Some years ago when I was sourcing properties for marketing to our UK clients, I viewed a cottage on Kennisis Lake in the Haliburton Highlands. The owners showed me around their slightly messy property and then said it would be the last time they would be there for the summer since it was fully rented. I asked who did the changeovers and was completely taken aback by their response.
‘We'll be back in early September', the owner said; ‘we expect our guests to leave the cottage clean and tidy for the next group of guests, so we don't need to keep running up there every week'.
I was shocked then, and even more so now I've had a lot of experience in the different standards rental guests have when it comes to departing our cottage. At times I can walk into the place and honestly wonder if anyone was actually there during the previous week. And then, there are the occasions where I spend a couple of hours cleaning and tidying up after a less than diligent family has left.
Here are some reasons for adopting a good changeover schedule:
Checking for damage
Unless there is a thorough between-rental check, how will you know if there is any claim to make on the damage deposit? The only way would be to receive a call from incoming guests to report an issue but even then, you could not know which of the previous guests to charge if something is broken or beyond repair.
Replenishing cleaning materials
Renters will find any excuse not to clean before they leave a cottage, and lack of cleaning supplies is a common one. This can then become a downward spiral as each set of guests leaves the cottage ‘in the same condition as it was found'. Cleaning materials must be checked and replaced for the start of each new rental.
Carrying out general maintenance
Without a weekly check of interior and exterior aspects of the cottage, issues may arise that will open an owner to complaints or even liability claims. A broken deck step; missing oars; torn screens; light bulb replacement, are just a few of the things that may require attention.
Managing bedding hygiene
Many owners don't consider that comforters or bedspreads require laundering after every rental use, however, they do need regular inspections for stains or soiling of any nature and replaced when required. Pillows sometimes need to be replaced during a season, and blankets benefit from a regular wash and freshen up.
Topping up paper supplies
Guests expect to have some paper products supplied for them. Paper towels, bathroom tissue, coffee filters etc. Imagine driving that last 15 minutes down the cottage road at 10 pm then finding that someone forgot to pack the toilet paper! So, the changeover schedule should include at least a get-you-in pack of paper products.
I would be highly surprised to find any responsible vacation rental owner who doesn't have their property checked between rentals. But for those who don't think it's necessary, please think again and give your rental guests some respect for the money they have spent to rent your property.