Selecting Guests for your Vacation Home

We’ve all heard the horror stories of guests gone wild (prom parties, graduation parties, bachelorette parties, and the list goes on) – how to we as owners avoid some of those situations that are annoying as well as costly?

Here are a few tips I’ve found helpful:

  • State that renters must be of a minimum age to rent the house. Ours age requirement is 25, but I’ve see some as young as 21.
  • Post on your advertising site that you don’t allow parties without prior written consent of the owner.
  • Advertise the home as great for 2 -3 families or family gatherings.
  • Talk to each guest via phone. Young people sound young! You can do a lot of screening with some direct questions about who’s joining the renter, have they rented before, etc. It’s key to talk with the potential guest to get a sense of what they are like.
  • If a young person calls to book a date, I always ask to speak with the parent.

Some exceptions we’ve made:

  • A mom called to book a prom party. The kids were all seniors and the house they had rented for the past two years was no longer available. We talked A LOT about the kids – several had received scholarships and they seemed like a great bunch. And they were excellent guests.
  • We had a wedding at the house. Beautiful event.
  • Graduation party for some senior boys. What was I thinking?? It was booked by the mom who said she’d be there the whole time…yea, not so much. Chocolate everywhere, on the deck, on the couches, dirty dishes all over. Not repeating that mistake. Sorry boys.

When a regrettable guest is booked:

  • I refunded a guests payment in its entirety prior to their stay when it became clear that they were going to have a party. Risking losing the rental income was worth not dealing with damage that was sure to result. Our rental agreement states that there are no parties allowed. It worked out because I rebooked it with some non party goers.
  • In the event of renting to the graduating boys, frankly I learned just not to do that again. No exception. Unfortunate. As far as prom groups go, our general rule is not to rent for that as well unless I know the guests.

I’ve also found that being a pet friendly rental set up for 12-14 people, while it may interest party goers, it usually attracts large family gatherings. We’ve designed the furnishings at the houses to be perfect for those kinds of guests. Each house has 3 bedrooms with one bunk type room that is obviously for all the kids. We stock the guest closet downstairs with TONS of kids sand toys and advertise it as such.

Don’t forget to ask for reviews! It’s helps like minded guests find  your vacation home.

Children of guests at beach

Children of guests at beach


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