Updated: Nov 7, 2019
Guest screening is the most important job of a host! Guest screening is one barrier to prevent an incident. To learn about other barriers, see
To start, you should always have your settings on instant book. In your instant book requirements, you should always all 3: 1) Guest has positive Reviews, 2) Is verified, and 3) Has a profile picture. So, you will only need to screen guests that does not meet one of these criteria.
To understand how to screen guests, you must know the guests who carry the most risk are. These are the risk-factors for each type of guest:
1) Bad Reviews - If the guest has bad reviews that is a red-flag. Take every review with a grain of salt, some hosts are way too picky.
2) Non-Verified Guests - People who are looking to cause trouble don't use their real name. If you ask your guest to get verified 9/10 times they will.
3) 3rd-party bookings** (when booking for someone else) are considered non-verified because the people that are staying have not had verification. However, I do NOT consider it a 3rd party booking when it is a corporate booking for business OR husband/wife OR parent/child booking.
4) Locals - Local guests look to throw parties unless they have a reason such as maintenance in their home, marriage issues, etc.
5) Last minute bookings - The average bad guest does not plan a trip. Almost all bad guests will be last minute.
6) No Reviews on Airbnb - If they do not have reviews that could mean they created a new profile to throw a party. I could also mean they just haven't used Airbnb.
7) Young Guests - Not all young guests are bad, but all bad guests are under 35. 95% of this group will be great guests, this is just something to keep in mind. In 800+ trips, I have never had an issue with a guest who is over 40. You will not know the persons age but if they say in a message saying if they are married or they say they have kids you know they will be mature.
8) Bad Communication - Bad communication includes when a guest is slow to respond, short responses, does not answer questions, or has a questionable reason for booking.
9) One Night Stays - Shorter stays are always more risky. I only allow one-night stays if my calendar has a gap. Otherwise, I do not take the risk.
Here is a simple scoring guide to understand the risk of your booking. Starting at zero, you add points depending on the risk factor.
Bad Reviews - Add 2
Non-Verified Guests/3rd Party** - Add 2
Locals - Add 1
Last Minute - Add 1
No Reviews - Add 1
Young - Add 1
Bad Communication - Add 1
One Night Stay - Add 1
Old/Family - Minus 1
Good Reviews - Minus 0.5 for each good review
Score <0 - Extremely Low
Score 1 - Very Low Risk
Score 2 - Low Risk
Score 3 - Medium Risk
Score 4 - High Risk
Score 5+ - Extremely High Risk
Generally I will accept a reservation based on the owner's risk tolerance. For
my properties, the highest score I would be willing to accept is 2. I manage properties that wont allow a score larger than 0. It is all about your risk tolerance!