Dear Airby: Thoughts on Direct Guests?

This edition of Dear Airby is based on Complete Compliance, one of the 10 Steps found in
Master of Vacation Rentals.


“Dear Airby,

I am a new host but already have had a second former guest reach out to me about a repeat visit. This guest reached out via text and suggested the option of going ‘direct’ with me. I said that I would rather use the platform as I don’t have contracts in place etc. and although I trust them, I thought we should have a contract to protect each party. They completely understood and booked through Airbnb. Of course we could have saved $ on both end if we went ‘direct’.

Do you advise having contacts, etc. in place for these cases? Thanks in advance for the advice. “

– Roger from Chicago.

Dear Roger,

Your response was perfect and to tell the truth, I don’t feel it’s worth ‘saving’ the 3% on the host’s side and the fees on the guest’s side to have a completely different system for these occasions. Besides developing and then ratifying these contracts, you will be without a major service that Airbnb provides as neutral third party arbiter. Let’s say some controversy arises at your property (on either side); isn’t it great to have a 1-800 to call and have the white glove service and expertise of the professionals at Airbnb to help resolve any issues that come up? Certainly, 3% is not a high cost for that peace of mind.

I say that Airbnb brought you that guest in the first place, let them have the repeat business just as you are going to enjoy the repeat business – I don’t see the point in excluding them from the mix for these cases.

What if the party that is suggesting this workaround, actually stayed at your place the first time to gain your trust and now has a dubious mission to possibly refuse to leave…. Are you equipped to deal with the legal battle to remove this guest? Wouldn’t you rather have the full weight and backing of a huge and experienced (and deep pocketed) company like Airbnb on your side than going it alone?

Do what you do best. Host. Don’t try chisel the professional agency that make all of this possible. Of course, if this guest becomes a friend and stays a third time, them maybe you do treat them more like a friend and pull out some type of contract but it’s just easier for both of you to keep the protections that Airbnb has in place and can negotiate on each of your behalves.


Dear Airby: Thoughts on Direct Guests?

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