For short-term and vacation rental hosts, guest screening is one of the key components to responsible and successful hosting.
A lot of vacation rental hosts and property managers see guest screening as an intimidating and time-consuming process, that can lead to fewer bookings, lower revenue, high overhead costs, and an administrative headache when it comes to handling a guest’s sensitive personal data appropriately.
However, this is a common misconception.
Proper guest screening saves property managers and hosts time, and most importantly money, by increasing your revenue.
Without a comprehensive and reliable process in place, your business, properties, and hosts are left vulnerable to guest damage, fraud, parties, noise violations and criminal activity.
These can all lead to a very hefty bill, and even if your property doesn’t get damaged, noisy and disrespectful guests can destroy your company’s reputation in the community, which will affect host acquisition and is often irreparable.
Why is guest screening for vacation rentals so important?
Guest screening is the best way to protect you and your vacation rentals from the risks that come with online bookings.
Guest screening allows you to remove common booking restrictions, meaning you can accept last-minute reservations and have comprehensive protection that many of the large OTAs don’t provide to their hosts.
By investing in guest screening for your vacation rentals, you will also be able to encourage and increase your direct bookings, safe in the knowledge that you have the appropriate protection for your properties in place.
Respectful guests make for better experiences for both property managers and individual direct hosts.
Through responsible hosting, you’ll be able to maintain relationships with your neighbors and improve your acquisition of prospective hosts to help you grow as a business.
After all, a credible property management company (with a good reputation amongst hosts and local communities) is more likely to attract new clients.
An effective guest screening process will allow you to spend more time onboarding new properties, increasing profit and revenue, and building strong relationships with your guests.
The question is: How do you efficiently and effectively screen guests?
Superhog’s expert guide to guest screening for vacation rentals
1. Know your Guest(s)
In order to guarantee a hosting experience is a positive one, make sure you know as much as possible about your guest(s).
Ask guests to clarify if any additional guests will be joining them during their stay. If there are, collect all the details of these additional guests, such as name, email, and phone number.
Having these details will help if any damage is caused.
2. Do your research
Once you have their name and phone number, do a quick Google search.
Check on social media platforms to see if they live locally or whether what they post online is a cause for concern for you as a Host.
3. Ask for ID
By asking for a guest’s ID, you can host in confidence knowing exactly who you’re renting to.
Guests that are deterred and unwilling to provide their ID are often the ones that cause damage and problems for hosts.
Having a copy of the guest’s ID also helps if the guest performs any criminal acts, such as theft, and you have to report them to the police.
4. Validate payments
Vacation rentals are unfortunately a target for credit card fraud.
In order to make sure that cards are not stolen or fake, and guarantee that payments are made to you, make sure that guests pay 100% of the booking fee and any other payments you request upfront.
That way they are processed immediately and you will know in advance if there are any problems such as chargebacks.
5. Collect a deposit
We all know that accidents happen, so protecting yourself is crucial.
Collecting a deposit will help you validate the guest’s credit card and help you further if you need to make an insurance claim.
By holding the deposit for 7 days after the guest’s stay, you can inspect the property and charge the guest if they have broken or stolen anything. If you would like an automated, streamlined deposit solution, why not check out our deposit/damage waiver solution.
6. Have a rental agreement
Have each and every one of your guests sign a rental agreement committing to your house rules and the standards that you expect of them when staying at your property.
By having a legally binding agreement, guests can be held accountable for their actions and will make processes such as insurance claims or keeping the deposit amount much easier for you as a host.
7. Know your area
Keep yourself aware and up to date on big events that might be happening in the surrounding area.
If you live in an area that hosts a well-known festival or is known as a place to party, be wary of one night bookings and guests who live locally.
These are often party bookings and should be avoided at all costs.
8. Monitor the stay
By installing noise monitoring sensors, you can rest easy knowing that guests are treating your property with respect and not throwing a party.
Make sure you let potential guests know that you use these products and be understanding when it comes to noise spikes.
You can set your levels, and if they reach those levels for a sustained period of time, you can step in and contact the guest to get it sorted.
9. Stay on the platform
If you are using a major home-sharing OTA (platform) then keep all communications and payments on the site.
If a guest tries to get you to pay outside of the platform or move communications then repot them top the platform and decline the booking, as these are often scams.
10. Note their reviews
If you do use a major sharing platform, then make sure you have a look at the guest’s reviews.
And we mean both the reviews hosts have left them as guests, and the reviews they have left hosts.
See if they are unfairly critical of places they have stayed because these are the guests you want to avoid.
Or join Superhog, the leading guest screening provider for vacation rentals
Wave goodbye to manual processes that slow down accepting a booking and leave room for human error.
Superhog’s proprietary AI engine and machine learning tools sit atop our data infrastructure and dynamically enrich it with new information in real-time. We call this continual authentication.
Fitting in seamlessly to your guest journey, Superhog provides you with the latest and most relevant information at your fingertips, helping you reduce uncertainty and act with conviction.
If an accident does happen, (which unfortunately they do), you and your business will be protected by our industry-leading $5,000,000 Host Guarantee for every validated booking.
To find out more about how we can help your business thrive, book a demo with a member of our expert team.