In the ever-evolving world of short-term rentals, hospitality is paramount, but it often comes with its fair share of challenges. You’ve hosted wonderful guests who leave your property in pristine condition, and then there are those who, well, put your patience to the test.
But fear not because we’re about to unlock the secrets to ensuring your vacation rental remains a haven for good guests while deterring the troublesome ones.
On September 14, 2023, Neil Graham, a Content Marketing Specialist at Lodgify, was joined by two very special guests: Zoey Berghoff, an Airbnb investor, coach, Superhost, and social media star, and Leo Lopez, the Business Development Manager at Minut, one of our top integration partners, to discuss the various ways throughout the reservation process in which hosts can avoid problem guests.
In this blog, we’ll bring you a recap of Lodgify’s recent webinar: “How to Protect Your Vacation Rental From Troublesome Guests,” with the goal of equipping you with valuable insights, expert advice, and practical strategies to navigate the sometimes rocky waters of short-term rental hosting.
It also allows those who attended and those who missed the webinar the opportunity to view it at their convenience. You will find the webinar recording, a breakdown of all the topics discussed, some valuable tips, and a selection of the best questions from the Q&A section.
The webinar, with nearly 500 registered attendees, began with Neil’s presentation about Lodgify’s main and latest features, including the AI Assistant and Lodgify’s third-party apps marketplace. As the webinar was intended to provide hosts with as many practical tips as possible to protect their vacation rental, Neil also shared some data from the Lodgify report ‘Unauthorized Parties and How to Prevent Them’ before reminding everyone that we have a blog on vacation rental scams and hoax guests that include more tips and useful information.
Zoey then shared her insightful and detailed presentation, giving us an array of suggestionsto help us avoid problem guests, from marketing and guest screening to red flags and on-site issues. She also shared a recent real-life example of some troublesome guests that she had hosted recently, telling us where it went wrong, what she would have done differently, and how her experience with AirCover went.
Leo then began his presentation with ideas to develop positive relationships with guests and neighbors, with a particular emphasis on the importance of communication. He then discussed the key features of Minut, from noise monitoring capabilities to smoke detection, and shared some technical information regarding the device and some customer testimonials.
Questions for Zoey
Question: I’ve been told customers can still dispute ‘authorized security deposits’ and get the money back. Is there a way for us to charge their credit card instead of only doing a hold?
Answer: When it comes to collecting security deposits and any form of payment, the platform is doing that for you. For example, with Airbnb, they are holding that money until the second day of the reservation, so we don’t have the ability to charge their card and get the payment right away. The only thing that comes to mind is if you take it off-platform, but you might want a rental agreement where the guest signs and agrees to pay that.
Question: Did you find it hard to remove the Airbnb review, as they said they only take down retaliatory reviews?
Answer: I have requested a total of three reviews to be removed, and I’ve had two of them successfully removed. The review in question was actually not entirely truthful in terms of what services are on offer, so after speaking with Airbnb, they did take it down. The biggest tip I have from a friend is when you want a review taken down, make sure you have the Airbnb policy page pulled up and make reference to specific terminology that they use. Make sure your response to the review is a well-crafted response, and do respond to it so future guests can understand that it wasn’t really the host’s fault.
Question: What if the guest books directly, so you don’t have access to Airbnb profiles or reviews from previous hosts?
Answer: I would have a different setup for guest screening, and I would probably try to jump on a quick call with them to hear more about their stay and who’s coming. I would definitely have a rental agreement in place and short-term rental insurance. It’s up to you in terms of how much information you’d want to know, but you could also ask for ID or some additional information that would make you feel comfortable.
Question: Zoey, do you have suggestions to avoid host burnout?
Answer: Make sure you have your processes and PMS, like Lodgify, in place so you don’t have to take on the extra workload, as many aspects can be automated, like pricing, your calendar, and guest messaging. You don’t have to do everything yourself; it’s okay to outsource.
Question: If you do spot a red flag in a booking request, can you decline the reservation without receiving a negative mark from the platform?
Answer: Yes, but it depends on what platform you’re on. Something I’ve strategically done is convince the guest to withdraw the request themselves. For example, if there are six guests coming with three dogs, I’ll say, “Sorry, our property only hosts one to two pets, to make sure you don’t get reminded by Airbnb to pay for this request, you can simply withdraw the request”.
Questions for Leo
Question: Can Minut detect vapor from vaping devices and e-cigarettes?
Answer: Currently, it can detect cigarette smoke and second-hand smoke; however, vapor detection is currently in the beta phase, but I have no doubt it will be available sometime in the near future.
Question: Can you talk about what mobile devices are monitored? I’m interested in occupancy monitoring, but we often have guests who have more than one device per person, such as a mobile phone, iPad, and a laptop.
Answer: We detect all devices through Bluetooth, and when it comes to Android, there are some that the device can’t quite pick up yet, but we are working on it in beta. Due to privacy policies and our collaboration with Airbnb, it’s very difficult to be able to know the exact number of guests, and we have to respect that.
Question: How can I purchase the Minut device?
Answer: You can do it directly through the website. It’s easy to do, and you just need to follow a few simple steps. It usually takes 2-3 days to arrive.
Question: If you detect cigarette smoke, do you have any suggestions on how to alert your guests?
Answer: So, when you detect smoke, it will be you as the property owner or manager who gets the notification; then it is really up to you and the way you manage your rental. In the vacation rentals I manage, I first communicate the rules to the guests and emphasize that it’s a no-smoking apartment and that we have a device that can detect cigarette smoke. So, I double-check with the guest in a polite way and then just make sure they understand that smoking is not allowed.
Question: In which countries/regions is Minut available?
Answer: You can use it anywhere; all you need is a WiFi connection. It works worldwide, and we ship to most places.