Managing Your Vacation Rental Miscellaneous

Vacationers’ Pet Peeves

Written by Elizabeth Weedon
3/5 - (10 votes)

It’s so important to know what makes your guests’ experience in your home a great one so that they write rave guest reviews and return year after year. But it’s also important to be aware of some of the most common complaints from vacationers so that you can avoid unpleasant experiences.

In our recent efforts to identify who today’s vacationer is and what they want, we also asked them in a survey (2,069 responders in September 2022) about what they DON’T like – what annoys or disappoints them during their experience in renting a vacation home.

Vacationer Pet Peeves

Common phrases mentioned in Vacationer Pet Peeves

Here are the top pet peeves from vacationers:


The topic that stood out the most, not surprisingly, is “cleanliness.” Nothing can negatively impact the excitement of arrival and start of a vacation faster than arriving at a rental that has not been properly cleaned. More than 40% of responses mentioned cleanliness.

Owners can help mitigate this by texting guests when cleaners have completed and rental is ready or have the cleaners leave a note or business card. These are simple signals that show care has been taken to prepare the rental for their arrival.

Rental property condition

We traveled over 1000 miles to get to Cape Cod and found it disappointing that we had to pay additional money for sheets and towels and then immediately had to go to the grocery store just to get toilet paper.

In addition to cleanliness, vacationers pointed out some other common conditions:

Lack of transparent, accurate advertising

I would make sure that amenities and details match from section to section. I’ve seen listings that say pet friendly, but in the description it will say otherwise, or vice versa.

  • Photos/descriptions aren’t accurate or up to date (View our post about the importance of good pictures)
  • Inadequate info/photos of bathrooms
  • Misrepresented proximity to beach

Rental management

The homeowner this year was flaky and inconsistent with communication.


  • Poor quality mattresses & furniture (old and worn, uncomfortable, broken)
  • Too much owner clutter (Read more about the problem with clutter)
  • Inadequate furniture: e.g., number of people home sleeps should match number dining table seats
  • Not enough trash containers
  • Air fresheners and scented products (many people have fragrance allergies)
  • Not being informed of security cameras prior to arrival

So, while you’re working hard to come up with added amenities or gifts to give your guests a great experience in your home, make sure you’re not overlooking any of these common pet peeves from vacationers.

About the author

Elizabeth Weedon

Elizabeth Weedon - Although I’ve worked for since 2008, I’ve been a loyal homeowner on the site since early 1998, just a few months after the website was launched by the Talmadges. I grew up summering on the Vineyard and managed my family's rental home there since the mid-1980’s. I’m passionately devoted to the Vineyard – and to WeNeedaVacation, which I credit with enabling me to hold onto the special property that has been in our family for nearly a century. An enthusiastic member of the WNAV Homeowner Support Team, I endeavor to keep my finger on the pulse of the Cape and Islands vacation rental industry so that I can provide homeowners advice about how to ensure their booking success with us. With owner Joan Talmadge, I am also responsible for editing and writing much of the text on our website, our monthly newsletters, and Homeowner Blog posts.


  • For what owners charge ~ you would think they would update their homes
    Homes I have rented haha pictures posted online wasn’t the furniture in home / bedroom had a fake window (beach picture) shower was a stall (try shaving your legs) / living room sofa nasty tweed 80’s fabric / refrigerator was ducked taped together / torn curtains / rusty washer/dryer / worn rugs / plastic outdoor furniture
    Owners don’t reply back when you text or call them

    • Thank you, Carol, for your feedback. Unfortunately, as the demand for short-term rentals sky-rocketed during the pandemic, some homeowners were able to get away with raising their rates without providing an improved property. Demand is still considerably stronger than prior to the pandemic but has definitely decreased. And there is increased inventory of rental homes on the market, creating more competition among homeowners to fill their homes. So, if homeowners want to fill their homes – and get great guest reviews and repeat guests – they would be smart to make improvements or lower their rates, or both. And it goes without saying that prompt replies to every inquiry are a MUST. This is an issue our site has worked hard to improve, now enabling vacationers to sort by Listing Quality, which includes Inquiry Response Times and Rates.

  • Very good article about what annoys renters. As a home owner I think a lot about these things. Even though we are hitting the major concerns without being prompted, I look for issues that we can improve on. For 2023 this is what I am adding: (1) a note to say where the attic fan is – to distinguish it from the lighting switches; (2) a note indicating where the main light switch is in the master bathroom; (3) a note on recycling – what they take and do not take (I have recycle notes in the welcome note I send but they forget). (4) a notice for thé lodging tax (we consistently pay it – but I never put up the owner Id info that you get when you register) I have had two renters ask me if we pay the tax – I sent them both our digital id so they could check it out on their own – mass gov sends owners a sheet to post – will laminate and put up). And will continue to text rénters a hello (a few days out or the Monday before their arrival) with key location info and wireless code and the fact that it is self check in – all of which is noted in both the contract and the digital welcome note – but they forget. I started sending this text in 2022 – and it gets me a twofer – it means they have my cell number handy – and I can avoid getting a last minute call when I might be working.

    You might wonder why I don’t already have these notes (about switches etc) in the house – it is because I have wanted to avoid having the house filled with « notes to renters »; and wanted it to feel more like a house that is an extension of their own property. But have had too many texts sent to me on these issues in 2022, so am making an adjustment.