Being a host was never an easy task you have to take care of marketing, communication, and property management 24/7 all by yourself, and now with the massive reach & popularity of short term rental platforms, hosts have started to report some scams and illegal activities that have started taking place by people who are taking advantage of hosts and their property by finding a loophole in the system, most of these scammers have dedicated airbnb no reviews guest accounts. We surveyed 100+ superhosts to bring you this blog on “‘Red flags to look for when renting your property on Airbnb” to help you sense danger from a mile away and help you make better decisions when onboarding a new guest.
Airbnb Guests with no reviews
Many times you’ll come up with a profile that doesn’t have a single review we call these types of profiles “airbnb no review guest”, this could indicate that the person is using it for the first time or has created another account. It gets very hard to judge guests based on these types of profiles, your best bet here would be to communicate with the guest and request them to complete their profiles if they already don’t have ID’s and photos and ask them few questions like “What is their purpose of visit” or “How many people will be staying” etc and based on the answers you can decide if you want to accept the request or not.
Not Reading/Following the rules and guidelines
People who don’t read and follow the rules given by the host. Like booking the listing for 3 guests and then bringing extra people or pets without prior notice. This always isn’t a red flag as someone might have some last-minute plan changes but guests who keep on changing their statement and keep adding people or pets last minute is something to double-check upon when confirming their stay.
Having inappropriate photos or No photos
Similar to airbnb no review guest account, if someone isn’t having photos or having inappropriate photos or photos that don’t show their face clearly could be a red flag, having no photo might also indicate that the profile is new, if that is the case, you can request the guest to update his profile, and see what is their response if they hesitate to upload a photo or the uploaded photos seems altered then it could be a red flag and you should ask for proper verification in case of any suspicion before confirming the stay.
Convincing to book listing outside of Airbnb
If a guest is trying to use alternate methods to share his number to book the Airbnb listing then it’s a major red flag, keeping all the chats and conversation on the Airbnb app not only helps in case there is some damage to the property or any other mishappening during the stay of the guest but also helps you to be on the safe side in terms of receiving the money and having proof of conversation in case of any legal action. Taking the conversation on some other platform will not only increase the chances of a scam, it’ll also leave you stranded without anyone to reach out for help in case of a mishap.
Unconventional Name or EMail
In 2021 getting a decent email without numbers and weird symbols is next to impossible but sometimes some emails are just very odd, emails using offensive words, sexiest or racist remarks or too long and unreadable characters could be a sign of a pseudo email. This can be a red flag as a lot of scammers used pseudo emails to make Airbnb accounts so they leave no trace of their personal identity in case of any investigation.
Many times scammers run bots and reach out to multiple hosts at a single time and send them personalized messages based on their listing using bots. You can identify these messages if the grammar is incorrect or the sentence doesn’t make any sense, usually, these bots have the conversion for a few seconds until some human switches over. You need to be careful and look for these types of sentences that sound auto-generated by a bot.
Exchanging services in return for a stay
If a guest offer to clean the house in return for a stay instead of paying money or do any other service in return for a stay could be a red flag, the chances of that person leaving without cleaning the place are very high, and anyway, this is not a good practice to have, get you places cleaned by reliable cleaner only as the chances of getting scammed are very high in these type of situations.
Asking the right screening questions
If they are local and staying for one night, you may want to ask their motive for visiting the property and confirming if they agree on your house policies. If they are visiting from outside of town, you can casually ask what they would like to do in the city. You can give some helpful suggestions depending on what they want to do, but this question may also give you extra signals on whether they are the bad guest or not.
Do what your gut says
Sometimes you don’t need any red flags, if you feel bad vibes and a feeling of uncertainty when giving your property to a guest based on his profile and messages, it is best to drop that guest as your gut is right a lot of the time.
Check out our other blog Should Airbnb hosts engage in Airbnb Experiences? (2 Min Read).