The team at Operto Guest Technologies is pleased to announce that it will be partnering with Autohost, a cybersecurity company that performs Airbnb background checks and ID verification to protect property managers from fraud and unwanted guests. To launch the partnership, the two companies have created a list of the 5 security practices every property manager should implement as a best practice.
1. Research & Education
Knowing what to look for during a booking request is your first line of defense. Fraudsters and partiers come in all different shapes and sizes, and as technology gets smarter and more advanced, so do they. A single reservation can lead to major property damage and a ruined reputation.
To protect your business from the wrong types of guests, it’s important to educate yourself on current fraud trends in the short-term rental industry. Keep an eye on news updates and talk to other property managers in your area. Patterns often emerge, revealing the type of threats targeting properties in your area. It’s also a good idea to stay up-to-date on cybersecurity trends to ensure you’re aware of the latest phishing scams and fraud schemes.
Educating yourself on trends is a great first step to protecting your business, but you need to make sure your team is also up-to-date. Reinforce the importance of security with your team by running them through your business’s policies, house rules and security trends. Customer service employees are particularly vulnerable as they’ve been trained to prioritize guest satisfaction, making them extra susceptible to phishing scams, social engineering and other forms of fraud.
2. Guest Screening
No matter how knowledgeable your team is about security threats, bad guests will still book your properties. That’s why you need a guest-screening process that helps you assess the risk level of each guest before they make it to your properties.
An effective guest screening process should require each guest to provide a government-issued ID as well as a selfie to confirm their identity. Next, compare the ID to the name on the guest’s credit card, ensuring they match. Look out for red flags in the reservation details as well, such as a couple booking a three bedroom suite on a weekend just for themselves. While you shouldn’t jump to conclusions, you also want to avoid your property turning into the go-to party spot.
If you have any doubts about a guest, get in touch with them to ask about their reasons for travelling. Specifically, you want to know why they’re travelling, where they’re travelling from and how many guests they’re travelling with. Make sure these reasons align with your house rules.
While guest screening can save you a lot of trouble catching bad guests before they check in, it’s a lot of work to manually verify each guest. To save time and resources, invest in software like Autohost. Using its proprietary algorithm, Autohost analyzes hundreds of data points, performing Airbnb background checks and ID verification, spotting troublesome guests before it’s too late.
3. Smart Locks
Smart locks are the perfect security tool for companies with a sprawling portfolio of properties or any property manager that wants to ensure that their properties are looked after and their guests have maximum convenience. The locks are installed on the door and opened using a code you send to the guest. They remove the need for keys, meaning you no longer have to worry about lost keys or having to change the lock on your suite.
If you connect Operto’s software directly to your PMS, unique access codes are automatically issued for each guest (and staff member!) so guests only have access during their reservations, and you can track who is coming and going. Smart lock data can also be combined with noise monitoring and CO2 analysis to prevent violations and over occupancy. All while guest privacy is maintained.
Since smart locks are connected devices, you can control them remotely. Withdraw access codes at a moment’s notice to stop unwanted guests gaining access. This is also a huge selling point to owners who are worried about the security of their property.
4. Automated Messaging
When it comes to the security of your properties, it’s always better to be proactive rather than reactive. That’s why automated messaging is so important. It gives you the opportunity to outline your rules and expectations to the guest right from the beginning.
Set up automated messaging within your property management software (PMS), and schedule a message outlining your house rules to be sent to the guest once their booking is confirmed. The message should clearly explain to the guest what is and isn’t allowed in your property, whether it’s smoking, parties or pets. You should also include the consequences associated with breaking these rules. This could be anything from the loss of a security deposit to eviction. Show the guest that you take your property’s security seriously.
Consider sending another automated message when the guest checks in, welcoming them to the property and including your contact information in case anything goes wrong (remember: even though you want to protect your property, your guest’s safety also needs to be a top priority). And you can send another message upon checkout, thanking them for the stay and asking for any feedback.
5. Noise & Occupancy Monitoring
Some guests look perfect on paper. Their ID checks out, they answer all your questions, they even pay up front. But then, next thing you know, you’re getting a 2 a.m. phone call from your neighbour complaining about loud music and a large gathering. To avoid this, you need to monitor stays for inappropriate behaviour, like loud noise, and violations, like unregistered guests.
Monitoring your guests requires a certain amount of tact to avoid invading their privacy. To do this, use a device that monitors noise levels without a microphone or the ability to listen in. That way, if there’s a spike in noise, you know something is going on.
But how do you know if it’s a party or just the TV turned up loud? Operto is the only solution in the world offering real-time occupancy. We do this via CO2 monitoring. All humans breathe out CO2, which means the CO2 concentration in any space rises when someone is there and alls when they leave. The higher the CO2, the more people inside your unit!
With Operto, you get instant alerts when your unit exceeds capacity. Combined with noise levels this gives you complete peace-of-mind that your properties are protected 24/7.
To handle all of your security needs, try Autohost and Operto. Autohost screens your guests, catching fraudsters before they book, and Operto provides smart guest entry, automated messaging, and monitoring of noise and occupancy to keep your properties safe.
With the right security practices in place, you can safeguard your business and owners, while providing the best experience for guests.