Like every great business venture, short-term rental management is not without its risks. Before opening their doors to guests, property management companies should take diligent measures to minimize their properties’ vulnerability to damage and, of course, potential injuries to those staying there.
Here are 6 ways professional hosts can ensure smooth and safe stays.
1. Screen your guests
As a basic precaution, you should visit the profile of each potential guest contacting you through an OTA and crosscheck it with their social media accounts. It would also help to check when the account was created and whether previous hosts left positive reviews about the guest.
If you’d like to be even more thorough in your screening process, you can turn to one of the many sophisticated guest verification solutions available to short-term rental hosts. These platforms filter out any potential guests with criminal backgrounds or a history of unruly behavior when staying in short-term rentals.
It’s also important to look for red flags, such as requesting to transact outside of the platform or failing to respond to some of your questions.
2. Opt for a keyless door lock
In addition to saving you time by eliminating the need for in-person key handovers – which is especially ideal during COVID-19 – and accommodating your guests by enabling flexible check-in and check-out times, keyless door locks are a security asset.
With codes that automatically expire after your guests check out, you don’t need to worry about duplicated or stolen keys and can rest assured that the only people in your properties at any given time are those who are enjoying their pre-purchased stays.
PRO TIP: As an additional means of preventing break-ins and to offer your guests a sense of security, pair your keyless door lock with window and door alarms.
3. Provide a well-stocked first aid kit
Hope for the best and prepare for the worst. In the event that you guests injure themselves during their stay, it’s important to have a first-aid kit packed with all the essentials. According to the Red Cross, a first aid kit should include:
- Emergency phone numbers
- Compress dressing
- Adhesive bandages
- Adhesive cloth tape
- Antibiotic ointments
- Emergency blanket
- Breathing barrier
- Instant cold compress
- Non Latex gloves
- Hydrocortisone ointment packets
- Gauze roll
- Roller bandage
- Sterile gauze pads
- Oral thermometer
- Triangular bandages
- Emergency First Aid guide
4. Prevent accidental fires
To reduce the risk of fires, provide guests with detailed instructions for use of any heating appliances that may be unfamiliar to them (for example, an electric stove top). If your properties are in a location that is prone to wildfires, ensure guests are made aware of restrictions for use of certain products in outdoor areas.
Additionally, you’ll want to equip your properties with top-of-the-line smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Not only is this the law in many states and countries, it is also your best defense against fires, enabling quick response.
Finally, you’ll need a backup plan in case your efforts to prevent fires are unsuccessful. Create a fire escape plan to share with guests and arm your properties with fire extinguishers.
5. Create an emergency exit plan
While you might be intimately familiar with each of your properties, your guests are not. In acknowledgement of the unfortunate reality that emergencies happen, provide your guests with detailed information to review upon checking in, including a map of all the properties’ exits and a description of the most practical escape routes from each part of the property.
6. Invest in insurance
Though many short-term booking platforms offer host protection or liability insurance programs, these often have notable limitations.
It’s therefore recommended to purchase an insurance policy that caters specifically to short-term rental units, protecting you in the event of theft, injury, damage or lost income. As a plus, many insurance agencies servicing professional hosts only charge for nights that the properties are actually occupied by guests.
Working to reduce risks to your guests and your properties may cost you a bit in time and energy, but the knowledge that your company and clients are protected will allow you to focus your efforts on achieving your business goals and making your mark on the short-term rental industry.