Dec. 20, 2019
New Year’s Eve is a time to celebrate, a time to connect with family and friends, and, for hospitality providers, a time to rake in some serious revenue. In the short-term rental industry especially, holiday bookings can be the saving grace for a brutal slow season.
But don’t blow your party horns and noisemakers too soon. Increased bookings means increased risk. Along with a spike in reservations, New Year’s Eve can also bring parties, property damage and elusive fraudsters. To maximize revenue and reduce risk, you need to keep your guard up.
There are a few types of New Year’s Eve guests you’re likely to encounter. Here are four to look out for:
On paper, this guest looks great. They often pay up front and rarely hassle you with questions. They may even be quiet during their stay, giving you no reason to raise suspicions. It isn’t until after they’ve checked out, when you get hit with a chargeback, that you realize you’ve been defrauded.
The fraudster will typically book your property close to the check-in date using a stolen credit card or ID. The deception is often too subtle for booking channels to catch. The shark ends up with a free stay while you end up with revenue loss and disappointed clients.
To avoid this, compare every guest’s ID with their provided credit card. Make sure the two match. If possible, run the credit card through a database of stolen cards. If you’re really unsure about a guest, meet them in person at check-in.
If you book a partier, you’ll know. The pissed-off phone calls from nearby neighbours will start rolling well before the clock strikes midnight. New Year’s Eve is prime time for guests to book rentals for parties. Unfortunately, these bookings can be difficult to catch. They come in the form of legitimate bookings—it’s just not with the guests you want.
To ensure your property doesn’t turn into this year’s “it” party, screen your guests. Watch out for any discrepancies or details that don’t add up. Two guests booking a three-bedroom suite sends an immediate red flag. It’s also advisable to install noise sensors inside your properties. If there are any spikes in volume, you’ll be notified immediately and can take action.
Every party needs a host. Make sure it’s not you.
Similar to the fraudster, you won’t see the scammer coming until it’s too late. In fact, you might not see them at all. The scammer runs their own kind of short-term rental business. This includes booking your property on New Year’s Eve and then turning it around and selling it for double the price on sites like Kijiji. They’ve also been known to book properties on behalf of unfavourable guests, like gangs or escort services.
To protect your property from being scammed, thoroughly screen each guest. This means getting on the phone with the guest and asking about their travel plans, comparing their ID and credit card, and even checking where they’re from. Local bookings are a red flag. If the reservation seems suspicious or the guest is vague with their trip details, don’t be afraid to offer a free-of-charge cancellation. This will open the calendar for good guests.
Finally, a guest you can trust. The holidayer is the dream guest for any host or short-term rental operator. They’re in town for the holidays, visiting friends and family or taking in the sights. There’s no noise complaints, no chargebacks, no scams, no hassle.
It’s likely you’ve got a holidayer on your hands if they book one of your properties for multiple days, rather than just for New Year’s Eve. It’s still important to screen their booking just to be safe, but if everything checks out, thank your lucky stars and treat them right.
If you really want a silent night this New Year’s Eve, use Autohost to screen and verify your guests. It’s the best way to keep yourself and your properties safe.
The Autohost team