You never know what kind of visitor you’re going to get when you open your door to strangers, especially in the short-term rental industry. While you can always hope for peaceful, considerate guests who make hosting a pleasure, occasionally, you’ll run into troublesome guests—those who are noisy, bother your neighbors, and trash your property.
But how can you find out who these visitors are before it’s too late? It’s more complex, let us tell you. Constantly, troublesome visitors manage to get through the cracks. We’ve developed the following advice to help you identify unwanted guests during the booking process because of this.
Check the reservation made by the visitor.
Review the guest’s booking information in detail before confirming a reservation. Even though the warning signs of an unwelcome visitor are typically subtle, they are nonetheless present. All you need to do is know what to look for.
Keep an eye out for visitors who reserve properties that are bigger than they need. For instance, a three-bedroom home can be rented by more than one couple. Booking an excessively large property may indicate that the guest has plans to host a party or bring in unregistered guests. Let the visitor know they must be registered with you to enter the property.
Next, be wary of weekend one-night reservations by visitors. It’s worth looking into, even though this isn’t suspicious right away. Weekend single-night bookings are ideal for pre-drinks and parties. Follow up and inquire about the visitor’s travel plans to understand their intentions better. Cancel the reservation if a guest provides evasive or confusing information.
Lastly, stay up to date with local events. The demand for rentals soars when a significant event, such as a parade or a film festival, occurs. It means you have to deal with visitors in town for a celebration, which is great for business. Increase your prices and keep an eye on your reservations during these times to weed out partygoers.
The visitor’s online profile
Utilize your inner sleuth and research the visitor’s online reputation. Look up any evaluations of the guest that other hosts have written. If the guest was considerate of the host’s property and rules, this would show.
Look at their social media profiles. To confirm the visitor’s identity, scroll through Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Google their name and phone number if you can’t find them on social media. Even when you can’t find an internet presence, you should still be cautious about identity fraud and not hastily cancel the appointment. To learn more, follow up with the visitor.
Examine the visitor’s ID
The best approach to determine whether the visitor is genuine may make you feel like the bouncer outside a nightclub, but it is necessary. Ask the visitor to email you a copy of their passport or driver’s license so you have it on file.
Verify the document’s ownership after you obtain it from the reservation maker. Cross-referencing the ID and the supplied payment card is another smart move. The visitor making the reservation should be the person who will be staying at your resort unless it is an HR booking for an employee. If the names don’t match, you might be dealing with a stolen credit card or fake identification.
Look closely at the guest’s photo and personal details to see whether it is a fake ID. Compared to your ID, It’s probably a manipulated image if the head appears floating or the information doesn’t make sense.
Finally, if you’re worried, you can check the guest’s name against criminal databases like the FBI’s Most Wanted list. This will show if the visitor has any criminal activity on their record. Airbnb automatically performs this during their vetting process for visitors and hosts.
Be in touch with the visitor.
It might sound antiquated, but the easiest approach to learning the guest’s objectives is to speak with them on the phone and ask them questions. You can decide whether or not you want to proceed with the reservation with careful discussion.
If the visitor ignores your calls or refuses to engage in conversation, it’s a red flag. Refuse to let them hide behind emails and texts and insist on speaking to them on the phone instead.
Don’t be overly confrontational when speaking to the visitor on the phone; this isn’t an opportunity to question them; rather, it’s a time to get to know them. Ask them why they are traveling, where they are coming from, who they are arriving with, and their travel schedule. Guests that are evasive regarding their travel schedules should be avoided.
Permit inquiries from your visitor are to be asked of you. Tell them about the house, the neighborhood, and the house regulations. Setting expectations with the visitor is crucial so they understand you won’t put up with any misbehavior.
How to Screen Visitors Without Listing Sites
When you decide to market your vacation rentals independently and leave listing portals and OTAs behind, you already have a lot to worry about. How can I increase the number of visitors to my website? How can I be certain that website visitors make reservations? What further strategies are there for marketing a vacation rental? But inviting the incorrect visitors to your property is one thing you don’t want to worry about.
Even while listing websites frequently demand that users verify their accounts with official identification, horror stories about Airbnb nevertheless occur. How, therefore, when you’re on your own, can you be certain that you always choose the correct guests?
Before approving a booking, we examine the top five methods for guest screening. To learn more, keep reading!
1. Clearly state that they must sign your tenancy agreement.
Make sure they are informed of the parameters of your rental agreement, including house rules, from the very first inquiry to ensure that every visitor who visits your home is a good person.
It’s a good idea to mention this in the introduction or “getting to know you” email if it isn’t already on your vacation rental website so that they are aware they must approve the agreement to stay at your home. Any inappropriate prospects will be discouraged from submitting their booking inquiry as a result.
