How safe is Airbnb for hosts?
A group of twenty-somethings book your Airbnb for a long weekend, promise the best of intentions and turn it into a frat house. Drink stains in the rug, vomit stench in the bathroom, and a missing chair. It’s every Airbnb’s host’s nightmare and it happens more often than you may think, just read some real-life Airbnb horror stories from Airbnb Hell.
So what happens next and how do you keep your apartment off fraternity row in the future? Airbnb host safety, like guest safety, starts with research. As a host, you have the upper hand from the beginning, so take advantage of it. Your page, pictures, and reputation should sell your property so leave yourself some room to be stringent when guest inquiries start coming in. Ask your guests specific questions designed to get a feel for their plans. Why are you coming to my city? Is your trip for work or pleasure? Do you plan on going out/partying? How much time will you spend in the apartment? A few general questions will go a long way.
Depending on the responses to these questions, you can conduct your own little background investigation. Checking out your potential guests on social media may provide a window into their lifestyle – particularly into the things they may not mention in initial communications. If they like to party, Facebook will probably let you know.
And if things really pan out badly, the Airbnb host insurance policy covers up to $1 million in damages. This can include property damage and even bodily injury.
How safe is Airbnb for guests?
The concept is a little daunting. You’re traveling out of your city, state or country and you’ve found an Airbnb that looks like a good match. You’re about to spend the night in a completely foreign environment managed by someone you’ve never met and oh, those guests down the hall? You don’t know them either. All this begs the question: “How safe is Airbnb for guests?”.
First, the nature of Airbnb is that it will always be a bit riskier than a hotel. There will always be a degree of uncertainty. Your safety as an Airbnb guest will be determined by your ability to assess, manage and minimize risk at all opportunities. How does one minimize Airbnb risk? Start with reviews. Previous customers can provide solid insight into everything from the softness of the pillows to the personality of the host to the safety of the surrounding neighborhood. Read reviews carefully for a more complete picture.
After reading reviews, check out the “Trust” section on the Airbnb listing. You can see whether the host has a verified ID and whether reviews have been positive enough to earn your prospective host a “superhost” badge. Look at the total number of guests as well. An experienced Airbnb host with a long list of guests will be a safer bet. If there are some hazy details or you have questions that the post doesn’t answer, reach out and quiz your prospective host. Getting to know the host beforehand can shed a lot of light on what you’re getting into.
Finally, as a rule of thumb, trust your gut! If you’re getting a bad vibe, move on. There are plenty of Airbnbs — and other options — out there. Let your research and intuition guide you.