vacation rental conference

The guests stole our coffee machine!

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp
Share on email

Our friends were amazed.  They had been renting their apartment on Airbnb for the last year for the times they were not using their apartment.  They were learning the hard way.
“The guests just took it, and it was an expensive coffee machine, outrageous!”  They had been stewing over it for days.

I tried the obvious.  “Well, did your cleaner tell you who took it?”  For me, that would not have been a problem with Lesley my cleaner for many years.  She had a good memory, and would have told me within minutes of arriving for a clean.  She would even tell me if a book had shifted on the bookshelf.
It turns out my friends had a ‘manager’ who used a variety of cleaners to clean for her.  No one knew when the coffee machine was stolen.  No problem, she told them, we’ll just claim it back from Airbnb.

That was two weeks ago, and they haven’t heard back.  Maybe Airbnb will just pay for a new machine, but I wouldn’t hold much hope.

What can you do in a situation like this?

2022 vacation rental conference

Firstly, it reinforces the reality that primarily “It’s a cleaning business”.  A good, steady cleaner is like gold, worth paying a little more for if you can get one.

However, in an urban apartment where the rental is just a commodity and cleaning is also a commodity, cheap and changing cleaners are a reality.  You should expect some kind of trouble regularly. Factor in the costs.

You should definitely have a simple cleaning manual, mainly images of how you want each room presented.  Often it would help.

There are various apps you can get where the cleaner clicks through an extensive checklist.  Maybe they work, I don’t know, but they are another overhead to factor in for the app and for the extra cleaning time to tick the checklist.

Secondly, owners should remember to not leave out anything expensive that can be damaged or stolen.  Certainly don’t leave out any precious family momentos that can be damaged.
In this case it was probably easier to leave out the expensive coffee machine than locking it away and having to lug it out when the owners came back to use their apartment.

Insurance? Chances are it wouldn’t be covered, or the excess would eat into the amount you’d get back.

A lot of new Airbnb users are finding out the hard way a short term rental isn’t an easy path to the high returns they had optimistically hoped for.   They really need to do their sums and factor in realistic revenue, realistic costs and realistic overheads for things like damage and theft.  Many jump in, regret it and give up.

What would I do about the coffee machine? I’d just buy a cheap replacement and move on.

What would you do?


Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on linkedin

2 Responses

  1. From Helen T in Exmouth Western Australia:

    I’m with you Rex. I have 35 different owners in 35 different houses, and I don’t know how many times I tell them NOT to put the $2000 + BBQ in at the rental, just put in the $200 flat plate cheapie from the hardware store. Costs you more to clean the expensive hooded job, than it does to replace a cheapie! Cleaners where I am are $55 an hour! Four hours of cleaning and you could purchase new!

    They eventually learn to listen to the pro’s!

  2. My answer is to advise Guests of my policies, location, contact details, history of the property etc in writing by email prior to their arrival. Most read it. It is a standard and detailed template that clarifies the facts of my terms and conditions of their visit, as friendly and helpful as possible. This works on most Guests. It includes Guests who use the white towels to remove makeup and chemical tans which leave a permanent stain and I have to replace the Sheridan towels which I have to drive to Melbourne to replace. Since I put a small sign in the bathroom that explains this and include free makeup removal pads, the problem almost completely stopped over night.

    One part of this Guests email for my self-contained accommodation includes:

    Prior to departure, please return the apartment to more-or-less how you found it with dishes cleaned, dried and returned to cupboards and rubbish put in the bins provided. The apartment is non-smoking and pets are not permitted. Excess noise, parties, events and additional guests staying overnight are not permitted. Excess WiFi use, excess cleaning, damage, loss and apartment items missing are charged to your account plus a 50% replacement and administration fee. Smoking inside the apartment attracts a $200.00 per day cleaning fee. There is provision for smokers in the attached private courtyard.

    Some Guests leave the accommodation so clean that you can hardly detect that someone stayed there. I have a 9.3 out of 10 ranking on Booking.com over the years. I do not charge them until two weeks prior to arrival date. Works for me.

Comments are closed.

My name is Rex Brown. I live in Australia, on the Great Ocean Road in Victoria. I run two of my holiday rentals here on the coast, and another in inner Melbourne . They are all quite different, but they all run at high occupancy. They are the sandpit that I play in, running constant experiments about what works and what doesn’t.

