As a vacation rental manager, you know that your property management company has a ton of moving parts. 

Before long, it can become completely overwhelming—especially if your portfolio is growing. But failing to prepare, maintain, or ensure security at your property could be extremely costly and even ruin your business in the long run, through bad reviews (or worse).

That’s why you need a vacation rental property management checklist: a step-by-step guide that will ensure each part of the process is consistent, reliable, and comprehensive, to save you time, money, and stress.



And checklists are about more than just “checking there’s enough shampoo”. They ensure every part of your short-term rental is well managed and maintained before guests check in. 

Better yet, the best checklists will be easy to follow and easy to access, so you can delegate tasks to your team, monitor tasks remotely, connect your systems digitally, and stop doing everything yourself.

A better property management business, better guest experience, and less stress? Perfect. Read on to discover how to create the ultimate vacation rental management property checklist with ease, and get started today.


Connect your operations

Connect your operations. It’s easier to stay on top of things when all your operations are connected through an automation platform like Operto.


What is a vacation rental property management checklist?

A vacation rental property management checklist is a step-by-step guide to everything that needs doing for your property units both before and after guests check in and out, and in between stays, to ensure your space stays clean, maintained, safe, and secure.

It ensures that your cleaning, maintenance, and management processes are consistent every time, and gives you and your team peace of mind that nothing has been forgotten. 

Many booking platforms—including VRBO, Booking.com, and the Airbnb Plus platform (check out our Airbnb Plus checklist for more on that!)—require certain levels of cleanliness and standards of maintenance, especially in Covid times. Following a master checklist takes the extra hassle and stress out of managing your rental. 

It makes sure you and everyone on your team is on the same page. It also means you can focus on giving guests a great stay and warm welcome rather than fretting about cleaning logistics, cleaning materials, or whether you remembered to replace the toilet roll.


03_A screenshot of Airbnb Plus

Airbnb Plus is one of the booking platforms that require extra Covid levels of cleaning (Photo: Airbnb.co.uk)


The only vacation rental property management checklist you’ll ever need

The ultimate checklist isn’t just about replacing the towels or giving things a quick clean. 

It covers every aspect of your vacation rental property management business, including the “boring” but crucial behind-the-scenes logistics, and how to give a great impression to guests even before they arrive.

We recommend that your checklist includes the following sections at a minimum:

  1. Safety & security

  2. Guest information

  3. Smart devices & other electronics

  4. Amenities & supplies

  5. Cleaning

Keep reading for the ultimate items to include for each section.


Safety & security

04_A screenshot of Operto's contactless checkin options

Digital smart locks are a major part of ensuring a safe and secure property


First things first: does your space comply with vacation rental safety and security standards, and does it have everything you or your guests might need in an emergency (or to help prevent one in the first place)?

  • Fire extinguisher - Does it work? Replace batteries if needed.
  • Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors - Do they work? Replace batteries if needed.
  • Digital smart locks - Are the digital codes able to be changed, is there power backup?
  • Electrical items - e.g. Do the heaters, coffee machines, fans, AC work?
  • Child safety - e.g. railings, electric plug sockets, or the fence around the pool?
  • Windows closed, appliances off? - Has your cleaner secured these on their way out?
  • Pet safety - e.g. any exposed wires, or dangerous items that could be chewed?
  • Emergency numbers - Have you left them in case your guests need them?
  • Your emergency contact details - Have you left them in case your guests need them?
  • First aid kit and fire safety blankets - Are they easy to find in an emergency?
  • Insurance - Do you have an up-to-date policy with the right level of cover?


Guest information

05_A screenshot of Operto's check in and smart lock platform

Ensure that your guests have everything they need to check in ahead of time


Running a successful vacation rental business means prioritizing guests, even before they arrive. Following a set process for every booking will ensure a consistent, reliable, pleasant experience—meaning happy guests, and good reviews for your place.

