Safety first: How rental hosts can go the extra mile for their guests

A beautiful setting is a good offense in your rental property marketing, but strong safety features are a good defense for your business and your guests.

The recent avalanche tragedy that killed several guests at an Italian hotel and injured many more is an unfortunate reminder about the importance of safety for rental hosts. While it is virtually impossible to guard against such rare natural disasters, there are plenty of practical steps you can take to protect your guests.

The following is a look at several of the most critical safety measures rental hosts can take to optimize their guest experience.

Why Safest-First is the Right Approach

To understand the importance of safety to vacation rental hosts and their guests, compare them to referees in a sporting event. The best refs typically go unnoticed, because they make the appropriate calls, do their jobs and keep the focus on players. In much the same way, great safety features at a rental property go unnoticed… until there’s a problem.

People searching for a place to stay on vacation often look for bells and whistles, such as large lodging spaces, comfortable rooms, luxurious furniture and decor, great amenities and excellent customer service. It is rare that “safety” or specific relevant features are among the first filters entered into a property search.

However, property renters need to prioritize safety above all else. Sure, it may not do much to attract attention from your target market, but one horrible story about a negative safety incident at your property can damage your business forever. In essence, emphasis on safety sets a strong foundation to then build out features and services that provide the quality experience your guests want.

The Safety Basics

Several safety features are virtual must-haves for rental hosts looking to sustain a property business. These are certainly tools that won’t play well in your marketing, but you need them to maintain a safe environment.

Railings – This may seem obvious or–on the flip side, insignificant–but having railings on all staircases can help prevent potential risks to guests’ physical safety; especially if you’re catering to families. While staircases with no barriers might be a visually appealing feature, a serious fall (and resulting lawsuit) could become a big risk.

Smoke/Carbon Monoxide Detectors – As is the case with any home, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors should be among the first items on your rental property safety list. This point is especially true for a large property, where fires can start in small rooms or areas. This is most relevant in locales where cold winters result in heating systems running in closed homes. Your guests need to know they will get alerted to a life-threatening fire.

Carbon monoxide is known as a silent killer because it goes undetected until it causes major health problems or a fatality. Detectors are the only best detection for preventing poisonous gases from harming your guests.

Basic Security Systems – Just as many middle-class and upper-class homeowners have basic home security systems, your property should as well. A comfortable, enjoyable night’s rest only results when a guest feels safe from undetected intrusions.

A solid security system helps alert guests to thieves and others who might break into your building or a room with ill intent. A number of keyless entry systems are also now available at affordable prices to minimize access to rooms for uninvited “guests.”

Secure Wi-Fi – There has been plenty of news, including hacking conversations surrounding the U.S. presidential election, to draw attention to cyber-security threats. Your guests want access to the Internet to keep up with daily rituals and electronic communication requirements.

Unfortunately, a lot of guests are just happy to find out that rental hosts offer “free” Internet. However, “secure” Internet should be equally as important. The convenience gained by free access is offset when Wi-Fi is not secure, and opens the door for hacking. Use a secure setup and require that guests access your service with a password. Change it often or use one-time use codes.

How to Go the Extra Mile

The aforementioned safety and security items are just the starting point to giving your guests what they deserve. Elite rental hosts go the extra mile by offering additional, or more advanced, safety features. The following are some examples of them:

Window/Door Sensors – Go above and beyond a basic security system with dedicated sensors attached to every window and door on your property. While this notion may sound expensive, you can find affordable sensor products on the market now that alert guests to attempted break-ins through either point.

Fibaro, for instance, has a high-quality door/window sensor priced at just $65. This price is much less than one typical night’s stay at a vacation property.

Advanced Electronic/Camera Security – Though there are affordable electronic and camera-based security systems, consider solutions with advanced technology for optimized safety. Video-feed door security has become popular among home owners, for instance. You could place these small devices, often connected to doorbell systems, on each lodge or room on your property.

In addition, to making your guests more comfortable, advanced tech security systems also alert would-be thieves into realizing you take a serious approach to safety. Given the option, criminals opt for the more risk-free opportunity.

Liability Insurance – Rental hosts can protect themselves, and their guests, by purchasing host liability insurance. The expansion and popularity of Airbnb has increased interest in this financial safety measure. Airbnb offers hosts its own Host Protection Insurance program.

Though liability insurance doesn’t do much to impede or deter criminals, it does help reduce the financial risk to travelers who take money (or monetary forms) and gear with them on trips. Coupled with powerful security systems, this insurance adds a layer of risk-reduction comfort.


People don’t add fancy fixtures and furnishings to a home without first making sure they have adequate locks and security systems in place. In the same way, rental hosts shouldn’t promote a comfortable, luxurious stay at a property without providing excellent safety solutions to protect guests.

It only takes one major news story about a break-in or criminal activity to causes guests to think twice about staying at your property. Invest in security, preserve a safe experience and maintain the positive image you want travelers to have about your vacation rental property.

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