Airbnb Guest Screening: How to vet guests before they book (2023)

by Louise Brace | May 10, 2022 | Airbnb Host Tips | 2 comments

Airbnb Guest Screening: How to vet guests before they book (1)

Protecting your vacation rental from guest damage and maintaining good relations with your neighbours and the local community should be a top priority when accepting guest bookings.

Most of the time we are so focused on getting a guest to choose our accommodation, that we forget that we have the right to decline a booking if we don’t get a good feeling from the pre-booking communication.

Carrying out Airbnb Guest Screening before you accept a booking should be an essential part of your vacation rental strategy and here are seven reasons why you should start doing it today:

1. Welcome guests who respect your home and community

2. Confidently welcome guests who want exactly what you have

3. Well behaved guests mean a quicker turnover in between stays and cleaning time and expenses are reduced

4. Prevent parties and noise disturbances in your Airbnb

5. Guests will enjoy your home more and you will enjoy a stress-free booking

6. Happy and respectful guests lead to more five star reviews

7. Happy and respectful guests help to maintain harmony with your neighbours

The value of defining your ideal guest

Guests book accommodation based on several factors:


type and size of accommodation



Your accommodation may tick all of the boxes for a particular guest, but the important question is: do they tick all of the boxes for you?

Should you accept a booking if initial communication suggests that they might not be the ideal guests you want to welcome into your vacation rental?

To avoid this scenario, it’s essential to have a clear idea of your ideal guest profile and develop your messaging and story around them.

(Video) 5 Essential Messages Every Airbnb Host Should Send Their Guests

How to vet Airbnb guests

Most vacation rental guests are well-behaved and respectful. Many choose a vacation rental for its authenticity and flexibility and appreciate that they are staying in your home.

However, there are some minority guests who choose a vacation rental because they want to ‘do what they like’ during their vacation. Whether that’s having a party, leaving everything messy, damage or stealing items.

As a host, you want to avoid this type of guest and the best way to do that is to screen them before they book.

So how can you successfully screen an Airbnb guest before they book without offending them?

Let’s take a look at ways to vet guests on the Online Travel Agencies (OTA) and on your own direct booking channel.

How to screen a guest before they book on an OTA

You have minimal communication with the guest on bookings received through an OTA, such as Airbnb or VRBO, so it’s essential that the time you have between receiving the enquiry and accepting the booking is used wisely:

(Video) How to Prescreen Guests in Airbnb

1. Check their guest profile

Danny Rusteen from Optimize My Airbnb says that the common theme with bad guest experiences is that the majority haven’t filled out their profile. If you receive an inquiry from someone with an incomplete guest profile, gently let them know that you only accept bookings from guests who fully complete their profile. You can explain it only takes a couple of minutes and helps you to get to know your guests better before they stay and if your home is the right accommodation for them.

2. Monitor the messaging

If during your messaging with the guest they don’t seem open or attentive, ask more questions. Some of the best questions to evaluate whether a guest is right for your home are:

What is the mix of the group? Are there children in the group or all adults, what age range are the guests?

What is the reason for the trip? Are they on a relaxing break, family holiday, or friend getaway?

Is this their first time staying in a vacation rental? Do they understand that booking conditions are different to a hotel? There is no housekeeping service to clean up after them. And the house should be looked after during their stay.

If you feel uncomfortable, you have the right to decline the booking.

3. Check reviews

Feedback from other owners and property managers that have hosted the guest will help you to decide if they are conscientious guests or guests from hell.

How Airbnb, VRBO and do guest screening?

OTAs don’t have a fixed policy on guest screening. Some ID verification may take place, but not on every guest. The other issue is that the platforms don’t share guest data, so a guest could surf from platform to platform leaving devastated hosts in their wake.

Airbnb Guest Screening: For an added layer of protection, you can add Airbnb’s ID verification feature, which means you only accept guest bookings which have been verified first by Airbnb. Booking also adds this extra layer of booking protection, which allows you to only accept bookings from guests who have input a verified email address, mobile number and credit card details.

