Greetings - We've been an Airbnb Hosts since 2012 and maintain Superhost status contuously since 2014. We host approximately 250 completed trips per year with 5 rentals. 4 short term rentals and 1 long term rental all of which are listed on Airbnb.
If you are renting entire homes there are some steps you can take to improve the quality of your guests, reduce issues and the increase the safety of your property and guests.
We tried it and there are some issues that caused us to turn that feature off.
1. We recommend some communication with potential guests prior to accepting a reservation. You need to get a feel for who the guest is and why they are visiting your city. If there is more than one guest who are they and what are thier names?
2. If they are new to Airbnb, the date they joined will be displayed and they will not have any reviews. A large number of our guests are new to Airbnb. Ask them if they are new and if they have reviewed all the details on the listing. Let them know that reviews help a host decide whether to accept a reservation. You can draft a saved message for this to save time.
3. If you do not allow pets or are selective of the pets you do accept Instant Book does not address these issues. For instance, if you do not allow pets (some people don't read the details) and someone with a pet books on Instant Book you have a problem. Canceling the reservation is problematic in that case.
1. We use Schlage Touchpad Connect locks controlled with a z-wave controller. By using these locks we can program a unique code for each guest. We use the last 4 digits of the guests phone number so they can easily remember it. We also keep the keys for each unit in a lock box in case the lock malfunctions or there is some other problem. Rarely have we needed guests use the keys but they are there just in case. Z-Wave is an RF signal that can be extended at full strength and is more reliable than WiFi locks.
2. You can progam the locks to active the unique code on a particular day and time for check-in so that there are no surprise early check-ins. This is particularly important if you have back-to-back reservations so that your cleaning people can schedule for cleaning. If an early check-in is requested you can either approve it or decline it based on the cleaning schedule. You can also program the lock to deactivate the code upon check-out so guests cannot check out later than expected without approval or reenter after checkout.
3. The software allows you to monitor door access activity so you can see when a person checked in and the activity during the stay. Also, you can monitor the status of each lock such as battery level and whether the door is locked or unlocked.
4. If you have repair, cleaning, or maintenance personnel needing access you can give them a unique code for entry. If they are charging by the hour you can see when they arrive and when they leave to keep them honest.
1. We use the NetGear Arlo Wireless cameras on the exterior of our rentals. We have one camera pointed at the off street parking area to monitor vehicles and the people exiting them. We allow one vehicle per bedroom so we can monitor that. Only guests are allowed to use the off street parking spaces so if an unauthorized vehicle is parked on the property we can investigate an if necessary have it removed or towed.
2. We have another camera pointed at each entrance so we can see who and how many people are entering. If the reservation is for 2 guests and 3 people enter with luggage we can address that quickly.
3. In our situation we do not allow recreational equipment (bikes, skis, kayaks, golf clubs, etc.) inside our places to reduce the possibility of accidental damage. We have a locked storgae shed for those things. If someone loads in their bikes because the failed to read the house rules we can instruct them to remove them store them in the secure storage shed, outside or on, or in their vehicle/s.
NOTE: If you do choose to use video cameras be sure to mention that in your listing. If people know there are video cameras you can avoid problem guests and protect not only you property but your guests as well.
They key to having great host experiences and avoiding problems is communication and information. Before, during and after the stay.
Thanks for reading this and I hope it helps. Give it a thumbs up if you find this helpful.
Cheers - Stan
Sad to say, Paul, but you are totally misguided. The person I rented to admitted to having a dog, there was photographic evidence of the dog and the damage, and the listing indicated no pets- AirBnB worked with me on the initial cleaning (paid part) but that didn't work- the house smelled and spots came back up through from the pad. AirBnB denied any claim and no way to charge renter. No pet damage is covered.
Hello Stan & Jan,
We also use the keyless z-wave locks and find them very good for all the same reasons you have detailed. The only drawback is that we cannot work out how to get the PIN code restrictions (dates and times when the code activates and de-activates) broadcast to all locks at the same time. We use a Vera3 controller that allows a new PIN code to be broadcast to all locks at the same time meaning one entry sends the PIN code to all locks. We can't work out how to do this for PIN code restrictions. We have set up a third property (a hotel) which has several external doors and having to enter restrictions for each lock individually will be time consuming and will lead to errors. If you know a way to get around this problem, we'd appreciate some of your insights.
