Glossary Of Terms Related to Vacation Rentals

Looking to rent a vacation home or short term rental (STR)? Our comprehensive glossary of terms related to vacation rentals has got you covered! This lexicon will define key terms, outline important policies, and explore the unique amenities available in various types of vacation rental properties.

Vacation Rentals / Short Term Rentals (STRs)

 A house, apartment, condo, villa, or a cabin that is rented out to travelers for a short period of time. Often Vacation Rentals and Short-Term Rentals are used interchangeably, but STRs often refer to a rental duration that is shorter than Vacation Rentals. Typically, vacation rentals are fully furnished and equipped with all the amenities you would expect in a home, such as a fully equipped kitchen, bathroom, and living room. Most vacation properties offer indoor/outdoor amenities, pool table, smart TVs, Wi-Fi, Hot Tub, table games, Fireplaces and Fire Pits, among others. Also, vacation rentals offer linens and towels, washer and dryer.  These rentals are usually rented out for a few days or for several weeks at a time, and often require a deposit to secure the reservation.

Booking Platforms and Channels

These websites allow you to browse properties, read reviews from other guests, and book your stay. Examples of booking platforms are VRBO, AirBnB, HomeAway, Expedia, TripAdvisor, etc. However, these platforms will charge you an extra fee for using the platform to make your reservation. You can avoid this extra fee booking on the main website of the Property Management company.

Property Management

Many vacation rental properties are managed by third-party companies that oversee the rental process. These companies may handle everything from cleaning and maintenance to booking and guest communication. It is important to understand who is managing the property you are interested in renting, as this can impact the overall experience of your stay. Platforms like VRBO, AirBnB, and others advertise the property, but in case of an emergency or questions about the vacation property during your stay guests will not have assistance.


The owner or manager of a vacation property who rents it out to guests for short-term stays. This is the direct contact when guest has a question about the vacation property.


An individual or group of people who rent a vacation property for a short period to stay during their vacation or trip.


The number of people allowed to stay in a vacation property. It is typically determined by local regulations known as County Ordinance and the property's capacity determined by the Environmental and Health Department and the Fire Department.

Cleaning Fee

 A one-time charge levied on guests to cover the cost of cleaning the vacation property after their stay.

Security Deposit

A refundable amount collected from guests to cover any potential damages or breaches of the rental agreement during their stay.

Minimum Stay

The minimum number of nights that guests are required to book or stay in a vacation property. High end properties, in general have 2-night minimum stay during regular seasons and 3-4-night minimum stay during peak season and holidays.

Maximum Stay

The maximum number of nights that guests are allowed to stay in a vacation property. Some hosts impose limits on the length of stay to accommodate different bookings or prevent long-term occupancy. Some County Ordinances establish up to 30-90 days as maximum for a vacation property.

Maintenance Fee

A recurring or one-time fee charged to cover the costs of regular property maintenance, repairs, or upkeep. A maintenance fee is charged to the owner to keep the property up to standard and functionality. 

Rental Agreement

A legally binding document that outlines the terms and conditions of renting a vacation property, including payment details, cancellation policies, house rules, and liabilities. This contract is a legal commitment between the guests and the host of the vacation property.

Vacation Rental Insurance

An insurance policy that provides coverage for guests and hosts in case of damages, accidents, or other unforeseen circumstances during a vacation rental stay.

Dynamic Pricing

An automated pricing strategy used by hosts to adjust rental rates based on factors such as demand, seasonality, availability, and local events.

Local Regulations

Laws, ordinances, or zoning restrictions imposed by local authorities that dictate the rules and requirements for operating vacation rentals in a particular area. Local Regulations involve regulatory assessments from the Environmental and Health Department and Fire Department.

Concierge Services

Additional services provided to guests to enhance their experience, such as arranging transportation, extra housekeeping services, booking tours or activities, providing local recommendations, or organizing grocery delivery.

Guest Communication

The process of interacting with guests before, during, and after their stay, addressing their inquiries, providing instructions, and addressing any issues or concerns that may arise.

Damage Waiver

A fee paid by guests to provide protection against accidental damages to the vacation property during their stay, relieving them from certain financial responsibilities.

