Today's booking platforms (ie: Airbnb, Booking.com) make it super easy to find affordable, furnished accommodations in the best locations around the world. However, let's not forget a vital piece of information. No matter how amazing and innovative these booking platforms are, they depend on trust built over the internet, which as we all know, isn't always the most truthful or reliable place. Here's how to ensure your host is professional, truthful, and reliable...before it's too late.
Now look, whether you're the guest or the host, both sides involve risk and dishonesty. For guests, it's about finding truthful and professional hosts. They want to make sure what they see is what they get, they don't get scammed, and their payment information is secure. After all, anyone can be a host. For hosts, it's the idea of welcoming strangers into their own space. So, just remember, while we're focusing on the guest's point of view, there's risk on both sides.
The good news is that most of these platforms are very user friendly, with host profiles, reviews, property details, communication channels, and areas to include any 'need-to-know' information.
The not so good news is that this type of 'surface interaction' doesn't paint the entire picture. Luckily, we have some workarounds. Below are sections you should look for on both a host's profile and property pages to ensure maximum reliability and honesty:
The easiest way to check out a property's true appearance, reliability, and cleanliness is to look at the reviews! You wouldn't buy an expensive Amazon order when all of the reviews are 2.5 stars, right? Exactly.
You may see a few reviews who have minor complaints based on their expectations/personality/etc, but use your best interest to make an educated decision on what you believe.
That said, you should still avoid hosts without a solid reputation and strong references, which brings me to my next point...
Once you see the actual reviews on the property, go check out the reviews on the host themselves. Again, use your best judgement based on what you see. Now, let's look at the actual details on the property...
Detailed Property Information
Let's be totally honest with each other. Just like how some people are awful text-ers, some hosts might put less thought into their listing's description than others - even if they're 100% reliable with an amazing property. You can contact the host to ask more questions that will solidify them as a host, but be concerned if they're not willing to prove their own trustworthiness or clear up any ambiguities. Trust is a two-way street, and if your host isn't willing to meet you halfway...time to go.
Detailed Profile Information
Seeing a pattern? Looking at the property's information is only 50% of the picture. Making sure your host has a full, detailed profile, as well, is the other 50%. When clicking into their profile, you'll be able to see if they're a 'superhost', how many total reviews they have, their confirmed information, and their entire 'About' section.
A picture is worth a thousand words, right? Let the listing's pictures speak for themselves. You need clear, quality photos that allow you to see the property's full value. The more photos the merrier.
Hosts are allowed to charge whatever fees they need to within a booking site, but there's no reason for you to pay a host through any other platform. If you're asked for a deposit in cash, check, or PayPal before you pay through the booking platform, don't agree and keep moving.
Location Guidance & Guidebooks
Another amazing detail that will prove your host's passion and reliability would be if they provide any additional information such as guidebooks, area recommendations, or acclimation guides. Look through some of ours (linked below) to see how valuable these are when arriving to a new, unknown area.
TRUST YOUR GUT
Long story short, if everything else checks out and you still have a funny feeling about going through with it, don't! Trust your gut and call it a day. Whether it's a red flag that you only subconsciously recognize, or something you just can't put your finger on, look for another nearby option.
We have a duty as humans to use our time, energy, and resources to help each other, our community, and make the difficult things simple. We know how unexpected all of these changes are, but we're here to make sure you have a comfortable place to stay for as long as you need it.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Hey, guys! It's Maddy, the Content Creator at Compass. Find me here on LinkedIn and we'll connect!