There was a memorable episode on Gordon Ramsay’s reality TV series, Hotel Hell, when he removed and inspected the filter of the air conditioner in his room. The filter was completely clogged with dust and goodness-knows-what-else. As he banged the filter on the windowsill, dislodging plumes of dust, the staff member present confirmed the filter was cleaned twice a year. Well, at least it was cleaned…but clearly not enough! The air conditioner filter is one of many ‘little things’ to keep on top of in a hotel or short-stay apartment, but neglect the ‘little things’ and “Hotel Hell” is imminent.
Mould in the shower…hair in the plughole. We’ve all experienced a ‘house-of-horrors’ accommodation nightmare that we’ll never forget (or return to!). Nothing leaves guests running for the door quicker than a dirty apartment or hotel room. Whilst we understand that hotel and apartment accommodation is also utilised by other people, we don’t want to be reminded of it by what they leave behind! This is where property owners have the power to step in and ensure their property stands out from the rest.
There are certainly priorities when it comes to cleaning an apartment. Fresh linen is a non-negotiable, as is a clean bathroom, kitchen and living space. This means sparkling tiles, shining surfaces, disinfected toilet/s, and clean floors. There shouldn’t be any dust, and everything should look and smell fresh and clean.
It’s important that your property doesn’t just look clean, but is hygienically clean. You don’t want your guests to get sick after a stay in your property. Germs lurk on surfaces such as remote controls and light switches, so it’s important that these are also cleaned regularly.
There are places in our own homes that don’t need cleaning every week – behind the couch, the windowsills, behind the toilet, etc. However, leave these areas for long enough and ecosystems develops. It is helpful to have a checklist of jobs that don’t need doing after every guest, but do need to be checked or done on a monthly basis. Some of these tasks include:
- Vacuuming or mopping under the couch and beds
- Wiping window-sills to ensure there are no deceased insects
- Thoroughly wiping walls, doors, handles
- Removing scuff marks from walls
- Thoroughly cleaning fridge and freezer
- Wiping out inside of all cupboards
- Cleaning between the crevices of the couch
A checklist isn’t as crazy as it sounds. The Marriott Hotel implements a 66-step checklist for cleaning a hotel room and ensuring none of these details are missed.
Work with your property manager to formulate a customised checklist that you can ensure your cleaning company adhere to.
Other less frequent tasks that could be done on an annual basis (depending on how frequently your apartment is used) may include:
- Dry cleaning carpets, curtains and blinds.
- Pressure washing tiles on balconies
- Cleaning windows inside and out
- Deep clean of tiles and grout
- Check if mattresses, duvet covers and pillows need to be replaced. Bed
Bugs are a big turn-off for guests!
If a property is closed up for a period of time, it can often get a stale smell. Encourage your cleaning team to open doors and windows to “air” the space as they are cleaning so fresh air can circulate. If there is still any type of unpleasant smells after a property has been aired, then consider placing some air-fresheners throughout the apartment. There are lots of different types – from plug-ins to automatic sprays and fresheners specifically for cupboards and draws. Pick the ones that best suits your needs in a neutral fragrance i.e. opt for something with a fresh, clean smell, rather than an overpowering floral. You don’t want to give your guests a headache!
Make sure you keep on top of your pest inspections to ensure your apartment doesn’t attract unwanted non-paying guests. Mice, cockroaches and ants are all annoying and hard to get rid of once they’ve moved in. Subtly placed rodent bait and insect deterrents, as well as regular pest inspections will keep nasties at bay.
Once you’ve ‘wowed’ your guests with your immaculately clean property, then you can really impress them with add-on extras to make their life easier. Some bonuses could include:
Parking can be very expensive, especially if you’re staying in one place for several days. Offering guests free parking in the same building as their apartment is a major advantage, especially if they are time-poor, have children or aren’t able to walk too far. Most apartments come with a car space, so unlike a hotel with no/limited parking spaces, this is a huge advantage for short-stay apartments.
- Ease of access
The easier it is to access a property, the broader appeal it will have. Older guests or guests with limited mobility don’t relish walking up flights of stairs with their luggage. Keep this in mind when you purchase the property and look for apartments with at least one lift (if multi-story), wide corridors and ramps. Properties located close to public transport and shops will appeal to guests who don’t want to walk very far.
- Luggage storage after checkout
A 10am checkout is standard for many properties, but often guests have time to kill in a city before they leave or catch their flight. One of the trickiest things to manage after checkout is what to do with your luggage. Even if you just have a backpack, walking around most of the day with a bag on your back isn’t comfortable. Offering guests complimentary luggage storage after checkout is a thoughtful gesture your guests will remember.
The key is ensuring your property is managed and serviced by professionals. Engaging an experienced cleaning company who have the right equipment and products to clean your property quickly and effectively is essential. Ask prospective cleaning companies lots of questions, such as: how long it takes them to clean a room, what processes do they follow to ensure the room is thoroughly cleaned and nothing is missed, how do they manage the ‘occasional jobs’, such as carpet/curtain cleaning, and pressure washing outside? Can they perform these larger tasks themselves, or do they need to outsource?
An experienced property manager will be able to recommend the most reliable cleaning companies so cleaning standards are maintained, ensuring your guests have a comfortable stay, leave positive reviews, and can’t wait to come back.