As a host, you faced many challenges but the most common and recurring problem is when a guest brings an unauthorized guest to your vacation rental. It may seem innocent for Airbnb guests to lie about the number of guests to avoid paying or whatever reason it may be, keep in mind, that it is a huge problem and risk for the hosts.
So the question lies, how do you prevent this from happening and how do you navigate Airbnb guests to lie about the number of guests beforehand? With that being said, this article highlights:
There is always a reason as to why your Airbnb property is built for a maximum occupancy limit. In some states, there are strict laws where it requires you to register every person staying at your short-term rental. Moreover, in the event of an accident or any disaster, unauthorized guests could sue if injured.
Apart from that, having unauthorized guests could create unnecessary problems with the neighboring community in terms of noise, damaging the property to inviting serious illegal activities. Furthermore, no hosts would want to pay additional bills, resources, cleaning, and so forth. With that being said, enforcing strict rules will help and protect you as a host to avoid any additional costs like legal fees, cleaning, etc as well as unnecessary issues that can seriously impact your Airbnb business.
No responsible hosts should ever tolerate Airbnb guests lying about the number of guests as it can seriously impact your Airbnb business and here's why:
Costs- Ideally, hosts charged additional fees for extra guests. However, in some situations, guests lie about the number of guests, and what seemed to be innocent a family of three could be a family of five meaning over time will add up to a serious financial loss.
Damaging your property- The more guests staying at your property, the more amenities will be used and more likely to be worn out, or possibly break leaving you costly repairs that will result in more downtime for your property.
Unauthorized parties- Having unauthorized guests means inviting more disrespectful guests to your property with the possibility of throwing blown-out parties or large gatherings that can upset the neighbors, break house rules and local regulations, and open your property to further risk and crime indicating a lack of respect for the host.
Breaking the law- In some countries, within 24 hours, hosts are required to collect identifications for all guests and informed the relevant details to the authorities including the police. If found to have guests that aren't recorded, the host would be at risk of serious sanctions.
Bad reviews- Not knowing clearly how many people will stay at your property would mean not being able to prepare adequately and possibly risking guests having a bad experience resulting in negative reviews.
Ensure strict house rules and guest limits are emphasized and clear on the listings. Moreover, emphasize that extra guests and parties are not permitted to discourage 'grey area guests' from booking.
It is ok to use strict language to highlight your rules such as describing extra guests as 'trespassing' rather than "visitors". Doing so will make it clear to guests that rebellious behavior will have consequences.
Give guests the benefit of doubt. Do not assume immediately guests will lie. Moreover, establish professional and friendly communication by asking Airbnb questions like why they're traveling, how many people will be there, and any other important details. By doing this, you create trust meaning the guest would be more likely to respect you and your property. Take note, potential rebellious guests would not like being questioned and see it more as a hassle and would choose to go somewhere else.
Check out guests' profiles and existing reviews that will allow filter out problematic guests beforehand.
At the time of booking, state your house rules clearly on your listing and require guests to accept them. Doing so will prevent guests from lying and put off untrustworthy guests.
Screen your guests thoroughly via background checks verifying guests are who they say they are as the first step. Furthermore, there are dedicated and reliable software such as Autohost, Checkin, and Superhog to efficiently screen for bad guests for your vacation rental.
Set up a policy for consequences if rules are broken. Furthermore, state the consequences such as cleaning fines for guests or even pets not being mentioned at the time of the booking to ensure guests from breaking your rules.
Collect guests' data and encourage guests to declare everyone on their booking by compiling a list of identifying details for each guest means you can be certain of who is staying in your vacation rental. Doing so increases the chance for potential criminals or rule-breakers to cancel in avoidance of a paper trail.
Get suitable insurance designed for vacation rentals that will help cover the costs of damage in case the worse does happen.
Require the guest to check-in through their verified OTA profile to ensure that only verified guests can check-in. More so, you can use security software like Autohost, Superhog, and Checkin to link to major OTAs like Airbnb and Vrbo to filter guests out. Doing so will establish a record of the guest's identity and stay.
On arrival, restate the strict house rules and policy. Moreover, to ensure that guests will not claim they didn't see the rules make them clear at all times. At the same time, guests who are tempted to break the rules highlight boundaries that will put off lying knowing you're a responsible host who does not tolerate disrespectful behavior.
Throughout the guest's stay, every so often checks in with the guest to ensure everything is ok. Simultaneously, maintain good communication and encourage guests an open communication where guests who are tempted to ignore the rules will be more likely to stick to them.
Install occupancy monitor devices to keep track of large gatherings triggered by high decibel or carbon dioxide levels. Therefore, guests' privacy is protected at all times as well as your property.
Disclose to guests that a security camera or smart doorbell is installed at your property that will put off guests tempted to break the rules. In the event, rules are broken, there is proof to charge extra guests and report them to Airbnb.
In case noise or occupancy levels are breached, establish friendly alerts via occupancy monitors that can be integrated with your PMS. Doing so will remind guests of the rules and encourage honesty and compliance.
It is important to acknowledge guests for good behavior by sticking to your house rules. Thank the guest for your review and mentioned that they have respected your property. Give a five-star rating.
If you suspect guests did not respect your house rules and lied about the number of guests, be professional and contact them by addressing privately your concerns. Moreover, leave an honest and fair review to warn other Airbnb hosts about the guest's behavior as a future reference.
If you are in a situation where guests brought extra guests, file a change request and include the additional nightly rate for each additional guest staying at your property.
However, take note, that if the number of guests who booked maximizes the limited occupancy of the property then submitting a change request is not possible. The reason for this is that when the guests checked in, the property is already at its capacity.
If the guests refuse to comply with regulations or accept booking changes, file a resolution request with Airbnb. Keep in mind, that the resolution will remain open for 72 hours giving the host the opportunity to resolve the issue directly with the guests.
However, if the resolution does not get solved between the host and the guests, you as the host can go back to the Airbnb listing's resolution request and involve Airbnb where then Airbnb will review the request and make the final decision
If you encounter an issue with additional guests on your vacation rental, consider reporting them to Airbnb. However, take note to gather evidence by providing proof such as screenshots from your surveillance equipment, recording from noise trackers, or even reports from the neighbors.
Airbnb then will evaluate the evidence and take the necessary actions such as charging additional fees to the guests or penalizing the guests by not reimbursing their deposit.