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Be our Guest(y): Strategies to implement in order to protect your listings

Pandemic or no pandemic, protecting your guests and your rental properties should always be top priority. That’s why we hosted a virtual event to discuss security solutions that are crucial to integrate into your operations to minimize risk and safeguard your property management business – from cleanliness standards to pre-stay, guest screening solutions. 

Guesty’s own Regional VP of Customer Success Paul Zukauskas shared the virtual stage with industry thought leaders from the short-term rental space including Andrew Bate, CEO of Safely; Josh Sedivy, Director of Operations at ABODEbucks; and Ela Mezhiborsky, Co-Founder and CPO of Autohost. They discussed how property management companies can automate their security processes and provide quality guest experiences while addressing safety concerns that have emerged due to the pandemic. 

Kicking off the event, Paul shared the latest Guesty data regarding booking trends for the coming summer season with reservation volume for summer 2021 not only 110% higher than what we saw in 2020 but 6% higher than what we saw in summer 2019! He also discussed several ways for hosts to prepare their properties for elevated guest expectations by providing contact-free technology and longer-stay amenities. 

Andrew then introduced how Safely, a short-term rental insurance and guest screening company, helps safeguard homeowners and their properties before, during, and after every reservation. He went over the steps when verifying a guest’s identity, such as checking their details through various watchlists including their own internal database of offenders that have a history of damaging homes. Andrew then described the importance of short-term rental insurance and how Safely teamed up with Guesty to offer Damage Waiver Insurance to protect property managers from damages caused by guests during their stay as an alternative to security deposits.

Sharing his perspective as a property manager, Josh presented how his full-service vacation rental company, ABODEbucks, has ensured safety for owners and guests during COVID-19 by enhancing their housekeeping protocols and proactively communicating these measures with guests through Guesty’s auto-messaging tools. He explained how his whole team completed a 1-hour online course with to ensure they are COVID-cleaning certified, and how they successfully manage to shut down any parties at their properties with the help of noise-monitoring devices.

Through her experience managing Autohost, the guest screening and security solution for hospitality professionals, Ela shared data showing how crime in the short-term rental space has actually gone up since 2020 as some travelers have begun to take advantage of the pandemic by squatting illegally. Thus, she emphasized the importance of integrating guest screening tools into your operations to prevent fraud and illegal activity before the guest even enters your home. Ela then went on to describe the benefits of automating and standardizing your pre-stay security processes to support lean teams, avoid errors, and improve the overall guest experience. 

Q&A Session:

Q: With travelers wanting to know exactly who they’re booking with during a sensitive time, we’ve seen a notable increase in the demand to book directly with hosts. Do you anticipate this trend will continue even after COVID-19 is behind us? 

Andrew (Safely): I absolutely see the direct booking trend continue as hosts no longer will need to depend on booking sites to maximize their occupancy. There is high demand for bookings made directly so now the important component to consider is making sure your business is protected without the safety net provided by the booking channels. However, you can fill that gap with the help of security solutions to ensure your properties are safe and your business can run independently.

Q: How would you communicate to those guests that fall under the ‘at-risk’ category?

Josh (ABODEbucks): Since our prime target demographic are families, it is easy for us to make our best judgement call and determine which types of guests we want to stay at our properties. If there are guests who do not pass the screening process, we tell them that unfortunately after reviewing their profile we don’t feel comfortable with them staying with us and then we would cancel their reservation. 

Q: How many bookings get cancelled because the guest didn’t want to provide their information during the screening process?

Ela (Autohost): As the guest screening process is very professional and standardized, guests expect this flow to take place and see it as a simplified method to check-in. So, if there are travelers unwilling to provide their details, there has to be a reason; we consider it a success if they cancel as we wouldn’t want those guests to stay with us any way if they are not willing to follow the rules. 

For more strategies on navigating the pandemic in 2021 and protecting your properties, take a look at our Coronavirus Infocenter. Thank you everyone for joining and we look forward to seeing you at our upcoming events!

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