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How to protect your properties from New Year's Eve parties

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The New Year’s Eve ball is about to drop. Friends and family are prepared to usher in 2022. But instead of celebrating, you’re sitting by the phone waiting for that first dreaded noise complaint to roll in as you obsess over your 100+ properties all occupied by one-night stays for NYE. 

In the short-term rental industry, December 31st is a make-or-break night. It can either be the biggest one-night revenue haul of the year or a party disaster, causing damages, fines and a tarnished reputation. 

Last year, Autohost found that 71% of reservations were one-night, local bookings. And 60% of those one-night bookings were made within a week of NYE. More than 37% came in one to three days before check-in. 

These types of reservations have a high chance of ending in a party, and with such a short lead time, your team is hard pressed to thoroughly vet the reservation before check-in. But outright banning risky reservations means missing out on significant revenue. 

You need to implement simple but effective guest screening processes so that you can maximize revenue without dealing with parties. Here’s how:

Make your rules clear

Make sure you and the guest are on the same page from the moment they land on your listing. If your rules are buried somewhere in fine print, how will your guest know what’s allowed and what isn’t?

Make your rules clear by adding them to your property’s listing. You can encourage the guest to read through your house rules by adding a “promo code” for a discounted stay somewhere in the text.

We then advise reiterating these rules in a legally-binding usage agreement for the guest to sign. As a final precaution, add the most important rules one more time to your check-in instruction message.

Check booking details

The first thing you want to do with any reservation is carefully review the booking details. The booking itself offers a goldmine of information. Start by looking at where the guest is from. If they’re a local guest, there’s a greater chance that the booking could end in a party, especially if it’s only for one night. Examine the type of property booked as well. If a couple has booked a four-bedroom house, that could be a bad sign. They may plan on inviting some unregistered guests.

Follow up with the guest about any suspicious details.

How Airbnb's cracking down on NYE parties

Ask questions

Once you’ve looked over the booking details, get in touch with the guest to find out more about them. You want to understand their intentions before giving them access to your property.

Have your guest support team send an email—or if the booking comes in last-minute, jump on the phone. This is your opportunity to ask about anything suspicious you noticed in the booking details, as well as the guest’s reason for traveling, who they’re traveling with and whether they’ve stayed in the area before. 

More often than not, guests will be honest with you. For instance, a local guest may tell you they booked your property to celebrate New Year’s at a club downtown with friends. If you’re comfortable with hosting a small pre-drink then you can remind them that all additional guests must be registered in advance.

Getting to know more about the guest can also be an opportunity to improve the guest experience. If it’s a family coming to the city to experience NYE, you can provide recommendations on where they should go and what they should see, winning yourself a possible referral.

Request a guest list

When you reach out to the guest about their travel plans, ask them to also provide a guest list. This should include the name and contact information for everyone entering the property (not just the people staying overnight). 

This is an easy way to see whether the guest is abiding by your property’s capacity limits. Plus, having contact info for all of the guests should keep them more accountable for their behavior, curbing any chances of an out-of-control NYE party.

Collect a security deposit

Regardless of where the booking came from, always collect a security deposit from the guest. Some OTAs, such as Airbnb, will take care of this for you, but others leave it up to the host. The best way to do this is through a payment processor, such as Stripe, which can put a hold on the guest’s credit card for a specified amount.

How much money you put on hold is up to you. We suggest the number is high enough that it deters guests from breaking your rules. The rule of thumb dictates that the larger the property, the higher the amount. You may also want to bump this number up on NYE, especially for bookings that show signs of a party. 

Ideally, nothing happens and the money is returned to the guest, but security deposits give you assurance in the case of accidental or intentional damage.

Automate the process

Guest screening is necessary to keep your properties safe this NYE, but each step is time-consuming and resource-intensive. Manually screening each reservation detracts from your team’s ability to focus on what matters most to your business: the guest experience.

Your guest services team was hired to put the guest first—so let them do that, and leave security to the experts.

To avoid costly party disasters while keeping productivity high, you need to automate the process. Autohost will screen all reservations for you, flagging any signs of an incident and alerting your team. With security handled, you can focus on growing your business. 

To get you started, we’re offering a NYE discount. Enter the promo code stoptheparty2022, on our holiday landing page (linked below). 

Get your holiday discount