Securing your safety on Airbnb
If we’ve learned anything in the age of Web 2.0, it’s that the internet is just as dangerous as it is lucrative. Despite its gleaming reputation for being one of the most trusted and widely used websites in the 21st century, Airbnb is definitely no exception to this fact. One quick google search of “Airbnb horror stories” and you’ll find pages and pages of blogs dedicated to this affair. From damaged properties to makeshift brothels, the list also goes down a darker hole to connect Airbnb to multiple deaths. Securing your safety on Airbnb is no joke.
However, taking the right precautions for your safety on Airbnb will allow you to take full advantage of this otherwise wonderful platform. For hosts, making sure you’re appropriately insured and guest-proofing your home is the bottom line. For guests, letting others know where you are is imperative. Ultimately, both parties need to make appropriate preparations for their safety. Below are some of our essential tips for staying safe on this platform – and they’re not as difficult as you may think.
Safety as an Airbnb host
Check your insurance
As an Airbnb host, you are entitled to Airbnb’s insurance schemes. The Airbnb Host Guarantee provides protections up to $1 million to a host for instances when guests damage a host’s property. For cases where a third party claims any bodily injury or property damage related to a stay, Airbnb also has Host Protection Insurance which offers $1 million in liability insurance and $1 million in property damage. However, if you still can’t put your mind at ease, purchasing additional short-term rental insurance on top of what Airbnb provides, will help ensure your protection and mitigate hefty damages.
To check out what the Airbnb Host Guarantee and the Host Protection Insurance will cover, click here.
Before you secure a booking, an Airbnb guest will most likely reach out for any further questions they have about your listing. If you are considering approving this guest, make sure you leave an amazing first impression from the get-go. Not only will this score you brownie points to win them over, but it’ll also start you on the right foot to ensure nothing will go wrong. People are far more likely to respect you and your property if a personal connection is established. Go without the rapport, and your guests will likely disassociate themselves from the fact that there is a real person with a family and mortgage that owns the home they’re currently destroying.
Set clear rules and expectations
When making a reservation on Airbnb, guests and hosts are required to agree on a wide set of rules for the duration of the booking. This can include the overall expectation a host has for their guests, off-limit areas, check-in and check-out rules, policies about smoking and partying, and additional guests or pets. If a guest goes against the rules provided, you as a host can cancel the reservation with immediate effect without penalty. However, these rules must be agreed upon before booking confirmation and cannot be updated after.
To update your listing rules, click ‘Manage Listing’, ‘Booking Settings’, ‘House Rules’, and ‘edit’.
Have a security system
If you aren’t sharing the space with your guest, there is definitely no guarantee that everything will go as smoothly as you plan. However, installing cameras into your guests’ space is neither an advisable option. Instead, opt for home monitors that can detect noise, humidity and motion in your property to be your eyes and ears when you are absent. These smart home monitors can pick up loud noises, unsolicited parties, extra people in the home, and more, enabling you to disarm whatever is happening to prevent further damage.
Recognise the red flags
Identifying a bad egg before and during their stay is essential to maintaining your safety. Before you approve a booking request, make sure you check out their profile to have a clearer understanding of who they are. An incomplete profile, or one that seems to have been created recently, is a common theme for bad guests. And of course, checking their reviews is a great way to decide on approving their booking. During their stay, being aware of the questions they ask and your neighbour’s responses is also a great indication if any issues will arise. If you have a bad gut feeling, it might just be a good idea to keep close attention to your guests and act respectively.
Note: that refusing to accept a person based on their colour, sexuality, and age, is blatant discrimination and won’t be tolerated by Airbnb, and it’s community.
Safety as an Airbnb guest
Filter your searches
When you book a property on Airbnb, you should review the listing for the appropriate amenities needed for your stay – the two most important being smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. One of the best features of Airbnb is the huge range of amenities that hosts can check off for their properties, allowing you to filter out properties that don’t match your search with ease. Additionally, checking the listing images to view its suitability for your needs and safety is strongly advised.
Get your questions answered
If a property does not yet tick all the boxes for you, messaging the host is a great way to understand if the property is suitable and safe. But as with chatting with anyone on the world wide web, be weary that the host may be deceitful. Unlike guests who are required to show ID, hosts are not and can claim whoever they want to be which poses as a huge safety issue to guests like you. To be sure you aren’t booking yourself into a scam, check the reviews for both the property and the host to make sure you aren’t moving in with a con artist.
Always pay on Airbnb
If you have to pay any fees for extended stays or whatever additions, always pay on Airbnb. This is because the money you’ll pay outside of Airbnb will not be bound to any Airbnb contract, rendering any insurance and policies obsolete. All your payments and personal information should always be kept of Airbnb’s secure platform, and if asked otherwise, you should report it to Airbnb to avoid trouble with the host.
Do a safety check on arrival
Once you check-in to your Airbnb, have a little walk around to check if there’s anything that looks out of place to notify your host immediately. If there’s a broken light or chair, it’s a good idea to take photos and send it to them to avoid any penalties and ensure that your deposit isn’t lost. Additionally, if there are any odd holes, random flashing lights or something that just doesn’t look right, have a check to ensure that there isn’t anything malicious going on to ensure your safety. If there is a hidden camera or recording device bring it to Airbnb directly and they can take care of the rest – even relocating you to a new property.
Always let someone else know where you’re staying
This piece of advice shouldn’t be taken lightly, and also shouldn’t just be applied when you’re staying at Airbnb. No matter where you are, letting someone else know your temporary place of residence will not only put your loved ones mind’s at peace but will also help if any complications arise and you are for a reason unreachable or unresponsive. If your safety is your number one concern, which is why you’re reading this, then always make sure that the address, host’s name and contact number, is with someone you trust that is not with you.
The bottom line
As Airbnb continues to grow, hosts and guests should regularly exercise caution on this platform to ensure their safety on Airbnb. Most of the population have nothing but positivity to spread, and your next Airbnb stay will most probably be a really pleasant one. But always remember to proceed with caution to avoid thinking “Why me?”, and for us to tell you “we told you so.”