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Hello to all from the offices of GuestChecker.
We have received many new members from the VRBO forums and would personally like to thank each one of for your efforts in the new age of guest screening. We would like to open the floor for questions, comments or suggestions about the service. We will be addressing questions of legality, processes, and future advancements.
Thank you, in advance, for your posts......
Why do you report our comments to the renter? I don't like knowing that you are seeking them out and telling them what I've said. I'm affraid they will retaliate and leave a negative review, or worse!
Actually we don't.
As a general rule, the member (that's you) agrees to notify the guest that their information has been reported. We do not notify guests unless you tell us that you haven't made an attempt to notify them. If we arent aware of it, no action is taken on our part.
The important thing to remember is that the guest must be made aware that they are staying with someone who reports to GuestChecker. Just make sure your online policies include the statement "At any time before, during, or after your stay with us, your information may be shared with GuestChecker.com"
By staying with you, they are agreeing to your terms of service. As long as you are doing your part to let them know about the rules, it is their repsonsibility to follow them, or choose another place to stay. After all, a guest can't be expected to play by the rules, if they aren't aware of them.
Thanks for the questions Apex. Most of all thanks for your support!
"At any time before, during, or after your stay with us, your information may be shared with GuestChecker.com"
I'm afraid this would scare prospective renters away. How do they know what information is shared with Guest Checker and who else will have access to it? I'm sure most people won't investigate and will simply move on to the next listing.
I understand your concern. As an owner of vacation rental property myself, I had this same concern. Actually I found the opposite to be true. did you know that you can post Guest Compliments on the site as well? Let me tell you how I handle questions about that sentence.
When asked about that statement, I have a canned answer.
"GuestChecker is a database of rental guests. If you'd like, I can pass on your name to other vacation rental owners so they know what you like before you get there. If you don't want your bed turned down, I'll let them know about it. If you'd like a basket of apples left on the table, I can let them know about that too. But what i really like to do, is to let other businesses like mine know when i have a really great customer. You'll be surprised how often you can get discounts and free upgrades when a business knows you're a great customer."
People love being recognized for things like that. The more you think about it, the more that simple little sentence in your policies can be turned from a perceived negative into extra value for the client. Before they know it, they can't wait to get on the list.
Now for the other side of the coin.... When I run into a guest that doesn't like it, there's usually a reason. I've only had 3 guests in the past year that havent stayed with me because of that sentence. I later found out that one of them was already on the list for nonpayment, and another one of them was on the list a few months later for stealing towels.
As a vacation rental owner, I get to choose my renters. If someone doesnt want to stay at my cabin because of that sentence, that is exactly the type of person I want my competition to have to deal with.
Thanks for the information. I've taken a look at your site, but obviously I can't see what your database looks like since I'm not a member. I assume you have to make sure I'm a legitimate vacation rental home owner....or can just anyone join? I can't look at your FAQs because I don't have Java on this machine. If only rental managers (hotels, rental agencies, vacation home owners, etc) can become members, how do you verify?
Part of keeping the site within the legal allowable limits regarding personal information sharing, we have deemed it too risky to allow people to scroll through the list of names. It would leave our members far too liable. Rather, when you search for a particular guest, you will receive a detailed report if there is a record for that individual.
To answer the second part, membership is only allowed for those who truly provide short term accommodations. The general public can't join. I can't give away all our secrets regarding the verification process, but I can tell you it's a cross reference system that's very solid.
Just so you know, it is free to join.
How many members do you have and how many names are in your database of renters?
A few minutes ago I submitted the application for membership. I immediately received an email that I have been added as a registered member. I did not give information about my property, so how did GuestChecker verify that I am legitimate?
As of 3pm EST, there are 14,604 members and 26,290 guests logged into the system.
Regarding the verification process: If your website doesn't contain the required verbage "At any time before during or after your stay, your information may be shared with guest checker" within two weeks of signing up, our office will verify your status as an accommodations provider manually . If we are unable to do so (based on your geographical location and your computer's IP address) you will be contact directly.
