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I have a free gift for you from a hospitality professional you can instantly download. (keep reading for the details)

Nothing acts like a guest repellent quite like poor housekeeping.

  • According to a white paper published by Emprise 97 % of people say cleanliness is the most important factor when booking accommodations.

Well that’s pretty much everybody! It does make me wonder about that other 3% though…

This is “The Big Deal Breaker” and why this discussion needs your attention.

It’s hard to bounce back from a damaging review of someone calling your home unkept or “dirty”.

Unfortunately all it takes is one oversight in housekeeping to generate such a negative review, even though you consider your vacation rental a “clean” property you’re not exempt from this problem. Today’s post is about helping you avoid that from happening to you.

This stat shows how repulsive the word dirty is; 90% of travelers avoid booking accommodations described as ‘dirty’ in a review.

Reviews that mention anything being dirty is off-putting, even something somewhat minor. The word dirty is the kryptonite to your listings.

Housekeeping issues can even create problems for you from guests who have not actually stayed with you yet, really?

Have you ever had a cancelled booking and wondered, why do they really want to cancel? Maybe it’s something they read.

  • 35% of travelers change their choice of hotel after browsing social media.

How well is your property maintained?

How good are your cleaners?

Have you ever received a less than positive comment from a guest related to your property maintenance or housekeeping?

Yes? No? It really doesn’t matter! What?

Yeah, the same study revealed that most guests who were unhappy with the cleanliness of an accommodation do not report it as a complaint, they just do not come back.

That means we’re often unaware when we have a cleanliness issue…big problem!

Ever thought to yourself, why am I not getting more return guests? Housekeeping could be an area you need to look at. Is your property manager properly maintaining your property (wow, say that 5 times fast)

How do we ever really know if guests are dissatisfied with our housekeeping or the maintenance of the property if guests wont tell us?

We could and should ask them by checking in with guests to make sure everything is well with their accommodations but that’s too late if there is an issue. The goal here is to prevent the issue from happening in the first place.

Have you ever visited your vacation rental and discovered areas that were missed by your housekeeper?

How much does that cost you in bookings? Not a big deal?

The study further explained cleanliness is more important than cost, service little perks and location.

So in other words travelers would prefer not to be treated as a valued guest, receive shoddy service, stay in an inconvenient location and pay more than they should and not have to deal with housekeeping issues.

Maybe you are aware that housekeeping is paramount to a successful vacation rental business but finding good help to manage and maintenance your rental property has become an almost overwhelming challenge. Is that you?

How many cleaners or property management companies have you hired and fired? I’m curious because it seems like a very common area of difficulty for owners. What’s your number 1, 2, 5 companies?

Now lets jump over to the flip-side, because cleanliness of accommodations is such a deal breaker for travelers, hospitality professionals strongly argue that excellent housekeeping can be leveraged to add value for guests.

We just discussed value being the secret ingredient to a successful vacation rental marketing campaign. We discovered how more value equals more bookings but maybe you didn’t equate housekeeping with value. I hope this blog has shed light on the topic. Here is another stat to drive it home.

  • Room cleanliness is the leading global driver of value in both Europe and the Americas for hoteliers ahead of other areas such as bed and furniture comfort, room lighting, internet access and a customer service focused attitude.

So how can you improve your vacation rental housekeeping, maintenance and well… all areas of your vacation rental business?

It starts with developing your brand and brand standards for your rental company. In a recent blog post I write about branding vacation rentals and how it is essential to making more bookings and developing independence in the vacation rental market.

The big answer here today that deals with these specific issues are protocols, procedures and systems. Do you have proper business procedures and systems in place?

Policies and protocols help us create a predictable and consistent guest experience that defines our vacation rental brand.

We all need to treat our vacation rentals like real businesses and having procedures and protocols are a crucial part of that.

If you don’t incorporate systems you’ll have cracks in your foundation. You wont be able to support the weight of new growth without something else always “breaking” or causing you problems. Sometimes to grow we have to fix a few things.

Today we want to give you some help to cement your foundation and improve your rental business, so your vacation rental company can not just grow but flourish.

