Common Vacation Rental Guest Complaints Part 1: Cleanliness

09/20/2017 | by Andy Moore | Owners


You know the saying, “you can’t please everyone.” The same is true for your vacation rental guests. Everyone has a different view of 5-star service and some may see your property as perfect while others may not. Of course, no one likes to hear complaints or see a bad review about their property but it is crucial that you listen to this feedback, respond accordingly and commit to providing an exceptional guest experience.

Unless your property has been personally recommended or the guest is a returning visitor, it is very likely guests will choose your property based on online reviews. If you have one or two negative comments, don’t panic too much, you can expect the occasional negative review. After all, even the Ritz Carlton receives 1-star reviews occasionally. It’s how you respond to these reviews that is important. Potential guests look at a pattern and if they see the same reoccurring problems they may skip your property and book the next.

Complaints happen when properties do not meet guest’s expectations. Guests plan for months, get excited and spend a lot of money on their vacations and always expect it to be perfect; no questions! Of course, we know very few homes are perfect. And as nice as your property is, it still may not meet these lofty expectations.

In this 5-week series we are going to be looking at the top 5 most common guest complaints to avoid negative reviews for your rental properties. The topic of conversation for this week is cleanliness.


Cleanliness is by far the #1 most common complaint from guests. No one likes arriving at a dirty property, especially after spending a large sum of money to stay there. If a guest’s first impression isn’t ideal, prepare yourself for a bad review.

Anything from a little dust, dirt or stains can agitate guests and the situation spirals downhill from there. The guest will now be on high alert and will undoubtedly find new things to complain about. Which wouldn’t have been uncovered if the property was clean in the first place.

First and foremost, to avoid a negative cleanliness review from a guest you must make sure you clean your home thoroughly or hire a company to do so. Set your standards high and double check that the home is fully cleaned and inspected before a guest’s arrival. Areas often overlooked, include underneath beds, couches, inside drawers, and BBQ grills. These areas are commonly forgotten about which often results in guest complaints.

One good way of delivering a consistently high cleaning standard is to introduce or follow checklists. Once each area is complete, tick the box and move on. This will ensure every area is touched.

Consider having another person check your cleaning or if you employ a cleaner, check up after them yourself. A 2nd set of eyes is a great fail safe and combats complacency.

If for any reason a guest does complain about cleanliness, apologize, apologize and apologize again. Cleaning is subjective and it’s not good practice to argue with the guest. Remember, at this point you are trying to do whatever you can to appease the guests and avoid that negative review. Once you understand the guest’s complaint, send the cleaners back to tackle the area causing concern. You may also want to consider offering a free clean during the guest’s stay. It will not cost as much as any negative press.

By providing cleaning supplies in your home, it will allow guests to take care of minor issues themselves and they may not complain at all.

Stay tuned for our next blog about common vacation rental guest complaints Part 2: Uncomfortable sleeping arrangements.

For more information check out some of our other blogs here.