Whether you're setting up a new Airbnb property or making an improvement to an existing one, it's important to create or review your Airbnb house rules to ensure guest compliance. Most guests want to be courteous but must be informed clearly of what is allowed and what is not allowed. As a property owner, you have the responsibility to provide this information as well as explain what consequences will occur if house rules are broken. Here are some tips on how to put together and communicate your house rules.
1. Multiple Exposures
Guests cannot follow Airbnb house rules if they are not aware of them. Be sure that house rules are clearly found on your listing page so that potential guests can review them before booking. Once a booking is confirmed, be sure to send a copy of house rules with confirmation e-mails and other follow-up information. And, finally, be sure the house rules are easily found at your rental property itself. Including the house rules as one of the first pages of a guest welcome book is a smart idea.
2. Rules That Narrow Bookings
Be sure that non-negotiable house rules are highlighted on your listing page or clearly noted in the narrowing filters so that particular guests desiring something specific can rule out your vacation rental property if it's not a good fit. For instance, guests that want to travel with their pets or smoke on vacation should be able to filter out rentals that do not allow pets or smoking on their properties.
Some guests are looking specifically for places to hold a party or an event. If your rental cannot accommodate that, be sure to state that clearly up front. The last thing you want to do is to have potential guests sold on the beauty, location and amenities of your property and then discover upon booking that they cannot use the rental for what they need it for.
3. Consider Your Guest Profile
Most Airbnb properties are a good fit for a particular type of renter. Obviously, smaller properties that can only sleep one or two individuals will be of interest to business travelers or couples taking a romantic getaway. In this case, it's probably unnecessary to discuss rules pertaining to large parties and multiple children.
On the other hand, if your property offers amenities like swimming pools or boating equipment, you'll want to clearly state the rules for use, any limits on hours, care and storage instructions and any extra charges. Larger properties that are appealing to the young adult crowd and perfect for parties must have specific house rules regarding whether parties are allowed, how many extra guests can attend, noise limitations, additional event charges, and consequences for damages.
The end goal of house rules is to be sure they are tailored to the aspects of your property as well as your particular guest profile.
4. Communications Style
There's no prohibition to keep you from inserting a whimsical or fun style when writing your house rules. However, you want to be sure that the rules are simple, easy to skim through, and clear. Be explicit about what you expect and clear about consequences for disobeying rules.
In addition, you'll want to include contact information for the property owner or manager in case there are questions, disputes or emergency situations that arise.
5. Property Usage Rules
If you are renting out a room, portion of your home or a property that you currently live in, you will want to be clear about what guests are allowed to use and what they are not allowed to use.
For example, if guests are allowed to cook meals in the kitchen, clear state whether they can use condiments and seasonings or whether they can only use the space to store and prepare what they purchase or bring. Consider whether guests are allowed to use the washer and dryer and whether there are limits to the number of loads that can be run.
If you are living in the home, are there particular rooms or storage areas that are off-limits so you can keep your personal belongings safe? Be sure to explain whether guests can use recreational items such as boats, canoes, bikes, sleds or other things they may find outside or in a garage. If you offer to share such items, clearly state if there is an extra charge.
6. Share Neighborhood or Community Rules
In some cases, neighborhood associations or even city ordinances may require additional rules that your guests must follow. If you are in a housing community or renting out a condominium, state whether the guests are allowed to use community pools, parks or clubhouses. Communicate any rules relating to water usage, noise, or quiet hours. Does a home association require additional charges for guests that may require extra trash pick-up or other services?
7. Basic Neatness Rules
Be sure to outline your preferences regarding little details like whether you prefer that guests take off their shoes or if food is allowed in the living areas or bedrooms. Explain how to manage garbage and recycling.
8. Limits and Requirements
There may be things that you allow on your vacation rental property within a certain limit. Be sure to communicate those limits, boundaries and requirements clearly.
For instance, be sure to explain the parking situation and whether guests can bring their vehicles and how many cars are allowed. If you are in a large metro area, explain where and when parking is allowed and whether guests will family vans may have trouble navigating narrow roads or tight street parking.
Even if your property does not allow parties, be sure to state your house rules about visitors in general. Explain whether any extra people can visit, how many, during what hours, and if there are approval requirements.
If you allow smoking on your property, be sure to clearly state where it is allowed. Perhaps you have a designated smoking area or prefer smoking happen a certain distance from the home or only within the backyard. Whatever the rule, clearly communicate it.
Specifics on pets should also be outlined. Explain which pets are allowed and where they can go in the home. Some owners have restrictions on particular breeds or sizes of dogs or require photos and prior approval. In addition, you can charge additional fees for pets.
10. Amenity Rules
If your property offers particular amenities, be sure to explain rules, hour restrictions, and usage requirements. You may also want to leave detailed instructions on how to operate things like barbecues and hot tubs as well as how you expect them to be cleaned and cared for. Safety rules concerning swimming pools, lakes, hot tubs or balconies should be outlined as well.
Finally, clearly outline any fines or consequences for broken rules. This may include paying for damages or losing deposits for house rule violations.
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