Guests criticising vacation rentals

What Guests Hate about Vacation Rentals and How to Change It

As a vacation rental owner, you might be mystified to hear that some people don’t like short-term rentals. Be it bad experiences or misinformation, potential guests that dislike vacation rentals are just a step away from becoming your next reservation if handled correctly.

There’s always been much debate about which stay is superior, vacation rentals or hotels, since the dawn of alternative accommodations. Converting hotel fans into vacation rental guests isn’t that difficult when you know how to target said audience.

If you’re looking to get more bookings, expand your scope into the hospitality industry at large and get ready to draw in hotel enthusiasts. The benefits of a vacation rental can far outweigh those of a hotel stay. All that’s left to do is convince them!

What do guests hate about vacation rentals?

It can be more than disheartening to hear that some people hate vacation rentals. More often than not, that can be read as they don’t actually know about vacation rentals. One of the biggest steps to converting clients is informing them. If guests typically opt for a hotel, it’s your job to educate them on why a vacation rental will fit their needs and surpass their accommodation expectations. We’ve outlined the most common reasons guests book a hotel instead of a vacation rental and what you can do to change their minds. 


The biggest misconception about vacation rentals? Cleanliness. There’s this common misbelief that, with hotels’ standardized, white sheets and large cleaning staff, their sanitary measures are superior to those of vacation rentals. Many people within the hospitality industry know that daily housekeeping doesn’t necessarily equate to cleanliness. Still, on the outside looking in, hotels seem to be the cleanest option as a result. Further, many guests still see vacation rentals as just staying in someone’s home, further highlighting the importance of showing guests that your vacation rental is a professional accommodation. But how exactly do you debunk this myth that hotels are cleaner than vacation rentals?

hotels vs vacation rentals

Use cleaning services

Guests expect you to hold your vacation rental to a higher standard of cleanliness than your own house. With that said, it should be professionals cleaning the property, not you. Fortunately, there are many easy ways to find the right cleaning services for you. In today’s day in age, with a couple of taps on your screen, you can hire staff on vacation rental cleaning apps. Letting guests know that you use a professional service for cleaning or having a price breakdown of charges and highlighting the cleaning fee will help them to see you’re on par with the hotel cleaning standards.

Display covid and sanitary badges

During the height of the pandemic, vacation rentals had a leg up in terms of sanitary practices. With fewer guest turnover and more hands-off check-in practices, guests felt that vacation rentals came out ahead in terms of cleanliness and pandemic preparedness.

If your vacation rental follows more thorough cleaning practices and adheres to guidelines such as the CDC or local tourism board cleaning initiatives, you should be proudly displaying these on your website. Adding cleaning and sanitizing badges to your website gives a legitimate seal of protection for guests.

No concierge

At a hotel, you know what to expect. Check-in and check-out times are generally the same; most locations have a standard check-in counter, a bellhop for assistance, and a standardized practice for getting guests acquainted with their stay. While your property may not have a stand-alone location entirely dedicated to welcoming guests, there are some substitutes you can make for these concerns.

Concierge for vacation rentals

Emphasize the ease of automated check-in

What guests might think is an essential part of their travel experience can be transformed when introduced to better alternatives. Self-check-in is a great example of this. Being greeted by a concierge is nice, but having the freedom and flexibility to check in on your own is a next-level perk. If guests are unfamiliar with hands-off check-ins, this is a great opportunity to introduce them!

Implementing automated check-ins can be done in a number of ways. Using smart lock technology or a wifi door lock shows guests that your vacation rental is in tune with cutting-edge technology while also giving them the freedom to check-in at their ease.

You also need to make these check-ins feel personal, even if you’re miles away. Hotels promise a warm greeting the second you step foot on the property, which is harder to emulate when you’re not planning to physically be at the vacation rental upon their arrival. To counter this, consider implementing a vacation rental welcome book. It’s important that you properly greet your guests, even if it’s a virtual hello or a written, personalized welcome book.

Lack of staff

One thing guests dislike about vacation rentals is the lack of on-site services. Sure, you can drive to a spa, but there’s quite the allure in walking downstairs to a spa or wellness center. Many hotels have restaurants, masseuses, personal trainers, and more, all within the confines of the hotel property. Some travelers assume this luxury doesn’t or can’t translate over into the world of vacation rentals. It’s up to you to prove them wrong!

Offer packages

If you have the capacity to do so, you should try to customize your guests’ experiences as much as possible. In your pre-check-in communications, you should be asking what they like to do or any services they’d like to add to their trip.

Some vacation rental owners have decided to target certain audiences by offering packages. Vacation rental packages help you to offset some of the typical complaints guests might have while also luring in a certain clientele. For example, if you’re trying to attract wellness travelers, including yoga classes, a healthy in-house chef and masseuse will be sure to sway the naysayers while also increasing the value of your property.


Some guests assume that they can only get centrality and community at hotel accommodations. For the social butterflies, they fear that vacation rentals would be too isolating for them to meet other travelers and enjoy themselves. Vacation rentals can offer their own means of socializing and interacting with the community, but it’s up to you to facilitate that for your guests.

Disadvantages of vacation rentals

Add a neighborhood guide to your website

Your guests might prefer hotels because the social spaces are already built into the accommodation. With communal areas like pools, gyms, and lobbies, hotels include areas for interacting with other guests. A single-unit vacation rental has the advantage of privacy, but naturally, there are downsides. You might not have social spaces on-site, but you can still introduce your guests to the areas around town where they can mingle with other travelers.

Including a neighborhood guide on your vacation rental website is going to introduce your guests to the area and get them excited for their stay. Familiarize them with your favorite bars, restaurants, clubs, and activities around town. By shaping a better experience for them beyond the property itself, you help to ensure that they return next year.


Not every traveler is going to be a client, but there are still steps you can take to debunk the misbeliefs surrounding vacation rentals to try to convert some of the vacation rental cynics. Some reasons that guests hate vacation rentals are just assumptions that need clarifying. By emphasizing the highlights and alternatives that your vacation home has to offer, you can convert the skeptics into short-term rental fanatics.

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