Fraud prevention: Best practices

Some booking channels, such as Airbnb, handle payment collection on their end, making them responsible for implementing fraud prevention strategies and making sure the reservation gets paid. Other booking channels, such as Booking.com, or reservation sources, like the Guesty Website, do not collect the payment, making you responsible for fraud prevention and payment collection.

Our suggested best practices can help you make sure your reservation gets paid and identify potentially dishonest guests. See the information below.

Minimize fraudulent bookings

Whether you are the one responsible for collecting payments or the booking channel, we recommend implementing the following general habits to avoid fake bookings.
Require the CVC/CVV when possible

Even if you accept last-minute reservations to maximize bookings, we recommend setting an advanced notice of at least 24 hours, to give you enough time to screen your guest.

Report an invalid credit card for a Booking.com reservation
If you receive an invalid credit card for a Booking.com reservation, you can report this directly in Guesty and then cancel the reservation.

Tip:

See which of Guesty's Marketplace partners can help you with fraud prevention. 

Make sure the reservation gets paid

When you are the one responsible for collecting the payment, the following strategies can help you secure payment for a reservation.
Set up your auto payment rules accurately

If you are setting up an auto payment rule to collect 100% of the payment at once, make sure you set it to be collected at confirmation, not check-in: Requiring guests to pay before checking in will filter out guests that may be planning not to pay after checking in.

Set up an authorization hold
Use an authorization hold to make sure the card provided by the guest actually has funds on it. The funds will be released automatically after seven days. For stays of up to one week, we recommend capturing the funds two days after check-in. For stays longer than one week, we recommend capturing the funds three days before check-out.
Send a "check-in message" after a successful payment
When you set up an automated message with check-in instructions, use sending conditions in the Automated Message setup to make sure the message is sent automatically only for reservations made through booking channels that collect payment on their end. Exclude booking channels and reservation sources that do not collect payment on their end. We recommend sending the check-in instruction message manually for booking channels and reservation sources that do not collect payment - only after verifying that the payment has in fact gone through.
Get notified of payment issues that require your attention
Configure your notifications to notify you of a failed payment, a failed authorization hold, or an invalid credit card. This will give you greater visibility and allow you to keep track of payments that require your immediate attention.

Avoid problematic guests

When you are the one responsible for collecting the payment, the following strategies can help you screen potential guests.
Send potential guests a check-in form

Send potential guests a check-in form to find out more details about them before their stay and most important - verify their identity via the "Guest verification" section. We recommend sending the form in an Automated Message set to be sent at confirmation.

Send potential guests a rental agreement
Send potential guests a rental agreement explaining the accommodation terms for them to read, understand and accept - by signing the agreement electronically before arriving. We recommend sending the form in an Automated Message set to be sent at confirmation.
Pay attention to potential Booking.com guests
Since you are responsible for collecting payment for Booking.com reservations, take the following steps to help you identify and avoid problematic guests:
  • Only accept guests:
    • with a verified phone number. 
    • with a valid email address.
    • provided their address details.
    • that have a previous stay on Booking.com.
  • Add an age limit to avoid younger guests, who may be less likely to take care of the property. 
Know how booking settings can affect guest screening
See the types of booking options below:
  • Instant book: Potential guests book available dates, and once their credit card is validated the dates are automatically booked. 
  • Inquiry: Potential guests can request to book available dates, and once you approve their request, their credit card details are obtained and validated manually.
The "Inquiry" booking option can give you time to properly screen the guest before confirming their reservation, by sending a check-in form, for example. This can be especially important for reservations made through the Guesty Booking Website that does not have a built-in guest-vetting process for the "Instant booking" option.
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