Before the vacation rental industry evolved into what it is today, inviting strangers into your home was not a common thing. Nowadays, society is much more flexible and open-minded when it comes to non-traditional accommodation. And while that’s great and all, it’s necessary to remember the importance of the Airbnb vetting process to protect yourself and your property.
Inexperienced hosts are sometimes quick to accept booking requests without doing any background checks because they’re looking to fill up their calendars. While it may seem like the right decision at the time, letting ill-intentioned guests into your home can lead to conflict, damage, and other risks.
To help ease your mind and prevent future complications, we’ve compiled a list of the 6 best Airbnb vetting process tips and information that every host should know about.
Guest screening or vetting is the process of running a background check on potential guests – a key factor in spotting unwanted visitors before it’s too late.
Despite what some hosts might think, proper vetting will actually save you time, money, and effort. Even if you feel like house rules are enough, not background-checking your guests can leave your property susceptible to risks like damage, criminal activity, scam, underage parties, and noise violations. Making the effort and setting a structured vetting process will give you breathing room as a host and will most likely prevent an Airbnb horror story from unfolding.
Although these processes are essential, it’s important to know that rejecting a large number of booking requests can drop your position in search results.
The Importance of the Airbnb Vetting Process
Let’s dive into some of the reasons why it’s crucial to set up an Airbnb vetting process.
Reduce Your Anxiety
Feeling like you’re not comfortable or well-informed on the people renting out your property can be nerve-racking. Doing a background check can quickly ease this stress and make the hosting experience much more enjoyable.
Minimize the Risk for Damage
By damage, I mean anything that could put your property, neighbors, or business at risk. By vetting your potential guests, you drastically reduce the chances of letting a shady traveler into your home.
Improve Your Local Reputation
Is your property located in a neighborhood full of families? Or an apartment complex with retired couples? Chances are that if you don’t screen your guests, you might get a few groups that are only looking to throw a party. Even if your property is surrounded by millennials, constant noise complaints can make your entire neighborhood turn against you, and no one wants that.
Align Expectations with Your Guests
Vetting prospective guests can actually benefit them as well. By ensuring that you’re on the same page before a booking is confirmed, you’ll actually improve guest experience because you won’t be dropping any bombs in the middle of their stay. In other words, it’s a win-win!
Does Airbnb Do Background Checks?
Airbnb has approved background check providers for US-based users to help identify past criminal conduct.
If Airbnb has enough information on a user living in the United States (all they need is a first, last name, and date of birth), they check databases of public state and county criminal records. They also check national sex offender registries for criminal convictions and sex offender registrations. If a user is living outside of the United States, they can sometimes get ahold of local background and registered sex offender checks. Airbnb always reviews the OFAC list for registered users.
Keep in mind that during the Airbnb vetting and screening process, hosts may not discriminate against race, color, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status. To learn more, we recommend looking at Airbnb’s Nondiscrimination Policy.
The Limitations of Airbnb’s Background Checks
Despite conducting general background checks, Airbnb’s screening process is still limited and search results can be incomplete or inaccurate. It’s always recommended that hosts continue to use their own judgment when accepting bookings.
How to Successfully Screen Airbnb Guests
Aside from Airbnb’s screening process, you should also do a background check of your own. It might seem time-consuming at first, but once you’ve established a routine, you’ll get in the groove in no time!
1. Review Their Airbnb Profile
The first and easiest step to vetting an Airbnb guest is checking their profile. Airbnb users can verify their accounts by connecting their profiles to other social networks, confirming personal details, and scanning their IDs.
As a verified host, you can also require guests to verify their accounts before booking with you. Here’s how to set it up:
Go to the Reservation Requirements page
Check the box for Require guests to go through verification
Click Save Reservation Requirements.
Don’t judge too quickly – an incomplete profile isn’t always a red flag. You can contact the guest and ask them to fill in missing information – chances are they’ll do it right away!
2. Ask the Right Questions
Preparing questions for Airbnb guests does not mean you will be interrogating them. There’s nothing worse than being a guest and feeling like you’re being interviewed for a job. So, keep that in mind when you’re planning to have a conversation with them.
If you don’t know where to start, try these questions:
What brings you to (city/town/country)?
What attracted you to my listing?
Will anyone be with you or visiting you during your stay?
What have you planned for your stay?
Have you read the house rules and do you have any questions about them?
What are the full names and contact details of those on the reservation?
The same way guests check your reviews, you should also be checking theirs! If a guest has a bad reputation for being noisy and breaking house rules, it’s more than likely that you’ll be aware of it based on what other hosts have said in the past. And since reviews are only removed if they violate Airbnb’s Review Policy, the system is quite reliable.
If someone has a few negative reviews and you’re curious to know more about them before accepting a booking, you can always respectfully ask your potential guests to clarify what happened in that particular situation.
4. Do Some Social Media Stalking
While stalking your ex on social media is highly discouraged, we do suggest checking out potential guests’ profiles to get to know them a bit better.
Look over their Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram accounts to get an understanding of their social and professional life, as well as the people that they surround themselves with.
Now that you know how to vet potential Airbnb guests, it’s time to take it a step further.
5. Prepare a Vacation Rental Agreement
A vacation rental agreement is a straightforward and official way of laying down expectations and rules for both hosts and guests. These documents cover information like property and guest details, house rules, cancellation policies, and payment details.
6. Learn More about Airbnb Insurance
Airbnb’s Host Protection Insurance protects property managers and owners with up to $1,000,000 USD. This insurance can cover a host’s legal responsibility for guest injuries, damage to common areas or neighboring properties caused by guests, and damage to guest belongings.
It doesn’t cover intentional damage or injury, loss of income, or damage to the property itself (this is covered by Airbnb’s Host Guarantee). Airbnb’s Host Guarantee covers damage to your property or belongings by guests or their assistance animal.
You will automatically be insured by the Host Protection Insurance and Airbnb’s Host Guarantee once you list a property on the platform.
Vetting your Airbnb guests and staying informed on different insurances that cover you as a host are part of running a successful vacation rental business. At the end of the day, you can either face the risk of letting complete strangers into your home or you can put in the work to ensure that your guests are trustworthy and well-intentioned. All it takes is some patience, preparation, and drive!
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