6 Airbnb Safety and Security Tips
Summer is in full swing, which means it is time for those well deserved vacations! Many people are packing their bags and heading out on long trips across the country, but instead of booking the traditional hotel room, a fair share of travelers are opting to stay in Airbnb’s. In recent years, booking an Airbnb has been a popular option for many vacationers because in some cases they are cheaper than other accommodation options. They also offer access to different amenities like a kitchen or yard.
Not only are a growing number of people staying in Airbnb’s when they travel, many people are renting out property that they own for others to stay in. Renting out an extra room, guest house or vacation property is one way to make extra money that you can use to help with rent/mortgage payments, or finance your own trip in the future.
If you are looking into staying in an Airbnb during an upcoming trip, or if you are thinking about renting property out that you own; check out these tips to make sure the experience is a safe and hassle-free one.
Tips for Those Staying in an Airbnb
Tip #1 – Do Your Research
Knowledge is power. Before booking your Airbnb, take the time to do some research and investigate the following things:
- The area you are staying in – Research the neighborhood where the Airbnb is located, familiarize yourself with major roads and landmarks, and have a plan for where you would go in the event of an emergency.
- The property information – Read everything the host has posted about their listing in the description, the amenities, and the house rules/manual. In the house rules, the host can outline expectations and guidelines for their guest. For example, they may not allow smoking or pets, or they may request that certain areas of the house are off limits to guests.
- The person who will be your host – Look at the profiles and reviews of potential hosts before you book. Check to see if their Airbnb profile lists any verified phone numbers, connected social networks, or references.
Tip #2 – Communicate with Host & Set Clear Expectations
When planning a trip, surprises are not a good thing. If you have any questions about the property, house rules, or your host’s expectations; reach out to them. Airbnb’s built-in messaging system makes it easy to contact hosts and ask them any questions that you might have.
By connecting with your host, you can ensure everyone is on the same page and has the same expectations of each other. Chatting with the host before the stay can also help you get to know them a little better and provide you with some peace of mind. It is especially important to make sure that the host is someone you are comfortable with if they are going to be there during your stay (this may be the case if you are renting a room in their house or on their guest property).
Tip #3 – Make Sure You Lock Up
One of the most important things that you can do to stay safe during your Airbnb stay is taking extra care when locking up the space that you are occupying. If you are renting a whole home, take the same care locking up as you do with your own home. Even though it’s a vacation home, it’s still susceptible to burglary and intrusion. If you are renting a room, lock your room if that is an option. If it is not, follow the same rules you would in a hotel, either stow valuable items out of easy sight or take them with you.
Tips for Those Renting Their Property as an Airbnb
Tip #1 – Establish House Rules and Publish a House Manual
Airbnb recommends this as the first step you take when listing your property on the site. When you create a list of house rules and publish a house manual, it allows potential guests to find out more about your property and what they can expect during their stay. You may want to include:
- Any information you would like guests to know before they book. For example, whether smoking is allowed, whether certain areas are off-limits, or if guests are allowed to host parties and other events at your rental.
- Any information that can make them more comfortable during their stay like how to adjust the thermostat, where to find extra blankets, or how to work the coffee maker.
- An emergency plan. If a guest encounters an urgent or emergency situation, it’s important they know who to call and where to go. Provide them with emergency phone numbers, the locations of fire extinguishers and fire alarms, emergency exit routes, and any other security features that are available.
Tip #2 – Purchase Additional Insurance
If you are renting your home to travelers, Airbnb actually offers a Host Protection Insurance program that provides liability coverage for hosts. The program provides hosts with up to $1 million in coverage in the event that a guest is injured during their stay or damages the property of the host.
However, you shouldn’t rely solely on the insurance program provided by Airbnb. Contact your homeowners or renters insurance provider to find out if there are other policies that you can purchase through them to provide extra protection and coverage.
Tip #3 – Install a Security System
If you want a little extra peace of mind that your property is safe and secure in the hands of your Airbnb guests, consider installing a security system; especially one that has remote access capabilities. Remote access allows you to control the system right from your computer, tablet or smartphone. You can arm or disarm your property, lock or unlock the doors and receive notifications if any alarms are triggered.
A key component of many home security systems is video surveillance. It is important to note that while Airbnb does allow property owners to have a video surveillance system, it MUST be disclosed and noted in the House Rules. However, it does prohibit any surveillance devices that are in, or that observe the interior of private spaces (such as bedrooms and bathrooms) regardless of whether they’ve been disclosed.
If you have a security system installed on your property, Airbnb guests may be more likely to book with you. It provides an added level of security and is something that can help set yours apart from other properties.