3 Star Review for personal check in

We recently had a guest that didn’t respond to check-in instructions via Airbnb that I sent a day or two prior to their arrival date. I finally resorted to texting them the afternoon they were due to arrive. They finally replied apologizing and saying they had no cell service where they were (I’m a little skeptical about them not having cell or wifi). Keep in mind this guest has been on Airbnb for over 2 years but didn’t have a single review. He had instant booked. They told me they might not be getting in until 10 PM, to which I told them that we are night owls, live close to our property and really prefer to meet guests in person despite having a keypad lock. They finally arrived at 9:30 and I met them at the property, gave them the code and quickly showed them around. They are actually the first guests we’ve had that actually seemed rude; I didn’t get a good vibe from them at all. I later even messaged them to offer to let them leave their car & luggage if they wanted to spend more time in the city after check-out, but got no response. This is the review they wrote as well as the private feedback:

Great place in a great location! Not the best check-in experience, but a friendly couple of hosts keen on helping guests enjoy their stay.

Private Feedback:
Please relax with meeting guests in person. At least provide the code before I check in so I don’t have to worry. Honestly I would prefer not to meet in person. Had I known this would have been such a hassle I would not have booked. In 7 days and 6 AirBnBs this was my only such experience. I know you mean well, but it was off putting.
Check-in feedback:
Your guest had some issues with the check-in process: entering the home. Additional comments: “The host insisted on meeting in person. As a low key guy I really just wanted to crash after a long drive. To have to meet my host after 10 and not being provided the house code ahead of time made me feel unwelcome and uncomfortable.”.
Communication feedback:
Your guest had some difficulty communicating with you at this part of their trip: check-in arrangements.

Then they left us 3 stars overall (our first), 2 stars for check-in, 3 stars for value. I really would like to respond, at least privately, that although we don’t personally live there, this unit is still our HOME, and we like to meet the people staying there, especially when they don’t have any reviews and do not communicate well. Or should I just let it go? I’d also like to respond to the public review, because I don’t want other people to think that check-in is a problem (like they had trouble getting in or had to wait or something) The only problem is that we were there personally to make sure everything went smoothly. Honestly I probably only spent about 2-3 minutes checking them in. They had mentioned wanting dinner so the only other thing I did was point out the part of my guide that had a list of late night dining options. Not sure what was so terrible to warrant 2 stars.

Thoughts?? If nothing else it always feels good to vent here. :slight_smile:


It ring alarm bells really that somebody is so against being met at check in. Makes you wonder what he was trying to hide. You don’t sound like an overbearing host AT ALL! This guy has issues


I think if you have it in your listing that you meet all guests on arrival - then this guest has nothing to complain about.

However if you don’t, then I can see why this might not have suited him. Not all guests are sociable and want to keep direct contact with hosts to a minimum.

Having said that, I certainly don’t think they should have marked you down like that.

I wouldn’t bother following up privately. But you might want to have a simple response to his review, saying something like;

'we like to meet all guests personally to show them around our home. In this case as it was late we kept this to a few minutes, focussing on recommendations for local places to eat as XXX mentioned they wanted to go out to dinner".


Sorry to hear this happened to you @Arlene_Larsson

I once had a girl specifically ask for the self check-in, even though both were offered and I prefer to do in-person when I can. I didn’t insist though I felt it was odd. She later complained in the review how complex the place was and marked me down on check-in.

I’ve since learned to present the in-person check-in as the more convenient option – when I’m sure I can be there to receive them – saying it’ll avoid the hassle of trying to find the place and fumble with the code etc etc.

This person you describe sounds like a &%$& (add your fave expletive) but something like this might mitigate the annoyance and risk of a backlash in the review.

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Guest are becoming accustomed to corporate owned vanilla rentals that are essentially commercial properties hiding under the guise of ABB. This is causing problems in the industry and with local zoning laws.
In particular this person is an arrogant, entitled traveler who is better off in the anonymity of a hotel experience…and this is what I would communicate. Most hotels do require a face to face checkin and better hotels do send the bell person along so he will still have to mumble thank you.


Hi @Arlene_Larsson,

Sorry that happened to you. Your guest sounds like a jerk. Helsi’s response suggestion sounds reasonable. You might want to add something like “guest objected to personal check-in in private feedback” at the beginning of the response, so readers have some context. That is, assuming that the only thing the guest wrote publicly about this is:

Not the best check-in experience

Nearly all guests consider a personal check-in a good thing. And I agree on not messaging the guest privately.


I for one prefer to self check in. After travelling for sometime I’m tired and need to unwind. Being forced into conversation with a stranger when I all I really want to do is take my shoes and bra off and lay down is a real pain. The Airnb I checked in to at Lisbon was just wonderful the hosts were great, but they did insist on giving me a cup of tea and showing me a map with all the interesting things to see and do. However I just come for a transatlantic flight and really needed to lie down.
I have booked an Airbnb to stay at in November. When I asked if it was an alternative to meeting the host at a specific time to get the keys she cancelled my reservation. The reason why I wanted to do this was so that I didn’t keep her waiting if I was caught in traffic . It’s very stressful if you’re trying to drive in heavy traffic to meet somebody at a particular time. That being said if the host is insisting on that I will follow through but just so you know the other side.


Wow. As others have said, you have to wonder what was going on with this guest, whether he was just a jerk or had some other issue. Who knows? Some people are just weird. 3 stars is ridiculous.