That is why Anita Ericksen was generous enough to put together a housekeeping checklist for vacation rentals to help us all create service consistency, better brand value and retain more repeat guests.

Now you have a tool you can use to give to your housekeepers to work from. You also can use the checklist to grade your current housekeeper or property manager to gauge how well they are doing. Make sure you click the link above and get the free download.  A big thanks to Anita!

Here are a few highlights of high quality housekeeping.

Branding Marketing and Value!

  • Having a high level of cleaning standards will potentially boost your brand loyalty in guests and create more business from repeat guests.
  • High standards for housekeeping has proven to be a competitive differentiator that is critical for all accommodation types.
  • Boost in reviews – great housekeeping practices generate more reviews.

Housekeeping Tips For Vacation Rentals

  • Invest in quality cleaning products.
  • Hire a team, person or service that is aligned with your brand values.
  • In housekeeping there is no room for shortcuts be thorough
  • I’m now turning this over to you because you are the best person to ask for help. Please share what is working for you and what hasn’t in terms of housekeeping and property maintenance.


What are your best housekeeping tips? What have you learned?


  • Jay William says:

    A vacation home doesnt have to actually be dirty for travelers to not book it because of concerns of cleanliness. Its all about perception, if your photos are dreary, dark and fuzzy you could be labeled as questionable. Old tube TVs also make me instantly think outdated and outdated brings concerns of quality care. It makes me question the owner or managers willingness to spend money on the property upkeep.

    • Lynn Cranmer says:

      It was NOT easy getting this “TEAM”. We have had them work for us personally and found their good points…and gave them THAT job…. We are off the grid, in Mexico, all solar and a very green home. We do live on the property. It does make the renting easier! The 2 girls that work together both do different things, so I think that helps and there are no forgotten items. Not much gets past my eagle eye, so they know they have to do a good job. This is not easy for most people that do rent. I feel we are very lucky to be able to be on the property. Our team also knows that when we have back to backs ( super stressful) that we all work quickly for the next group.

      Another tip is to have several sets of sheets and towels. I take the laundry in and I ask them to put everything back in the color coded bag, so there is no question of what goes where for each room when I bring it back. That too was a learning curve…also I had to do this in SPANISH…I am still alive to tell about it. We enjoy our renters and have never had a big problem. Being on site does keep the party people calmed own…even though we dont mind and we encourage parties and mucho laughter…sometimes they even invite us!

  • Lynn Cranmer says:

    We have a rental on the beach and things do get dusty and dirty. This is what we do. We have a team, a gardener, window washers and patio/pool crew. Two girls. One is a great organizer , the other is the super cleaner. That works for us on a 3 bedroom/3 bath house. THEN…I go inspect and place flowers, wine, chocolate…and do the special things…if they have babies……I get the crib set up and have a baby basket of items that may be needed….etc toys for the kids…. People are tired when they get here. I make it easy and make it KNOWN, that everything has been clean and sterilized…if not come down to my office and it will be immediately taken care of…I have never had this happen in 4 years, All my commments have been in regards to our cleaniness and hospitality. All our bedding is top quality, along with the towels…they dont seem to care about the beach towels being of desinger quality. It is a homey feeling and we have done well and our guests are happy. I make sure everything is WORKING!

    • Jay William says:

      Hey Lynn, hats off to you! Keeping a beach property does indeed propose more housekeeping challenges. You’re on top of your game and going through great lengths to keep the place clean and guests happy. Awesome job!

      Looks like youve developed a team. Any advise on how you did that? Do you have any tools or resources that you use to help you manage that team?

      It sounds like you have an advantage of being close to the property. I wonder if its possible to achieve the level of cleanliness and guest sercvice when owners self manage afar?

  • Paul Parr says:

    Cleaning is our #1 target area and our #1 compliment from guests. 2nd is maintenance of facility including regular updates and again our 2nd largest compliment area from guests. A majority of our guests are returning guests.

    Too simple: Well maintained, constantly updated and high occupancy. There is no magic, no specials or gimmicks. We treat our guests like we like to be treated. We love and cater to the familiar smiling faces and make sure the unfamiliar become familiar.

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