Accessibility Features

Facilities or modifications in a vacation property to accommodate guests with disabilities or mobility limitations, such as ramps, grab bars, wider doorways, or elevators. At guest request, the host can provide with extra wheelchair ramp and pack’ and play. 

House Manual

Also known as Guest Book is a series of documents provided to guests that includes important information about the vacation property, including operating instructions for appliances, emergency contact details, emergency equipment location and exits, Check-in/Checkout procedures, and any specific rules or guidelines.

Blackout Dates

Dates during which a vacation property is not available for booking, typically due to the host's personal use, maintenance, or other reasons.

Stay Length Discount

A discounted rate offered to guests who book a vacation property for an extended period, such as a week or a month, incentivizing longer stays.

Direct Booking

A reservation is made directly between the guest and the vacation property owner or manager, bypassing third-party booking platforms or agencies. Using direct booking will save guests money in extra fees and be able to access exclusive discounts.


An additional fee or surcharge applied to the rental rate for specific amenities, services, or premium features offered by the vacation property.


A term coined to describe a vacation or remote work arrangement where individuals or families stay in a vacation rental while also working remotely.

Fair Housing Laws

Legislation that prohibits discrimination based on factors such as race, gender, religion, disability, or familial status in the rental of vacation properties, ensuring equal access and fair treatment for all guests.

Online Travel Agency (OTA)

A website or platform that enables guests to search, compare, and book vacation rentals, flights, hotels, and other travel-related services. Examples include, Expedia, and Airbnb.


Term used to indicate the maximum number of guests that a vacation property can accommodate comfortably, often specified in the property's listing and property description to help guests choose suitable accommodations.

Sleeps + Bathrooms Configuration

A specification in the vacation rental property listing that indicates the number of bedrooms and bathrooms available, helping guests determine the suitability and comfort level of the accommodation for their needs. Include description of the bed sized, if the bedroom is regular or a suite; describes the amenities in each bathroom, jetted tub, walk-in shower, tub and shower combo, etc. 

Rate Calendar

A visual representation of the availability and pricing of a vacation rental property over a specific period, allowing hosts and guests to view rates and make informed booking decisions.

Business License

A legal permit or registration required by some jurisdictions for hosts to operate a vacation rental as a business, ensuring compliance with local regulations and safety standards.

Eviction Policy

A set of guidelines and procedures followed by hosts or property managers to address situations where guests fail to comply with rental agreements, house rules, or local regulations, leading to eviction from the vacation rental property. The Expedited Eviction procedure for vacation rentals takes place immediately after a grave and irreconcilable situation is discovered and acknowledged in the presence of the police or sheriff officer. 

Check-out Procedure

Instructions provided to guests regarding the tasks they need to complete before departing from the vacation rental property, such as removing trash, returning keys, or following specific check-out time requirements. Enchanted Mountain Retreats offers an Expedited Check-in/Check-out procedure.


A term used to describe a combination of work and vacation, where individuals or professionals choose to work remotely from a vacation rental property while also enjoying leisure activities.

Group Booking

A reservation made for multiple individuals or a group of guests, often requiring coordination of multiple rooms or units within the vacation rental property.

Guest Refund Policy

The policy outlining the circumstances under which guests may be eligible for a refund or compensation in the event of cancellations, changes, or unforeseen circumstances that impact their stay.

Pet-Friendly Property

A vacation rental property that allows guests to bring their pets, subject to specific rules, additional fees, and possibly restrictions on certain breeds or sizes. At Enchanted Mountain Retreats, we allow only dogs.

Guest Loyalty Program

A program or initiative implemented by hosts or property management companies to incentivize repeat bookings and reward loyal guests with benefits, discounts, or exclusive perks.

Guest Registration

The process of collecting guest information, such as names, contact details, and identification, to comply with legal requirements, local regulations, and for security purposes.


The practice of a vacation rental guest renting out all or a portion of the rental property to another person or group, often without the knowledge or consent of the host or property manager.

Guest Rights

The entitlements and protections afforded to vacation rental guests, including privacy, fair treatment, accurate representation of the property, safety, and adherence to local regulations.

Amplified Sound and Nuisance

Local regulations to keep the neighboring area in peace and quiet while guests enjoy their vacation in an STR. 


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