SAFETY, SECURITY AND PROTECTING YOUR PROPERTY
The ball is still in a host’s court as to whether or not they wish to host a prospective guest. Hosts can decline any reservation request they feel uncomfortable with.
When doing do, hosts have the option of choosing whether or not they wish to provide a reason for why they’ve chosen to decline the request.
As a word of caution however, declining many or most reservation requests can negatively impact your placement in search results.
When deciding whether or not to accept a reservation request, use all information available to you to determine whether it’s a booking you wish to accommodate. Below we outline some of the key things you should consider when screening guests to decide if you wish to host them:
Despite having the ability to screen guests and decline reservation requests, Airbnb hosts should remain mindful of Airbnb’s Non-discrimination Policy and its principles of inclusion and respect.
The policy outlines rules around accepting or declining reservation requests as well as stipulating a prohibition against indicating a preference for guests of a particular race, color, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or marital status.
When first listing your place on Airbnb, you’ll be required to accept the following:
Breaches of the policy may result in a range of measures being taken against hosts; such as an insistence to remove language that’s in contravention to the policy, confirming explicit intent to comply with the policy or suspension of accounts. Be sure to familiarize yourself with this policy before you screen guests and decide who you do and do not let into your space.
Airbnb users have the opportunity of verifying their identity by connecting their Airbnb profiles to other social networks as well as scanning official ID and confirming personal details. These users earn a verified ID badge on their profiles:
Despite this safeguard, anyone attempting sly or malicious behavior on Airbnb may still be able to do so. The Airbnb ID verification process is not foolproof, and even Airbnb state that it is not an endorsement or guarantee of a guest’s identity.
In theory, there is nothing stopping someone from making fake accounts or finding ways to cheat the verification processes if that were their objective. These forms of added verification therefore need to be understood within that context.
For prospective guests that lack multiple forms of verified identification, consider asking additional or more probing questions to gain the assurances that would otherwise have been forthcoming had they provided them.
Ways in which hosts too are able to use the Airbnb verification process to demonstrate credibility is covered here.
Reviews and References
Hosts are also able to look at a prospective guest’s reviews and references prior to accepting a reservation request.
Hosts can trust that any review they see on a guest’s profile is the result of the guest having actually stayed at another Airbnb host’s place. Reading prior host reviews will be the best insight into the type of person a prospective guest is likely to be. A large number of positive reviews should also reinforce this.
Despite the rigorous review process, many Airbnb hosts end up giving better reviews to their guests than they may deserve. This occurs for a number of reasons. Psychology suggests that human nature is biased towards keeping unflattering thoughts to oneself unless there’s a strong reason for doing otherwise. Many hosts also (wrongfully) fear “retribution” reviews they believe they will receive if giving a bad review to a guest (see the Leaving Reviews section on page 307 for more information on this). And some hosts also leave no review simply out of laziness or forgetfulness.
Also distinguish reviews that simply aren’t bad from those that are actually good. The former shed little light on the type of person the prospective guest truly is, and at best indicate that no noteworthy issues arose on a given host’s watch. The latter are true testimonials to the good character of the guest and frequently provide insight into why that is so.
A host that takes the time to spell out each and every little thing that made the guest as great as they’re being made out to be is going above and beyond what the review process requires of them. This is a personal choice. You can therefore take a lot more comfort and place more value on reviews of this nature.
References, though much easier to obtain and influence, are also handy insights into a prospective guest’s good character.
Your Own Further Independent Research
Some Airbnb users will list the school or university they went to as well as the place that they work. If you’re lucky enough to receive a reservation request from someone with a unique name or other specific identifying information; using all of this to do a quick search on Google, Facebook or LinkedIn may provide a wealth of information.