It's happened too many times over the past couple of years that we've been servicing our clients' homes and even our own properties. The guest(s) checking in turns out not to be the guest we communicated with prior to arrival OR not the guest we envisioned we were communicating with.
I'll share a recent brief example and maybe you can relate or maybe you will think twice before just leaving a key in a lockbox and emailed check-in instructions. (I don't say this to scare anyone, just to present what other people have experienced).
The story goes like this: A new client of ours from the Orange County area tells us the reason she decided to hire us was because this past March, in the midst of 'Easter vacation' (which FYI is also known as Spring Break) she got word from her cleaning crew as they crossed paths with the guests at time of check out. The crew was alarmed by the seemingly 'young appearance' of the guests and no adults on the property. Again, this was at the time of checkout, not check in.
It turns out the cleaning crew had reason to be concerned, the guests were in fact quite young, they were without adult chaperones or supervision. In fact, they were a group of seven twenty-year olds. And just as you'd expect they did use the property exactly as you'd expect - to throw a party. A very big party. Yowzers.
Luckily no one was injured, the property was left standing in one piece and the security deposit was returned in full (save for additional cleaning time and measures). But imagine for a second if in the midst of unsupervised, underage drinking an accident on the property occurred. Where do you think liability would fall? Tough to say without knowing more facts, for sure, but you can bet the cost of even having to defend oneself, or property, (or accepting liability in settlement) would be extremely costly.
Had the property owner been on the property at the time of check in and key exchange, or had someone in her place to handle, clearly different results would have ensued. At the end of the day, this is most likely your most valuable asset (your home) and certainly a very important source of revenue (vacation rental business). Observing only the most prudent business practices, like visually confirming your guests are who they say they are and who you expect them to be, while ensuring your property is in compliance with safety and permit requirements is a must for each and every rental. (SELF PROMOTION ALERT: Air Concierge performs this task regardless of which of our bundled package offerings you select).
Enjoy the rental season and happy traveling if you're doing what your guests are doing -- going on vacation.
UPDATE: at the time of this posting, a recent credit card fraud alert occurred in Northern California when 2 19-year olds booked a vacation rental property for $12,000 and a McLaren sports car. Read the article here: Teens take joy ride and vacation house ride on stolen credit).