How to Keep Your Personal Belongings Safe in Your Airbnb

Scrabble tiles spelling SAFE

If you’re one of those rare Airbnb hosts who call their property home or keep personal belongings on-site, you know that finding a middle ground between trusting your guests and wanting to keep your things safe is a delicate one.

While sharing your space can be a rewarding experience, if you don’t put a little thought into how to keep your possessions safe, you run the risk of someone damaging them — or worse, losing them altogether.

There are practical steps you can take to safeguard your personal items without compromising the warm and welcoming atmosphere that makes staying in a short-term vacation rental (instead of a hotel) so special. 

Assess the Risks

Before getting into what you can do to protect yourself, it’s important to consider the potential risks. As a host, you’re inviting temporary guests into your personal space — striking that right balance is crucial. That’s why it’s important to recognize your vulnerabilities and establish strategies to mitigate them to keep your hosting experience as positive as possible.

Being aware of the transient nature of short-term rental guests is the first step. While the majority of Airbnb users are trustworthy, you must acknowledge the occasional uncertainty that comes with welcoming strangers into your home. With this in mind, you can better prepare for potential challenges and take proactive steps to secure your personal belongings.

Establish Trustworthy Communication

Just like in friendship, dating, or marriage, open and honest communication sets the stage for a successful guest/host relationship. Clearly communicate with your guests about your personal belongings and set expectations for respecting your property. A transparent dialogue creates mutual trust and can go a long way toward encouraging a sense of responsibility among your guests.

Consider adding a note in your welcome packet that outlines the shared spaces and highlights the importance of respecting your personal items. This not only serves as a gentle reminder but also reinforces a positive and considerate dynamic.

Set Clear House Rules

Take the time to outline specific house rules related to your personal belongings, and incorporate them into a written agreement that guests must acknowledge before booking. This may seem extreme — and some people may not even like it — but it sets clear expectations. A written agreement may also come in handy in case any issues arise during a given stay.

Your house rules should include specific guidelines on how guests should treat shared spaces and handle personal items. Be explicit about any restricted areas and remember to communicate the consequences of not adhering to these rules. Respectful and responsible guests will be more than willing to follow the instructions that you set out.

Create a Designated Safe Space

While the phrase “safe space” is often overused these days, you need to create one in your STR to ensure that your things stay, well, safe. Identify specific areas within your property where personal items can be safely stored. 

For example, if you have a study or home office, designate it as an off-limits area for guests. Install locks on cabinets or closets that contain personal items to provide an added layer of protection. By clearly defining boundaries, you create a secure and organized environment that minimizes the risk of accidents.

Check-In Regularly

While it’s important to give your guests the privacy they deserve when your property is occupied, you should make it a habit to check in on your STR between bookings. It can be helpful to keep a day or so window between each one so you have plenty of time to look in on your property without stepping on guests’ toes.

Regular check-ins allow you to assess the condition of your property, determine whether your personal belongings are in good condition (and not missing), and generally make sure everything is running smoothly. Additionally, you can do these check-ins yourself, or rely on a friend or trusted service (like MaidThis!) to keep you in the loop. 

Learn From Guest Reviews

Reviews are a wonderful resource for improving your security measures — you want your guests to feel that their own personal belongings are safe in your property as well! Encourage them to share any concerns or suggestions they may have about personal belonging safety. This feedback loop can be super valuable.

After each guest’s stay, take the time to review their feedback. If any security-related concerns arise, address them promptly and consider implementing improvements based on the suggestions provided.

Finding the sweet spot between trust and security is possible. By following these guidelines, you can create a safe and comfortable environment for your guests while ensuring the protection of your personal belongings. 

This content originally appeared in our twice-monthly Guest Book Newsletter.

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