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Luckily, it doesn’t happen often – but from time to time an Airbnb horror story makes the headlines. All-night parties. Damage to property. Complaints from the neighbours. Confrontations with drunken guests. Sometimes even police intervention.

Inviting complete strangers to stay at your vacation rental can turn into a headache if you are not careful. Hosts who are new to Airbnb and who are eager to start making money from their investment can easily make the mistake of allowing anyone and everyone to make a booking – but in the long term this can lead to issues.

From time to time an Airbnb horror story makes the headlines - here's how to avoid the headache. Click To Tweet

So how do you avoid guests who might make your life difficult? We’ve put together a list of five things to consider before you hit the approve button.

1. Is it the first time they’ve traveled aboard?

There are two schools of thought on young travellers in terms of whether they are a blessing or a curse for an Airbnb host. Some hosts love receiving guests aged in their late teens/early 20s because they tend to be out of the house a lot. On the other hand, younger guests can sometimes be less respectful of property and less interested in writing good reviews for hosts after their stay.

2. Are they from a generation that has higher expectations?

There are plenty of baby boomers who have adopted and embraced the sharing economy, but keep in mind that it’s not uncommon for people of that generation to have higher expectations when it comes to accommodation. If, for most of their lives, they have stayed in hotels and guest houses – they are more likely to complain about things not being clean enough or to be disappointed with Airbnb due to it not meeting the standards they are used to. This can lead to them giving your home a bad review.

3. Will they cost you more than they are worth?

Would you like to avoid a guest who takes 30-minute showers and uses your cosmetics while they are in your bathroom? In general, this kind of behaviour is more likely from younger travellers but that’s not always the case. It’s tricky to determine these things by just reading a couple of reviews written about your potential guest. The best way to avoid a guest who is going to cost you money is to keep your house rules really clear. If electricity is pricey where you are located, make sure guests know not to run their air-conditioning unit while they are out all day. If you have a limited supply of hot water, prepare guests by issuing rules around the number and duration of showers per day.

4. What kind of references and reviews do they have?

One of the best ways to get a feel for the kind of guest they are is to read their references and reviews. If they care about their Airbnb experience, they will make sure they have a few positive references on their profile page from family, friends or employers. Reading reviews from previous hosts will give you an idea of their personality and whether they’ll be a good fit for your home. It can also give you the heads-up about potential problems. While you’re looking at their references, take the time to read the blurb that they’ve written about themselves and look through their photos. If they have been too lazy to fill in this part of their profile they are probably not the kind of guest you want to invite into your home.

5. Are there any warning signs?

There are often warning signs in regards to guests who are going to be a pain in the butt. If they over-communicate before their stay and ask a bunch of random or silly questions – they are probably going to be a difficult guest. Also, if the questions they ask are suspicious (for example, if they want to know your exact coming/going schedule or whether there are surveillance cameras in the house) it’s never a good sign. If they query specific house rules or want to know if you can make an exception for X, Y or Z on your list…we recommend that you steer clear.

The art of the polite refusal

Don’t be afraid to turn down a request if you get a bad feeling about a guest. It is perfectly acceptable to write a short message to explain that they are not the best fit for your home and that you wish them a pleasant holiday. Be aware that if you give specific excuses (i.e. ‘We are a quiet household and prefer to have guests who are not likely to come home late at night’) you run the risk of the person trying to convince you why you should approve them (i.e. ‘I promise to be quiet’) which can make it more difficult to finally say ‘no’ in the end.

We can help

Vetting guests is one of the things we do best at GuestReady. We have a team of highly experienced and professional staff who have a solid grasp of the Airbnb system and can find the perfect guests for your home. Let our team take some of the difficult decision making off your hands and ensure you have enjoyable experiences with all of the visitors who come to stay at your Airbnb. (We are also available in Edinburgh!)

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