If you’ve had a bad experience with a guest on Airbnb, chances are you did not screen that guest effectively. But if you know what to look out for and what questions to ask, it is fairly easy to determine which guests are likely to break your house rules—and which ones might be engaged in criminal activity like fraud or identity theft.
Anton Zilberberg is the Founder and CEO of Autohost, a new AI tool for screening Airbnb guests, and QuickStay, a luxury short-term rental (STR) management company out of Toronto with a portfolio of 100-plus properties. Today, he joins me to explain why it’s crucial to screen would-be guests and walk us through the questions he asks to determine intent.
Anton offers insight on the two types of risk, general and criminal, sharing the red flags to look out for and additional measures to take in minimizing your risk portfolio. He also weighs in on the pros and cons of different booking channels and discusses the risks associated with guests coming from Airbnb, Booking.com and VRBO. Listen in for the parameters Anton uses to establish a risk score for potential STR guests and learn how to handle cancellations for both instant bookings and booking requests on Airbnb.
Why it’s crucial to screen your STR guests
- Allows for sustainable business
- Residential area not like hotel (e.g.: noise concerns)
Anton’s screening questions for Airbnb guests
- What is the purpose of your stay?
- Why are you interested in this property?
- Where are you traveling from?
- What is your experience with STR?
Anton’s tips for screening potential STR guests
- Set expectations at booking stage
- Make sure guest story makes sense
- Get indication of intent (i.e.: birthday party)
Anton’s insight on the two types of risk
- General risk (e.g.: rule violations, additional guests)
- Criminal activity such as fraud, identity theft
Potential red flags for criminal activity
- Out-of-province phone #, long stay + high ADR
- Never answer phone but reply with SMS
The pros and cons of different booking channels
- Airbnb good fraud detection, higher general risk
- com high risk for fraud (establish processes)
- VRBO high general risk, less payment risk
Factors to consider in determining general risk
- Length of stay
- Booking channel
- Type of property
- Number of guests
- Average daily rate
- Day of week
The benefit of using Airbnb Instant Book
- No penalty for cancellation with valid concern
- More information to run guest risk score
How Anton handles Airbnb booking requests
- Run risk score with information available
- Run again once booking confirmed
- Establish strict rules if score changes
- Invite guest to cancel for full refund