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Building a Five-Star Housekeeping Team with Durk Johnson

Revolutionize your rental with Durk Johnson's expert housekeeping tips. Boost guest satisfaction & shine in the vacation rental market.


person delivering fresh towels at a short-term vacation rental property

Gone are the days when housekeepers arrived, completed their tasks, and left, with minimal attention paid to their training or job performance. In the past, property owners and hosts often expected housekeepers to inherently understand their roles without proper guidance or detailed expectations. When it comes to guest interaction, however, housekeeping and maintenance are on the front lines, whether it's a request for extra towels or urgent maintenance needs.


Durk Johnson, General Manager for Northwest Vacation Rentals

According to Durk Johnson, General Manager for Northwest Vacation Rentals, housekeeping and maintenance staff are effectively the face a short-term vacation rental property. The impressions and memories that guests form about their experience at a short-term rental are significantly influenced by the interactions they have with these crucial team members.


Johnson is a trusted friend of Vacation Rental Designers, and was also a featured speaker at this year's Vacation Rental Design Summit. He has been the COO of Seabrook Hospitality on the Washington Coast. Before his current roles, Johnson was the Executive Director of VRHP, a national organization that specializes in housekeeping, maintenance, and laundry principles and procedures.


An authority in housekeeping, back-of-house operations, cleaning standards, and guest services and staff management, he has held numerous top positions and leant his expertise to other hospitality companies across the country including Meredith Lodging and Vacasa in Oregon, Gulf Shores Vacation Rentals in Gulf Shores, Alabama, and Deer Valley Lodging in Park City, Utah.


Johnson's expertise in the housekeeping industry and has played a pivotal role in professionalizing the field, emphasizes the importance of customer service in housekeeping and maintenance roles. In the current climate of business and hospitality, the old way of doing things is insufficient. Instead, Johnson urges hosts, managers and property owners to make housekeeping and maintenance an integral part of their team.


vacuuming between guests at a short-term vacation rental property

Here are some tips to ensure that your housekeeping team represents your property's dedication to exceptional service:


  1. Emphasize customer service during recruitment, incorporating interview questions that delve into the candidate's service philosophy and past guest interactions.

  2. Provide clear, written expectations for new hires outlining how they should engage with guests, owners, and even competitors' guests, including professional conduct and communication.

  3. Integrate customer service principles into training, allowing employees to practice and embody the company's standards.

  4. Implement weekly refreshers to keep these standards at the forefront of your team's mind, reinforcing the importance of consistent, quality service.

  5. Ensure the staff presents professionally upon arrival at properties, with neat uniforms and well-organized tools, reflecting the company's professionalism.

  6. Provide the appropriate tools for the job, ensuring that the equipment used matches the level of professionalism expected and allows staff to efficiently tackle their tasks.


By investing in professional tools and training, housekeeping staff can deliver the best possible service to guests, which will positively impact guest feedback and reviews, as well as the property's reputation and financial success.


changing bed linens in a bedroom at a short-term vacation rental property

Join the Vacation Rental Designers Collective


Looking for more strategies to grow your business? Join the Vacation Rental Designers Collective. Our membership comprises vacation property owners, investors, hosts, interior designers, and realtors, all united in their quest to enhance their businesses and share their expertise. As part of the Collective, you will enjoy additional benefits from our Brand Partners, learn how to run a successful vacation rental business, gain insider insight, and discover innovative strategies to secure five-star reviews.


Find your community, attract new clients, and watch your business flourish as we redefine the vacation rental industry—one beautifully profitable space at a time. Join us.

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