VRBO: Guests booking on VRBO are not required to confirm their identity to book although random checks may be carried out and the guest is then asked to provide information such as name, email, phone numbers, physical address and date of birth, which is then checked for accuracy.

VRBO does have a ‘Verified Identity’ feature and guests are informed that obtaining this helps to build trust with hosts and their bookings are more likely to be accepted.

How to screen a guest before they book on your direct booking website

Assessing guests is so much easier through your own direct booking channels as you have clear and direct communication with them before they book.

As we discussed with OTA enquiries, the key here is not to be afraid to ask questions and you may want to do the following extra checks:

ID verification: You can also confirm upfront that they are happy for you to take ID copies from every guest over the age of 16, which can be a deterrent for guests who want to party in your home.

Depending on where your home is based, the ID gets lodged with the local police in case of damage or noise complaints, which is also a deterrent.

Social media screening: A great way to learn more about your guests is to check out their social media and search for them on Google. It might seem a bit like stalking but you can tell a lot from social media profiles.

(Video) How to pre-screen AirBnB Guests

Be clear in your Airbnb description and guest communication

Airbnb Guest Screening: How to vet guests before they book (2)

Be clear in your OTA vacation rental descriptions and on your short-term rental website about any guest profiles that you don’t accept bookings from.


  • No Hen or Stag Groups
  • Guests travelling without children must be 25 years or older

Being upfront might not seem hospitable but it will avoid a situation where you have to decline a booking from a guest profile that you don’t want.

Make your guests aware of community and house rules

Make sure your guests also read your ‘House Rules’ before they book and be clear that unless they agree to the conditions, you won’t be able to accept the booking.

Guests will enjoy your accommodation more and so will you when both parties know what to expect before the stay.

Your rental contract should include your house and community rules, and it’s essential that your guests read, agree and sign up to these house rules.

Make them aware that whilst you want them to enjoy the best vacation in your Airbnb, they must also be respectful of both your home and neighbours.

Deliver the information in a firm yet friendly manner. You can reiterate house rules through guest apps and you might also choose to use a noise and occupancy monitoring sensor to ensure you prevent parties and are fully protected from troublesome guests.

(Video) AirBnB Guest Scam? You be the judge!

Airbnb insurance for hosts

As a final layer of protection you can take out specialised insurance to protect your vacation rental against damage. The Airbnb Host Damage Protection protects hosts in some countries for up to One Million against damages (check Airbnb’s policy in your country).

There are also specialist companies, such as Superhog that offer guest screening and ID verification across all of your OTA and direct booking channels, leaving you to run your vacation rental business with peace of mind that your guests are going to look after your home during their stay.

  1. Govedo Hurry Anandon August 5, 2022 at 4:07 pm

    Personally I have always receive good guests and we got along quite well.


    • Govedo Hurry Anandon August 5, 2022 at 4:13 pm

      Practically it is not easy to discover a guest manner just by speaking to him fot a few minutes.


      (Video) How to Keep OUT Unwanted Airbnb Guests!!

Submit a Comment


How do I screen potential guests on Airbnb? ›

10 Tips On How To Screen Airbnb Guests
  1. Get Verified and Demand Verification. ...
  2. Look for Complete Airbnb Profiles. ...
  3. Check Out Social Media Connections. ...
  4. Review the Reviews. ...
  5. Check References. ...
  6. Pay Attention To Online Interactions. ...
  7. Don't Be Afraid to Ask Questions. ...
  8. Target Market to Your Ideal Guest.
Oct 5, 2017

How do I vet an Airbnb guest with no reviews? ›

Airbnb Guest with No Reviews

It gets very hard to judge guests based on their type of profiles. Your best bet here would be to communicate with the guest and request them to complete their profiles. This is especially necessary if they already don't have an ID and photos.

How do I vet an Airbnb? ›

Don't worry and stay tuned, our tips to vet your Airbnb guests can prevent such events from happening!
  1. Make your terms as clear as possible.
  2. Double check that everything matches.
  3. Get a deposit.
  4. Read their reviews and references.
  5. Guests who belong to a generation with higher expectations.
  6. Take advantage of technology.
Sep 13, 2019

What should I say to Airbnb host before booking? ›

If you've read the listing details and you still have questions, you can message a Host to ask about availability, amenities, your specific needs, etc.

