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Revenge travel: The risky reality and why you need guest screening

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Hospitality experts have coined a new term: revenge travel, referring to a pent-up desire to travel after a year lost to the pandemic. The Washington Post compared the phenomenon to “revenge spending”, which emerged in China as the country eased lockdown restrictions. During this period, businesses saw record daily sales with luxury goods store Hermes reportedly raking in $2.7 million in one day in Guangzhou.

According to a Booking.com survey, 40% of respondents expect to travel more than they did before the pandemic. Most of these travelers are also looking to make up for lost time by booking more ambitious and adventurous trips.

After a year of feeling cooped up, people want to spend more, explore more and experience more. These trends are ideal for property managers looking to rebound after a hard year, but they do come with their share of risks.

To mitigate these risks while capitalizing on the opportunity, you need guest screening. Here are the benefits of a proper process:

Protect your business

Historically, economic downturns fuel a rise in criminal activity. The same is being seen today with the pandemic. According to Julie Conroy, a research director for Aite Group’s fraud and anti-money laundering practice, by the end of 2020, the U.S. had experienced approximately $11 billion in credit card fraud.

With the push to move guest interactions online, short-term rentals are prime targets for fraud. Bad actors can mask their identities to secure a booking, never coming face-to-face with the host. After gaining access to the property, these "guests" can engage in illegal activity without any accountability. And with revenge travel causing a surge in activity, the chances of being hit by a fraud scheme go up exponentially.

Beyond fraud, property managers could also be hit by parties, trafficking and a long list of other criminal activities. To protect yourself, you need a guest-screening process that thoroughly vets each reservation. Some necessary verifications include:

  • Collecting and verifying IDs

  • Validating credit cards

  • Finding out why the guest is travelling

  • Checking where the guest is booking from

To properly assess the risk level of a reservation, you need to analyze every element of it. Look out for patterns or discrepancies in the information provided and flag any possible attempts to avoid identification.

Secure more bookings

To attract travelers, you need to offer as much flexibility as possible in your payment and cancelation policies. The pandemic has made guests hesitant to book without a guaranteed refund. If you want their business, offer reassurance.

Get more eyes on your listings by removing booking restrictions. This means allowing one-night stays, last-minute reservations and local guests. Typically, property managers avoid these types of bookings because they have a higher chance of leading to parties, property damage and criminal activity, but with a guest screening process in place, you can capitalize on the increased visibility while relying on your verifications to catch any risky reservations.

Improve the guest experience

The more information you have about your guest, the better you can anticipate their needs. Even small gestures make the experience more personal and memorable for the guest. For instance, if you discover that you’re hosting a couple who’s traveling for their anniversary, why not leave a bottle of champagne for them?

This can help build your reputation as a guest-friendly host, resulting in referrals and recurring guests.

Having a professional security process also reassures guests that you’re a responsible operator who prioritizes trust and safety. With so much worry and anxiety around travel these days, building trust is a top priority.

Are you ready for revenge travel?

Experts predict revenge travel will take off once international travel and quarantine restrictions are lifted. With a thorough guest-screening process, you can take full advantage of this surge, filtering out the risk while maximizing the reward.