Vacation Rental Glossary by HostRooster

Vacation Rental Glossary by HostRooster

Navigating the world of short-term vacation rentals can be a rewarding experience, but it's important to understand the language of the industry. In this Vacation Rental Glossary, we've compiled a comprehensive list of terms and definitions you're likely to encounter throughout your journey as a host. Whether you're new to hosting or a seasoned pro, this glossary will be a valuable reference.


Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU): Often referred to as a "mother-in-law" suite, an ADU is an additional dwelling attached to the host's primary residence, typically used for short-term rentals.

Accounting: The process of managing financial transactions related to your vacation rental property. This includes tracking expenses and income, which is crucial for tax purposes.

Arbitrage: A hosting strategy where you rent out properties you lease or sublease from others rather than owning the properties yourself.

Automation: The use of technology to streamline various aspects of your vacation rental management, such as communication, cleaning, and check-in processes.


Back-to-Back Booking: When one guest checks out, and another guest checks in on the same day, resulting in consecutive bookings.

Booking: The reservation made by a guest to stay at your vacation rental property. This is also commonly referred to as a "reservation."

Booking Confirmation: A notification sent to a guest after their booking request has been approved, typically including a message expressing gratitude for the booking and informing the guest that more details will be provided closer to their stay.

Booking Request: An inquiry from a potential guest expressing interest in staying at your property. As a host, you can choose to automate approval or approve bookings manually.


Cancellation Fee: A fee that guests are required to pay if they cancel their booking after the established deadline.

Cancellation Policy: The set of rules established by the host regarding guest cancellations. These policies often outline refund terms, such as full refunds for cancellations within 24 hours or partial refunds for cancellations a week before the stay.

Categories (HostRooster): HostRooster categories are special classifications created by HostRooster to help hosts better showcase their properties.

Channel: Refers to the online platforms where hosts can list their vacation rental properties, such as

ChatGPT: ChatGPT is a sophisticated language processing tool, often used for automated guest communications that simulate real human interactions.

Check-Up Message: A message that hosts send to guests the day after their arrival to inquire about their experience and whether they require any assistance. This communication can be automated.

Cleaning Fee: A one-time fee charged by the host to cover the cost of cleaning the property after a guest's departure. Typically ranges from $50 to $150 per stay.

Cleaning Management: The process of hiring a cleaning crew and implementing automated scheduling to ensure the property is cleaned and prepared for incoming guests.

Co-Host: An individual hired or appointed by the host to assist in managing the vacation rental property. Co-hosts play various roles, including guest communication and property maintenance.

Comparative Market Analysis (CMA): A report that analyzes similar properties in the area to determine the value of the property in question, helping hosts set competitive pricing.

Contract: The rental agreement between the host and the guest, outlining terms and conditions for the stay.


Deposit: An amount collected from guests to cover potential damages to the property. This deposit is typically refunded after the guest's departure, provided the property is in good condition.

Direct Booking: Occurs when a guest books a vacation rental directly through the property manager or host, bypassing third-party platforms like HostRooster.

Double Booking: The unintentional booking of a property by separate guests for the same dates. This issue can arise when property listings are not synchronized across various platforms.

Dynamic Pricing: The practice of adjusting a property's nightly rates based on demand. For example, prices may increase during local events or decrease during off-peak seasons.


Guest Experience: An all-encompassing term derived from the hospitality industry, signifying the entire guest journey, from booking to their stay and post-check-out communication.


Homeowners Association (HOA): A group that governs specific areas of a complex or community, often involved in regulating short-term rentals within the community.

Host Fees: A percentage-based fee deducted from bookings on third-party platforms, serving as a service charge for hosts. The exact fee structure may vary between platforms.

House Manual: A detailed guide provided to guests, containing information about the property, including WiFi access, trash disposal procedures, appliance instructions, and other essential details.

House Rules: Rules set by the host to inform guests about what is allowed and prohibited on the property. House rules typically outline fines and actions taken in the event of rule violations, such as no parties or unauthorized guests.


iCal: The standard platform for sharing calendar information, often used for synchronizing property availability across multiple platforms.

Inquiry: A message from a potential guest inquiring about the property, often seeking answers to specific questions before making a reservation.

Instant Book: A feature that allows guests to book a property instantly, without waiting for host approval. This streamlines the booking process.


Keyless Entry: A method of granting access to the property without the need for physical keys. Typically, a keypad or smart lock is used for keyless entry, facilitating self-check-in.


Length of Stay (LOS) Pricing: A pricing strategy aimed at encouraging guests to book longer stays by offering discounts for extended periods. For example, a 10% nightly discount for a 7-day stay.

Listing: The profile of the vacation rental property, which typically includes photographs, pricing, availability, location details, and other property-related information.

Lockbox: A secure case located outside the vacation rental property, containing keys or key cards for self-check-in. Guests can access the lockbox using a designated code.

Long-Term Rental: Refers to stays that extend beyond 30 days, often rented by the month rather than by the week or day.

Low Season: A period during the year when travel is less common in a particular area. Hosts frequently reduce their nightly rates during low season to attract travelers.


Market Research: The active process of researching the habits of the target customer base and the available rental properties in a specific area to make informed hosting decisions.

Minimum Stay: The minimum number of nights that guests can book a property for, as specified by the host. For example, a 2-night minimum stay.

Multi-Calendar: A single calendar that displays all the bookings for a listing across various platforms, helping hosts avoid double bookings.

Multi-Channel: The practice of advertising and synchronizing property details across multiple online platforms, such as HostRooster, and, to maximize exposure to potential guests.

