. And, trust that they’ll keep you up-to-date as well.

We know from experience—housekeepers take pride in their work.

Accountability and reliability

These are the most vital traits to look for. Your house cleaning team is essential to your success. Consider sharing guest reviews with them—both good and bad. This lets your housekeeping staff see the impact they’re having and shows them what they need to improve.

3. Find the best local housekeepers

A Google search won’t suffice here. It’s important to read reviews and hear from other satisfied homeowners. So, scour review sites such as Yelp or Trustpilot. Or, go to other vacation homeowners and ask for recommendations.

With Vacasa, you’ll have some of the best cleaning professionals working on your home. We invest a ton of time and money to hire, train, and manage our housekeepers. Meet some of our housekeepers and get their favorite cleaning tips here.

Vacation rental with flamingo wall paper

4. Do your own quality assurance

Even one negative review can hurt your business. Avoid being caught by surprise by a negative review complaining that your vacation home was dirty. If your house cleaner isn’t meeting your standards, it’s best to know ahead of time so you can solve the issue before it impacts your reviews.

Some suggestions:

  • Hand your housekeepers a cleaning checklist to make sure your vacation home is consistently cleaned and prepared the same way, each time.
  • Ask your housekeeper to send photos after they’ve finished. At Vacasa, homeowners have access to photos of their latest house cleaning.
  • Hire a full-service vacation rental property manager—like Vacasa—who ensures that homes are thoroughly clean to our standards before each guest checks in.

Vacation rental owners will find more success and get better reviews if their homes are as clean as (if not cleaner than) hotels. By hiring quality cleaning professionals who will go above and beyond, you’re investing in your future revenue and repeat guests.

Vacation rental housekeeping FAQ

Vacation rental cleaners should do more than clean. They are essentially responsible for preparing your home—and making it feel fresh and pristine—for the next guests. This includes:

  • stocking the home with the essentials (hand soap, paper towels, garbage bags, and more)
  • vacuuming every rug and carpet
  • wiping down all surfaces, including windows
  • placing clean linens on every bed
  • making sure everything is where it’s supposed to be

Vacasa housekeepers go even further. They’ll confirm Wifi is working, refill propane in any outdoor grills, heat the hot tub to the proper temperatures, and more.

No, Airbnb does not offer housekeeping. Airbnb serves primarily as a marketing channel. Once you post your home on their platform, you’re responsible for everything else—including cleaning (which Vacasa takes care of as part of their full-service property management). Airbnb allows you to charge a cleaning fee to your guests to cover the costs.

Vrbo allows homeowners to charge their own vacation rental cleaning fees to their guests. However, they recommend keeping total fees less than 50% of your nightly rate so the extra costs don’t repel potential guests.

At Vacasa, we charge guests a cleaning fee that is specific to your property, the number of rooms, and location. After all, the cost to clean a one-bedroom beach condo is generally less expensive (and less time-consuming) than cleaning a four-bedroom alpine home.

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Vacasa offers property management and other real estate services directly through Vacasa LLC and through Vacasa LLC's licensed subsidiaries. Click here for more information about Vacasa's licensed real estate brokerage/property manager in your state. Vacasa’s licensed real estate brokerages/property managers include: Vacasa Alabama LLC; Vacasa Arizona LLC; Vacasa of Arkansas LLC; Vacasa Colorado LLC (Micah Victory); Vacasa Delaware LLC, 302-541-8999; Vacasa Florida LLC; Vacasa Illinois LLC 481.014072, Micah Victory Managing Broker Lic# 471.021837; Vacasa Louisiana LLC, Dana MacCord, Principal Broker, ph 504.252.0155 (Licensed in LA); Vacasa Michigan LLC, 602-330-9934; Vacasa Missouri LLC, Vicki Lyn Brown, Designated Broker; Vacasa Nevada LLC; Vacasa New Hampshire LLC,45 NH-25, Meredith, NH 03253, Susan Scanlon, Broker of Record; Vacasa Minnesota, Broker: Micah Victory, license #40877637; Vacasa New Mexico LLC, 503-345-9399; Vacasa New York LLC, 888-433-0068, Susan Scanlon, Real Estate Broker; Vacasa North Carolina LLC; Vacasa Oregon LLC; Vacasa Pennsylvania LLC; Vacation Palm Springs Real Estate, Inc., California DRE #01523013, Mark Graham, California DRE #00700720; Vacasa Real Estate LLC (licensed in Texas, Debra Brock, Designated Broker); Vacasa Real Estate LLC (licensed in Washington, Robert Brush, Designated Broker); Vacasa Seasonals Inc., California DRE #02160171, Lisa Renee Stevens, California DRE #01485234; Vacasa South Carolina LLC; Vacasa South Dakota LLC; Vacasa Tennessee LLC; Vacasa Vacation Rentals of Hawaii LLC, 69-201 Waikoloa Beach Dr. Ste. #2F17, Waikoloa, HI 96738; Vacasa Vacation Rentals of Montana LLC, Terah M. Young, Licensed Property Manager; Vacasa Virginia LLC; Vacasa Wisconsin LLC; Vacasa Wyoming LLC. In Canada, this advertisement is provided by Vacasa Canada ULC, CPBC lic. number 75826, 172 Asher Rd. V1X 3H6 Kelowna, BC.