It’s great to get inquiries about your exchange or short-term rental listing! It would be even better if every inquiry came from someone who was perfect for your home. Sadly, that’s not the case. To find the best guests, you need to screen inquiries carefully. Effective screening requires attention and patience, along with a healthy dose of intuition.
First, decide how to respond to the inquiry
When an inquiry lands in your inbox, screen it quickly to decide how (and whether) to respond. It might be obvious that your home is too big or too small, in the wrong location, or otherwise not right for the prospective guests. Look at the way the inquiry was written — pay attention to possible red flags (sloppy, poor grammar, request to send money immediately) that might indicate a less-than-responsible person or even a scam. If it’s clear the home isn’t a good fit or you feel very uncomfortable with the inquiry itself, send a polite “Sorry, no.”
Next, continue the screening process
If the inquiry seems to be from someone who would be right guest for your home, respond with a polite, friendly email. Answer any questions the guest may have, and ask any that you have for the guest. Remain alert and thoughtful during the back-and-forth communications, using email and, if possible, talking with the potential guest on the phone or via Skype. Do research to confirm what the guest says about him or herself (and, for a home exchange, about their home).
Finally, decide whether to move forward
Your communications with the potential guests might indicate that this isn’t the right fit. If so, explain why and thank them politely. But if everything seems right, congratulations! You’re ready to confirm the details in a short-term rental or home exchange agreement agreement.
There are some differences between screening home exchange partners and short-term rental guests. Here are links to more detailed discussions: