"The short-term rental industry needs to model banks, long-term rental companies and Global Entry to create a way for guests to be meaningfully pre-vetted, to wear an 'approved' badge, if you will."
Quote from Carl Shepherd, who co-founded and served as chief strategic officer of HomeAway, in an article on PhocusWire this week on vetting short-term rental guests.
Each Friday, PhocusWire dissects and debates an industry trend or new development covered by PhocusWire that week.
The point Shepherd is making – that the short-term rental industry must do a better job of vetting travelers – is indisputably true.
And, as he explains, the onus must be placed somewhere, be that on the OTA, the owner, the city or the guests themselves.
While there is no obvious cut-and-dried solution – that would be too easy, and this is travel, after all – it’s worth reconsidering what holding the guest responsible might mean for the traveler experience.
If we were having this conversation pre-2020, things may look different, but as it stands now, asking more of travelers before their trip isn’t going to win much favor.
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Yes, modeling banks, long-term rental companies and Global Entry could indeed create a way to meaningfully pre-vet guests, but many if not most travelers won’t want to go through that process – even if it ultimately benefits them in the long run.
Due largely to the massive failures of governments and institutions, the messaging – or lack thereof - around COVID protocols and entry requirements has left much of the traveling population flummoxed for more than two years at this point. There’s even still a debate raging around masks on airplanes.
It’s been a confusing – and frustrating – time for everyone. To add an additional step or steps just to rent a vacation home may send potential guests straight to the easier option: a hotel.
Most travelers are well-meaning and frankly don’t need a badge of approval. And there’s nothing that can be done from a guest perspective to stop bad actors – even pre-vetted ones – from ultimately acting badly.
Which brings it all back to the question of who, then, is responsible? The industry will need to figure it out - without making guests bear the burden.
PhocusWire's editorials examine a trend or development highlighted in an article during the week.