  • Arrival info - Have you sent guests all the information they need to arrive at your place (either by email or SMS) such as the details on how to work contactless check-in for your vacation rental) and details such as where to park, if needed?

  • Check-in details - Do guests know how the check-in process works and do they have all the information they need to gain keyless entry to your rental property

  • Welcome letter - Have you sent a welcome letter to give them a friendly first impression and make sure they have all the information they need?

  • Contact details - Have you provided your and/or your team’s contact information?

  • Property guide - Have you ensured guests know how to use the coffee machine, open the garden doors, or lock the windows, etc?

  • House rules - Are they visible and understood?

  • Wi-Fi password - Is it easy to find? 

  • Local guide - Have you left good tips of things to do, eat, or see in the local area?

  • Feedback and reviews - Have you asked for feedback, comments, or a review on the day of/day after your guests leave?

Smart devices & other electronics

06_A screenshot of Operto's Smart Device integration options

Ensure your smart, integrated devices are working correctly

Increasing numbers of forward-thinking property businesses now use smart home technology for vacation rentals as part of a wider, connected digital system, to give guests control and make management easier. But that’s only true if they’re working...

  • Wi-Fi - Is it working and have you done a speed test?

  • Smart plugs - Are your plugs and sockets working? 

  • Smart bulbs - Are your smart lights working on command? 

  • Vacation rental noise monitoring - Is your noise monitor working?

  • AC and thermostat - Are they working, and do all the connected radiators and heaters work properly and safely?

  • Coffee machine, kettle, etc - Are these appliances working, and have you left easy-to-understand instructions for guests? 

  • Wiring safety - Have you maintained an up-to-date certificate, and scheduled regular tests and/or updates on your devices to keep them to standard?


Amenities and supplies

toiletries and towels

Checking that all your supplies are topped up will make guests feel cared for


Guests want to feel as though the room is “new” when they arrive, and ensuring freshly topped-up vacation rental amenities helps them feel pampered immediately. It also means that guests can feel right at home, right away; and leaves an excellent impression throughout their stay.

Refresh, check, update, change, or top up items such as:

  • Towels and tea towels - Are they clean?

  • Toiletries - Are items such as shampoo and bath salts topped up?

  • Extra pillows, sheets, and blankets - Clean and easy to find?

  • Extra clothes hangers in the wardrobe - Neat and ready to use?

  • Bathroom supplies - Are there essentials such as hand soap and toilet roll?

  • Kitchen supplies - Are there new paper towels and spare garbage bags?

  • Food items - Is there tea, coffee, milk, sugar, bottled water, and/or any other perishable or welcoming food items that you usually leave your guests?

  • Basic cooking supplies - Is there olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, spices, and herbs?

  • Basic cleaning supplies - Are there surface wipes or multipurpose spray?

  • Kitchen “wear and tear” - Check the condition of items such as cooking utensils, pots, pans, and cutting boards

  • Location-appropriate items - Are there umbrellas, sun cream, beach toys, spare ski socks, etc?

Cleaning

vacation rental cleaning

A comprehensive cleaning list should be part of your checklist too


That your vacation rental cleaning should be done before new guests arrive goes without saying—but with so many things to remember, making a cleaning checklist within your overall, ultimate checklist makes perfect sense.

Of course, this isn’t exhaustive, but we recommend the following to start with, especially to comply with heightened cleaning regulations during Covid. 

Compiling a list like this can make the process super-easy for you and your staff, and using digital platforms such as VRScheduler to manage it all makes it even more straightforward.

  • Bedroom - Change sheets, linens, check for any stains or spills, clean, and make the bed. Remove used sheets and linens. Clean surfaces, mirrors, and rugs.

  • Bathroom - Replace towels and remove used ones. Replace mats. Clean shower pan and toilet bowl. Wash and replace the shower curtain regularly. Glass, and mirrors. Check that shower, flush and faucets work correctly. 

