Your safety is our priority
Overview Traveling Hosting Community Standards Home Safety
guestKo is designed with safety in mind —online and off
Every guestKo reservation is scored for risk before it’s confirmed. We use predictive analytics and machine learning to instantly evaluate hundreds of signals that help us flag and investigate suspicious activity before it happens.
Watch list & background checks
While no screening system is perfect, globally we run hosts and guests against regulatory, terrorist, and sanctions watch lists. For hosts and guests in the United States, we also conduct background checks.
We run safety workshops with hosts and leading local experts and encourage hosts to provide guests with important local information. We also give any host who wants one a free smoke and carbon monoxide detector for their home.
Our secure platform ensures your money gets to the host—that’s why we ask you to always pay through guestKo and never wire money or pay someone directly.
We take a number of measures to safeguard your guestKo account, like requiring multi-factor authentication when a login is attempted from a new phone or computer and sending you account alerts when changes are made.
Always pay and communicate directly through the guestKo website or app. As long as you stay on guestKo throughout the entire process—from communication, to booking, to payment—you’re protected by our multi-layer defense strategy.
Know what to expect
We make it simple for you to get to know more about any home, experience, guest, or host before booking
Everyone on guestKo has a profile to help other guests or hosts get to know each other. To book or host, you’ll be asked to provide guestKo with your full name, date of birth, phone number, payment information, and email address.
Our secure messaging tool lets you get to know a host or guest and ask questions about a listing or experience ahead of time. After the reservation is booked, you can use it to easily message back-and-forth to coordinate things like check-in and directions.
If you’re curious about what others thought of a potential guest, host, home, or experience, all you have to do is look at their reviews. Guests and hosts can only review each other after a reservation, so you know the feedback you’re seeing is based on actual experiences.
We’re here if you need us
Our team is standing by to help make things right with rebooking assistance, refunds, reimbursements, just reach out if there’s anything you need.
Every home and every experience on guestKo is unique
Here are a few ways you can help make sure your trip goes as smoothly as possible
- 1. Search & book with confidence
Get exactly what you’re looking for by taking advantage of our many search filters, like price, home type, and amenities. Found a listing you like? Be sure to read the host’s profile and listing or experience description thoroughly—paying special attention to the amenities, house rules or trip requirements, and the cancellation policy.
- 2. Read the ratings & reviews
Look through feedback from past guests to help find the right fit for you. You’ll see ratings on several quality dimensions, like cleanliness and accuracy, and detailed reviews with authentic feedback about the experience. Guests can only leave a review after they’ve stayed with that specific host, so you know the feedback you’re seeing is based on actual experiences.
- 3. Get your questions answered
Our secure messaging tool is a safe and easy way for you to ask a potential host any questions you have about their home or experience before you book. After booking, you can also message your host to coordinate check-in and stay in touch throughout your trip.
- 4. Always communicate & pay on guestKo
Keep yourself, your payment, and your personal information protected by staying on our secure platform throughout the entire process—from communication, to booking and payment. You should never be asked to wire money, provide credit card information or otherwise pay a host directly. If you are, please report it to us immediately.
- 5. Do a safety check
Once you’ve arrived at your home or experience, make sure you know where all relevant emergency equipment and safety information is located. If you’re not sure where something like the first aid kit or fire extinguisher is, don’t hesitate to ask your host. It’s always better to be prepared.
- 6. Research local travel alerts & warnings
Whether you’re traveling with guestKo or not, it’s always a good idea to research your destination ahead of time, and check with your local embassy in case there are any travel warnings or special requirements. For example, travelers from the United States should check with the State Department for visa information and travel warnings.
- 7. We’re here for you
If you arrive at a home or experience and something’s not quite right, reach out to us. We’re standing by to help with things like rebooking assistance and refunds or reimbursements.
Sharing your space or passions with someone you’ve never met can feel like a leap of faith
Here’s how you can help ensure your hosting experience, and your guest’s trip, goes off without a hitch
- 1. Set clear expectations
Your listing should let potential guests know about the unique features and amenities of your home or experience. Even small details like the number of flights of stairs to your front door or the fitness level required for your experience can help make sure guests enjoy their time with you.