Can you vet Airbnb guests? ›

You could call it a background check. Hosts do this to simply ensure whoever is coming to stay in their accommodation is genuine, trustworthy and not there to cause any trouble. Airbnb has built in multiple feature that make vetting potential guests that little bit easier.

Can you vet people on Airbnb? ›

Airbnb does screen guests, but it's a limited screening process, focused on fraud prevention. In your Reservation Requirements settings, you can require guests to have a “Verified ID” badge to book your property.

Is it risky to book an Airbnb with no reviews? ›

If there are few to no reviews, you should proceed with caution, says Sara Mosadegh, an Airbnb host and property manager. While every new listing will start from square one, if you are considering booking a listing with no feedback and a host who isn't responding, run away!

Do Airbnb hosts look at guest reviews? ›

Airbnb allows guests and hosts to leave star ratings and written reviews for each other within 14 days after check-out. Neither guests nor hosts can see the other's review until both have been submitted, or until the 14-day review period has ended. This is so both parties can be as unbiased and impartial as possible.

Can Airbnb remove unfair reviews? ›

To report a review for violating this policy, contact us. If a review violates this policy, we may remove that review, including any associated ratings and other content. We take the removal of any review seriously and only do so where there is a clear violation of this policy.

Can Airbnb hosts deny service animals? ›

Guests are allowed to be accompanied by service animals during a stay or Experience and are not required to disclose the presence of a service animal before booking. A Host may qualify for an exemption in certain circumstances — for instance, if the service animal directly threatens their health or safety.

Is there a way to filter for pet-Friendly Airbnb? ›

Whether you're looking for pet-friendly or pet-free, you can find a listing's pet policy in its House rules section. Even if a listing says pets are allowed, always contact the Host to confirm, tell them about the pet(s) you plan to bring, and find out if restrictions apply.

What should you not do on Airbnb? ›

Common Airbnb hosting mistakes – how many of these are you making?
  • Misleading or inaccurate listings. ...
  • Not using the right keywords in your listing. ...
  • Not using professional or high quality photographs. ...
  • No pricing strategy in place. ...
  • Not taking advantage of guest reviews. ...
  • Not communicating effectively with your guests.
May 23, 2022

Should you message Airbnb host before booking? ›

When you must message a Host. Unless you've found an Instant Book listing, you'll have to request that the Host accept your stay. At the Confirm and pay stage of your request, you'll need to include a brief message about why you're traveling and when you'll check-in.

What is a good pre booking message? ›

Pre-booking message

Hi [guest name], Thank you for choosing to book my property. I'd love to get to know you a little better and find out what brings you to [insert your town/city name]. This will help me make your stay even better!

What Airbnb hosts should not do? ›

10 Airbnb hosting mistakes to avoid
  • Using bad pictures. ...
  • Setting up wrong expectations. ...
  • Fixed pricing. ...
  • Being too impersonal… or too personal. ...
  • Not communicating clearly or quickly with guests. ...
  • Theming your space. ...
  • Assuming things about your guests. ...
  • Not prioritising guest requests.
Jun 16, 2018

Can guests squat on Airbnb? ›

It is important to note whether the Airbnb squatter is entitled to possession or not, the landlord has to show that there is no lease or that the lease has expired. This will prove that the tenant has no legal right to be staying there.

Do Airbnb hosts check on you? ›

Airbnb's community standards bar hosts from sharing guests' personal information, but they don't stop hosts from monitoring their units with live feeds streamed by security cameras.

Do I have to tell Airbnb I have a service dog? ›

Disclosure of the presence of a service animal isn't necessary before booking an Airbnb. However, the company encourages guests to communicate their animals' presence when booking to foster an environment of transparency.

Can Airbnb hosts charge a pet fee? ›

To make it even easier for Hosts to welcome pets, you can now add a pet fee to your pricing. If you choose to charge a pet fee, it'll be spread out equally over the course of the stay and shown both as part of the nightly rate, and in the total price at checkout.

