If you are a property manager or Airbnb host, you’d know that one of the biggest nightmares of any Airbnb host when renting out their property is the thought of their Airbnb being damaged or their neighbours being disturbed due to a house party. While you do want to please your guests and get that 5-stars rating, you also don't want to suffer losses ultimately.
Just recently, Airbnb announced a global ban on parties and restricted the ability for people under 25 to make reservations on the platform. Although this initiative will greatly reduce the likelihood of your Airbnb being used for a party, there is still a chance that people can get around these restrictions.
Travel and celebration are often intertwined.
It’s common to take a trip as a way to celebrate something - whether it’s a break from work, or to mark a life event like an anniversary, graduation, wedding or birthday. Some events Airbnb may consider to be “parties” include kids parties, birthday parties, house or dinner parties, engagement parties, bachelor/stag and bachelorette/hen parties (among others).
A wedding reception, elopement, baby shower or bridal shower could be allowed - if you and your guest are on the same page (meaning you’ve discussed the details of the gathering with your guest prior to booking).
Airbnb does not know or check how many guests show up to a booking (apart from what’s claimed when the guest makes the booking). However, if a guest is caught with more guests than they booked for (whether you see it or a neighbor reports it), Airbnb can potentially ban the guest’s account.
To make sure your Airbnb is not misused you can follow these below tips to party proof your space:
Some booking patterns are more suspicious than others. Let’s say that a same-day reservation for a 5-bedroom villa, for 1 night, on a Friday evening, made by a 22-year old living in the same city as where the property is located, is suspicious. Risky reservations fall under some patterns that you can learn to recognize. Some settings in your channel manager or on Airbnb, Vrbo and Booking.com can help you: No same-day booking, no 1-night stay on weekends, for instance.
Blocking people from the city as your property is possible if your property settings are on request and not on Instant book. Airbnb does give you the right to say that you feel uncomfortable hosting a guest but be careful that you are not actively discriminating against someone.
Beware of any guests that are locals, be sure to ask questions before accepting their booking. Guests who are local have a high percentage of inviting unauthorized guests to your property and this is how impromptu parties start.
This is probably the biggest tell. Increase the minimum stay period during these important dates to 3-5 days, people who just wanna party will not want to have the extra expenses.
Last-minute bookings are the bookings you should really look out for during the party season, as most parties are organised last minute.
Due to COVID-19 wrecking your booking revenues, you may be tempted to drop your prices on your big properties. Be careful not to tempt the wrong kind of people by making it too easy for them to pay for a place to throw a party.
Airbnb, Vrbo, and Booking.com all have a House Rules section that owners and property managers can fill in. Dedicate a section for your House Rules on your website and in your short term rental agreement, including what you allow, what you are not OK with, your strict no unauthorized party rule, your maximum occupancy and what measures you will take should these requirements be breached.
Use house rules to set expectations. Ensure that you set clear rules before rental occurs before a tenant moves in; he or she should assure you that they are going to abide by the rules and regulations made. Include any restrictions that should apply to your property in the house rules. If possible, someone who is not okay with the rules should not move in since you don’t want unexpected surprises during your stay. People should be given the rules during the time of inquiries so that they can make a decision of whether they are in or not.
Yes, some people do not read anything and some people read the house rules and blatantly disregard them. But do not discount that a property with no house rules looks like an invitation to partying. Plus, in the occurrence of a dispute, you want to be able to build up your case with the OTA and show that you had indeed indicated that parties were not allowed.
In your house rules, consider things like:
You should also think about asking for a refundable damage deposit. A high damage deposit creates friction in the booking process and, on OTAs, you will get fewer bookings than similar properties that have no or low damage deposits. Up to you to think about the trade-off between revenues and risk. On Airbnb and Booking.com, you can indicate the amount of your damage deposit, but remember that these platforms do not collect it.
Vacation rentals can be on-request on Airbnb which allows you to have a closer look at a guest enquiry in order to screen for bad guests and ascertain the guest’s history and past reviews. Most people won’t want to lose their ratings that they have built up, so guests with a high number of reviews often tend to follow the house rules. Beware of new accounts. Before the booking, or after in the case of an instantly booked reservation, ask questions.
Be polite. You can explain that you want to prepare the house as best as possible for your guests and need to know more. And it is ok to mention that you do have house rules. As long as it is part of your regular procedure and that you are not discriminating against a specific person, it is OK. For example, you can ask about the guest’s plans, about the number of guests, about how many cars will be parked at the property. Be clear about what your maximum occupancy means and that it applies by day and night, even if the additional guests are only staying for one hour at the property.
Any requests that you get from guests be sure to follow up to ensure that person understands your house rules and ask simple questions, like asking them the reasons for their stay and who will be joining them in the property. People can lie and they may do so. What you want through this communication is to pick up any red flag.
When describing your property, do not mention that the property is great for any kind of event. Anyone renting the property should understand the rules; guests should be in a position to understand your expectations around events and noise.
A noise monitoring device is great because you can simply monitor your properties without invading your guest’s privacy. Most homeowners and property managers use this device to ensure that their property is responsibly rented. This device will alert you in case of noise; it is amazing and helpful because you will take action when it’s not late. You could check more at Airbnb home security.
You can also use monitoring devices. Again, be sure to protect the privacy of your guests (e.g. no indoor camera) and to be transparent towards them. Disclosing that you have a camera in the driveway and a noise monitoring device in the living room may also help deter some people from organizing a party at your place.
You should have a good relationship with your neighbours and, if possible, let them have your phone number or the vacation rental manager’s number so that in case any issue arises, they are able to reach you directly. instead of them calling the local council or police. Your neighbours will be your first line of defence against parties.
If someone doesn’t follow the rules by either hosting a house party or doing something else that is not appropriate, just report. The case will be investigated by Airbnb to check if policies were broken.
When dealing with bad Airbnb guests, just contact the authorities. It is quite understandable that some people tend to break simple rules. Rules and regulations provided ensure that people live in a peaceful environment; everyone should follow the provided rules. Neighbours want peace as well as everyone else; breaking property rules is wrong, and if violated, you might face charges. Get in touch with customer services right away without any delay.