If you’re a host reading this article, you’re probably not the first person to wonder: is Airbnb is safe? Many scammers continue to identify new methods to target individuals and it’s possible for other things to go wrong such as guest damage or worse when hosting. The good news is that there are many steps you can to make hosting a safer activity. Read our survival guide to find out more.
How safe is Airbnb?
Airbnb is widely considered as a safe platform with a trusted community of guests and hosts but there potential risks you need to know about if you’re hosting on the platform.
Scammers target platforms like Airbnb with ever-changing fraudulent methods. If you’re letting guests into your home, there are also other considerations such as physical safety and property damage that you may want to think about too.
However, with some simple precautions, Airbnb should generally be considered as a safe activity for many hosts.
Protecting yourself against scammers
Since the start of the pandemic, there has been a rise in online scams and fraudulent activity. Although travel scams in comparison to many other types of fraudulent activity are rare, they do still happen.
If you’d like to find out more about some basic steps you can take to prevent unauthorised access to your account, check out our top security tips in our Airbnb login guide.
However, some of the scams that hosts may encounter can sometimes go beyond trying to hack into your account. Here are a few examples of some potential Airbnb guest scams we found online.
Key copying scam
This involves the guest copying the keys to the host’s property. The guest may then attempt gain access to the building at a later date without having to break in.
Secure key handovers (e.g. in person) are generally considered to be a safe way of checking guests in to your property. But if you’re concerned that someone could copy your keys without you knowing, consider a secure keyless alternative such as smart locks instead.
‘Phishing’ usually involves a fraudulent message created with the intention of duping an unsuspecting victim into revealing sensitive information. If you receive a suspicious message or a guest asks you questions that make it seem like they are phishing for information (e.g. extensive information about your property without booking), be careful what you reveal and contact Airbnb if you’re unsure.
Communicating outside of Airbnb
Be wary of guests that try to extend their stay but want to settle the additional payment outside of Airbnb. Not only is this outside of Airbnb’s terms of service, but if you’ve already confirmed the extension and the guest doesn’t pay you, you’ll receive no money from Airbnb. And if something goes wrong at your property, your insurance may not cover you either.
How safe is Airbnb for COVID?
As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, Airbnb took the responsible steps of introducing mandatory requirements for Airbnb stays.
Guests and hosts that repeatedly violate the guidelines outlined in their 5 step process may face consequences such as account suspension or removal from the community. Provided you follow these steps as a host, you should be providing a clean environment for guests (although do check out our extensive guide on cleaning for Airbnb).
If you’re nervous about catching Covid as a host, you may also want to ventilate the property and wear a mask whenever you are in an enclosed space.
Potential pitfalls of Airbnb hosting
Beyond Covid-19 and avoiding potential scammers, hosting itself comes with its own potential pitfalls. Whilst hosting could generally be considered to be a safe activity, things can still happen to even the most diligent of hosts. Below, we’ve covered some of main pitfalls of hosting to be aware of.
Not everyone will be a responsible guest
If a guest damages your property or gets injured, you get some degree of cover through Airbnb. However, many hosts are not aware that this does not give you full protection and most standard insurance doesn’t provide this either.
At Pikl, we provide specialist Airbnb insurance built especially for hosts. Click on the link below to get a quote.
Bookings aren’t guaranteed
This may be less of an issue if your property is situated in a popular area. But where you find bookings are quiet, this could be down to a variety of factors. To make your listing more of a safer bet for hosting, consider adjusting your Airbnb pricing strategy or setting a different Airbnb cancellation policy if you’re worried about protecting your income.
You cannot please everyone
Unhappy guests may leave bad reviews and it’s impossible to please every guest. However, there are actions you can take to get more positive reviews including following these tips on how to become an Airbnb superhost.
Beware of hidden costs
It’s easy as a host to just look at potential revenue but ignore other costs that may mount up if you’re not careful. To help with this, write down all of your potential costs. Once you’ve calculated your annual revenue by looking at your nightly rate and expected occupancy, you should get a truer picture of how much money you actually make. Check out our Airbnb fee calculator guide for more information on this topic.
Top Airbnb property safety tips
Keeping your property safe is about reducing risk. Luckily, doing this when hosting is fairly straightforward. Below our some of our top tips for keeping your property safe.
- Reach out to your guest to find out more about them and allay any potential concerns.
- Set clear house rules so guests know what are expected of them.
- Carry out regular checks at your property.
- Handover keys in person or use a secure keyless alternative such as smart locks.
- Consider specialist insurance, such as the cover provided by Pikl. As we outlined above, you’re probably not fully protected if you just rely on Aircover or standard insurance.
For more information on this topic, consider taking our risk score quiz below.
Take our risk score quiz
Renting out your property to short term guests comes with its own potential challenges. No matter how careful you are as a host, incidents can still happen. That is why we created this handy risk prevention tool.
Prevent and protect against things from occurring, so you can focus on being a great host.
What is a risk score?
The risk score we give you is an indication of how much you may be exposing yourself to potential incidents where you could incur serious out of pocket expenses, suffer legal hassle or worse. Based on your answers, we will give you an indication as to how much ‘at risk’ you may potentially be. You can then work out whether there is anything you can do to share with more confidence.
How does the quiz work?
Simply fill out a few basic questions and we will give you a score, although this is intended to be just a tool to help you understand how to share more safely. A guide underneath the quiz will tell you what your score could mean.
What does my score mean?
The higher your score, the higher your potential risk. The below guide outlines what is considered high to low risk:
60-100% = Potentially high risk
50-59% = Moderate risk
30-39% = Improvement needed
0-29% = Low risk
The score that we give you will be based on the answers to gave us. The higher your score, the more actions you may need to take to reduce your overall potential risk
What do I do once I have been given my risk score?
We’ll send you an email with our top tips so that you can be more confident about sharing safely. Protecting your property can be done with just a few simple steps.
Main Airbnb safety takeaways
Staying safe whilst hosting on Airbnb is quite an extensive topic and it’s likely there a several potential issues we’ve not covered here. However, when it comes to keeping your assets and your account secure, staying safe can be distilled down to a few principles:
- Take steps to ensure access to your account isn’t easily compromised.
- Communicate with your guests and be wary of giving out unnecessary information that could expose you to scams.
- Keep payments and guest communications within the Airbnb platform to stay protected by Airbnb’s terms of service.
- Take steps to reduce risk such as secure key handovers.
- Consider taking out specialist insurance.
Click here to find out more about the Airbnb insurance we can provide for hosts.