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7 Oct 2023
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Property Management

Good vacation rental managers in Breckenridge know that maintaining properties in organized and clear condition is essential for success.

 The stats don't lie: cleanliness is a key aspect that guarantees (or ruins) guest satisfaction and brings in good reviews.

 So, keep things tidy. Pretty straightforward, right?

 Not exactly.

 Cleaning and mintaining a vacation rental is very different from doing the same within your own home. For one, you have a high turnover of guests, demanding more frequent cleaning. On top of this, you only have a limited time to clean the space — after one guest checks out and before another checks in.

 Think this is probably the same as doing the same with a hotel?

 Still not quite.

 Different from conventional hotels, short-term rentals have more spaces such as kitchens, dining rooms, and outdoor areas, as well as unique features and amenities that demand specific procedures for cleaning and maintenance.

 At Great Western Lodging, we master all the differences and excel in keeping things always clean and tidy, something that guarantees a high level of satisfaction and great reviews from our guests.

 In this blog, we'll share nine strategies to excel in cleaning and maintenance as a host in Breckenridge, CO.

 Ready to see how the cleaning magic happens?

1. Understand the distinctions between routine cleaning and deep cleaning.

We all want things to be as clean as possible, but having a deep clean every time a guest leaves is not feasible; you should opt for routine cleaning instead.

Let's understand the difference:


  • Routine cleaning

    Routine cleaning is much more practical and lightweight. It ensures the most visible aspects of your vacation rental look clean, just like in your listing pictures. Still, you cannot neglect important duties such as dusting, vacuuming, and mopping.

    It is, of course, also necessary to replace bed linens and towels, as well as sanitize different surfaces such as countertops, sinks, and appliances. Cleaning the bathroom with a watchful eye is also crucial. Tasks for this one include disinfecting toilets, showers, bathtubs, mirrors, and any other necessary areas.

    Your biggest enemy? Hair.

    It's very important that your cleaners focus on hair removal. A good way to go about it is to provide them with sticky rollers. 


Another important point is that your staff should notice if there are any missing or damaged items and double-check the supplies of amenities like plates, cups, and so on. If anything is missing, they should report to you.


  • Deep cleaning

    Deep cleaning, on the other hand, should happen once or twice a year. In other words: this is the time for heavy lifting.

    Tasks include cleaning under heavy appliances and furniture, dusting all the blinds and fans, checking walls and ceilings for cobwebs, and treating the wood, among other things.

Riverbend Lodge

As much as we want everything to be as spotless as possible, it's impossible in this business to conduct a deep clean every time a guest checks out. Instead, you should opt for a high-quality routine clean. Pictured: Riverbend Lodge.


2. Leave cleaning to the pros.

Thinking about taking care of the cleaning yourself? Think twice.

Cleaning is not an easy task; in fact, it's a highly complex one that requires experience and aptitude, so it's a better idea to leave it to the pros.

At Great Western Lodging, we rely on the trusted services of professional cleaning companies with professionals who have a trained eye and the skills to ensure your rental is spotless.

Not only that, but we also make sure our in-house inspectors check the quality of their work regularly, all to maintain a rating that's at a minimum of 4.9 stars across all properties we manage.

3. Make your cleaning staff feel valued.

As long-time professional property managers in Colorado, we recognize that our cleaning staff is one of the main pillars of our success.

For that reason, we always want them to feel valued and appreciated, like any other employee in our firm, and we make sure that they realize how important they are in the great scheme of things.

A good practice in this industry, if your demand allows, is to block check-ins during major holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving. This will give more time for your cleaning staff to spend with their families on special dates. It's a small gesture that they'll surely appreciate.



4. Give feedback and listen to your team.

You know what they say - "Feedback is the breakfast of champions." That's why we strongly suggest incorporating feedback into your cleaning routine. We've learned from experience that when you give detailed feedback to your team, you not only get better results but also boost their motivation and self-improvement aspirations. This is the basis for good collaboration.

Still, remember: both parties should participate in this exchange, which means you should also listen to your staff. After all, they are the experts in what they do, aren't they?

Pro tip: At GWL, we like to hold weekly meetings with members of the cleaning crew to discuss several topics and important points. We are always surprised at the information they bring, which can include the most inventive cleaning hacks.


