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Solving the Vacation Rental Safety Issue

A number of safety situations, including one recently experienced by actress Anna Faris when she and her family fell ill to carbon monoxide poisoning at a vacation property in Lake Tahoe during Thanksgiving, have now put an increased spotlight on the issue of safety and security in vacation rentals. Check out this CNN article here

Vacation rental safety and security issues occur every night. The numbers are alarming. Of Airbnb’s 2,000,000+ nightly guests, it is reported that 13.45% experience unsafe or unpleasant conditions – that’s potentially 269,000 unsafe guests every night!

“The vacation rental industry has grown at record rates and industry experts feel it will continue. In a fast-growing, fragmented industry, it takes time to formulize industry best practices. However, when it comes to guest safety issues, or at the very least, their well-being, time is not something we can just sit back and wait for as the industry matures. Currently, the biggest issue in the vacation rental industry is about standards, and safety and security compliance. Until now, there has been very little guidance for property managers and owners as to how to operate their properties with best practice when it comes to guest safety and security.”, notes Wolf Wörster, Founder of CertiStay, a Vancouver-based 3rd party safety & security certification for vacation and short term rental properties.

In the past 90 days, CertiStay has audited over 100 vacation rentals with almost 2,000 more scheduled for the first quarter of 2020.

“Owners see value in having their properties certified as safe & secure. We believe we are setting the industry standard as the first company of its kind to ensure guests’ safety”, says Wörster.

So how can you ensure your vacation rental is a safe and secure one?  Firstly, the vacation rental management company you booked the property through is expected to be safety compliant according to municipal, county, state and country laws – but those safety laws and guidelines vary per region.

CertiStay recommends that you immediately make yourself familiar with three basic safety items upon checking into your rental:

  1. Make yourself familiar of the location of the fire extinguisher(s)  (there should be one per floor).
  2. Does the rental have carbon monoxide detectors?                       Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless, and toxic gas that claims over 500 lives a year in North America. Even small doses of carbon monoxide can cause permanent damage or death. Ideally detectors should be located on each level of your vacation rental including the basement and in or near each bedroom, and ideally next to the attached garage if there is one.
  3. Is there a first aid kit?  Take two minutes to look at the contents. How many people are in your travel group? What kinds of emergencies could affect you? An emergency kit for a young, single adult will be very different from an emergency kit for a family with little kids or for an older couple.

Wolf Wörster spent 16+ years as a private accommodations consultant for UHNW families, celebrities, business leaders and international heads of state. He has consulted for senior delegations at G8 Summits, the 2010 and 2012 Olympics, and has provided accommodations for high profile American clients including NBA star Lebron James, artist Janet Jackson and actor Ben Stiller. Wolf is still available as a Residential Safety Consultant for homeowners of significant properties (non-rentals) through www.wolfworster.com.

About CertiStay

CertiStay solves the well publicized problem of non-verified vacation rentals with a best practices safety & security certification program which is conducted through a propriety audit system. The audit was created by police chiefs, fire chiefs, senior vacation rental professionals, insurance analysts and insurance underwriters and is used to determine whether a property meets the certification standards, considered “safety & security best practices”. CertiStay has audited vacation rentals throughout North America including Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Palm Springs, Vancouver & Whistler and is supported by a senior industry team including Terry Jones, best known for founding Travelocity and founding Chairman of KAYAK and Randy Bacik, founder of Royal Shell vacations, previously the largest independent vacation rental company in North America. www.certistay.com 

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