My booking settings require guests with no reviews to message me before they can book my place. Most of these guests have been wonderful but I have had 3 problem guests. 2 of the situations were people that didn't depart at the time they were supposed to and I incurred extra costs because of their infraction. I always ask about their purpose for coming but am wondering if there is a good way to get references for them. Is it possible to have them send phone numbers or email addresses of references via AirBnB messaging? Does anyone have a good list of questions to ask beforehand to help filter out unreliable guests? Thank you in advance!
@Lisa990 The Airbnb messenger auto-censors anything that looks like a phone number or email address in pre-booking contacts. And even if they could, I don't see how these would be any use in filtering people who don't check out on time.
It's OK to ask prospective guests why they chose your listing, and verify that they've read the text in full and agree to your rules and checkout time, before confirming a booking. You can tell a lot about your guests from the quality of their correspondence during this process.
But even if you wind up with a less reliable guest, a late checkout can still be prevented. A reminder on the day before departure that you'll be entering the space punctually at Checkout O'Clock to begin your cleaning usually does the trick. People are more likely to respect your rules when you demonstrate that you're firm about them.
@Lisa990 I don't use IB at all- all my guests have to send a request. If they don't accompany that with an informative and friendly message that indicates to me that they have read the listing info and are aware of everything, I ask them to acknowledge that they have fully read through the listing info, house rules, etc. and are aware that...... (the dots representing anything that I think could be problematic for guests if they haven't bothered to read, like that i have a dog, that it's a 20 minute walk to town and the beach, etc.)
In my case, as I live in a touristy beach town, asking them why they are travelling to the area is a moot point- they are all coming on holiday, they aren't just passing through or coming for work.
@Lisa990 I agree with @Andrew0 re: the reminder the day before, I also tell them the cleaning crew will be there at xx:00. You could also add the check-in/check-out times in "Other things to Note". Airbnb presents the check-in/check-out and additional rules, amenities etc. after a block of reviews so many people miss important information because they do not scroll down the page far enough. If you want to avoid more serious infractions I would add some wording about oversight— you or a caretaker are nearby, exterior cameras etc.
@Lisa990 I'll be honest, if someone at an airbnb asked me for 'references' I wouldn't want to stay there. You are better served by having as much back and forth as possible w/guests and over communicating w/them on things like check out. I don't have a list of questions, but I do find that a lot of guests who don't respond to questions for days or weeks tend to be the pool from where problems arise.
To head off trouble as much as possible, we tell people at booking to review the whole listing, house rules, location and check out time. We send a message the day before check out with check out instructions that reminds them of the time. This almost always works, but we have the benefit of living upstairs from the unit so people know that we know if they don't check out on time. Only a handful of our guests have left late w/out permission and this was usually only by about 20 minutes or so.
@Lisa990 I agree, forget the references and phone numbers/email addresses - it just won't happen. One of the issues here as @Ange2 says is that the house rules and check in/checkout times are below the reviews so a lot of people don't even see them. So, as others have said, message them asking them to confirm they have read everything (even pointing out that they need to scroll below the reviews). Their communication (or lack thereof) will give you a good idea of what to expect.
[quote]2 of the situations were people that didn't depart at the time they were supposed to[/quote]
I keep a sign on the door that says "Check out 12 noon". For the people who think that 12 noon check out is kind of like "no more than 10 items in this line" and like to bend the rules, you could leave a note in the room explaining WHY it's so important that they check out by 12 noon -- You have to get ready for the next guest who is arriving in 3 hours!
Unfortunately you can't really do much to screen out the haphazardly guests. I would like to reject people under the age of about 23 but that would expose me to an age discrimination lawsuit.
If possible, consider turning your room and bathroom into closed off in-law unit. That way you at least don't have to share interior space with these people.
Another strategy to get better guests is to lower your price to the point that people book a good 3 to 12 weeks in advance. Careless people don't tend to book that far in advance.
BTW some of my most respectful guests never mentioned what they were in town for. They leave just a short note when they book like "Looking forward to staying at your place".