Property Management Blueprint

Getting the right person to handle changeovers and routine maintenance may seem easy.  After all, isn’t is just about hiring the first person who comes with great references from their other clients, is competitively priced and is knowledgeable about what you want them to do?  On face value this seems to be a good benchmark to work from and is the way most owners go about employing a property management team or individual.  This can bring you a trustworthy and competent person who will probably do a great job but you also want someone who understands the nature of the hospitality industry and how essential it is to respect and value the guests who come and go.  Doing a good clean may not be sufficient in the overall picture – having an appreciation of the business of vacation rentals is equally important.

Lay out the ground rules
Taking time to train a property manager or cleaner is well worth the effort.  Unless your team is already handling other vacation rental properties, they may not  understand the wide variations possible in a newly vacated property.  If you don’t lay out ground rules you may get phone calls letting you know what ‘a mess they left’, or giving details of every infraction they perceive your guests committed.   Your PM may be unsure of how much you want to know or hear about, so it’s important you sit him/her down and be clear on your expectations.
Here are some suggestions on setting out your primary goals for a changeover and what you could say to your new caretaker/cleaner:
  • Unless the property is left in an extremely poor state that requires you to do extra work to bring it back to a rental-ready condition, you do not need to let me know.  One of the reasons to hire a property manager is to reduce stress so it’s unnecessary to tell me your thoughts on the character of the departing guests. 
  • Our guests pay well to rent the property so they deserve your attention to detail.  They will open every cupboard and drawer and will notice anything that is neglected on a changeover.  If a previous guest has inadvertently left something in a bedside drawer or under the bed you can be assured that the next clients will find it. 
  • When guests are on vacation they are not as concerned over attention to detail as I want you to be.  They may put an unwashed coffee mug back in a cupboard, or pile clean towels on top of used ones.  They won’t be thinking about the consequences for the next guests if this goes unnoticed. Everything on the checklist needs to be checked on every changeover – no exceptions.
  • Doing a changeover on a rental property is not the same as cleaning a home for the homeowner who can pre-brief you on what needs to be done.  Guests who have just left may have had little time to tidy up before they depart.
  • Our guests are valued because they pay for your services.  Even if their standards don’t match up to mine or yours, we don’t judge them in any way – we may simply choose not to accept their rental fees a second time. 
  • We are in the business of hospitality as we serve the travelling public.  We want to be seen as great hosts, so first impressions are of vital importance.  Take some time before you leave the property after a changeover and walk in as you would if you were a new guest.  Does it feel welcoming?  Is there a fresh smell?  If you had just arrived on vacation, what is the first thing you notice?  Is there anything you could do to make it more perfect?
The ideal is for your service providers to be loyal not only to you, but to your guests as well.  They are on the front line so may notice deficiencies in the property that are not as apparent to you since you are not there as much.  They are your ears and eyes on the property and can be one of your most valuable assets if you train them well.