How to avoid problematic guests in your vacation rental?

No one is immune from negative experiences with guests, but there are some easy ways to avoid them.

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Offering your property as a vacation rental has many advantages, but sometimes a negative experience can cloud the positive aspects of this business model. Problematic guests are the main reason many vacation rental owners have negative experiences.

However, to protect yourself from these problem guests, here are some tips and preventive measures you can implement to avoid attracting these types of travelers and focus only on potential guests who will bring profit to your vacation rental.

Attracting the right travelers to vacation rentals

To start, it is important to target your vacation rental business toward the right group. This can help you weed out prospective guests who are not a good fit for your type of rental, such as large groups, travelers with pets, or tourists. Learn more about the types of guests you can attract.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean that, as a host, you won’t encounter unsavory guests from time to time. Many of the problems with these types of guests are often due to misunderstandings or discrepancies with the quality of service you offer, which can result in negative comments on your listings on rental platforms.

For this reason, you should always advertise your vacation rental honestly so that guests have realistic expectations of their stay. Another effective and often successful solution is to prepare an welcome guide, such as a Guest Guide, in which you note down basic rules and all relevant information for perfect use of your facilities.

How to avoid problematic guests in your vacation rental? ᐅ Guide

How to identify a problematic guest

There are a few details that can help you tell if your potential guest is in danger of becoming a problem. Performing these checks can clear up some concerns.

Unreliable contact details

Although nowadays the vacation rental platforms themselves have filters to avoid unpleasant guests, the truth is that as a landlord you need to be aware of possible scams.

If the e-mail address seems strange to you, check the rest of the contact details: does the person’s name not match the e-mail address? Can’t you find information about this person on social networks or the Internet? In any case, if your instincts tell you that this might be a person you cannot trust, the quickest solution is not to accept the guest’s reservation.

Phone call

To verify that the details of the reservation are correct, you may choose to call your guest to double check. Take the opportunity to ask what their travel plans are, the area they will be visiting, etc. Try to sound natural and non-aggressive, as this can be counterproductive.

Check ID

The ID provided at the time of booking can be a great help in verifying the legitimacy of the guest. Check that the name on the document matches the name on the attached credit card. If you suspect that the ID may be fake, do not hesitate to cancel the reservation and report it to local authorities.

Analyze the characteristics of the reservation

If you don’t want to host guests who might abuse your vacation rental, analyzing the details of the reservation can help you discover the guests’ intentions during their stay. For example, is a single person booking a three-bedroom accommodation? This can be suspicious and give you a clue about the guest’s plans, who may want to invite people who are not listed on the reservation.

If you want to avoid a future headache, always make it clear that if the main guest wants to bring other people to the property, they will have to consult you first.

Protect your rental business from problem guests with these tips

While you can never be sure that your guests will be perfect and pleasant, you can at least take steps and protect yourself from troublesome guests who might affect you.

Always sign a vacation rental agreement

A vacation rental agreement guarantees a level of commitment from your guests to abide by the conditions imposed. It also gives you, as the owner or manager, legal assurance that, in the event of an accident, the contract is conclusive evidence.


One of the main problems you as the host encounter are damage, and breakdown or breakage of elements of the property. A security deposit ensures that your expenses are covered in case a problematic guest causes damage to the property.

Take out special insurance for your rental home

Insurance is always a good decision since your vacation home receives many guests during the year. Liability insurance is the least you can take out, but if you want to go above and beyond and be prepared for any unforeseen events, it’s best to have a good comprehensive insurance policy that takes care of everything. To learn more, check out our special guide on insurance.

Send house rules in advance

As you may already know, you can write a Guest Guide outlining the main rules of your vacation home. From safety rules to usage tips, your guests will know what to expect before they arrive.

What happens if you have a negative experience with a guest?

In case of misunderstandings with one of your guests, vacation rental platforms like Airbnb or have devised protocols to assist owners who find themselves in one of these unpleasant situations.

Airbnb has a support hotline, in English and 11 other languages, that provides urgent assistance for crisis or emergency situations during active bookings. The use of this hotline is recommended in situations of physical danger, violation of privacy or for unauthorized parties.

With these types of protocols, both guests and hosts can feel safe in the event of an incident, a very important factor in providing the best possible vacation experience.

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