Who does the best guest screening: Airbnb, Vrbo, or Booking?

Listing on major OTAs will boost your bookings and income. But, these channels also present a security risk for property managers.

The screening processes of Airbnb, Vrbo, and Booking.com are far from adequate and property managers can be vulnerable to damage, fraud, and complaints from neighbours.

In this article, we’ll explain the screening policies of Airbnb, Vrbo, and Booking.com, and show you the best way to boost your security using Know Your Guest’s automatic vacation rental guest screening.

Why guest screening is crucial for safety

In a recent Vacation Rental Success podcast episode, vacation rental CEO, author, and blogger Heather Bayer spoke to Superhog co-founder Leo Walton about the importance of guest screening for vacation rentals.

After 20 years as a property manager, Heather explained that:

It’s not a matter of if, but when, something goes wrong. And, if you aren’t prioritising the safety of your business, you won’t be able to survive the difficult times.

Heather went on to say:

Guest screening is such an essential part of safety. It’s all about keeping hosts and managers safe, and looking after our businesses.”

She also explained how screening guests is much more complicated in today’s world where bookings are made online, and people are hesitant to give out personal information.

Listen to the full episode: “How To Master Guest Screening For Your Short Term Rentals

Guest screening: a side-by-side comparison of each channel

Here’s a rundown of the key differences between each channel and what guest screening and safety features they offer.

Comparison of guest screening by Airb

Airbnb: pros and cons of the guest screening process

What are the pros and cons of the Airbnb background check process?


  • When signing up for Airbnb, guests must provide basic information such as their legal name, address, and a copy of an identification document. 
  • The channel may require guests to submit a copy of their passport in countries where this is mandatory, such as Spain, Italy, and Portugal.
  • If you’re a verified host, you can require guests to verify their accounts through the Reservation Requirements page before booking your property. 


  • Airbnb occasionally submits guest details to background check providers, but they don’t run screening checks on every guest. 
  • The Airbnb screening process doesn’t include a criminal record background check or checking against sex offenders registers.

Learn more about Airbnb’s screening process in our article, “Does Airbnb do background checks on guests?” 

Vrbo: pros and cons of the guest screening process

Vrbo performs only minimal checks on most guests. Here are the pros and cons of Vrbo background checks.  


  • To create an account and book a property, guests must provide their full name, email address, physical address, mobile phone number, payment details, and date of birth.
  • Vrbo awards a Verification Badge to guests who complete a verification process. To complete the process, Vrbo will verify guest details and identity documents.
  • Hosts can perform any extra screening checks they require.


  • The verification process is optional. Unverified guests can still make bookings on the channel. 
  • Vrbo’s verification process cannot:
    • Run criminal record background checks.
    • Check names against sex offenders registers.
    • Reveal credit history or chargebacks.
    • Detect fake IDs.

Read our article, “Does Vrbo do background checks on guests?” for more information on Vrbo’s policies.

Booking.com: pros and cons of the guest screening process

Does Booking.com do background checks? Yes, Booking.com’s background check process is more thorough than Airbnb’s or Vrbo’s. 

The channel recently developed AI and machine learning solutions to increase security for hosts. 


  • Guests are screened against global sanctions watchlists.
  • Booking.com’s machine-learning models can detect potential fraud and perform risk assessments after a booking is made. 
  • Guests who have reports against them or have been banned from other properties won’t be able to make new bookings. 
  • Hosts are encouraged to report guest misconduct, and you can block guests from booking your properties.


  • Despite these screening measures, hosts can still be at risk of property damage from guests who pass these checks. 
  • Booking.com doesn’t do sex offender background checks.  

How to screen your guests across all OTAs and on a direct booking website

Each of these major channels offers a slightly different process of guest screening for vacation rentals. Of the three, Booking.com’s guest screening is the most comprehensive.

However, it’s still not enough to fully protect your business.

To reduce your risk of fraud and damage, you need to do more extensive checks on your guests before they arrive. 

Know Your Guest can automatically perform extensive checks on all your guests so you can host with confidence. 

Whenever you get a booking, your guest will receive a request to provide personal details. 

Know Your Guest will then:

  • Verify phone number and email address
  • Scan linked online profiles
  • Check IPN address and VPN usage
  • Review data breach records
  • Search the US sex offenders register for a match

In addition, we check your guests against our internal database to see whether they have a history of fraudulent bookings or chargebacks.

Once you receive the screening results, you can proceed with the booking or cancel if the results are concerning. 

How Dtravel offers customers peace of mind with Know Your Guest

Dtravel is a blockchain-based company that provides an infrastructure to facilitate direct bookings.

It’s vital for Dtravel to offer property managers some protection so their customers can scale their businesses and accept direct bookings, safe in the knowledge that their bookings and properties will be protected from guest-related damages.

That’s why Dtravel integrated Know Your Guest to offer all their property managers comprehensive guest screening, along with $5,000,000 in damage protection. Speak to us to see how to protect your business with Know Your Guest!

Who does the best guest screening: Airbnb, Vrbo, or Booking?