  • Kitchen - Load and run and/or unload the dishwasher and washing machine, and ensure all crockery and cutlery is clean, dry, and in the right place.

  • Food - Remove any old food from the fridge, freezer, or cupboards, and wipe down the surfaces.

  • Trash - Take out all trash, and replace trash bags. Leave some spare.

  • Sanitize - Wipe surfaces and disinfect or sanitize all areas, especially high-traffic, high-touch items and spaces.

  • Floors - Mop and dry all non-carpet floors.

  • Vacuum - Go over all spaces, kitchen, bathroom, bedrooms, living room, and/or dining room, including all carpets, rugs, mats, and even couch cushions.

  • Tidy - All areas inside and out, and put all items neatly in their place.

  • Cushions - Plump to look fresh, and arrange neatly.

  • Plants - Change water and/or water houseplants, check their condition and trim off any dead flowers or leaves, and arrange to look fresh.

  • Smart devices and electronics - Check if working, including smart devices and batteries, not forgetting fire alarms, etc.

  • Amenities - Check, top-up, and/or replace (see checklist above)

  • Cleaning materials and supplies - Check, refresh and/or order more if needed, so nothing is short for the next changeover.


The ultimate vacation rental property checklist: Simple and stress-free

09_A screenshot of the VRScheduler website

VRScheduler works with Operto and helps you to coordinate the entire process (Credit: Vrscheduler.com)


Long story short, checklists are about common sense, and making some seriously epic lists!

They seem simple, but without a proper process laid out in checklist form, it could be very easy for something crucial to get forgotten or missed, especially if you and your team are working to a tight schedule.

But checklists don’t have to simply sit on a piece of paper that can get lost, damaged, or splashed; nowadays powerful property management software such as Operto and VRScheduler exists, so you can keep the entire thing on a central platform, and everyone has access.

Keeping your ultimate checklist digitally means you can also coordinate staff, keep track of which stage of the list everyone is at, time cleaning and maintenance perfectly with guest check-ins and check-outs, and ensure you never run out of cleaning supplies ever again.

Communicate with guests at the exact right time on the same system, and make sure everyone is updated on how each property is doing, completely remotely. 

Keeping an ultimate, digital checklist ensures easy and stress-free turnarounds for you and your team, and happy guests who arrive at a perfectly clean, topped up, safe and secure property, every single time.


Frequently asked questions about vacation rental property management checklists

What should be included in a vacation rental property checklist?

You should include everything you need to ensure your property stays in safe, secure, clean, and welcoming condition for each and every guest. 

This means having sections for security (smart locks), guest information (arrival and check-in details) emergency numbers, fresh amenities (coffee and new sheets), working smart devices (such as AC and heat), and everything needed to ensure perfect cleanliness and maintenance (such as sanitized surfaces, working faucets, and a sparkling bathroom).

How can you schedule regular inspections for a vacation rental?

Vacation rental cleaning isn’t just about changing sheets, it’s also about ensuring your space is inspected regularly for aspects that could otherwise get forgotten, such as if all smart devices are working, and if anything needs repairing or servicing. 

You can schedule these check-ups automatically using tools such as VRScheduler, which allow you to coordinate and communicate with staff, remember and keep track of all inspections, and automate the process too.

 

What information should property managers provide guests with?

Guests want to have all the crucial info even before they arrive, so be sure to email and/or text a welcome letter, arrival instructions, contactless check-in details, house rules, and even the Wi-Fi password well in advance. 

You can also leave instructions for how to use in-room items such as the coffee machine, plus important contact information, emergency numbers, great local recommendations, and how to offer feedback or leave a great review too. 

Using a platform such as Operto makes it easy to automate this, so guests receive everything they need digitally when they need it, freeing you up to execute your ultimate checklist to ensure every stay at your vacation rental is excellent, every time.

 


Connect your operations

Connect your operations. It’s easier to stay on top of things when all your operations are connected through an automation platform like Operto.