15 Tips for Fall and Winter Tasks for Vacation Rental Properties

winter_checklistNow the busy season is over for most of us (winter hot spots just ramping up) take stock of the wear and tear of a long summer of rental and spend some time do all those things that tend to get set aside with the busy period of regular changeovers.  Here’s just a few tasks to freshen up the place and make it ready for the festive season.

  1. Update the welcome guide – replace any pages that have become dog-eared and worn.  Think about a winter project to make it a really comprehensive information pack, or create an online version to put on an iPad.
  2. Refresh tourist info – replace all the out of date summer literature and brochures with the new season’s material.
  3. Check smoke and carbon monoxide alarms – we usually change the batteries twice a year when the clocks change to and from daylight savings time.
  4. Tidy all board games – check for pieces, replenish  note pads and pencils, make sure all dice are in place, and replace any games that have seen better days.
  5. Check and change all pillows if required – using pillow protectors will give pillows a longer life but after a lot of use they will get flat and uncomfortable.  Replace before they begin to look as if they need replacing.
  6. Change out lighter summer bedding with cosier options – swap out light comforters with goose down duvets and new covers.
  7. Clear out the junk drawer – it’s amazing how much junk collects over a summer of rentals.
  8. Take rodent precautions – If the property is likely to be empty for any period of time, take steps to ensure that non-paying guests don’t take up residence.  Check out this Wiki How article for tips of keeping your home free from rodents.
  9. Rewash plates and glasses – when was the last time you checked the bottom plates in a pile in the cupboard.  Would you know if someone had put back a dirty plate?
  10. Replace worn table linens – Is it time to buy new napkins or place mats?  With Thanksgiving coming up, it’s a great time to ring the changes and redo the décor.
  11. Copy all testimonials from guest book – these can be used on your website and marketing literature.  Make sure you’ve acted on any suggestions your guests have made.
  12. Check and replace utensils where required – vacation rentals are often parodied for their rusty can openers and blunt knives; make sure yours doesn’t fall into that stereotype.
  13. Refresh complimentary food items – such as herbs and spices, coffee and tea.  These go stale over time so need to be regularly replaced.
  14. Replenish stocks of light bulbs, batteries and fuses –  these become depleted over a busy season of rental so make sure that guests haven’t put old/used items back in the place where they got the replacements.
  15. Check flashlight batteries – when was the last time you did that?

What else should we be doing at this time of year?  Is there something I’ve missed?  Please share the tasks you do that I haven’t included on this list – let’s add some more!