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  • Writer's pictureJulie Fergus

Screening Guests

Whether using HomeAway, Airbnb, or other listing platform you can screen your guests. First, you must turn off automatic booking. However, for Airbnb you can leave auto-book on but require all of the standard guest booking requirements and have a strict cancellation policy.

My first step in responding to any inquiry, VRBO reservation request, or Airbnb booking, is to confirm that potential guests understand the location. I ask if they have any questions regarding amenities and location before confirming or accepting the reservation. There have been times when guests have been uncertain of the exact location or proximity of area attractions. I clarify all of this beforehand. This will help eliminate cancellations, or having a dissatisfied guest.

Keep in mind that guests may not completely understand your property location. In my case, I live in the area of my vacation rentals so I know the area extremely well. This is a huge advantage over owners that live hours from their properties.

Another item to confirm with guests are the bed arrangements / bedroom setups. I like to point this out to potential guests as well because if they haven’t reviewed the floorplans they might not be aware. Owners should be aware, if not already, that potential guests do not read everything in your listing. They also don’t always scroll through all of the photos in your listing. So if you have any concern point out the pertinent information to inquirers.

It is your right to ask inquirers about their plans, their group make-up, what pets would be joining, etc. If you don’t get the answers you ask for, or don’t like the answers decline the guest or cancel the reservation. Or better yet, have the guest cancel the reservation when possible if it is through an OTA.

The main reasons to screen guests is to protect your property, and to ensure that your guest will not have unrealistic expectations upon arrival. Clear communication about your property, it’s amenities, and your house rules is extremely important. Be sure to respond to potential guests immediately so that you can ensure that they are a good fit for your property. You do have control.

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