For security cameras we have set up the new Ring doorbell and Stick-up Cam. They were easy to install and have worked well.....but they do need a good internet connection. You also need to pay USD $30 per year per camera if you want Cloud recording of all activity. We think this is a small price to pay for piece of mind. The multi zoned motion detection works well on the camera and the wide angle lens is excellent.
Ken & Mark.
We have the following information in the listing description
"We have installed video cameras on the exterior of the property for added safety and security."
The cameras are visible as they are mounted under eaves in 3 locations. The parking area, the walkway, and the courtyard. We have parking for 3 of our cottages (1 vehicle each) so we can see what vehicles are parked there and if they belong there. The walkway so we have another angle of the parking area and who is coming and going on the property. The courtyard so we can see who is entering and exiting the cottages.
By having cameras we can discourage any bad actors from making a reservation and if there are any suspiscious activities as well as adding a level of security and protection for the property and the guests.
If this was helpful give us a thumbs up.
Cheers - Stan
Cameras and the cost of them have really come down on price and now are much more affordable. I agree with having cameras. As for signage regarding them..... I wouldn't go overboard with it. Just have a simple sign at eye level at or near the entrance to the property stating "This property is under 24 hours video surveillance for your protection and safety." But I wouldn't go bonkers with it by making people feel they have just entered a prison such as posting a sign every 10 feet. You can buy signs stating video cameras are in use. Let your insurance company know too. You might get a reduction on insurance premiums for having them. We did.
Thanks for the great overview. This is our third year as a Host and overall we have been very pleased. We offer separate spaces witin our primary residence. I think it's time to solve some of the problems you identify.
First, Instant book. It should be very simple to add several check boxes for hosts to describe who can book:
"This Host allows Instant book ONLY for the following:
____OK ____Pre approval only ____extra fee
__X___OK _____Pre approval Only
dogs: ___OK or __x_Pre approval only __x_Extra fee
cats: ____OK or ____Pre approval only ___Extra fee
Above is how I would fill this out. Translation: We do not allow infants, children are OK and we only allow pre approved dogs with an extra fee. We don't allow cats.
Something like this would alert guests to identify their children and pets and could accomodate notice of extra fees involved. I charge a dog fee with pre approved dogs only, which I collect in cash upon arrival. I have not had an issue with it, it's only $10 a day, but it's not ideal. A pet fee could easily be added right along with the cleaning fee. I do not understand why airbnb has not offered this option.
I recently has a guest reservation made at 12:30 AM and saw that a "pet" was included. This was the first time I have seen this type of notice. A step in the right direction. Unfortunately, it was a first time guest on Instant Book. For various reasons we were not accepting pets that week and, of course, he did not read about the need for pre-approval and never mentioned his dog in his email, so it was a disappointment all around. I am hoping that quitting instant book as you have suggested is not the only option to address these problems. Maybe something as simple as a flagged note from airbnb to "read the rules carefully, particulalry about pets, you will be bound by them" could be added to newbies reservations on the site.
Second : Reading the Listing: Most peple don't read a listing fully so it's important to provide pre-digested information of the most important things. Hosts are trying to describe their places to best advantage so narratives (mine in particular) can get very long and descriptive and the reader's attention span is breached. The Rules section is helpful for this, but I find many guests don't read that either.
Finally, there are differences between the multiple rental properties you describe and those of us who are essentially offering space in our own homes. Security issues are a concern, but are different. Backgound checking, email communication and intuition, and, in fact, a certain chemistry are important for those of us who have guests in our homes and sleeping down the hall. I plan to look around for a thread that may have already been started on this issue. Suffice it to say that the airbnb community is very diverse.
Thanks again, Stan. We have a condo in Portland which is not airbnb friendly unfortunately. Will get in touch if we come to Bend.
what do you do, if you allow pets, but they didn't mention them nor paid for their stay? How soon after checking in would it be ok to ask through Airbnb for the Non-refundable Pet Fee I have listed in my Listing?