Keeping It Clean: Tips from a Service Professional

Keeping It Clean: Tips from a Service Professional

Michelle Schindler is a busy woman. She’s a single mom to a teenager and helps take care of her 73-year-old father’s daily needs. She’s been with the HOST for a little over a year and recently promoted to Hospitality Cleaning Manager covering the greater New Orleans area. For homeowners, cleaners can often be the main boots on the ground at the property. Sometimes they are the only people who see the home between rentals. Whether you’re a homeowner or a service professional looking to get involved in the vacation rental industry, we’ve got the insider scoop.

How did you get started in this business?

I started with the wife of a childhood friend cleaning as a means to be more independent and available for my family’s needs. As a result, I’ve been able to have more freedom to take care of my dad.

What does a Hospitality Manager do and what services do you provide?

As the Hospitality Manager, I oversee the performances of each cleaner, ensuring that they receive proper training and follow up with quality control. Given that we maintain a standard among all our properties, we understand that each home is unique and customize cleaning procedures accordingly. Each home is supplied with its own cleaning checklist and closing procedures as designated by the homeowner or host ambassador in advance of routine cleanings. We also supply staged photos as a reference guide so that each home is set up exactly as the guest would expect from having seen the images online when they initially made the booking.

I also work alongside our housekeepers providing hospitality cleanings, small maintenance repairs, general gardening, products upon request, local contact, laundry service, and a choice of eco friendly, standard, and/or deep cleaning.

What’s the difference between a standard residential cleaning and one that you would get if you had a furnished or vacation rental?

With a standard residential cleaning the owner or tenant would be present to let you in, and do a walkthrough to ensure you know where their personal belongings go and any cleaning products they would prefer to use for the home. They let you know their standards and expectations.

The owner of a short term rental, however, is usually not at the home when cleaning is performed and may not be around to check after. Experience, responsibility and proper training are key to maintain great reviews and establish the home for success. Since no one is at the home, it is up to the manager and cleaner to perform duties like check under furniture, look in drawers for items guests may have left behind, and stage the home exactly as it is pictured.

With a hospitality routine cleaning we assign one housekeeper to each home where they familiarize themselves with the home’s checklist and procedures. That way they know if anything is missing and/or damaged. Some homes also require inventory counts, as well as exact numbers of toiletries, towels and body essentials left out for the next guest. Also, since no one is on site, it is up to the closing person to turn up the AC so the owner does not get a high energy bill.

How long does an average cleaning take?

The average cleaning can take as long as 4 hours or as little as 1.5 depending on the laundry.

What do you wish homeowners knew?

I always wish the homeowners knew that the color of the bed and bath linens make a significant difference in the ability to get makeup and other stains out. Dark linens, such as grey or black, are the best choice for frequent washings. Whites and light colors do not last long.

Also, it is important to leave your house team with the proper resources to ensure they can perform their job well, two sets of linens and towels for flips, at least a 2-3 months stock of supplies in the cleaners closet, keyless entry or a backup set of keys, and a open line of communication either between the manager or owner.

What advice do you have for other service professionals who want to get involved in this industry?

Be good at what you do and go above and beyond what the owners need. Take care of the homes you clean as if they were your own. In the end our services are the first selling point for our owners.

What’s your favorite part of the job?

My favorite part is the independence that my job gives me. Also, I love that with each cleaning I feel a sense of satisfaction from knowing that the next guests are going to love their accommodations from the moment they open the front door.

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