Short term rental properties aren’t hotels. AirBNB and similar apps changed the accommodation market forever when they opened up our private homes to strangers. But to compete with hotels, hosts need to consider more than keeping their fees low.

A lot of hosts are under the impression that an extra fee for cleaning and upkeep between guests will scare away potential bookings, but the reality is that most guests are happy to pay a little extra for peace of mind. According to local Sydney AirBNB expert Lloyd Burgess, with experience of hosting over 2,500 bookings, “Guests have come to expect a turnover fee. Unlike the hotel industry, charging extra for cleaning, linen other services has been the norm since the conception of AirBNB.” Platforms for short term rentals all include the option to include a cleaning fee (including AirBNB, Homeaway,, TripAdvisor, Expedia and Agoda).

It’s a common misconception that guests won’t want to pay extra, but properties in Sydney with a higher fee do not suffer from fewer bookings, and still enjoy 85-90% occupancy. Guests understand that a higher fee translates to higher quality. The reality is that charging a cleaning or turnover fee offers reassurance for customers and gives you the opportunity to make a little extra money on top of your daily rate.

Staying in a hotel room, one expects things like tiny soaps, paying exorbitant prices for Wi-Fi, being able to leave your towels in the bath and have someone clean it all up after you leave. It’s sterile and impersonal. Part of the charm of staying in an AirBNB property is that often you’re in somebody’s home, surrounded by their belongings. There’s nobody trundling a cleaning trolley through the rooms while guests are out for the day. It’s a much more personal experience. Sure, AirBNB is cheaper than your average hotel room, but that’s not what attracts people. It’s the comfort that guests appreciate.

Charging for a cleaning fee is not only perfectly reasonable, it’s also expected. The property is your guests’ for the duration of their stay. Depending on the length of their stay, guests will clean the basics as they go, but they’ll enjoy knowing that someone else is going to do a proper job once they’re gone. Guests will also consider that if they’re paying a fee to have the place cleaned and the linen professionally laundered after their stay, then they can be sure that the property has had an equally thorough clean before they walked in the door.

So what do you charge for a cleaning fee? That all depends on the size and complexity of your property and the thoroughness of your turnover. The general scale is $130 for a one bedroom apartment for cleaning and linen, with an extra $30-$40 per bedroom or bathroom.

Although guests expect this fee, you still need to be sure you’re market-savvy. Outsourcing your cleaning and turnover to Home and Host means you’ll be charging your guests fair and competitive prices. We’ve seen enough properties to know what guests will expect, and we manage just the right balance of industry-level cleaning and personal touch.

Charging for a cleaning fee on top of each stay will make your property sparkle, in person and in the market.