Winter Resort Website Medium Rectangle Ad

Table of Contents

Dear Short-Term Rental Industry Member, Join Our Scalers Network

Our Mission

We bring together short-term rental industry members to create valuable business and personal relationships. With the support of vetted peers, you can deliver on your next individual project goals faster, work in private groups to share doubts and successes, and become a new voice that shapes the conversation about our industry.

Whether you are a property manager, an owner, an industry vendor, a listing site operator, an investor, or a consultant, you can become a member of our Rental Scale-Up family.  As property managers and industry vendors may not have the same needs, some of our activities work by affinity groups. For instance, we have one version of the mastermind group sessions reserved for property managers and owners, and another one for vendors and listing sites. This way, you get feedback from peers who understand your pains and can get you faster to getting results.

1. Action, Transformation & Results

  • Mastermind Group for Property Managers & Owners: A mastermind group is a group of peers who meet to give each other advice and support. Facilitated by Rental Scale-Up. One session every 2 weeks with your group for a least 3 months.
  • Ask a Property Manager: Hosts, owners and property managers benefit from the experience of a successful property manager. (1 per month)
  • Groupwork: Report of the month co-creationA group of Scalers volunteer to write a report on the topic of the month. The result is published on RentalScaleUp.com, with full credits to each participants. (1 per month)
  • Mastermind Group for Industry Vendors & Listing Site Operators: A mastermind group is a group of peers who meet to give each other advice and support. Facilitated by Rental Scale-Up. One session every 2 weeks with your group for a least 3 months.
  • Ask an Expert Anything (for vendors and listing sites): An outside expert (e.g. a copywriter) shares their experience on a topic in an Ask Me Anything (1 per month)

2. News & Live Discussions

  • Investment & Deals  Discussion: Thibault and an M&A specialist/VC go over recent deals, M&A, investment rounds. Live, monthly.
  • Curated news: Save time. We read the news for you, curate the articles, and add our exclusive comments (weekly, in the Network Newsletter)
  • US Trends & Data Discussion: We analyze AirDNA’s latest report on US trends and zoom in on key markets (e.g. urban vs vacation rental markets).  Network members share what they see in the markets. Live, monthly.
  • Monthly Live online conference: Every month, our Network deep dives into a topic that is crucial to the short-term rental industry. 3 experts share their insights, best practices and answer your questions live.
  • European Trends & Data Discussion: We analyze AirDNA’s latest report on European trends and zoom in on key markets (e.g. UK, France, Italy, Spain).  Network members share what they see in the markets. Live, monthly.
  • Weekly Teardown with Thibault: Rental Scale-Up founder tears down one business news, every week, live.  Networker members share their views. No filter.

3. Facilitated Networking

  • Networking Booster: Meet new business partners and improve your networking game at an online event. Our team facilitates the event to make it easy for you to connect with your peers. (monthly)
  • Business Profile: Each new Scaler gets their profile featured in a dedicated article on RentalScaleUp.com. Get more visibility and authority.
  • In-Person Meetups: We meet in real life, either during a large vacation rental conference or in a city of our choice (quarterly)
  • Job Offers: Network members can not only see job offers but also post theirs. If desired, job offers can be extended to all Rental Scale-Up readers (free and paid).

4. Deals on industry software and products

  • Get Discounts: Enjoy exclusive deals brought to you by fellow Network members. Only in our Deals section. Monthly.
  • Offer Deals and Discounts: Network members may offer exclusive deals to fellow members, from discounts on stays at their properties to lifetime deals on vacation rental software. Only in our Deals section. Monthly.

Ready to join right now?

Scalers comes in 3 levels:

  • Scalers Insights, the limited, content-only version of the network. Great those who just want to get the insights but have less time for business transformation.
  • Scalers Network: Transform your business and get results. Get more things done. You get support, accountability, networking, training, and investment opportunities
  • Scalers Network+ : Avoid the hassle of quarterly payments and pick an annual membership. Qualify for bonuses good for your business (e.g. lead generation)

Not quite ready? Sign up for our free newsletter

Weekly insights straight into your email inbox.

On Key

Related Posts

Actionable insights

Take the Right Decisions for Your Rental Business thanks to our Weekly Industry Brief.

Exclusive newsletter for rental entrepreneurs.