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Complete Newbie - Away for 1 month - How to handle cleaning/linen/key?

Hi there,

I set up a hosting account and 4 separate guests have booked already.

I’m going to the other side of the world for a month in two weeks’ time and am wondering how best to manage the key/cleaning/linen situation?

Most management companies won’t bother with the rental, because it’s a short term and they want a minimum 3 months of bookings before they get involved.

There are friends whom I can rely on and I have a cleaner (who doesn’t speak English well), and a store that’s willing to keep my key to pass to guests (and also where guests can drop-off keys).

Obviously this situation isn’t ideal, so my questions are: -

  • will guests complain if they have to pick up a key from a store instead of the standard Meet & Greet?
  • will guests be annoyed if hypothetically I leave clean linen for them and they have to make their own bed (if the cleaner lets me down?

If any experienced hosts can provide me with a minimum requirement for the guests and what I really need to focus on and also what I may be able to leave out (not so I can get away nor cheat anyone, but simply because I will be on the other side of the world so the time difference makes communication difficult), I’d be happy to know and am open to any advice and suggestions.

Thank you in advance.

One solution for the key would be a lockbox. I use one.

You have to consider what you’ve promised to the guests booking. Are they expecting to share a beer with you in the evening? We had a host who had to leave town unexpectedly and her guests freaked out over being left alone.

Whatever you choose, communicate promptly and clearly to the guests so they know what they are getting.

People coming to stay at our place communicate with me directly and expect a family of 5. I had to go out of town and was leaving my husband in charge (quite competent, he is). You bet I contacted the guests and let them know that the husband, not the wife, would be on duty during their stay. That kind of switch can freak people out.

But I think it is common for airbnb guests to get keys from stores and other places. Again, just tell them in advance and make sure they are ok with it.

Good luck!

You’re very brave! I couldn’t do it without being there. But if you have a good network of friends who are very close to your rental you might be OK.

Picking up the key at a store will be fine for most guests, as long as it’s open twenty four hours. And guests can often arrive at odd times due to traffic delays. If you use a lockbox or a keyless entry be sure that it’s 100% idiot proof and that at least one friend who is local has a backup key. You’ll need this not just for arrival but if the guest loses their key during the stay.

Be sure too that you have a complete home manual so that your guests know how to work absolutely everything and where everything is kept.

I wouldn’t expect to have to make the bed but some guests may be OK with it. Even with a great cleaning person, illness or car problems might mean they can’t get to your place so have one of your friends ready to step in. Have a complete cleaning manual and checklist for them too so they don’t overlook anything.

Get yourself prepared for how your friends will deal with emergencies and what your friends should be about any issues (for example, if the wifi goes down or the toilet gets blocked).

Best of luck!

Hi there,

Thanks for the replies and suggestions. Much appreciated.

Yes, the guests are renting the whole property and not just a room, so they will expect us to be absent.

You need a system and a few layers of back up system to it. Things will happen. There is a new app called Properly that provides a visual checklist for the people helping you out. From how to set up stuff, to where your stuff is at. Check it out at getproperly.com.

Something always goes wrong whenever I travel. But I have tons of people with keys to be there whenever something happens. Let your guests know who is available for any emergencies.

Also, are you snoozing your listing while away so you don’t need to answer inquiries? Good luck, people do it all the time. You just need to plan and let your guests know.

That’s great, thank you. It’s hard to really know what all the most important factors to maintain are and what small oversight would lead a guest to write a bad review; that’s what we’re trying to remain mindful of the most.

will guests complain if they have to pick up a key from a store instead of the standard Meet & Greet?

No, as long as it’s VERY close to the property and they are given clear instructions in advance. If this wasn’t detailed before they booked, you will need to add an unexpected gift as an apology (perhaps a basket of breakfast items, fruit, chocolates, drinks in the fridge etc) and include a handwritten note thanking them for staying.

will guests be annoyed if hypothetically I leave clean linen for them and they have to make their own bed (if the cleaner lets me down?

YES. People who go on holidays do not expect to need to do housework when they arrive. Get a friend to check all is well before they arrive. At this early point you desperately need 5-star reviews. You can’t afford to have guests annoyed. The first impression will affect all the other aspects. For example if they have to make the bed they’ll probably mark you 3 stars for cleanliness and location (makes no sense - but they do).

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