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When guests leave: Vacation rental checklist for checkout

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As a vacation rental host, ensuring a smooth and efficient checkout process is crucial for both you and your departing guests. While it’s important to provide clear instructions to minimize any potential risks or costs to your property, it’s equally important to avoid overwhelming your guests with an extensive list of tasks on their way out. 

The primary goal of a checkout procedure is to maintain the safety and security of your vacation rental until your cleaning team can take over.

checklist for checkout

To make the checkout process hassle-free, you should provide a short checklist of procedures in a convenient location, such as your guest welcome book or pinned to the fridge. 

Additionally, sending an automated email with the checklist a few days before their departure can serve as a helpful reminder. By following these simple steps, you can ensure an efficient, undisruptive transition between guests and minimize any potential issues that could quickly turn into an operational nightmare.

Unsure where to start? Here are the essential items to include in your vacation rental checkout checklist. We’ll discuss the checklist overall, and go room-by-room to see the most important things you should be communicating to your guests.

The checklist

The checklist itself

First, be sure that you clearly specify the checkout time. You should also put your contact information somewhere on the list, so your guests can contact you with any questions they might have.

We recommend only asking your guests to do what is necessary to prevent damage to the property or major inconveniences for your cleaning team. 

After all, your guests are paying a cleaning fee, so interrupting their last moments of “vacation mode” to make them perform a deep clean will not leave them in a positive frame of mind when it comes to leaving a review or booking another vacation.

However, requesting that they perform simple, reasonable tasks to maintain your property’s integrity and assist your cleaning team is acceptable. The important question to ask is “Will my guests view this request as reasonable?”

Kitchen

Let’s start with perhaps the most important room in the house that needs a vacation rental checkout list. This room is the most likely to have perishables that attract bugs, bacteria, and general mold if things aren’t taken care of properly.

Here are some ideas for your vacation rental checkout list for the kitchen:

  • Small appliances – Is there anything that needs to be unplugged?
  • Explain what to do with kitchen sponges and dirty linens
  • Garbage disposal – only ask guests to dispose of garbage if it’s an excessive amount
  • Food and beverages – request that they don’t leave anything behind
  • Request that they dispose of used coffee pods and filters

Avoid asking your guests to empty the dishwasher, clean countertops or vacuum – those tasks should be left to your cleaning team.

Living areas

While these rooms are less likely to contain perishable items, they’re also likely to be the most used spaces. With this in mind – think about the level of service you are looking to provide. Guests at a high-end luxury villa may be frustrated by some of the points below, while guests at a cabin in the woods may see them as totally reasonable requests. 

Here are some ideas for your vacation rental checkout list for the living areas:

  • Furniture – ask them to return any moved furniture to its original place
  • Thermostat  let them know if it needs to be a certain temperature
  • Lights – ask guests to turn off all lights and electronics
  • Lock up – remind guests to lock all windows and doors before they leave
  • Have them double-check that the fireplace or space heaters are completely
    turned off and/or unplugged

Washing machine

Bathrooms and bedrooms

With respect to cleaning, these rooms are simpler than others. However, your guests are far more likely to forget things like clothes, chargers, and toiletries here. If your guests then request the item back, this can become a huge inconvenience, not to mention the shipping costs.

Here are some ideas for your vacation rental checkout list for the bathrooms and bedrooms:

  • Remind guests to check closets, drawers, and electricity outlets for personal items
  • Dirty towels – specify where guests should leave them
  • Linens – If you’d like guests to strip the beds, be sure to tell them what they should do with sheets and pillows

Garden and outdoor spaces

While not inside the home, the exterior of your property should not be neglected. As they’re outside, guests may not always treat outdoor spaces like a garden with the same level of respect. These may also be spaces that are used for hosting, so friends of your guests who may not be aware of your house rules may have spent time there.

Here are some ideas for your vacation rental checkout list for the garden and outdoor spaces:

  • BBQ or grill – ask that guests check that the propane is turned off and that cooking utensils have been taken inside
  • Key handoff – where should guests leave their key after they leave?
  • Lights – should exterior lights be left on or turned off?

Bonus tip: get your guests’ feedback

If you think you may be asking guests to do too much, send a thank you note and ask guests for their feedback within a few days of their checkout. This will help you refine and adapt your vacation rental checkout checklist to ensure you aren’t inconveniencing guests as they leave.

When things don’t go as planned

Most guests are more than happy to leave the rental property in the same condition they found it. For those who leave it in a worse state, than you would like, you should have a contingency plan.
Guesty’s Damage Protection is a great way to protect your property without inconveniencing your guests. There’s no need to take a security deposit, or even involve your guests in the claims process, and claims for anything from a stained rug to a broken appliance can be dealt with seamlessly without disrupting your operations.

Conclusion

By implementing a well-designed vacation rental checkout checklist, you can ensure a smooth and hassle-free transition between guests while maintaining the integrity and cleanliness of your property. Remember to strike a balance between requesting reasonable tasks and respecting your guests’ vacation experience. Clearly communicate the checkout time and provide your contact information for any questions or concerns.

By following these guidelines and tailoring them to your specific property, you can achieve a seamless checkout process that leaves both you and your guests satisfied, building your brand while maintaining smooth business operations.

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