Guests book vacation rentals because they need a place to relax and unwind. As a host, you’re acutely aware of what guests look for in an Airbnb and have probably invested a lot of time and money into crafting the perfect bedroom retreat.
With all this investment comes the inevitable risk of something bad happening, ruining your hard work! What’s a host to do? There are several ways you can protect yourself against damage to your biggest investment in your rental’s bedroom: the mattress.
How can you protect your Airbnb mattresses from damage?
- Use mattress covers and protectors
- Choose a solid frame
- Clear house rules
- Security deposit if necessary
- Vacation rental insurance!
Not covered by vacation rental insurance? Don’t wait! Check out Proper Insurance ASAP!
Mattress Protectors: My Top Recommendation
My best tip for protecting your mattress is… to use a mattress protector! Who would have thought? All jokes aside, these great products have extended the longevity of the mattresses in my Airbnb and saved them from countless spills, stains, and more.
I recommend choosing one that keeps out bed bugs. I’ve found that a lot of them will advertise that they do, but in reality they don’t. This is because most of them aren’t full encasements, just a glorified fitted sheet. For the best protection, choose one that fully surrounds the mattress on all sides and zips securely shut. The weave of the fabric should also be tight enough to keep out these nasty critters, and should have some sort of coating to keep it somewhat water resistant.
I don’t really recommend getting a fully waterproof one, as these tend to be either rubber or plastic and are uncomfortable and awkward for guests.
Bed Frames, Box Springs, and More
From a wear and tear standpoint, a mattress on the floor or a cheap frame is a nightmare. Cheap frames break, especially with multiple people sharing a bed as they are likely to in a vacation rental. A box spring can help extend the life of your mattress, but only given the proper support!
I like simple and elegant looking metal or hardwood frames. I’ve found several online, and I always make sure they have strong slats or another high quality support system in place to hold a lot of weight and repeated heavy use.
A Strong House Rules Manual
There is no way to 100% guarantee that a guest won’t damage any of your property, but you can at least lay the groundwork so that they know what you expect of them while they stay at your vacation rental. The best way to do this is to have a comprehensive house rules manual that guests can familiarize themselves with from the moment they check in.
In addition to your normal rules, consider adding a few specific to furniture damage in there as well. How many people does each bed sleep? Do you allow pets on the furniture? Food and drink in the bedrooms?
Keeping guests accountable and preventing them from brining in extra guests (or unwelcome pets) is a great way to prevent all sorts of accidents from happening on the mattress. Large house parties lead to spills, and extra people sleeping over leads to more wear and tear on your mattress and bed frames.
Pets can be a big issue, especially if guests plan on having them sleep in the beds. I wouldn’t recommend allowing this if you do allow pets. Instead, try to screen your guests as carefully as possible and select those who understand the benefits of having a well-trained companion and who are willing to comply with the boundaries of your Airbnb.
One of the biggest no-no’s for me is allowing food and drink into the bedroom. I state it in my house rules manual and reiterate it at check in. Most people don’t have an issue with complying and understand the reasoning. If you anticipate problems (or if you’ve already had them) check out the next section on why you should have a security deposit!
Rental Recon Tip: Worried about asking guests to open a binder full of rules as soon as they check in? Try incorporating some of your most important points into your check in and check out instructions. It will save on time and improve compliance, guaranteed!
Security Deposits: What, When, and Why
Security deposits are great, in my opinion, and are becoming more and more prevalent on Airbnb and other short term rental websites. People expect to pay them for an apartment, and everyone knows hotels won’t waste any time charging you for any extra damage, so why shouldn’t your vacation rental have one too?
A security deposit is a mini insurance policy against excessive damage. In my experience, they also act as a deterrent against careless behavior. Guests will assume that if you’re going to go to the trouble of implementing a deposit, you’ll certainly go to the trouble of collecting on one if necessary.
Airbnb makes implementing a deposit very easy. You just head over to your listing and edit the Extra Charges section. You can enter pretty much any amount you please, but it’s best to be reasonable so you don’t turn off too many potential guests.
Airbnb securely “holds” the funds for you (they don’t actually collect them up front, just place a hold on the payment method), and if you don’t end up claiming anything either 14 days after the booking or before the next booking the hold is released.
If you do want to collect, you’ll need to file a claim and be able to back it up with photo or video evidence, and ideally receipts or some other proof of cost. Airbnb will then try to collect from the guest, and is able to forcibly collect payment if they refuse and are found to be responsible for the damage.
Airbnb’s Host Guarantee can come into play here. If the damage is more than the security deposit covers, Airbnb can collect additional payment from the responsible guest to reimburse you. Contrary to what the name suggests, this isn’t a true “guarantee” and Airbnb isn’t very transparent on how these conflicts are resolved. THIS is why you need vacation rental insurance!
Check Out Our Other Articles on Rental Recon:
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- The AirDNA Affiliate Program : How Much Can You Earn?
- The 9 Best Folding Guest Beds with a Steel Frame : Affordable and Functional!
- How Far in Advance Does Airbnb Let You Book? (Timing is Key!)
- Wheelhouse Promo Code : 75% OFF Your First Month
- How Much Does Airbnb Photography Cost? Find Out If It’s Worth It!
Vacation Rental Insurance… Why YOU Need It
Short term rental insurance is not a maybe, but a must have! You can try to chase guests around and collect money from them, you can hope that a booking company sticks by its hosts enough to ensure you get paid what you’re owed. None of these are guaranteed, but your insurance is!
Vacation rental insurance is specifically for, you guessed it, vacation rental owners! It’s not the same as homeowners insurance, and covers you like the commercial entity that you are when you operate an Airbnb. These policies are designed to shield you from liability, recoup your losses in case of damage or other issues in your rental, and protect both you and your guests from all the unknowables out there.
Proper Insurance is my provider of choice. It was founded with the mission of serving the short term rental community in the most specialized way possible. In fact, Proper only offers vacation rental insurance! I think this is great, and it means you’ll get a company that knows the market and knows what they’re doing from the get-go.