Avoid Negative Trip Advisor Reviews With A Simple Changeover Checklist

lost_remote_control Every so often I spend an hour or so reading reviews on Flipkey and Trip Advisor and look at what vacation rental clients are griping about. We can learn so much by these reviews if we use them as a research resource to educate and inform on what we could be doing better. Many of the issues guests raise are those that could be avoided easily by giving more attention to detail on changeover – here’s a few examples:

“we would have liked to take the canoe out but one of the paddles was broken”

“the satellite TV wasn’t working and we couldn’t find the remote”

“ the place just wasn’t clean – there were crumbs under the table and a casserole dish half full of dried on food in the oven”

“ It was dark when we arrived and there were no lights on and the key was not where it was supposed to be ”

“We weren’t impressed by finding a condom wrapper under the bed as well as a lot of tissues.  It didn’t look like it had been cleaned under there for quite a time”

“We were told the hot tub would be ready for us, but the temperature was set to 85F – the owner said he had forgotten to turn it up”

“ There were several light bulbs burnt out and we had to go out and buy new ones”

Every one of these complaints (and hundreds of others I have come across) could have been avoided by using a checklist on changeover, or providing your cleaning team with one. Basic stuff such as cleanliness should never be an issue but things do get missed, so a detailed list of changeover activities with a set of tick boxes is invaluable. 

Next time you do a changeover make a list of all the things you do as standard, and all the things you check – such as turning every lamp on, making sure nothing has been left inside the oven, and that the coffee maker is clean.  Categorise the list into room by room sections and add tick boxes so you can mark off that everything has been done. The time taken getting this right and covering every potential issue will be rewarded by positive reviews and much happier guests.

Image by Jaqian on Flickr

Marta Zuflacht

Great advice! We have a vacation home that is shared between 4 families (the “original” hideaway), some of us with young kids. We have a checklist that is extremely helpful to ensure that the place stays clean and organized and ready for the next family. We are definitely going to make one for our vacation rental, as well.

    Heather Bayer

    It’s so easy to miss something simple like checking inside dresser drawers for articles of clothing left behind, or even more personal items left in bedside drawers – something I heard of recently. We visited Texas hill country for the first time last month and loved it. You live in a beautiful area.


Yikes, if I encountered many of those situations, I would not be happy. But the issue of the light bulbs is more a supply than check list one. A bulb can burn out in a split second and owners should keep supplies in their properties. Overall, good advice worth heeding!


Before every guest arrives I do a quick walk through. Check all the appliances from a visitors point of view this is the least I can do. When installing lights I try to pick ones that use the same bulb type. It’s always good I think, to consider your paying guest to be exactly that. Paying and a guest. We all work hard to get them and must work harder to keep them. The advice in this article was most helpful.

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