How to Protect Your Vacation Rental This Summer

Travel is back, and short-term rentals are more popular than ever! We present 5 tips to keep your home safe this summer.
Hosting Advice
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August 3, 2021
min read
How to Protect Your Vacation Rental This Summer

The 2021 summer season is in full swing, and it’s busier than ever! Since short-term rentals continue to grow in popularity even as pandemic measures relax, many hosts worry about attracting the wrong kind of guest. Below, we gather some tips that can help you make sure your rental property is protected this summer.

Man in an armchair with an open suitcase next to him on the floor

1. Know your ideal guest and speak to them

All vacation rentals that perform well have one thing in common: they know who their ideal guest is and they know how to speak to them. This helps enormously in attracting the right guest for your home - and discouraging the wrong ones.

The ideal guest profile will always vary depending on the host and property. Some property managers might prefer couples, while others focus on families. Many Airbnb hosts like outdoorsy guests because they tend to be happy with a smaller set of amenities. Others favor digital nomads who are used to renting vacation homes and opt for longer stays.

To figure out what your ideal guest profile is, you can ask yourself a few questions:

  1. What’s my ideal number of occupants? (More guests means you can charge more, but it also increases the wear and tear.)
  2. Do I want to cater to longer stays? (Longer stays mean less hassle with turnovers, but they also require more amenities like a fully-stocked kitchen and fast wifi).
  3. What’s worth visiting in my area? (Depending if it’s in a big city or a smaller town, your property will appeal more to certain types of travelers over others.)
  4. Do I want to host children? (Families with children don’t tend to throw parties, but young children can cause some damage.)

Once you have your answers, it should become pretty clear what your ideal guest type is. You can also look back on your renting history, and see if any one type stands out.

The next step is to make sure your property design and the amenities you offer match your target guest group. You should also edit the photos and the language in your listing with that particular guest type in mind. This way, you’ll be much more likely to attract good guests who are a good fit for your home, and discourage the troublesome ones from booking.

A man working on a laptop

2. Review and perfect your screening process

Screening process is one of the most important ways to prevent trouble at your Airbnb property. Don’t rush it even if things seem hectic in the high season.

Start by determining if you want to place any limits on the types of guests you accept. Here are some factors you might want to take into account:

  1. Age (Some hosts choose to exclude people below a certain age: 18, 21 or even 25.)
  2. Location (Local guests are seen as more likely to throw a party.)
  3. Large groups of friends (Some property managers believe this is the group that’s most likely to get loud and disturb the neighbors.)
  4. Length of stay (1- and 2-night bookings tend to carry a higher risk as it comes to parties.)
  5. Events (Some hosts decide not to allow any events at all at their properties.)

In addition to placing these limitations, make sure to turn off Instant Book and always chat to your guest prior to approving their stay. This way, you can see if they’re a good fit for your property. Ask the guest some questions to get to know them and find out why they chose your home. Here are some example questions:

  1. What brings you to (town/city)?
  2. Why did you choose my property?
  3. How many people are planning to stay?
  4. Do you have any questions about my house rules?

Use the list above as a starting point - the key is to build trust by maintaining good communication with guests prior to and during their stay.

A piece of paper with "House Rules" written on it

3. Work on your house rules

Take preparation for this busy season as an opportunity to review your house rules. Make sure they are clear, easy to understand and account for a variety of scenarios, such as property damage, over-occupancy and neighbor complaints. When written well, house rules attract good guests and discourage the bad ones.

Consider including the following in your house rules:

  • Quiet hours (Specify the quiet hours for your property and what happens if they’re not followed.)
  • Max number of occupants (Clearly state how many guests can stay at your property and the charge for extra guests.)
  • Noise limits (If you want to avoid neighbor complaints, consider introducing noise caps. You can have different levels for night- and daytime. Specify them in decibels and make sure you put in place a way to verify them - like the Minut home sensor.)
  • Security deposit (If you charge one, explain how much it is and when it can be withheld - like when there’s property damage or evidence of unauthorized guests.)

Once you have your house rules ready, update them across all listings and platforms. When guests book your place on a platform like Airbnb, they automatically agree to follow your house rules, but some hosts also ask them to sign a rental agreement. This is a particularly good idea if you want to make sure your guests have read your house rules.

Minut home sensor installed on a white ceiling

4. Monitor your property and have an emergency plan

As a busy host or property manager, you likely cannot be on site 24/7. Fortunately, devices like the Minut home sensor let you keep an eye on your rentals remotely while respecting your guests’ privacy.

With Minut, you can get real-time data on noise, occupancy, motion, temperature and humidity in your home. The sensor will also alert you when anything seems out of the ordinary - like when the noise levels rise above your acceptable threshold, or the number of mobile devices in the vicinity surpasses your guest capacity. 

Thanks to instant alerts, you’ll be able to act before the situation gets out of hand. Quick reaction is key when there’s a party kicking off in your rental, and the alerts will help you solve the issue before it escalates.

That is also why you need to plan for those emergency situations. Will you first try to message or call the guest, or head to the property straightaway? Will you be handling those situations or delegate a team member?

This is another instance when Minut comes in handy, as it lets you automate parts of that response protocol. Minut can message and/or call your guests when it detects noise. You can customize the messages and their timing, and let Minut solve most issues for you.

A pink house surrounded by trees

5. Get STR Insurance

Last but not least, make sure you have a good STR insurance in place this summer, as regular homeowners insurance simply won’t cut it for STR. While STR policies tend to be more expensive, companies like Proper Insurance and Pikl offer a discount if you have a Minut installed in your property. And the extra cost is well worth the peace of mind knowing your rental and your business are protected.

Have a great summer!

Finally, enjoy this summer of recovery! Don’t let worries about bad guests destroy what’s shaping up to be a great summer for STR. It’s crucial to be prepared, but it’s just as important to trust your guests and processes. So go ahead and host happy this summer ☀️