In an ideal world, the vacation rentals you manage would only be booked by perfect guests. In the real world, however, you have to deal with all kinds of guests, including the “bad” ones. Although there are different ways to handle problem guests, the most practical approach is to try to avoid a cringe-worthy experience as much as possible.
Since there are many vacation-rental horror stories, which range from guests who destroyed properties and left owners and managers with thousands of dollars in damage to sophisticated squatters who refused to pay and leave after their stay had ended. Here are a few preemptive steps you could take in order to protect your vacation rentals from undesirable travelers.
Define the Ideal Types of Guests
If you’re new to vacation rental property management, the first thing you should do is work together with the owners of the properties you manage in order to define your guest personas. Because most people look for certain amenities when deciding to book a vacation rental, highlighting specific features and house rules will allow you to attract mainly the guests who fit your traveler profiles. For instance, mentioning quiet hours or the usage of noise monitoring devices on your listings may deter a guest who is planning to throw a party from booking one of your vacation rentals. As well, using clearly stated guidelines, such as “NO PARTIES”, is another easy way to avoid the wrong types of guests.
Use a Rental Agreement and Opt for a Security Deposit or Damage Waiver Fee
Besides being very specific about the house rules in listing descriptions, we highly recommend that you also require each guest to sign a rental agreement. A rental agreement is a binding contract that clarifies, in writing, any arrangements that have been made between you and the guests staying at the properties you manage. You can use this document to reiterate the house rules and specify the repercussions if any rules are breached. The rules should be clear and easy to understand, so they won’t leave room for interpretation. In addition, make sure that you keep an original signed copy of the contract for future reference.
On the downside, a rental agreement can’t stop a guest from damaging a vacation rental. Therefore, it’s important to find a way to cover potential damage to the property. Besides getting adequate short-term rental insurance, there are two ways to go about this: a security deposit or a damage waiver fee. If you opt for the security deposit, the amount should be large enough in order to motivate guests to want it back at the end of their stay.
Impose a Strict Policy on Last-Minute Bookings
Last-minute bookings are a great way to boost your revenue. However, they’re also responsible for most of the fraudulent bookings that plague the short-term rental industry. That’s because anyone who uses a stolen credit card to pay for a vacation rental wants to spend the money as quickly as possible. That’s the reason why most fraudulent bookings are made within 3 days of the travel date. Even though vacation rental listing sites usually have a series of fraud-prevention protocols in place, you should always pay close attention to last-minute bookings.
Screen Potential Guests
While you could do your own research and run a background check on potential guests, opting for a reliable guest screening solution is the best way to prevent problem guests. Unlike doing your own research, which will take some time and might lead nowhere, the guest screening solutions available today can make your life much easier by providing detailed information about the guests that book your properties.
One such solution is Superhog. Specifically developed to identify risky guests and prevent problems before a reservation is confirmed. Superhog can help you figure out who is booking your vacation rentals and save you from a whole host of problems, including fraud, chargebacks, identity theft, and other criminal activities.
One of the most important benefits of using a solution like Superhog to screen bookings for troublesome guests is that you’ll get more agreeable guests, which may translate into a higher number of positive reviews. As the combination of agreeable guests and good reviews will be sending more high-quality travelers your way, the properties you manage might show up higher in the search results of the vacation rental listing platforms you use. Not only will this increase your occupancy rate and total revenue, but you’ll also be able to ask for a higher nightly rate, which may lead to higher revenue per property.
In addition to opting for a comprehensive guest screening solution for your vacation rental properties, another great idea would be to choose a complete property management system, like JANIIS that integrates with other software like Superhog. Besides streamlining a variety of business operations, JANIIS can help you handle every aspect of your business, including one of the most difficult areas: guest relationship management. With the help of our CRM software, you’ll be able to improve your relationship with your guests and manage your marketing strategies more efficiently, which will ultimately translate into a better experience for both you and your guests.