Like any business, Airbnb’s real estate business comes with its share of risks. Most often, we are talking about unscrupulous guests: on the Internet, there are a lot of horror stories about guests, after which the whole house was turned upside down. It can lead to severe material damage or even criminal liability.
Airbnb strives to build trust, bring people together, and create a positive customer-host relationship. Therefore, it cannot be said that the probability of meeting a scammer on Airbnb is high, but it remains. Many owners who have hosted several hundred guests do not have negative experiences. But still, it is better to be cautious, check potential guests, and ensure your safety.
Therefore, it is worth thinking about checking guests before booking. Of course, it is impossible to foresee all cases of dishonest behavior, but if you notice some red flags in time, you can avoid many troubles. In addition, Airbnb offers its guest verification mechanisms. Let’s talk about it.
Why screening guests is important for Airbnb hosts
Surely you know about such an option on Airbnb as Instant Book. It allows automatic confirmation of orders. It eliminates the need to manually confirm guest bookings, increasing property occupancy and your revenue.
Yes, Instant Booking will increase bookings and your Host rating, but there is one big caveat.
There is an increased risk that unscrupulous guests will book your houses or apartments. Therefore, for security reasons, you will need additional verification. How to screen your guests? There are several ways at different stages of communication.
Does the Airbnb Platform Verify Members?
Airbnb has primary guest verification. Such precautions are aimed at preventing fraud by guests and damage to the Hosts’ property.
For example, you can specify the presence of verified guests in the booking requirements. Guests will then be required to provide Airbnb with an identity document in order to submit a booking request. It can be a passport, driver’s license, and other government-approved documents. The system will check the authenticity of the documents and assign the appropriate badge to the user.
Is this reliable? It is unlikely because the authenticity of the personality may not protect you from possible problems and dangers. In addition, scammers can bypass security systems: for example, to involve a third party who visually looks like a potential guest. Therefore, you need to take care of your verification, which will be more thorough than the one offered by Airbnb.
Tips for screening potential guests
Let’s discuss everything you need to know to protect your short-term Airbnb business from untrustworthy guests.
Letting the wrong guest into your home is one of the most significant risks in vacation rentals. Therefore, to guarantee the protection of your property, it is necessary to check guests at all stages of interaction. At each of them, you are invited to take a few simple steps for your peace of mind and to protect your business.
What to look for before communicating with guests
To prevent misunderstandings and dissatisfaction on the part of guests, describe in detail your potential audience. For example, if your apartment is intended for a quiet family vacation and not for noisy parties, indicate this in the ad. Yes, you don’t have to mention every little thing, but it’s worth notifying customers about essential things. The possibility of cooking, the presence of a pool, air conditioning – all these details are important.
You should also indicate whether the house has facilities for people with special needs, small children, and animals. If your home has special rules, be sure to mention them. It will eliminate the wrong audience and help you find those guests who will be satisfied with your stay and will not cause problems.
Safety checklist during guest interaction
So you’ve started talking to a guest about a booking. What can alert you? What to pay attention to?
A polite, neutral, good-natured tone is the gold standard of communication between the participants in the transaction. If a guest is rude to you, allows himself inappropriate questions and jokes, and insistently requires you to change the terms and conditions of accommodation, this is suspicious. The too-personal tone should also alert you: you are not relatives and not friends. Perhaps in this way, they want to gain confidence in you to deceive you later.
Request verification information
To ensure your safety, ask customers for basic information: contact details, names, and links to social networks. This is open information that a decent person will not be afraid to share.
By looking at a person’s accounts on Facebook, Instagram, and Linkedin, you can make an impression about him and make sure that he is real. It’s also helpful to read Airbnb’s reviews of this guest: if they’ve been the cause of incidents in the past, Hosts will likely write about it in their reviews.
If a person refuses to provide you with information about himself, this may arouse suspicion. After all, if he damages your property and then deletes your Airbnb account, you will have nowhere to turn.
Do not provide personal information
Positive communication is essential for a successful rental business. Still, if a client tries to close the distance between you too much and gets too personal information, he may become a scammer. Stay friendly and welcoming, but don’t share too much information. It can be dangerous for you and bring a lot of problems.
If you want to be a successful Airbnb host, you will need to connect with and host a lot of different people. Therefore, it is important to immediately capture important details, share only the necessary information, and weed out suspicious individuals. Be vigilant, and you will be able to avoid trouble.
Checking guests after interaction
So, you’ve talked to the guests, checked the information they provided, and you’re one step away from deciding whether to confirm the booking. What other steps can be taken to protect your property? Let’s list them below.
Check Airbnb Profile
One of the most popular ways to determine if your customer is trustworthy is to visit their Airbnb profile. You must carefully control every little thing: whether the profile is filled out, whether there is a photo, whether there is a verification badge. It is also desirable to have positive feedback from other hosts. An empty, newly created profile should alert you.
Check clients’ personal information
If the user provided you with a phone number, email address, and links to social networks at the communication stage, check this information with the data specified in the profile. By using this information for primary identity verification, you can ensure the honesty of your customers and the safety of your apartments and personal property.
Contact previous hosts
For a complete verification of guests, you can contact the Hosts from whom they have previously rented a property. If previous Hosts describe these people as trustworthy, decent guests, then you will be sure that your property will be treated with care. Yes, it may take time, but you will be safe.
Does Airbnb provide compensation for damage caused by guests?
Yes, the AirCover Host program is for guest damage compensation up to $1,000,000.
To receive compensation, you must fill out an application and send it for consideration. If your case is included in the insurance list, you have a chance to compensate for your expenses.
The list of insured events includes damage to real or movable property due to the guest’s fault, additional cleaning costs due to the guest’s fault, and loss of income due to the cancellation of subsequent bookings due to the previous guest.
What do you need to use AirCover? You should proceed as follows:
- Take photos and videos of the damage, and provide receipts for repairs and additional cleaning.
- Submit your AirCover for a Hosts refund request within two weeks of the customer’s departure.
- Contact the support service if the guest does not cover the expenses within 24 hours. The review process may take some time, so please be patient.
Please note that the list of insured events does not include additional basic cleaning after pets (for example, removing hair or feathers): this is included in the main costs of Airbnb Hosts. But if, for example, your furniture was damaged by animals, you can apply for damages, as this is not a standard situation.
Guest insecurity is one of the most significant risks Airbnb hosts face. It can drastically impact your bottom line, cause damage, and impact your morale. How to protect yourself from this? At a minimum, do not neglect the basic rules for checking a guest: ask for contact information, check reviews about him, and pay attention to the details in communication.
Follow the 3-step screening and use Airbnb’s security technology. And trust your intuition: even if all the verification steps have been successfully completed, but something is bothering you, it is better to refuse such a booking. After all, the damage from an unreliable guest can be incommensurable with the potential income from this booking.
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