Vacation Rental Blog Posts

How Guest Screening Can Make Your Airbnb More Profitable

November 08, 2021

Prioritizing your Airbnb security while trying to maximize your profit is a balancing act. Each reservation brings a certain degree of risk, so you need to implement security measures to prevent incidents. But too much security might deter guests. An effective way to balance the two is by introducing a guest screening process to de-risk your reservations. Not only will it help keep your properties safe, but it will allow you to tap into new streams of revenue.

vacation rental host using guest screening app

What Is Guest Screening for Vacation Rentals?

If you’ve been racking up major cleaning bills lately, there’s likely an explanation.

Take a look at your calendar. Who’s been staying at your property? If you don’t know the answer, you may be accepting risky reservations.

A “risky reservation,” is any reservation with characteristics that could threaten your Airbnb security, including parties, damages, fraud, and crime. To catch risky reservations, you need to establish a thorough and consistent guest screening process.

How to Establish an Effective Guest Screening Process

When designing this process, take into consideration relevant pain points, such as parties, fake IDs, damages, and stolen credit cards. While proper guest screening should confront all types of incidents, your process might differ depending on the biggest issue you’re seeing at your properties.

For instance, if parties are your biggest pain point, you’ll want to collect a list of names and contact info for everyone who will be entering the property. In the booking details, pay extra attention to the number of guests — does it match the property’s max occupancy?

To protect yourself against all incidents, you need to examine and compare multiple data points within the reservation. Everything from the guest’s ID and credit card to which booking channel they used. Before accepting anyone into your property, make sure you’ve verified their identity and clarified their intentions.

Consider local regulations and building and Homeowner Association (HOA) rules as well when establishing your guest screening process. Some buildings and HOAs request background checks for each guest, while certain municipalities require you to submit guest information to local authorities. Know the rules before you start hosting.

The Airbnb Guest Screening Checklist

  • Collect and verify the guest’s ID to confirm they are who they say they are
  • Analyze the booking details to see if there’s potential for a party
  • Validate the payment method to ensure the credit card belongs to the guest
  • Examine the guest’s online presence to flag suspicious activity
  • Have the guest sign an agreement that governs the terms of their stay

3 Ways Guest Screening Can Increase Your Airbnb Profit Margin

By introducing a systematic guest screening process, you can cut additional costs, improve operations, and grow your business.

1. Reduce Unnecessary Costs

A proper guest screening process lets you assess the risk level of each guest, and by knowing the warning signs, you’re better prepared to limit parties, damages, and other costly incidents. As a result, you should also see a reduction in your cleaning and repair costs.

Collecting the guest’s personal information is a good way to keep them accountable and deter bad behavior during the stay. But as an added measure, you could consider requiring a damage waiver or security deposit.

A damage waiver is a small, non-refundable payment, often in the $50 range. If any damages occur, you can use this money to pay for repairs, otherwise you get to pocket the extra cash.

On the other hand, a security deposit is a larger, refundable payment. This is a great option for higher-risk reservations to ensure the guest is following your rules.

2. Minimize Turnover Time

With better behaved guests and fewer incidents, your cleaning team will be able to perform a more thorough clean in a shorter period of time.

Rather than scrubbing out stains and picking up red solo cups, they can focus on wiping and sanitizing surfaces. This will make turnovers easier, giving you more flexibility with your check-in and check-out times, improving the guest experience, and increasing your chance of referrals.

Plus, better maintained units will strengthen the relationship between you and your cleaners.

Cleaning up after a major party can be a nightmare. Beyond just being unpleasant to do, it takes much longer and sometimes requires extra staff. By keeping your properties in good shape, you’ll make life easier for your cleaners, meaning they’ll be more likely to work with you in the future.

3. Scale Your Business

Instead of wasting money on repairs and extra cleaning fees, spend your hard-earned revenue on growth opportunities. Guest screening allows you to maximize your Airbnb profit margin, reallocating your revenue and efforts towards initiatives like onboarding new properties and focusing on the guest experience.

As you continue to grow, consider introducing other security measures to ensure the protection of your vacation rental business. Insurance and property monitoring tech can provide an added layer of security, reducing risk at every stage of the reservation.

Automate Your Guest Screening Process

While guest screening provides a number of benefits, if you choose to manually vet each reservation, the process will be time and resource intensive.

To make the process as secure and efficient as possible, consider using a software like Autohost to automate your guest screening. By analyzing guests and flagging risks for you, you and your team won’t have to waste time worrying about security. Instead, you can focus on growing your business.


This blog was written by Autohost, an intelligent guest screening and automation platform for hospitality providers. The Autohost proprietary risk algorithm leverages machine learning to create a scalable process for reviewing and verifying reservations online.

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By The TurnoverBnB Team