I have language in my listing saying I meet guests at the gate (their private entrance) to give them the keys and walk them in. Then I reiterate in my pre-check in email the day before. That only helps if people read, though! I have had some guests who have traveled without the Airbnb app, so obviously don’t respond to messages, but since your guest communicated on arrival, that couldn’t have been the case with him.

We live in another cottage on the property, and when I have had folks check themselves in at night, it has sometimes proven confusing, even with very clear instructions. The worst was before we moved onto the property and the other cottage (ours now) was also an Airbnb – the new arrivals insisted THAT was THEIR cottage and woke the guests up who were staying there. What a mess. So, lesson learned. Again, that was with very clear instructions, i.e. “the cottage directly in front of you is where you will be staying – you’ll see the porch light is on and the the door is brightly lit…”

He begrudged you 2-3 minutes of his time? That’s just nuts.


I would not be surprised if he has previous stays where the host skipped reviewing because he was ok, just seemingly rude. I hope you left an appropriate review with low stars for communication. It wouldn’t have hurt him at all to tell you he preferred not to meet in person.

They could be trying to hide bad acne, a speech impediment, deafness, autism, some condition that makes it stressful to meet new people. That doesn’t really send red flags to me for a separate place. He probably always chooses separate places and I don’t think it’s fair to say that people who want a sterile, souless experience with no owner contact have no place on airbnb.

@Arlene_Larsson Make sure it’s clear in your listing that you will be greeting people in person.

Thanks so much for sharing this as I think this could apply to my listing. Mine has a private entrance but is attached to my house. If I’m home and still up, I always greet people, step into the room and show them a few things. I’ve had a few people who seemed antsy, a couple who said excuse me I need to use the restroom (in the middle of my spiel), some who seemed friendly enough but never spoke another word to me, didn’t tell me when they checked out, didn’t sign the guest book, and wrote brief reviews. It now occurs to me in a way that it didn’t before that they don’t really want to have interaction with me which is why they chose my place. I think I’m going to tweak my greeting style with guests who seem to want more space.

As for slamming you on stars, that’s complete BS. I don’t provide the code until the day of travel and I often don’t provide it at all I just leave the door unlocked. One reason is so I don’t have to change it all the time. I also don’t want to give out the code and then have someone book and cancel and then have the code. This happened last night (but that’s another post and rant!) The only thing I can say about all this is at least he told you exactly what the issue was instead of slamming you on stars and then not saying what the problem was.


Just shows we all are different. This is what I send my guests. The listing is the lower half of my house.

When you arrive

The door to the rental cottage is the yellow one on the ground floor. It will be unlocked. Let yourself in and get settled.

I’ve found most people prefer to be left to get unpacked and have a look around before I come to greet you. Please call my cell when it is convenient.

I may not be home when you arrive, as I work in the afternoons. I’m usually home by 5pm. If there is a Black Ford Escape in the driveway. I’m home.

Please don’t forget to bring towels. The beds will all be made with fresh linens for your stay.
If you forget an item, I will do my best to assist, I have a well stocked pantry.

I look forward to meeting you.

Warm regards

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I think check-in should be restricted to covering the necessary basics, not polite conversation. Which can still take some time. I personally am not the fastest checker-in, and have to restraint myself from the polite conversation thing. Since long distance travellers are often not up for it, but are often too polite to say so.


Oh come on now. Do bellboys, bell persons, actually exist anymore? I’ve traveled the world and haven’t met a bell person yet & believe me, I only stay in 4 star & up. If the Ritz-Carltons don’t have them, who does in the 21st century?

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Doormen or Bellboys, is that the same ? There are a doormen in Dublin city, there is one hotel that has two guys who stand outside, I have seen them around the country as well. One guy came out with an umbrella once, and it felt uncomfortable to be honest.

Crappy scores. It’s the hospitality industry, you were trying to be nice and welcoming. My guests stay with me and it’s just polite to open the door, lovely to meet you john, you are most welcome, come in and let me show you the house and how things run, then you can just relax. Pop it into your listing if you prefer to be there in person, it’s your home so your choice. I have gone to hotels and had to q up for 20 minutes to check in, and would not complain, it;s not the staff on duty’s fault.


I would offer self checkin on a whole house rental. It is just easier and less stressful for the guest. They don’t need to coordinate a time of arrival as plans change.

I also think you will find some people are just more introverted and don’t want to talk to you.

You could offer it to guests if you like, i imagine under 10% will want you there to show the house.

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Your house, your rules.

I got marked down on check in once because guests who didn’t read drove to two neighbors and barreled down their driveways before finding my place. They used the process of elimination technique. Knock on every door until you find the one that is the Airbnb.

I was marked down for bad check in!

Fine mentality until your listing becomes uncompetitive with the marketplace.

Good point, but I wasn’t saying this at all. I’m assuming @Arlene_Larsson mentions her check in procedure in her listing (maybe she doesn’t). Either way, it isn’t fair for guests to leave terrible reviews for something like this. If there is something that’s specially important to a guest I think they should be looking for listings that match their expectations. This guy was a dick.


Agree with this absolutely. It’s fine if guests want no interaction with the host and a self check-in but they need to find a place that suits them and not complain afterwards.


As I said, the bad review is BS. But what the guest wanted isn’t that strange or red flag raising.

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Are you talking to me? It’s fine for guests to not read instructions and disturb neighbors and then mark ME down on directions?

Everyone has to do what works for them. Allowing guests to walk all over you and do self check in when that does not work for the host will only result in resentful hosts, and then we will see their rants here on the forum.

Only newbs let guests walk all over them. I’m not calling you a newb, I’m just saying if you kow tow to guests you haven’t been doing this very long. :rofl: