TRUST, but Verify. We verify that a Guest staying in your home is who they say they are.
How can we protect your home if we cannot be sure who is staying there?
Verifying a Guest's identity is very important. Your vacation home is likely one of your biggest assets, and it needs to be protected. Unlike other Property Managers who may be profit-focused, we would rather cancel a Guest reservation and forego the rental income if we cannot verify a Guest's identity.
Even if a Guest signs a Rental Agreement, we cannot assume that it has been signed with their genuine personal information. And if they have signed the Rental Agreement with an alias, you have no recourse to enforce it.
This is why Guest Vetting and Verification of Identity are standard practices with Elite Coastal Estates. Very few Property Managers take this important step seriously, as they benefit financially from every guest's stay (good or bad). We vigilantly protect our homeowners by performing due diligence on every guest to minimize risk. If our search reveals something of concern, we will inform you. As a team, we may decide to cancel a reservation rather than risk a potentially bad rental experience.
Here is our process for Guest Verification
- Upon booking, all Guests are given Rental Agreement to e-sign within 48 hours. If they do not sign it, we will notify the Guest that we are canceling their reservation and issue a full refund.
- With each signed Rental Agreement, we ask them to optionally upload a copy of their driver's license. This is no different than providing your ID when you check in at a hotel. Not everyone will provide their ID, and that is OK. But if they do, we can then verify that the named person on the Rental Agreement matches the name and address on the ID.
- We Google the address on the Rental Agreement to verify that it is a residential address, which is required by ECE policy. If it is a commercial address, we reach out to the Guest to get their actual residence address.
- If the address provided is local (within a 30-minute drive of the property), and if the rental term is very short, we ask the Guest questions about their visit to help them plan their vacation. We do this to be helpful, but it is part of our vetting process. Occasionally locals will rent a vacation home just to hold a party, to avoid having it at their own home.
- We geolocate the IP address where the Rental Agreement was e-signed to verify that it is consistent with the address provided on the Rental Agreement.
- We use a web service to confirm that the Guest's name is connected to the residential address that they provided.
- We call the Guest to introduce ourselves and offer assistance with planning their Bodega Bay vacation. This allows us to confirm that the phone number they provided is genuine. We also encourage SMS/text communication, which is another way we verify the guest's phone number.
- We check our 'Sent' email history to confirm that our emails to the Guest are being opened. This validates that their email address is valid.
Why do we do this?
We want to protect your home, its contents, you, and your positive relationship with your neighbors. If a Guest intends to throw a party, exceed occupancy limits, or treat your home carelessly, they do not want to be held responsible for their actions via a signed Rental Agreement. Those who intend to misbehave are not always forthright with their identity in a Rental Agreement. Those with the best intentions and looking forward to a pleasant holiday typically have no problem signing a Rental Agreement and identifying themselves.