If you’re a new Airbnb host, you may not know about screening Airbnb guests. Hell, we know long-time hosts who don’t know about screening Airbnb guests. Screening Airbnb guests is going to be a key factor in protecting your investment and making sure your property stays clean and your cleaners stay sane.
What Screening Airbnb Guests Does
Screening Airbnb guests is an easy way for them to know that you’re a hands-on host…or at least gives the illusion that you are. Creating small hoops for guests to jump through is an easy way to ensure your property is protected. By asking guests to give information you are weeding out the poor-quality guests and only accepting bookings from good ones.
Think about it, if you’re planning to have a party you won’t pick the host that asks too many questions. Guests with nefarious intentions are looking for easy targets. Your goal is to look like a difficult target. On the other hand, you don’t want to be so difficult that reasonable guests aren’t booking your space. It’s a fine line to flirt. But, if you can manage it, it’ll save you plenty of time and headaches.
Here’s what you’re avoiding with screening guests:
- Illegal activities
- Broken house rules
All of these things cost you time and money. Similarly, if your listing is done right, you’ll weed out guests before they even try to book. Don’t worry, we’ll teach you how next!
Screening Airbnb Guests
There are a few ways to screen your Airbnb guests. A few options are easy, but others require a little more effort. We choose to implement easier ways to screen Airbnb guests as we don’t want to create too much of a barrier to book. Here’s a list from easiest to hardest and we’ll dive deeper into the options:
- Adding security cameras
- Requiring information for instant booking
- Requesting additional information
- Removing instant booking
- Requiring a security deposit
Adding Security Cameras
Adding security cameras to your property is a clever way to screen Airbnb guests. Importantly, it’ll give you peace of mind as well. On top of that, you’ll have something to refer back to for evidence if anything happens. However, in our option, the best part isn’t having a security camera on your home…it’s having one in your listing.
By spelling out in your listing description and on the features, you’re informing guests that you have one. This key factor helps you screen Airbnb guests without any effort at all. Quality guests will understand and continue to book your space. On the other hand, shitty guests will see that you have a camera and they’ll move on to another unsuspecting victim.
Requiring Info for Instant Booking
Another easy way to screen Airbnb guests is to require info for instant booking. Instant booking is an Airbnb feature that allows guests to book your space without you having to approve it. We love this option because we don’t want to take the time to individually approve guests. Although, we still prefer to set limits to screen Airbnb guests.
Here are three things you can require for guests to book your space. Firstly, is a ‘good track record’ which states that a guest has completed at least one stay without any incidents or a negative review. Second, you can require guests to respond to a few questions before instant booking. And finally, you can require them to have a profile photo. We don’t find the last one incredibly helpful because guests can upload a photo of a sunset and meet that requirement. For more information on instant booking, here’s an Airbnb article about it.
Requesting Additional Info
If the information required for instant booking isn’t enough screening for Airbnb guests for you, you can request additional info. This is a tactic that we use for screening Airbnb guests. You can ask just about anything. Here are a few examples. ‘What brings you to the area?’ ‘Do you agree to the house rules?’ Or even ‘After booking we require a photo of your ID sent to us’.
That last one is our preferred method. We have found that guests are much less likely to mess up your space if you have a copy of their ID. Much like the cameras, if guests balk at the idea of sending their ID, they might not be the ideal guests anyway.
Removing Instant Booking
If the idea of a random stranger being able to book your space without conferring with you gives you sleepless nights, you can remove instant booking entirely. This will take more of your time because you’ll need to approve individual requests from guests. However, you’ll sleep much easier knowing that you’ve vetted each guest you’re hosting. It’s not a method that we use, but it is an option nonetheless.
Requiring Security Deposits
Requiring a security deposit is another way of screening Airbnb guests. This is something that you’ll have to do outside of the Airbnb platform as they don’t have the functionality to charge security deposits. We have some friends who require security deposits and they use OwnerRez to facilitate that process, although, I’m sure other PMS platforms offer it.
A security deposit is the ultimate screening tool. It’s essentially ‘putting your money where your mouth is’ with Airbnb guests. Oh, you aren’t going to cause any damage, then you won’t have anything to worry about and you’ll receive a full refund. On the other hand, if a guest damages anything, it’s taken out of the security deposit.
Screening Airbnb Guests Conclusion
If you’re interested in learning more great tips like this, along with everything else we know about managing Airbnb, be sure to check out our Remote Airbnb Management Course
There you have it. Multiple ways of screening Airbnb guests. Something that we were unaware of when we initially became Airbnb hosts. However, it’s something that has made the stress of hosting much easier on us. Screening Airbnb guests is a vital process to ensure your space stays in great condition. This ensures you aren’t trying to remedy the mess of a party the day another guest checks in.
To wrap it up, the easiest way to screen guests is for them to self-filter by avoiding your space entirely, which a security camera can accomplish. Once they’ve inquired you can continue screening Airbnb guests by asking for clarifying info, for their ID, or even for a security deposit. You can use all or some of these options and we all but guarantee that it’ll make life easier for you.