5. Involve your guests in streamlining the cleaning process.

Speaking of cleaning hacks, one interesting thing we've learned is that if you leave cleaning supplies at hand for guests to use when they stay at your rental, they're likely to use them. This means less work for your cleaning staff and fewer hours dedicated to cleaning.

Think about leaving items like sponges, detergent pods, and even extra garbage bins so that they can clean up and remove the trash before leaving the property.

 Another cleaning hack is to straight-up define cleaning rules to be followed by guests every time before check-out, such as removing any food waste from the fridge and washing all the dishes. Most of them will follow the rules and, voluntarily or not, give an extra hand to your cleaning crew.

If you want to make things a little less subtle, you can provide guests with a simple cleaning checklist in a polite message before they leave, and that will improve the chances of your staff finding the place in a better state. 

You can also ask your guests to notify you as soon as they check out, so you can immediately let your cleaners know the cabin is ready for them to work their magic. Most of them will appreciate being able to speed up their cleaning schedule and once again you'll make them feel valued.


6. Provide cleaning lists and guidelines to your staff.

Another cleaning hack that works like a charm? Arm your cleaning staff with task lists and guidelines that clearly outline your expectations.

Checklists and guidelines can define a specific order for the cleaning routine, as well as outline mandatory steps to follow. You can even create separate checklists, like one list for small things that often go overlooked, such as wiping inside the fridges and microwaves and removing strands of hair from shower drains, and another list for more complex tasks.

With complex tasks, it's also a great idea to include photographs or other types of visual instructions to decrease the chances of errors. Nowadays, with online guides, you can even include links for videos. 

Like everyone else, cleaners usually perform their jobs with their phones in their pockets, and leveraging this can deliver better results.

7. Consider buying cleaning supplies in bulk.

As we mentioned before, vacation rental properties demand a lot more cleaning than a regular household – and they demand even more cleaning than a hotel room. This means the consumption of cleaning products will be much higher.

That's why at Great Western Lodging, we like to buy these crucial items in bulk at discounted prices, a practice that saves us time and money.

Some retailers will even save your info on their websites if you create an account and let you reorder the same products again when the time comes with a simple click.

Having a stock full of cleaning products also means you can react to any cleaning needs as soon as they arise. Being fast at solving issues in the vacation rental business is something that always earns a host many good reviews.


8. Bet on preventive maintenance.

Keeping your vacation rental in good shape doesn't only mean cleaning; maintenance is another important aspect of it. We, for one, prefer the path of preventive maintenance instead of reactive maintenance.

What does this mean exactly?

It means taking a proactive attitude with regular inspections and repairs to take care of potential issues before they happen and, more importantly, before they become major and costly problems.

This strategy goes from the small things, like changing the batteries of smart locks and smoke detectors often, to undertaking pest control and scheduling dates for professional inspections in your rental. Keep in mind that a yearly fire safety inspection is also a must. Preventive maintenance is also about safety.


The Breck Escape

Embracing preventive maintenance is a great strategy to take care of potential issues before they happen and, more importantly, before they become major and costly problems. Pictured: The Breck Escape.


9. Embrace tech.


Believe it or not, technology can be a great helping hand with cleaning and maintaining properties. There are many solutions out there that help you double-check if tasks are actually being completed and ensure efficiency. 

For instance, most Property Management Systems (PMS) include interfaces for cleaners to check schedules.

By using task management tools, you can schedule reminders for crucial maintenance and upkeep activities, and you have the option to select fixed intervals or set an alarm for a specific number of guest stays. Tech can also help with managing schedules, defining tasks, and communicating with the workforce.

It usually makes sense to have your cleaning management system tied directly to your calendar system and to have a user-friendly mechanism for cleaning staff to stay in the loop.

Property managers can take the weight off your shoulders when it comes to cleaning and maintenance.

Thinking this all sounds like too much to take care of on a daily basis? 

Well, we won't sugarcoat it, it is!

But hey, there's help out there.

At Great Western Lodging, we've been taking care of cleaning and maintenance for so long that we have all the necessary systems in place to keep everything spotless as it needs to be at all times.

Besides, we have property inspectors on our payroll whose only task is to guarantee that our properties are spotless and to provide quality feedback to our cleaning staff.


The results? Great reviews keep pouring in for our pristine properties — and for everything else.