I'm new to hosting, I haven't asked for anything from my guests so far, but someone suggested I shoud ask them to sign a contract and/or fill out a card with their information like at hotels... What do you guys do?
Welcome to the community.
This is a worldwide community with hosts from many different countries, with many different types of listings. Some countries have very strict regulations about information that must be collected from a guest, others are much more relaxed.
So likely you will get a wide variety of answers from a wide variety of people with a wide variety of listings!
I'm in Australia and I am currently investigating a new insurer for my property. One of the brokers has a requirement that the names, phone numbers and email addresses of all guests are collected prior to the stay. I mostly do this anyway, but If I move insurers I will have to be much more formal and vigilant about it.
Personally I think it's very valuable to tell guests that you would like them the enter the names and email addresses of everyone staying in the "who else is coming" section of the booking. For me, this gets the "paperwork" out of the way before the stay commences. I don't ask for ID and I guess it's possible guests could lie about identities of others in their group ( my home can accomodate up to 8)
I also list on teh STAYZ/Homeaway platform and most hosts on there use a rental agreement/contract that they get their guests to sign and return prior to the stay.
Country/city rules and regulations aside, it's really important that you feel comfortable and in control of who's coming/staying at your place.
some hosts manage this by vetting guests with questions before accepting a reservation.
I have instant book and I tend to manage by charging a security deposit, having a declared security camera at the entrance of my home, asking for further information after guests have booked if I need clarification or I have concerns and ( mostly) meeting the guests in person at check in.
I also ask a series of questions in my pre welcome message - one of which is "have you really read my house rules? what is the code word?" Guests need to go back and find the code word - which is hidden in the house rules - which goes quite a long way to ensuring they've read everything - more or less - they need to right at the beginning.
Nothing is foolproof but I find these strategies help me minimise risk. I'd also make a phone call to a guest if they were not replying to my messages in a timely manner. If I was at all concerned, I would be ringing CS to cancel the reservation.
Hope that's of some help.
I'm sure other hosts will be along soon to share their views - some of which may be very different to mine. Take on board what seems logical and workable for you. Hosts from the same area as you will probably have the most pertinent ideas.
I don't ask for any documents. I think one factor is if they are staying long term or only a few days.
I think about asking for their full name and cpf as most of my guests are Brazilian. But then I get lazy. If you decide to require that they fill out a card like at a hotel then I think you need to put that in your listing. Their are a number of people who might get upset if you ask for this information at check in. Boa sorte!!