First appearances are everything in vacation rentals, so wowing your guests from the moment they walk through the door is important and sets the tone for the rest of their stay.
That’s why we recommend you use a Standard Property Appearance (SPA) document to ensure any cleaners or housekeepers who prep your rental property for the next set of guests know exactly how to add those special finishing touches that make all the difference between a so-so and a five-star guest experience.
Just put yourself in your guests’ shoes and think of the little details you love when you arrive at a vacation rental property, for example, a vase of fresh flowers in the entrance hall, gleaming floors and kitchen counters, cutlery and crockery displayed in an orderly way, fresh firewood neatly stacked in the fireplace, or top quality toiletries in the bathrooms.
The purpose of a Standard Property Appearance (SPA) checklist is to ensure the housekeeping team knows exactly what to do in every room to meet your appearance standards. This way nothing can be lost in translation and everyone is on the same page.
It is usually a written or printed document or folder that sets out the exact standards of appearance you expect from housekeepers, cleaners or a cleaning company who prepare the vacation rental property for the next set of guests. The more detailed, the better.
It is even advisable to include photographs for each room of the house to show exactly how you expect the linen to be folded or the kitchen appliances to be displayed, for example.
Why do you need a Standard Property Appearance guide?
It’s fair to say that you don’t strictly need a SPA for vacation rentals, as we’re not talking about a legal document. However, SPAs are commonly used in hotels and are also catching on in the vacation rental industry as an efficient way to better organize and set standards for the cleaning of your property.
Even if you have only one rental, you may find it easier, in the long run, to have this type of document as a reference when briefing a new cleaner or housekeeping team for the first time.
It not only ensures consistency in standards of appearance but also signals professionalism and reduces the risk of misunderstandings.
The appearance guidelines will depend on your personal style and preferences and the type of rental you own. For example, if you own a luxury vacation rental, the SPA will most likely have additional details not featured in the housekeeping guidelines for a run-of-the-mill property.
Although one size does not fit all, the SPA would typically cover some of the elements described in our post below. You can also download our FREE Standard Property Appearance template to use as a starting point to help you create your own bespoke SPA.
This is where you welcome guests and give them that first glimpse of what they can expect for the rest of their stay. Now is the time to wow them, so be sure to tell the housekeepers to pay special attention to this area.
Pay attention to light, fresh air and the right temperature, as well as nice touches such as a vase of freshly cut flowers, or a welcome book in this area.
Rules for the living room – make yourself at home
Comfort with a capital C. That’s what we are talking about here. Your guests need to feel totally at home, imagining themselves flopping down on the sofa to watch a movie or enjoying a glass of wine in a romantic candlelight setting.
Maybe you want the housekeeper to stack some logs next to the fireplace inviting guests to make a fire on a chilly night or open the door to the patio or balcony for some natural light and to encourage guests to step outside during the summer months.
Otherwise, keep clutter to a minimum, so instruct the housekeeper to throw out outdated magazines and newspapers and store away any games, DVDs or other paraphernalia.
Paying attention to the temperature, in other words setting the air conditioner to a comfortable temperature for when guests arrive and ensuring the room is aired, is another good rule to bear in mind.
Rules for the kitchen – the heart of the home
The kitchen is where friends and family gather to prep joined meals together. There is nothing more inviting than a gleaming, well-organized kitchen with quality appliances to make your guests feel like getting creative in the kitchen, even on their holiday. A recipe stand with some modern cookbooks, for example, could add a nice touch.
Cleaning products should be stowed away neatly and safely, out of the reach of small children and pets, and used sponges or cloths, for example, should be discarded and replaced with new ones. Also, for example, instruct cleaners or housekeepers to replace any chipped plates or glasses, and to keep cutlery neatly organized in the drawers provided.
Perhaps you instruct the housekeeper to leave a welcome pack or a welcome basket stocked with lovely local goodies for your guests on the kitchen table, accompanied by a welcome note.
Rules for the bedroom – best night’s sleep
Lie-ins and a good night’s sleep are vital ingredients for a great holiday, so this is one of the most important areas when it comes to housekeeping finesse.
Spell out exactly how the beds should be made, which linen should be used, how many pillows per bed and how to fold extra blankets to ensure the housekeeper knows exactly what is expected.
Natural light is important, so ensure the blinds are open when your guests first arrive and that the temperature is not too hot or too cold. Keep clutter to a minimum.
Rules for the bathroom – Keeping it clean and simple
The state of the bathroom tells you everything about a property. Guidelines for this area could include how you want the towels to be displayed, how the toilet rolls should be presented and details about cleaning and the refilling of toiletries.
Rules related to signs for guests – Get the message across
If you have instruction signs for guests, for example, about how to operate the air conditioner or for using the hot tub, you could tell the housekeeper to ensure they are in the right place and to inform you when they need to be replaced
Now create your own Standard Property Appearance checklist
Download our free Standard Property Appearance checklist guide for more inspiration on what to include in your own guidelines. Your guests are sure to notice the attention to detail and this will contribute to them having a great experience at your rental property.
Ready to take more direct bookings?
No set up fees, no credit card details, no obligation. Try Lodgify free for 7 days.