2. Extend your minimum stay
Another suggestion to keep undesirable guests from staying at your home so they can host a crazy party? You should extend the minimum stay. If your minimum stay increases from one or two to three (or even four) nights, it becomes an abruptly much higher commitment and may deter partygoers searching for an inexpensive yet opulent setting for the evening.
3. Charge a large damage deposit
It may sound apparent, but tenants will think twice before damaging your property if they have to pay hundreds of dollars as a deposit. Any inappropriate renters will be discouraged from ever considering staying at your house by a large (but refundable) damage deposit.
4. Visit them while they are there.
Checking in on your guests will help you make sure that you did make the right decision after all, whether you just send them a quick text message mid-stay or let them know ahead of time you like to pop by and see how they are doing.
5. Watch out for strange email addresses
Generally speaking, if an email appears amateurish, spammy, or just fraudulent, it is. Although many people will have had humiliating initial email addresses, the majority will have outgrown them and created suitable adult email addresses for scenarios like renting holiday homes. If not, this could be a major warning sign. Check out this list of possible spam email service companies.
Additionally, if the email is sent from a college student’s address, this can be a problem. Although not all college students have a terrible reputation, you should be extra cautious if your property is close to a school because it could become the scene of an unruly party.
What Damage Can Poor Tenants Do to Your Business?
After discussing how to screen visitors, let’s discuss the effects that “bad renters” can have on your brand and your entire organization. Here are a few instances:
1. Longer turnover time
We can all discuss the obvious ways that undesirable house guests damage your home (we’ll get to those shortly), but turnover is often overlooked until the end of the month or the end of the year when totals are being calculated.
The amount of time it takes to keep your listing consistently filled with fresh visitors is known as your turnover time. You have a steady stream of visitors if your turnover time is minimal. A single entry and a single exit
However, if your turnover time is large, it may take longer to fill your slots, which is not ideal. Since the rooms won’t stock their amenities, a higher turnover time will result in lower profits for you.
2. Material harm
Bad tenants not only increase turnover time and leave the house in disarray, but they can also permanently harm your property. However, some things cannot be avoided. We advise against storing personal or extremely valuable items in rentals.
You might, for instance, hire a place that is more of a “bed and breakfast with an Eastern motif” rather than a “pure house.” It’s possible that you erected a sizable Buddha statue in the main area of the property’s exterior to accentuate the Eastern theme. It wasn’t inexpensive to install that centerpiece; it cost you $5,000. However, guess what? If you have careless tenants, they might “accidentally” organize a party where one of the attendees decides it would be fun to play “baseball with Buddha.” You’ve now damaged your statue. A fantastic centerpiece and five grand are gone!
3. A negative reputation
We all understand that reputation is everything (just ask Taylor Swift). However, in the game of online home-sharing services, reputation may make or break your company.
Imagine that the three events mentioned above all occurred, and you are now coping with the consequences. You forgot something while getting ready for your upcoming guests. Perhaps your cleaning wasn’t as thorough, you neglected to fix the broken door, or a prominent feature that was visible in the property’s images has since disappeared (bye, Buddha). Your visitor won’t be a particularly content camper.
They give a less than great evaluation after the encounter. Even if one negative review might not be harmful, if there are enough of them, potential customers will be sure to avoid you.
4. Added cleaning charges
Spending money on cleaning products or hiring a vacation rental cleaner to do the job for you will be necessary if you plan to clean up after the tenants leave the premises in a mess.
Time and money are needed for this. We advise you to set aside money specifically for cleaning because the cost of cleaning goods can quickly start to mount. Additionally, we advise choosing a professional cleaning service or software that is effective for coordinated cleaning. You’ll save time on the back end so you can utilize it for other office work for your home-sharing company.
5. The potential for your company to be shut down
We now reach our concluding (and most significant) reason for never letting terrible tenants into your house or property.
Have you ever heard of Airbnb properties where a party was thrown on the premises, which managed to enrage everyone in the neighborhood? Have you ever heard of homeowners’ associations and neighboring associations opposing home sharing due to said gatherings?
You will probably become the target of a homeowners’ association takedown if you host a big party with a lot of noisy guests and folks who don’t give a damn about the area.
That could imply losing the ability to rent a valuable property, losing money, and even running the risk of losing your business due to unsatisfactory tenants.
What to Do?
You can prevent issues and draw in the kind of people who share your values by using the advice in this article and doing background checks on prospective visitors before accepting reservations. In this manner, you may do business without feeling as though you are operating on thin air and give your neighbors in the area piece of mind.