Brought to you by The Team at Vacasa.
Over his seven-year tenure as a housekeeper and housekeeping manager, Patrick Ryan has learned a thing or two about how to do a clean, and keep his team, successful. Combining consistent training, accountability and common sense, he keeps his staff prepared for anything that may come their way.
Here are his top pieces of advice for housekeeping teams.
Follow the Wall
This strategy was first introduced to Vacasa housekeepers by Durk Johnson, current executive director of Vacation Rental Housekeeping Professionals and former director of housekeeping at Vacasa, and is one of the first training Vacasa gives to new housekeepers. They enter the home and turn left, “following the wall” in laps around the house. This strategy ensures that even the most commonly missed spots — like under the bed or the backs of doors — are covered.
Dress the Beds First
Patrick instructs his team to make the beds as soon as possible while following the wall because it makes the house appear more “finished” if a guest arrives early for check-in.
Do a Test Run
A well-cleaned home won’t mean much to a guest if the TV remote is dead or the electric fireplace won’t light.
“Checking those amenities during your clean while you follow the wall is probably as important — if not more important — than the clean itself,” says Patrick. “As a manager, housekeeping test runs are insurance against getting late-night phone calls from guests.”
Take a Break
No matter how seasoned the housekeeper, no one is perfect. It’s common to miss something in the first round of cleaning. Patrick’s solution: Take a break.
“My advice to my team is after you do the initial clean, do whatever you need to do for 10 or 15 minutes, then come back in as if you were the guest. A lot of guests bring perishable food, so the first place they’re likely to go is the kitchen,” says Patrick.
So give the kitchen another once-over. Then check the bathrooms (because, long car rides), and move wherever feels natural from there.
Brighten the View
Though big-ticket items like hot tubs take the most time to clean and deserve the most meticulous attention, they aren’t the only draw for guests. When starting out as a housekeeper, Patrick remembers getting feedback about not cleaning the windows well enough. He makes sure to remind his team to learn from his mistake.
“Having lived on the coast over 10 years, I often take the ocean view for granted, but not everyone is lucky enough to see the ocean every day. It’s usually the first thing guests look at so we want to make sure guests can take in the view through clean windows.”
In vacation rental management, consistency is the key to brand recognition and guest satisfaction. While the vacation destination and the style of a home may change, the level of service and signature style of staging should not. So, Patrick says, while making swans out of towels or fanning the wash clothes can be a nice touch, he prefers to work with his team on consistently executing great cleans.
Keep It Positive
To make sure his team is on the same page, Patrick will gather them for a monthly review where they go over portfolio health, wins, and areas for continued improvement. He makes sure his team feels encouraged, even when a guest review is sour. “I tell my team that no matter how clean the house is, some guests are not going to be happy.”
And if there’s a persistent issue, Patrick is willing to help his team through it. His staff is made up of experienced housekeepers, both seasonal and long-term, and he’s confident in their ability to handle anything.
“My team is incredible,” he says.