We’ve all heard the stories of Airbnb rentals gone awry; from the group of teens throwing a party, to the seemingly nice couple walking out with your stereo system. Or even the nitpicking guest with a grudge and a loaded review ready to send. Problem guests happen.
Although, the percentage of Airbnb experiences going sour is very low (estimated at under 7%), the risk still exists. Of all problem guests, complainers and bad reviews are the most common outcomes. It may seem trivial, but this can seriously affect your ratings on Airbnb.
The good news is you can take steps to mitigate your risk, and learn how to choose the right guests. With these suggestions, you’ll keep the complainers at bay and ensure that your AirBnB never ends up in the news.
Here are the top 7 things to consider when setting up your AirBnB and screening for problem guests:
1. Boundaries… with yourself
Setting clear boundaries with yourself at the very beginning of the process allows you to maintain a clear mind when approving guests later on. The best way to ensure that you set yourself up to win with every guest is to decide that you aren’t going to say yes to everyone. When you become too attached to income, your judgement becomes clouded around deciding who is the best fit for your space. You must accept that you’re willing you let go of potential renters in order to prevent poor choices made out of desperation.
Your home is never worth risking, because the wrong guest can sting you with anything from a bad review to stealing your worldly possessions, to burning your house down. Holding a strict mindset and clear boundaries from the get-go ensures that you’re only hosting people you truly WANT to host.
2. Set Nightly Minimums
Airbnb allows you to set nightly minimums for all your nights, or during specific periods of time. By setting your minimums to 2, 3, or 4 nights you attract guests who are looking for a home, instead of partiers just looking for a house. This is a great way to weed out the guests who are looking for something more akin to a hotel room. You can also avoid problem guests in certain locations by setting even longer minimums. For example, properties in resort locations like Whistler benefit from 3+ night minimums to avoid those weekend warriors coming up from Vancouver looking to party. Setting higher nightly minimums lands you higher quality guests and families looking to lay low.
3. Set Strict Instant Book Rules
Set clear and concise rules to ensure that guests know what level of conduct you expect from everyone who enters your home. If you use the Instant Book function as recommended by Airbnb, you can set your own rules under “Booking Settings”. Set your qualifications for Instant Book high, so only guests with positive reviews and verified ID can Instant-Book; not only have these guests been approved by Airbnb, but they are much less likely to violate your rules because they’ve got a good reputation to uphold 😉
4. Use House Rules To Set Clear Expectations
When you set your House Rules high, you set a standard for the type of guest you allow in your home. Clear communication eliminates confusion, and possible conflict. You can always set high expectations without scaring good guests away by using clear and concise wording. For example “No smoking in or around our property”, is much more clear and effective than “Please refrain from smoking”. Wording matters!
Add extra rules to the “Additional Rules” section under House Rules to give further instructions and impose strict guidelines. Every guest must follow all House Rules as part of the contract they enter when renting your property. Remember, this is your home and you make the rules. Failure to comply with your rules gives you the grounds for a no-penalty cancellation, even if the guest hasn’t arrived yet.
5. Check The Profiles Of Incoming Guests
Similar to any other online exchange, you will feel more connected to your guests if you check out their profile first. To get to know them, look for a face photo, previous positive reviews, and make sure they have verified ID. You can also look for connected social accounts. An immediate red flag is a brand new account with no photo and no personal description. Use your instincts here. If you get a bad feeling from someone, don’t accept them as a guest.
6. Interview Your Guests
This may seem strange at first, especially because many people are used to the anonymity of hotels which require no character verification, but these people are coming into your home, you’re allowed to ask them questions! Ask them about themselves and their trip, who they are coming with, and what they plan to do in the city. If the guests are new to Airbnb ask them if they understand how home sharing is different from hotels, and make sure they understand what you expect from them as a guest.
See if they are up to being challenged: Don’t hesitate to ask them about previous behaviour, or bad reviews. If their default is to always blame the host, or you have any other reservations about their answers, consider declining them.
The use of short, non-punctuated, casual messages is another red flag to be aware of. Not caring about communication can extend to not caring about your property. Guests who communicate with politeness, professionalism and graciousness are more likely to behave as such in your home.
7. Set standards you are comfortable with
As a host you have to set standards to help keep you and your home safe. Here are a few to consider:
- Only host adults aged 25+
- Refuse to host people from your own city (due to the prevalence of partiers)
- Set a high minimum night stay requirement
- Only host guests with previous reviews
- Turn off Instant Book
- Decline anyone who mentions the words “Graduation”, “Bachelor” or “Bachelorette”
In conclusion, you’re responsible for who you let into your home. When you set clear and concise boundaries with yourself and potential guests, you are better equipped to sift through potential threats. This will ensure you never experience an Airbnb horror story by staying mindful and consistent with all bookings. A quick buck now is not worth the clean-up later. When it comes to your home, aim for quality over quantity every time.
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Using an Airbnb management company like Heart Homes can help relieve the burden of sifting through potential problem guests. We are experts in vetting and reviewing guests. We manage your listings and ensure that only quality guests are welcomed into your home. Check out our article about how an Airbnb Manager can help you run a top-shelf AirBnB listing here.