Airbnb is changing the way people travel, but it is also creating sometimes very lucrative additional incomes for homeowners everywhere, including across Southern California.
As many an experienced Host knows however, it’s the amenities that an Airbnb provides are what makes the guest experience complete and earns you that much coveted Super Host status. And while free coffee and tea, and spa like shampoo sets are nice, there is one amenity that is statistically the most sought after, no matter what the destination.
You guessed it: guest WiFi.
For hosts, guest WiFi is an inexpensive investment which needs very little care or maintenance. For guests, on the other hand, it can be the reason they choose your property over one of your competitors’.
Recently however there have been a number of news stories warning travellers of the dangers of Airbnb WiFi. Therefore, being able to demonstrate that you offer a secure, safe WiFi connection can once gain give you an edge over the competition.
Here is what you can do to ensure cyber security for your Airbnb guests.
Secure Your Network
You don’t need to be a tech expert to secure your WiFi network for incoming guests (although there is no shame in calling one in if you feel more comfortable doing so.)
Here, however are some basics if you want to try it yourself:
Access Your Router Configuration
Before anything else, you will need access to your WiFi router configuration dashboard. To do this, first connect your own device i.e. laptop to the WiFi network using a physical ethernet cable.
Launch your preferred internet browser (we like Google Chrome)
Enter your router’s IP address. It’s likely it will be similar to this: 192.168.0.1
A screen will appear asking for the administrator user and password. Input the correct details and hit enter
You’ll now be looking at the configuration dashboard.
Change Router Passwords
One of the easiest, most immediate things you can do to protect guests online is change your router passwords to make it more difficult for others to gain access. Once you’re inside the configuration dashboard, change the password to make it stronger. Use a mix of letters, numbers and symbols, and avoid using common words or personal information.
Change the Network Name
Most routers come with a default name, related to the brand or provider. While changing your preset network name will not necessarily add another level of security for your guests, it will help improve usability and ease when accessing the network. Change the name to something that your guests will easily recognize–such as your vacation rental brand name.
Create an Encrypted Guest Wi-Fi Network
Creating a guest WiFi network will not only limit who can access the internet connection to begin with, but it will also prevent any unauthorized users from entering. This helps to protect guests (and yourself) from hackers or other security risks.
Most routers will allow you to change the keys of the network after every set of guests depart, which will restrict their access so they can’t connect to your WiFi anymore.
You can even go one step further and have the guest WiFi network turn off after a specific time. That way, if you know guests are checking out at 10am, they’ll immediately lose internet access at that time and it may even prompt stragglers to hurry up a little, so that you can send in your cleaning crew to prepare for the next guests.
Connect Smart Devices to the Guest WiFi Network
If you have smart home devices in your vacation rental, connect them to your guest WiFi network instead of your primary network. This helps to reduce the potential damage should one of the devices become compromised in terms of security.
Store Your Router Out of Sight
It only takes one guest to tamper with your router, and they could steal the data of hundreds of other guests and spy on their internet activity. Prevent this from happening by storing away your router in a safe place, out of guest reach. For example, in a locked cupboard or cabinet.
Keep All Firmware Up to Date
It’s important to keep your router up-to-date to maintain the highest levels of security, so be sure to install new firmware whenever it becomes available. Check this by logging into your admin dashboard (the same way as changing the password) to see if new updates are ready to be installed.