Most of the time, vacation rental guests are respectful and considerate about the property they rent. They follow the rules laid out in the rental agreement and leave nothing but memories behind.
But vacation rental properties can attract more nefarious characters, like underage people looking to party or con artists who make fraudulent reservations.
Opening your property to strangers carries an inherent risk. But there are a few ways you can screen your vacation rental guests to ensure they’re the kind of guests you want to host: quiet, respectful, and here to have an excellent time without breaking furniture or the law.
Here are a few ways to screen your guests for safety and manageability.
Remember: Screening Guests Is Not An Excuse For Bias
It’s important to say this upfront: when we talk about screening guests, we’re strictly referring to reservations that could land you and your guests in potential legal trouble or cause a great deal of property damage, like unaccompanied minors throwing a party. We are not suggesting you screen guests based on preconceived bias based on race, gender, or other protected classes. Not only is this incredibly inconsiderate, but it goes against OTA policies and puts you in jeopardy of another kind of legal trouble.
Now that that’s out of the way…
Define a Risky Reservation
It’s essential to train your staff to spot risky reservations and proactively prevent them. But how do you define a risky reservation?
There are a few absolute red flags you can watch for, including age and potentially fraudulent payment methods. Here are a few examples of reservations that might be a bit fishy, as defined by our friends at Vacasa.
- A reservation for a large property with only one adult is listed on the booking
- A last-minute reservation in a high-risk area (i.e., where underage partying tends to happen frequently)
- A reservation for a remote or off-season property that seems abnormally long
- A payment that has been declined several times
- A request to split the cost between multiple credit cards
- A payment made under a different name than what is on the reservation
Limit the Guests You Accept
If you’re managing your vacation rental on your own or have a small staff, it makes sense to restrict the types of guests you’re willing to rent to. Maybe you only want to rent to adults or people from out of town. These are reasonable safeguards to have in place to keep you and your staff safe.
Do Your Research
Sometimes, screening vacation rental guests can take some grunt work on your end. While these manual screening methods are not necessarily scalable, they add an extra layer of security.
- At booking, provide a form fill for guests with questions like why they’re traveling, why they chose this particular property or destination, and who will be staying with them. Make this a required field so they can’t proceed with booking until they answer it
- Require guests to enter their driver’s license information
- Look guests up on social media
Use Software to Automate and Streamline Screening
If you’re a large vacation rental property manager, you may not have the time to manually screen vacation rental guests, especially during a peak season like summer. Investing in a third-party guest screening tool might be the easiest solution. These tools integrate directly into your PMS and use AI to verify guests based on hundreds of data points.
Create Other Deterrents
Another way to screen for low-hassle guests is to require additional paperwork or financial deposits for a booking. This might look like an additional legal document that requires a signature or a security deposit.
And if you want additional security during a reservation? Use a noise monitoring device! These tools measure a property’s overall decibel level and alert property managers when it exceeds a particular limit. Always disclose the use of these products to guests.
It can be frightening to allow strangers to rent your vacation rental property. Guest damage can be extremely costly. While you’ll never entirely stop a determined, ill-intentioned guest from booking your property, these methods can help keep bad experiences to a minimum.