We’ve all heard those nightmare Airbnb guest stories, and we’re not talking about missing towels or a broken vase here and there. Inviting the wrong guests into your property can lead to costly consequences, including property damage, disgruntled neighbors, and even legal trouble. The impact on your income and your reputation as a host could be long-lasting.

On the flip side, a thorough guest screening process can not only shield you from troublesome guests but also boost your Airbnb business, increasing occupancy rates and revenue. If you’re eager to learn more about the art of screening Airbnb guests and why it’s crucial, keep reading.

Why Should You Prioritize Airbnb Guest Screening?

Whether you utilize Airbnb’s Instant Book feature or not, you’re likely aware that enabling it allows automatic booking acceptance. Airbnb tends to favor listings with higher booking potential, giving those on Instant Book an edge in search results. Consequently, this can lead to more bookings and increased rental income, especially for last-minute reservations.

However, there’s a catch to Instant Book’s advantages compared to Airbnb’s Request to Book feature. When bookings bypass host confirmation, there’s a higher likelihood of problematic guests slipping through the cracks, emphasizing the need for an effective screening process.

To safeguard your property from disturbances, vandalism, and fraudulent activities, you’ll need to rely either on Airbnb’s built-in screening system or establish your own.

Does Airbnb Screen Guests?

Airbnb does have a guest screening process, but it’s primarily focused on fraud prevention. In your Reservation Requirements settings, you can mandate guests to have a “Verified ID” badge to book your property. They must provide Airbnb with a government ID (such as a driver’s license or passport) and possibly a recent photo, which Airbnb verifies through background checks.

However, it’s important to note Airbnb’s disclaimer: “Please be aware that completing this process isn’t an endorsement of any Host or guest, a guarantee of someone’s identity, or an assurance that interacting with them will be safe.”

Therefore, while Airbnb does verify guests to some extent, it’s not foolproof, and guests might circumvent it by having a third party make bookings on their behalf. This is why hosts should implement a more comprehensive screening process, which we’ll delve into next.

How to Screen Airbnb Guests: 5 Strategies for Safety and Damage Prevention

  • Establish Detailed House Rules: Begin by setting clear vacation rental house rules that guests must agree to before booking. These rules should outline your expectations of acceptable behavior during their stay. By providing a comprehensive list of what you consider unacceptable, you can deter potential troublemakers who may cancel their reservation upon seeing these rules. If your property is equipped with smart technology, leverage it to mention noise monitors to discourage late-night disturbances.
  • Examine the Guest’s Airbnb Profile: A quick but effective step in vetting guests involves thoroughly reviewing their Airbnb profile. Start by checking their reviews from other hosts. If a guest has numerous positive reviews, there’s typically no reason to anticipate problems. If you come across a negative review, reach out to the guest to hear their side of the story. Additionally, check if they have an Airbnb “Verified ID” badge, which you should have already stipulated as a booking requirement. A complete profile with a photo indicates a guest’s understanding of the importance of the screening process.
  • Ask Pertinent Questions: Upon receiving an Instant Book reservation, take advantage of the 24-hour window before check-in to ensure there are no glaring issues that warrant cancellation. Use automated booking confirmation emails with questions like:
    • What’s the purpose of your stay?
    • Why did you choose this property?
    • Where are you traveling from?
    • How a guest responds can provide insight into their personality. Those invested in the screening process will provide detailed answers, a positive sign.
  • Verify Guest IDs: You may want to verify your guests’ IDs, such as a copy of their passport or driver’s license, and compare it to their Airbnb profile for peace of mind. While the chances of encountering a guest with a fake ID are slim, tools like Autohost and Safely can help perform background checks with minimal intrusion.
  • Request a Security Deposit: Requesting a security deposit serves three purposes: protection against damages, verification that the guest’s credit card isn’t flagged for fraud, and assurance that the guest can cover potential damages. If a guest hesitates to provide a deposit, it may raise concerns about their intentions.

Red Flags to Watch for During Airbnb Guest Screening

To avoid hosting a problematic guest, remain vigilant for red flags that should deter you from proceeding with a reservation:

  • Resistance to paying a security deposit.
  • Reluctance to provide a copy of their ID.
  • Disregard for your house rules.
  • Lack of information on their Airbnb profile.
  • Insistence on communicating outside the Airbnb platform.
  • Booking a property with more bedrooms than necessary.
  • Willingness to pay significantly above market rates.
  • Providing conflicting information about themselves.
  • Hesitation or evasiveness when asked simple questions about their stay.

Safeguard Your Airbnb Experience

Nobody wants to become an Airbnb horror story. However, when you offer short-term rentals, you open yourself to various risks. That’s why it’s imperative to take the necessary steps to protect yourself and your property. Here are the key takeaways:

  • Establish detailed house rules.
  • Scrutinize the guest’s Airbnb profile.
  • Pose relevant questions.
  • Verify guest IDs.
  • Request a security deposit.

By implementing a thorough guest screening process early in the reservation process, you can minimize the chances of hosting problematic guests and even enhance their stay with personalized touches. With the right approach, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for both you and your guests.

Frequently Asked Questions on Airbnb Guest Screening