Vacation rental housekeeping tips for remote owners

How to manage housekeepers and keep a spotless vacation home

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Every guest can agree: No matter how beautiful your vacation rental, trendy your decor, or picturesque the setting—a dirty home can spoil a vacation right on arrival. Not to mention, it can ruin any chance of a repeat booking or a glowing review.

Data backs that up as well. Countless hospitality industry surveys find that cleanliness is always a top priority for travelers when choosing where to stay.

The lesson here? Finding, keeping, and managing a reliable housekeeper is vital to your success. This is especially true when you manage your vacation rental remotely.

Use these tips to manage your housekeepers (whether you live around the corner or across the country) and keep your short-term rental spotless all year long.

Bedroom of vacation home designed by Vacasa Home Interiors Program

1. Strive to make your vacation rental as clean as a hotel

There’s clean. And then there’s extraordinarily clean—the kind that hotels and resorts are known for. This is the level of pristine that today’s travelers expect (no, demand)—whether at a five-star resort, cozy mountain cabin, or beachfront house.

So take a cue from a hotel’s housekeeping. The pandemic has made everyone even more aware of cleanliness. To guests, a clean vacation home is a safe and sanitized space. And, they’ll be quick to complain if vacation rentals don’t meet their standards. Vacasa housekeepers are trained in our thorough four-step cleaning process and adhere to our Vacasa Premium Clean standards.

2. Know where to go to find a quality, local housekeeper

Sure, a Google search will yield a ton of results. But to find the best housekeeping staff in the area, consider looking at review sites such as Yelp or Trustpilot. Or, turn to local sites such as Nextdoor to get recommendations from the neighbors. Another smart idea—ask fellow homeowners with vacation rentals in the area.

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.

Modern vacation rental management.

Your home is a success waiting to happen. We'll show you how.

3. 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. The benefits alone will help you sleep better at night. Licensed Airbnb 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.

Can handle your vacation rental’s special needs

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, they double check that TVs and appliances are working, set out the remote controls, and even test WiFi speeds.

Flexibility

Address their availability right away. Vacation rental housekeepers have to be able to accommodate late check-outs and early check-ins.

Accountability and reliability

These are the most vital traits to look for. A lot rides on your housekeeping staff—the guests’ experience, your reviews, and your future bookings. Your house cleaning team is essential to your success.

clean white kitchen with blue accents

4. Provide housekeepers with a cleaning checklist

When managing your vacation rental housekeepers, make sure they know your (and your guests’) benchmark for cleanliness. Even better—hand them a checklist to make sure your home is cleaned and prepared consistently the same way, each time.

Use Vacasa’s ultimate vacation rental cleaning checklist to break down room-by-room cleaning tasks.

5. Make sure your housekeeper is meeting cleaning standards

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 ideal to know that ahead of time so you can solve the issue before it impacts your reviews.

Some suggestions:

  • Arrange a trial run (when you don’t have guests checking in) so you can review the housekeeper’s work.
  • Ask your housekeeper to send photos after they’ve finished cleaning. (Of course, this won’t show crumbs or dust left behind, so in-person inspections are still always best.)
  • 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 with flamingo wall paper

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 vacuuming every rug and carpet, wiping down all surfaces, placing clean linens on every bed, and making sure everything is where it’s supposed to be. (Help them establish a consistent routine by following a vacation rental cleaning checklist).

Our housekeepers at Vacasa 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.

Get top cleaning tips from Vacasa housekeepers >

No, Airbnb does not offer housekeeping. Airbnb is one of the most popular vacation rental sites around, however they serve primarily as a marketing channel. Once you post your home on their platform, you are still responsible for everything else—managing your reservations, assisting guests, maintenance, and cleaning (all things that Vacasa takes care of as part of their full-service property management). Many Airbnb hosts choose to clean their own home (if they have the time and skillset) or hire a professional house cleaner. 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 will charge guests a cleaning that is specific for your property, the number of rooms, and location. Afterall, 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 Colorado LLC (Mark Graham); Vacasa Delaware LLC, 302-541-8999; Vacasa Florida LLC; Vacasa Louisiana LLC, Dana MacCord, Principal Broker, ph 504.252.0155 (Licensed in LA); Vacasa Michigan LLC, 947-800-5979; Vacasa Missouri LLC, Susan Scanlon, Designated Broker; Vacasa Nevada LLC; Vacasa New Hampshire LLC, P.O. Box 283, Conway NH 03818, Dave Grant, Broker of Record; Vacasa New Mexico LLC, 503-345-9399; Vacasa New York LLC, 888-433-0068, Susan E. Scanlon, Real Estate Broker; Vacasa North Carolina LLC; Vacasa Pennsylvania LLC; Vacasa Real Estate Corporation, California DRE #02105811, Joseph Czapkowicz, California DRE #01380722; Vacation Palm Springs Real Estate, Inc., California DRE #01523013, Joseph Czapkowicz, California DRE #01380722; Vacasa Real Estate LLC (licensed in Colorado, Daned Kirkham); Vacasa Real Estate LLC (licensed in Idaho, Oregon, and Utah); Vacasa Real Estate LLC (licensed in Maine, Michael McNaboe, Designated Broker); 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, 3350 Lower Honoapiilani Road, Suite 600, Lahaina, HI 96761; 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.