Medium-Term Rental: A property rental that exceeds 30 days but is less than 365 days in duration.


Noise Detection: A system that monitors noise levels within the property and alerts the host if the noise exceeds a predetermined volume, helping hosts address potential disturbances.


Off-Peak Season: A time of year when travel is less common in a specific area, often associated with lower demand. Hosts typically adjust their nightly rates to attract travelers during this period.

Orphan Days: Refers to the occasional gaps of a few empty nights between bookings, particularly when minimum stay requirements result in unbooked periods.

Owner's Closet: A designated space where hosts store extra toiletries, cooking essentials, garbage bags, or personal items. Some hosts keep this space locked.

Owner's Portal: An online dashboard typically used by owners who outsource their property management. This portal provides a convenient overview of how the property is performing.


Party Prevention Devices: Devices designed to monitor noise levels and, in some cases, temperature, movement, and humidity without compromising guest privacy. These devices help hosts prevent disruptive events.

Pet Fee and Deposit: An additional charge added to the nightly rate to accommodate guests with pets. Pet fees are typically non-refundable, while deposits can be returned if there is no damage from the pet.

Pet-Friendly: A property that allows guests to bring pets for an additional fee, making it a suitable option for travelers with furry companions.

Property Management System (PMS): A software tool, such as Host Tools, that helps hosts synchronize their listing calendars, manage bookings, and streamline property management tasks.

Pre-Approval: A way for hosts to indicate that a property is available when responding to guest inquiries, simplifying the booking process.

Price Per Guest: A pricing rule based on the number of guests included in the reservation, allowing hosts to adjust rates accordingly.

Property Manager: An individual hired by the host to handle day-to-day tasks related to managing the vacation rental property, which may include cleaning, maintenance, and guest communication.


Quick Replies: Pre-written responses that hosts can easily insert into messages to guests, streamlining communication and providing timely responses to common guest inquiries.


Regulations: Rules and regulations specific to the location of the vacation rental property, such as limitations on the number of rental days per year for short-term rentals.

Repeat Guests: Guests who have previously stayed at your property and have returned for another visit. Repeat guests indicate high guest satisfaction.

Return on Investment (ROI): A measure of the profit generated from your vacation rental property after accounting for expenses, providing insights into the property's financial performance.

Reviews: Public feedback left by guests on a vacation rental listing, which helps inform potential guests about the property's quality and the host's hospitality. Hosts also have the opportunity to review guests, contributing to transparency within the short-term rental community.

Room Type: The specific type of accommodation offered by the host, such as a private room in a home, a shared room, or an entire property for exclusive use.


Screening: A process employed by hosts and platforms to conduct background checks on potential guests before approving a booking. HostRooster's screening process often involves verifying the guest's identity through a valid ID.

Self-Check-In: A check-in process allowing guests to enter the vacation rental property independently, typically enabled by keyless entry systems.

Short-Term Rental: A property rented out for short-term stays, typically defined as stays lasting less than 30 days.

Short-Term Rental Insurance: Insurance coverage specifically designed for properties used as short-term rentals, distinct from standard home insurance policies.

Smart Lock: A lock that utilizes Wi-Fi or Bluetooth technology to provide keyless entry to the property, enhancing security and convenience for both guests and hosts.

Smart Lock Hub: A device that links smart locks to the internet, enabling hosts to automate lock-related tasks and enhance property security.

Split Stays: HostRooster Split Stays is a feature that allows travelers to enjoy extended trips, typically 14 days or longer, and book multiple vacation rentals for different parts of their journey.


Taxes: Income earned from your short-term rental property is generally subject to taxation. Hosts should report their rental income and related taxes on Form 1040, unless they qualify for a non-taxable rental exception.

Templates: Pre-written responses to common guest questions and inquiries, facilitating quick and consistent communication with guests.


Vacation Rental: The practice of renting out a property for short-term stays, typically lasting less than 30 days.

Value-Added Items: Unique features or amenities offered in the vacation rental property that justify charging higher rates. Examples include hot tubs, basketball courts, children's toys, or swimming pools.


Weekend Pricing: Nightly rates that specifically apply to weekends and are typically higher due to increased demand for weekend getaways.

Welcome Book or Binder: A comprehensive guide provided to guests, offering answers to common questions, local recommendations, and essential property information to enhance the guest experience.

Welcome Letter: A brief letter introducing guests to the property and providing a warm welcome upon their arrival.

This Vacation Rental Glossary is designed to help you navigate the world of short-term rentals more effectively, providing clear definitions for the terminology you're likely to encounter as a host. As you continue your hosting journey, this glossary will serve as a valuable reference to ensure that you are well-prepared and informed.

Host with confidence, knowing that you have the knowledge to navigate the unique language of the vacation rental industry. If you have any additional terms or questions that you'd like to see included in this glossary, feel free to reach out to HostRooster Support. We're here to help you make your hosting experience a success.


HostRooster is an innovative online platform that operates as a marketplace for short- and long-term homestays and experiences. Similar to other short-term rental platforms, HostRooster allows hosts to list their properties, such as homes, apartments, cabins, and unique accommodations, for travelers to book. It facilitates connections between hosts and guests, enabling travelers to find unique lodging options and immersive experiences during their trips. HostRooster aims to create a vibrant ecosystem where hosts can offer their properties and services, and guests can discover and book stays that suit their preferences and travel needs. The platform may also provide additional support and information to hosts to ensure a seamless hosting experience.

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