How to screen potential holiday rental guests

Home securityIt is understandable that holiday rental owners worry about receiving guests in their home. Although any serious cases of damage or theft are incredibly rare it is important that when you receive a booking enquiry from you make sure that you are happy to accept this holiday maker as a guest in your home. is an online marketplace where holiday makers can view holiday rental property adverts. If they want to book your holiday home they will contact you by making a booking enquiry and make arrangements. and HomeAway Inc are not party to any rental transaction that takes place. Therefore the responsibility for screening guests lies with you.

There is no particular “science” to screening guests, but there are questions you should be covering. We would also like to share some advice about what to do if you are not confident about accepting someone as a guest.

You should always take a damage and security deposit from your potential guests to protect you from any damage (intentional or accidental) or theft that may occur. You should also make every guest sign a rental contract whereby you establish your house rules. It is very important that your guests know that breaking these rules could result in the withholding of their security deposit at the end of their holiday. You can adapt our Holiday Letting Sample Rental Contract  for your holiday rental.

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Travellers who send a request to stay in your holiday rental expect to receive a quick reply. Your request will be more likely to turn into a booking if you respond as soon as possible, and always respond within 24 hours. Communicate with your travellers through your dashboard so you can answer any questions they may have.

Questions you may wish to ask include:

    What is the purpose of your trip?
    How many adults and children will be staying?
    Have you stayed in a holiday rental before?

It is all right to tell them about any rules you may have (for example whether or not you allow pets or smoking) at this stage. If you spot anything that looks like a warning sign then it’s a good idea to follow it up at this stage. It is acceptable to refuse to take a booking if you believe the holidaymaker or their party may have an anterior motive, or won’t respect your rules.

Chances are you are unlikely to encounter anything suspicious but will learn a lot about them and what they want from their holiday experience, which will help you look after them once they arrive.
The vast majority of holidaymakers that want to book your home and will treat it with the utmost respect. Remember that the traveller is also placing a lot of trust in you by booking a stay in a holiday home they haven’t seen before. When you speak to them they will also be making decisions about whether or not they can trust you.

We recommend you don’t ask for any information that seems too personal or intrusive. The following details are all right to take down:

    # of adults / # of children
    Pets / no pets
    Check-in Dates
    Checkout Dates

Please also read our information on Booking Enquiry Scams

If you do get a booking enquiry that you think might be a Booking Enquiry Scam stop all communication with the enquirer and forward the suspicious email to our Customer Support team, who will take it from there.


September 2011