21st June 2018
Vetting Airbnb Guests – How to Avoid Bad Guests on Airbnb
Over the past week in New Zealand media there has been considerable buzz around an incident involving an Airbnb property being badly treated by a guest. The situation in question involved a 14-year-old that hosted a party at the booked short-term accommodation and resulted in a trashed property and questions of liability for Airbnb and the guest’s parents.
Obviously, an experience like this can be immensely traumatic for an Airbnb host. Nobody wants to deal with the hassle of cleaning up after someone else’s party, especially if it’s in your own home. It’s enough to put someone off short-term rentals for life! While Airbnb has strong strategies in place to prevent these issues from happening, it’s not always enough.
As a host, there are steps you can take to protect yourself against bad guests that will disrespect your property. Most of the time all it takes is a careful assessment and vetting of a user’s profile. Due to Airbnb protocol, there are several boxes hosts can tick-off, so to speak, to ascertain whether a guest should be accepted to stay at your property.
Here are what Airbnb hosts should look out for on guest profiles to protect themselves against bad experiences on the platform.
Screening your Airbnb Guests:
Does the Guest Have a Complete Airbnb Profile?
One of the biggest red flags on Airbnb is an incomplete profile. A guest that hasn’t invested the time and energy into filling out each section hasn’t made any effort to try and sell themselves to hosts. Most people that want to use Airbnb in the long-term for genuine and positive experiences will at the very least try to fill out every profile section. A rushed or neglected profile should be a big warning sign for Airbnb hosts.
Does the Guest have Reviews from Past Stays?
Has the guest stayed with hosts on Airbnb before? Usually, hosts will leave reviews of guests much in the same way guests will leave reviews on listings. These reviews are the best way to filter for bad guests. If your prospective guests have any negative feedback you may want to consider declining their request, depending on the circumstances.
Consider reviews as a way of warning future hosts about a guest and take their advice – they’ve been there. Do your part after hosting each guest too, this will make it easier for respectful people to get bookings and make it harder for the bad guests to become repeat offenders.
Is Your Guest a Host on Airbnb?
A large number of guests are also hosts when they’re not travelling. This is another effective way of seeing if someone is suitable for your property. In general, hosts make for fantastic guests. They understand how Airbnb works, they know how to behave and they’re respectful of other people’s property.
When was the Profile Made?
Make sure you check to see when the profile of the prospective guest was made. If they’ve been active in the community for a while, this is a good indicator that they’re a genuine person looking for quality accommodation. However, if the profile was created on the same day as the booking request was sent, you may want to steer clear. There’s a high chance that unsavoury characters may be trying to book your property.
Is Your Guest Verified?
Verification is a feature offered on Airbnb profiles where users can verify identification with the platform. Verification is really important because it lets hosts know that they’re dealing with a genuine guest. There are multiple verification options, these include phone numbers, email addresses, Facebook, Linkedin, credit cards and other forms of offline ID.
It’s advisable to stick away from allowing unverified users to book your property. There’s a huge risk factor at hand if you allow unidentified people to stay with you. Airbnb hosts should consider at least two verifications as a bare minimum of all guests.
Do They Have a Profile Picture?
While you won’t be vetting guests based on their looks, it’s still important to know who they are before approving their request. Your guests should have clear pictures of themselves on their profile, just as you should. Blurry or grainy photos can sometimes be a sign of danger.
Are They Trying to Communicate Outside of Airbnb?
This is a big no-no. Leaving the security of Airbnb to complete payments with third-parties is one of the biggest mistakes you can make as a host and a guest. Once you leave the platform, you’re no longer protected by their policies. It’s well-known that scammers will usually attempt to do this. Be suspicious of any suggestion to use an alternative method of completing the booking.
Meet for an In-Person Check-In
One of the best ways of easing your uncertainty about any potential guests is by meeting them in real-life for the check-in process. Meeting a person will help you decide whether they’re suitable for your property, it will help you check that they’re who they say they are and allow you to lay out your ground-rules. If you’re ever in doubt about any guests on Airbnb you should always consider this option.
Having a Positive Experience on Airbnb
If a person has a bad profile it doesn’t automatically mean they will be a bad guest, but it is a red flag. Use your intuition and what’s available to you to determine whether they’re legitimate. There’s nothing stopping you from asking your guest questions or requesting more clarification. Remember that at some point or another everybody is new to Airbnb. By asking the right things you can enhance your experience and somebody else’s on this platform with the current stay and in the future.
By using this advice, you should be well equipped to avoid any potential pitfalls on Airbnb. Making the most out of your investment is all about making calculated choices with each and every booking. Try not to let your guard down too much and always follow Airbnb guidelines for the best experience on the platform.