Once you’ve been a short term rental host for a decent amount of time, you’ll discover who your ideal guest is and – unfortunately – who is not. The good news is, as a host, you have the ability to be selective in who you rent to.
While you can’t outright discriminate, what you can do is look for certain attributes in your prospective guests. Doing so will help you weed out and avoid guests that have the potential to become a headache. Here’s a few of the qualities that I look for when deciding whether or not I should accept a booking.
Hopefully you’ve already worked hard to create a listing that is accurate, thorough and transparent. This helps to set guest expectations and reduce the chances of a negative review. Guests who rent on short term rental platforms like Airbnb, VRBO and HomeAway also have the ability to create their own profiles, which are great for evaluating whether they’d be a good fit. To that end, I avoid empty or incomplete profiles whenever possible.
Obviously it’s your prospective Airbnb guests who will be the first to initiate a conversation. But you shouldn’t just leave it at that. I recommend starting a dialogue right from the start. Ask them to share a little about themselves, who they will be traveling with, the purpose of their trip and what their expectations are. Not only will you be able to use this to gauge their communication skills, but the information they provide can also help you create a more personalized experience if you do decide to accept their booking.
There’s nothing worse than an overbearing Airbnb guest who expects far more than what’s reasonable as a short term rental host. It’s not always entirely possible to weed these high-maintenance guests out, but sometimes you can – provided you know what red flags to look for. Again, this is why it’s so important to start a back-and-forth communication right off the bat. Ask about their expectations upfront. If what they’re asking for is beyond what you feel you can comfortably deliver, it might be a sign of a bad fit.
Few things are as annoying to a host as an Airbnb guest who comes out of the gate asking for a discount. In my experience, these are the types of guests who tend to be more high maintenance and less forgiving if and when something goes wrong. It’s ultimately up to you whether or not you’re willing to be flexible on your rates, but personally, I view this as a red flag for prospects to avoid.
An obvious way to assess the quality of a potential Airbnb guest is to read through the reviews left for them by other hosts. This is a powerful feature that many short term rental hosts sadly neglect. If a prospective guest has a low rating, take that as your sign to steer clear. If they’ve got one or two negative comments, however, you may want to take them with a grain of salt. Ultimately, I’d say go with your gut. If you’re getting bad vibes right off the bat, chances are there’s a reason.
The longer you spend as a short term rental host, the greater the likelihood of a bad experience. You can improve your odds, however, by being selective with who you rent to. By applying the above criteria, you should be able to week out most of the bad apples and end up with guests you’d be glad to welcome back into your home again and again. If you do end up in the unfortunate situation of an unhappy Airbnb guest, here’s what I recommend doing.