If you’re a home host, you can also outline specific expectations (like quiet hours) in your house rules.
- 2. Set guest requirements
Every guest is asked to provide their full name, date of birth, phone number, email address, and payment information to guestKo before booking. Home hosts also have the option to require guests to provide guestKo with a government ID before booking their listing.
- 3. Read profiles & reviews
If you want to know more about a guest before accepting their reservation request, check out their profile or read reviews from past hosts. Hosts and guests can only review each other after a reservation is complete, so you know the feedback you’re reading is based on actual experiences.
- 4. Get to know your guest in advance
Our secure messaging tool gives you the chance to get to know guests and answer or ask any questions that come up before or during the trip. Messaging is also a great place to coordinate things like check-in or provide local recommendations.
- 5. Keep safety info & equipment handy
It’s important to equip your home or experience and your guests with the safety essentials they might need during their trip. This includes things like a working smoke and carbon monoxide detector, a fire extinguisher, a first aid kit, and information on how to get in touch with local authorities.
Creating a world where anyone can truly belong requires a foundation of trust grounded in consistent expectations of host and guest behavior. We’ve established these Community Standards to help guide behavior and codify the values that underpin our global community.
This is a living document, as we’re constantly refining our approach to meet the needs of our community. But these five standards—safety, security, fairness, authenticity, and reliability—remain central pillars in our efforts to help ensure safety and foster belonging. We’re always working to make sure they’re upheld and enforced.
Your guestKo experience begins the moment you embrace adventure. That’s only possible when you trust this community and feel safe. As a result, we require that you refrain from endangering or threatening anyone.
- Harming yourself or others
You should not commit physical or sexual assault, sexual abuse, sexual harassment, domestic violence, robbery, human trafficking, other acts of violence, or hold anyone against their will. Members of dangerous organizations, including terrorist, organized criminal, and violent racist groups, are not welcome in this community. GuestKo is committed to working with law enforcement as appropriate and responding to valid law enforcement requests.
We take suicide, self-injury, eating disorders, and hard drug abuse extremely seriously and work to help people in crisis.
- Threatening anyone
You should not convey an intent to harm anyone by your words or physical actions. We also take threats of self-harm as seriously as we do actions and may intervene if we become aware of a threat.
- Creating hazardous situations
You should not keep unsecured weapons, disease risks, or dangerous animals in your listing, nor should you create conditions that increase the likelihood of a fire or impede escape in the event of emergency.
Our guestKo community members share their homes, neighborhoods, and experiences. Whether you’re opening your home as a host or experiencing a host’s hospitality as a guest, you should trust that you will feel secure. We ask you to respect others’ property, information, and personal belongings.
- Theft, vandalism, or extortion
You should not take property that isn’t yours, use someone’s property without their permission, copy others’ keys or identity documents, damage others’ property, remain in listings after a stay is concluded, or threaten anyone with bad ratings or any other penalty or harm to obtain compensation or other benefits.
- Spam, phishing, or fraud
You should not make transactions outside of guestKo’s payments system; commit booking fraud, credit card fraud, or launder money; attempt to drive traffic to other sites or market unrelated products; divert payments meant for others; abuse our referrals system; or make false claims against other members of the community.
- Violating others’ privacy or intellectual property rights
You should not spy on other people; cameras are not allowed in your listing unless they are previously disclosed and visible, and they are never permitted in private spaces (such as bathrooms or sleeping areas). You should not access others’ accounts without authorization or violate others’ privacy, copyrights, or trademarks.
The global guestKo community is as diverse, unique, and vibrant as the world around us. Fairness is what holds us together, what makes it possible for us to trust one another, integrate seamlessly within communities, and feel as if can we can truly belong.
- Discriminatory behavior or hate speech
You should treat everyone with respect in every interaction. So, you should follow all applicable laws and not treat others differently because of their race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, sex, gender, gender identity, disability, or serious diseases. Similarly, insulting others on these bases is not allowed.
