Screening Airbnb Guests

As a new host you may be worried about potential Airbnb problems. But, experienced landlords should reconsider some of their long held beliefs.

Airbnb is revolutionizing the concept of short-term rental. The collaborative nature of the community is bringing people closer together instead of pushing them further apart. My advice is this:

 Jump into Airbnb head first. Trust the online community and treat others like a global neighbor.

One of the greatest benefits of social media is the development of online reputations. Airbnb users link to their Facebook and Twitter accounts and create a permanent online identity. This removes renters’ anonymity and encourages Airbnb users to build a positive reputation on the site. Many guests go above and beyond to receive your positive review.

Nevertheless you want to take your responsibilities as an Airbnb host seriously. In this article we examine what Airbnb risks exist and the steps you can take to minimize them.

Potential Airbnb Risks

The probability of hosting a bad Airbnb guest is low. I’ve hosted over 250 travelers and I’ve not had a single regrettable experience. Some guests are more considerate than others. But I’ve never had anything stolen, damaged, flooded, or lit aflame.

However there are some Airbnb risks you need to be aware of. The main ones are:

  • Loss or theft of items.
  • Damage to your property.
  • A guest overstaying.
  • Personal safety.
  • Liability in case of an accident.

Although the Airbnb risks are unlikely to impact you, it’s sensible to do due diligence before welcoming a guest into your home. In the rest of this article I discuss how to screen your potential guests.

Screening to Avoid Airbnb Problems

Airbnb risks and what to do about themAirbnb provides a variety of tools to help you screen guests:

#1 Airbnb Profile Basics

Basic contact information such as phone number and email address are verified during the account set-up process. When you look at a user’s verifications, the more you see the better.

Also review the user’s “about me” section. Each member writes a little blurb about themselves. You can glean information about interests, age, vocation, and maturity. All of this gives you a general feeling for the type of guest you may be hosting.

#2 Social Media

Linking user profiles to social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google performs the next level of verification. Before accepting any reservation, check to see if the person has a link to at least one social media site. Look for a significant amount of connections. This confirms that they have a real identity and are active online.

#3 ID Verification

The most secure level of Airbnb user authentication is represented by an “ID Verified” badge on a user account. All Airbnb members can upload a picture of a photo ID or answer credit report type questions to verify their identity.  This badge links each user to a physical address and social security number. If anything goes wrong during the stay, you know that Airbnb staff can locate any guest with an “ID verified” badge.

#4 Airbnb Reviews

Once you feel comfortable that a user is an actual accountable individual, read their reviews. Note that 99% of Airbnb reviews are glowing. Most hosts are afraid to negatively review their guest out of fear of receiving a bad rating in response.  Try to read between the lines. Look for at least one outstanding review where someone has obviously gone above and beyond to recognize them.

#5 Airbnb Insurance

Lastly, Airbnb offers two levels of insurance that are meant to protect hosts and guests. The first is the Host Guarantee. This provides protection for up to one million in damages to eligible property (for hosts in certain countries). The second is Host Protection Insurance. This program provides hosts in the United States with liability protection up to one million per occurrence.

If you have further concerns about the possible Airbnb risks then you can also purchase additional insurance. We discuss your Airbnb insurance options in our article about taxes and insurance.