I just tried to add "At any time before, during, or after your stay with us, your information may be shared with GuestChecker.com" to my VRBO website and VRBO rejected it, for the .com, I changed it to say "At any time before, during, or after your stay with us, your information may be shared with the GuestChecker website". Will this satisfy any legal requirements. I just had bad experience with a short term renter that’s why I googled renter black lists. Your site will allow me to sleep at night.
Well, that's a good question. I'll give two answers.
1) The corporate answer: We are an alliance of short term accomodation providers who are dedicated to sharing information about individual guests so that we may be better prepared for their arrival.
2) My personal answer: Vacation rental, hotel, and b&B owners who share "guest blacklists".
Anyone who has been in the rental business for any length of time knows that 95% of guests are happy, repsectful, goood clients who are willing to pay a fair price for a rental. Unfortunatley, there is a small percentage of people who are disruptive, rude, demand to be compensated for no reason, damage, steal, etc.
We all have our own "private" blacklist of renters who we won't rent to again. GuestChecker allows us to share these list with each other. The service is free.
There was a news story about GuestChecker on the evening news in Texas about a year ago that explains the process a little better. Click the link here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-hVTAqG9Aqk
All guest screening services do the same thing, more or less. I think the main difference that seperates our service from the others is, simply put, volume.
We currently have more than 80,000 active members in all 50 U.S. states and 28 countries worldwide. We expect to top 100,000 members by Mid March 2012. For liability reasons I can't go into detail on the number of guest-reports in our database. I can say that it's in the tens of thousands.
It would make sense for anyone in the accomodations industry to join every possible site that reports a guest's behavior. However, GuestChecker was the first of it's kind in North America and, as far as we can tell, is the largest short term accommodation guest screening service in the world.
Thanks for the question Cabinbythefalls! Keep on "checkin-and-rentin"!
Your home page says that membership is free to qualified members,, in my experience "free" doesnt exist in the business world. How do you generate revenue? I never submit information until I am sure of the fees and how my personal information will be used. Can you advise?
What's up with the GuestChecker website? I have not been able to access the site the last two days. I get directed to this page http://www.guestchecker.com/Install/UpgradeWizard.aspx Not sure what this is all about??
I was able to access the site, however several of their links are not working. I am very interested in hearing from other VRBO owners who are members, to hear how this is working for you. I would like to participate if this is working well. I have several potential guests I would like to check out, and also have several renters (won't call them guests under the circumstances) that I would like to report on. Thanks for any input from actual users of this website. This might be a great resource for owners, as we are subject to reviews on VRBO that are not verified for accuracy, and we could warn other owners about our experiences, etc.
The site seems to be up and working again. I use this before replying to every inquiry I receive. So far I have not had a single person come up in their database as a red flag so to speak. I do like the fact that it does offer an outlet to report bad guests AND recommend the good guests as well.
Hello Guestchecker, I was reading through this discussion and had a couple of questions. One, you mention it needs to be stated on the homeowner's listing website that "At any time before, during, or after your stay with us your information may be shared with Guestchecker". Someone had mentioned in this discussion that she tried to put this on her VRBO site, but it won't take it due to the .com; I did not see a reply to this. And does it need to be added to each listing site where we advertise? Also, just had guests over Spring Break who left the home in a real mess. Group of 18 - they were several families (our home sleeps up to 18). My cleaners told me it was the worst they had seen it in 4 years and charged me $100 extra. No damage, just trash, sand, dirty dishes, beds moved, etc., which required two extra cleaners for a total of 14 man hours (usually takes 8 hours). I told the guest yesterday about why we were keeping $100 of the deposit, and of course she is in denial, saying she owns her own cleaning company (I laughed hard at that one) and they didn't trash the home. Anyway, does Guestchecker allow for listing guests who leave it a mess and require extra cleaning charges or is the site only for guests who create more serious problems? Thanks!
I think that your website is a good idea. I was wondering how many guests you currently have in your database and I was also wondering about your business model - i.e. how do you generate income?
I tried repeatedly to register for guestchecker but the website did not work. I tried to let guestchecker know of the issue via the contact us form and that doesn't work either. Not exactly a vote of confidence...