Being a vacation rental host can be an extremely lucrative business, but it also comes with its own challenges and risks. One of the most significant risks that come with hosting is the possibility of having a bad guest. As a host, it is vital to know not just how to get bookings but also how to screen guests effectively. Proper screening of guests can help prevent any potential problems, and it will make your experience hosting guests more comfortable and worry-free. In this blog post, we're going to discuss practical ways that you can screen guests and ensure that your rental property remains safe.
Establish house rules
The first step in screening guests effectively is to establish clear house rules. This should involve laying out specific guidelines that guests should follow during their stay. These guidelines could be about noise, pet policies, smoking, and guest numbers. One way to ensure that your rules are clear is to include them in your listing description and highlight them in the rules section. Ask guests to confirm that they have read your rules and agreed to abide by them before accepting their booking.
Check your guest's reviews
Don't overlook Airbnb's review system as it is an effective tool for identifying potentially problematic guests. Check out reviews left by previous hosts about the guest you are considering accepting. Do they have a good reputation with other hosts? Do they have negative reviews that may flag them as potential problem guests? Reading through guest reviews and paying attention to the details they contain can help you filter out those guests who don't meet your hosting standards.
Communicate with the guest beforehand
One of the best ways to screen guests is through communication. Reach out to your guest soon after booking or accepting their request. Send a message welcoming them and asking questions about their trip. Try to find out what brings them to the area and what they intend to do during their stay. This gives you insights into whether their interests align with your rental property and a better understanding of who they are. If they seem to be hiding something or aren't forthcoming, consider it a red flag.
Run background checks
Background checks aren't a requirement on OTAs, but using services such as those offered by Checkr or Transparent can help you identify any potential red flags in your guest's history. Conducting thorough background checks that consider personal criminal records, and financial backgrounds is a good way of gaining more in-depth knowledge about your guest.
Trust your gut
Ultimately, as the host, it's up to you to decide who gets to stay in your rental property. Sometimes their profile may seem great, and everyone seems to be on board, but you have an uneasy feeling. Listen to your intuition and if something doesn't feel quite right, don't hesitate to deny the request or cancel the booking if necessary.
Screening guests is an instrumental part of providing a pleasant and safe experience for both you and your rental guests. By following the tips we've outlined in this blog, you can significantly reduce the likelihood of incident and create an inviting space for future guests. Remember that no matter how charming or professional a guest seems, it's always better to be safe than sorry. Being a host entails taking on the responsibility of not just providing a space but also ensuring that you are screening your guests carefully. Your guests will appreciate the added care and attention you put in, and you will have created a more secure environment for both your guest and your property.