- Bullying or harassing others
You should not share personal information to shame or blackmail others, target others with unwanted behavior, defame others, or violate our review and content standards.
- Disturbing the surrounding community
You should not disturb common spaces, treat neighbors as “front desk staff,” create a pervasive nuisance for those around you, or persistently fail to respond to neighbor or community concerns.
Your guestKo experiences should be full of delightful moments and surprising adventures. Since our community is built on trust, authenticity is essential—it requires a balance of shared expectations, honest interactions, and accurate details.
- Misrepresenting yourself
You should not provide a false name or date of birth, use listings for commercial purposes without your host’s permission, have events or parties without your host’s approval, maintain duplicate accounts, or create an account if you’re under 18.
- Misrepresenting your spaces
You should not provide inaccurate location information, have incorrect availability, mislead people about the type, nature, or details of your listing, substitute one listing for another, set up fake or fraudulent listings, leave fraudulent reviews, engage in deceptive pricing, or fail to disclose hazards and habitability issues.
- Experiences that are merely transactions
guestKo began as a way to allow people to share their homes. We expect that every listing is not just a transaction, but a place for others to belong.
Every guestKo experience is unique and each detail specific to a home, a neighborhood, and a host. Since our community makes commitments based on these details, we have to be able to trust each other’s reliability—whether it be in timely communication, the condition of the home, or in the expectations we set.
- Providing uninhabitable spaces
You should not provide spaces with sub-standard cleanliness or undisclosed lack of running water or electricity. You should not provide spaces that are not legitimate sleeping quarters (e.g. camping gear), not stationary for the duration of the stay (e.g. moving boats), or lack access to dedicated restroom facilities (e.g. directing guests to use public bathrooms).
- Breaking commitments
Absent extenuating circumstances, you should not cancel after the deadline set in the relevant cancellation policy. You should also not fail to make check-in possible, fail to pay, or break the host’s house rules.
- Being unresponsive
You should not have persistently and pervasively low ratings, be unresponsive during booking or throughout a stay, fail to provide an adequate point of contact for hosting, or refuse to participate in our resolution process.
Safety and security are must-haves in any home. In addition to the steps guestKo takes to help protect our community, we encourage both hosts and guests to stay aware and take certain safety precautions when they’re hosting or traveling.
Detection is the first step to prevention
Smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms save lives. That’s why we’re on a mission to get as many alarms into as many homes as possible. We encourage hosts to check their homes to check if they already have smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and install them if they don’t. Once alarms are in place, hosts should test them regularly, and make sure their listing description is up to date.
Increasing guest awareness & safety
Information about safety features, including whether or not a home has smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, appears on the listing page. It’s important for hosts to keep this information accurate and to make sure any alarms listed are working properly.
Home safety preparedness tips
- At a minimum, install a smoke alarm* on every level of the home and outside each sleeping area. Test them once a month and replace the batteries at least once a year, if your model requires it.
- Install a carbon monoxide (CO) alarm* in the hallway of your home near sleeping areas. Avoid corners where air does not circulate and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to test the carbon monoxide alarm every month.
- Make sure all appliances in your home are installed according to manufacturer’s instructions and local building codes. Most appliances should be installed by professionals.
- Have heating systems, including chimneys and vents, inspected and serviced annually to check for blockages, corrosion, partial and complete disconnections.
- Establish an emergency plan for your home—and make sure it’s easily accessible to all guests. Your plan should include two ways to escape from every room in your home and the contact information for local emergency services. Select a meeting spot at a safe distance from your home where your guests can meet after a fire.
Visit www.redcross.org/homefires for more information.
* In order to communicate with a global audience, guestKo often uses the terms “alarm” and “detector” interchangeably.
The American Red Cross name, emblem and copyrighted materials are being used with its permission, which in no way constitutes an endorsement, express or implied, of any product, service, company, opinion or political position. The American Red Cross logo is a registered trademark owned by The American National Red Cross. For more information about the American Red Cross, please visit redcross.org.