Preventing Nightmare Bookings

by | Aug 29, 2022

Every short stay operator dreads the prospect of the out of control party or fraudulent booking, and there have certainly been a number of well-publicised examples hitting the headlines recently. Whether you are a landlord letting your own property on the short stay market, or you are a short stay agent handling multiple properties on behalf of their owners, there are ways that you can mitigate the risk and cut down on the likelihood of it happening to you.

Here are some excellent tips from our friend Linton Wood at Beyond A Room. Linton shares their business’s best practice pro tips for avoiding problem bookings. Linton says prevention is always better than cure, so here are some red flags to look out for (with a couple thrown in by Ceneta).

  • The Number One no-brainer is, get yourself some appropriate insurance!
  • Although not always possible, face to face “meet and greets” can give you a general sense of who your guests are and what the purpose of their stay is
  • Beware of last minute bookings
  • Never take bookings for a single night. Rent for a minimum of two nights
  • Add house rules to your listing and guest reservation agreement
  • Ensure guests fill out a reservation agreement outlining the terms and conditions of their stay and verifying their identity as the reservation holder.
  • No pay, no stay
  • Always set a security deposit
  • Give the neighbours your contact number
  • Require guests to give you their residential address when booking
  • Ask lots of questions. The responses (or lack thereof) may give you early warning
  • Are they locals? This can sometimes indicate a party about to happen
  • Check if they have reviews on any booking sites (ie: Airbnb). This can sometimes reveal a poor track record
  • If in doubt, call the booking platform and request more information about the booker
  • See if you can find their profile on social media
  • Listen to your gut feeling and pray
  • If managing from afar, recruit someone close to the property to help you
  • Bonus flag: How many repeating numbers does the booker’s phone number have?

Need insurance? Get in touch.