What happens if you bring extra guests to Airbnb? ›

It's up to you, as the Host, to decide if you can accommodate any extra people. If guests show up with extra people, you have the right to turn them away.

Do Airbnb hosts have to allow emotional support animals? ›

Airbnb has clarified its policies regarding assistance animals in a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) webpage. Among other reminders, the FAQ confirms that hosts are generally required to accept assistance animals unless the animal poses a threat to health or safety, even if their listing or house rules state “no pets.”

How do I know if my Airbnb is sketchy? ›

Warning Signs To Look For on an Airbnb Listing
  1. Reviews that only mention the location. Beware of reviews that praise the location only. ...
  2. Star ratings that don't align with text ratings. ...
  3. Poor reviews on a host's other listing. ...
  4. Photos that don't include an important area/ amenity.
Oct 11, 2018

Why do so many Airbnbs have no reviews? ›

For the most part, there's a pretty simple explanation: The listing is new and hasn't received enough or any guests to review it. In other instances, however, it's entirely possible you're buying into a scam, though Airbnb claims to perform background checks on at least some of its members.

Why are there so few negative reviews on Airbnb? ›

Some users have speculated that Airbnb selectively removes negative reviews to protect its top sellers. While the surprisingly ubiquitous online debate about the integrity of Airbnb's reviews often notes that hosts don't have the power to have bad reviews removed, that's not true.

Do Airbnb hosts check number of guests? ›

Most Airbnb hosts do check how many guests are staying at their place at a time. This is to ensure that the number of people in the property does not exceed what was agreed upon when booking.

Is 4.7 a good Airbnb rating? ›

If a review is less than 5-stars, it is seen as a sign that there are major problems with the property or host. According to some observations, the average Airbnb host quality score is 4.7. If an account's rating falls below 4.6 stars, this is a serious sign to a host.

What questions do guests ask on Airbnb without reviews? ›

Here are the four questions you should be asking every guest who books at your place:
  • What is the purpose of your stay?
  • Why are you interested in this property?
  • Where are you traveling from?
  • What is your experience with Airbnb or short-term rentals?

What are examples of negative Airbnb reviews? ›

Sadly, we had issues with [guest name]. They broke things and were very messy, which made hosting them very unpleasant. We would not recommend them to anyone and strongly advise against letting them stay in your property. This guest did not follow our clearly communicated house rules and was overall very disruptive.

Do airbnbs have cameras? ›

Can Airbnb hosts watch you on cameras? Technically, yes. They have to have the cameras only in “common areas” and must disclose that there are cameras in the rental, though.

Can I leave my dog alone in an Airbnb? ›

When you stay in an Airbnb with your dogs, make sure that you follow the host's rules, especially if they don't allow unattended pets. If they do allow well-behaved dogs to stay unattended, make sure you take them out to potty first, leave them water and a comfy dog bed, and limit the amount of time you're away.

What can Airbnb hosts see about guests? ›

Your full name and profile photo will be shared with the Host after your booking is confirmed. Note: If you're a guest and an Oregon resident, Hosts will be shown your initials instead of your first name prior to booking. Your full name won't be shared until the booking is confirmed. Did this article help?

How do you check if your Airbnb Host is secretly filming you? ›

5 tips for finding hidden cameras in an Airbnb or Vrbo rental
  1. 1) Scan the Wi-Fi network for hidden cameras using Fing App. ...
  2. 2) Check for common IP camera names that may be hidden on the network. ...
  3. 3) Use the 'Find hidden cameras' feature from Fing Premium. ...
  4. 4) Check for items that look odd or appear to be out of place.
Feb 14, 2022

Can Airbnb host watch you on camera? ›

Can Airbnb hosts watch you on cameras? Technically, yes. They have to have the cameras only in “common areas” and must disclose that there are cameras in the rental, though.

Can Airbnb hosts ask for pictures of guest? ›

Airbnb does not require all guests to provide a photo. Instead, we'll be giving hosts the option to ask their guests to provide a profile photo, which will only be presented to hosts after they accept the booking.


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