A little jolt of joy

Pre-covid, I thought it was important to meet and greet guests when possible. I thought that seeing I was a human would have them making less mess maybe, but I have nothing on which to base this.
Since we’ve been back up and running I’ve moved to 100% self-check-in.
You who meet and greet guests know the drill. They tell you they are coming at 2 pm. At 2:10 they write to say they are running a little late and it will be more like 3. At 3:10 they write…, etc. I missed/was late for so many things while waiting, impatiently, for those guests.
These days no one has to tell me when they are arriving, but today’s guest did for some reason. She said, “I plan to get there right at 2 pm.”
It’s now 4:30 pm and I’ve looked out and she’s not here. And it doesn’t matter! This is amazing! I LOVE self-check-in!
Sure, I have no place to go – we’re still mostly locked down – but perhaps I will go for a walk JUST BECAUSE I CAN! Woo-hoo!
I will write to update you if, after my walk, she still hasn’t arrived and I am overcome with the need to “reach out”, in Airbnbspeak, and see if she’s okay. You can talk me down. Thanks.

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I met, greeted and showed guests the rental at my former STR and I thought that was the way to do it.
At my new house and because of Covid, I have it set up that I don’t need to meet them. It seemed really odd for the early ones, now I’m used to it and it feels normal.
I just message more now, before they arrive and after they arrive and then before they leave, so they know I’m real.

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I have the best of both. I’m 100% self check in but since I live here I often pop out and say hi when I see they’ve arrived. I used to always show them in and point out a couple of things but after reading here and noting how the guests responded to that I realized I was “teaching a pig to sing.” Also, the more I thought about it the more I thought that if I rent a stand alone place I’ve never gotten or wanted a “tour.”

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I still do. And it’s possible with masks and social distancing.

I have a system though which combines meet & greet with self check in which might be of interest to some hosts. I schedule myself to work at home on arrival day between 4pm (check in time) until about 8pm (depending on how much work I have to do).

Then I tell the guests that check in is at four and that I’ll be there to show them where to park and let them in to their apartment. (So they know they can’t get in otherwise). But then I say that if they have traffic or other delays to let me know and I’ll arrange self check in for them after 8 pm.

This way the ones who don’t mind the tour etc. can choose to arrive between 4 and 8. Those who think meeting the host is hell (and I’m not keen on it to be honest) can go to dinner or whatever and use self check in.

Mind you, I can easily do this because I’m on the spot - it couldn’t work remotely.

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I still do no self checkin, because they have to meet me 1 mile away. They have to be in text contact and reasonably straight about arrival time. Yes, there are small delays and changes but I blow with those winds pretty ok in order to introduce Gypsy and our special Str .

If I had more than 4 people arriving, usually it’s 2 , or more than 1 rental space it would be different!

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If there are women traveling alone and reach out to you to say they’d like to meet or just someone that seems open to it, I’m all for a little conversation on the porch.
As I’ve told many people, it was my interaction with guests at my other STR that was the driver, helping them with birding, hiking or eating is what I did. It was personal and I loved it.

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We opened during covid so I’ve only done self check-in as a host, but I have to say as a guest I always preferred it. After a long day of travel and with a kid in tow, sometimes you just want to sit and take a breath before meeting someone. Plus I’d always feel awful about running late and stressed about making sure the host could be available when we arrive and that they weren’t inconvenienced.

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My properties are all old and have idiosyncratic features that need to be explained. I only ask that they give me a 20 warning of when they are getting close. When I get the heads up……I send the wifi password.
Tour takes 5 minutes and I answer questions about the buildings.
Only one guest ever complained and he was an entitled PITA who hadn’t read the listing

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Yes, agreeing with everyone. For some places and situations, meet-and-greet really is the thing.
I admit to sometimes making sure I am working in the garden near their car when they are packing out. Then a little interaction works well if it happens to happen.
I’m still happy about not being tied to constantly changing arrival times. Current guest just arrived, only five hours late. So really happy.
It’s not foolproof. My last guests asked so many questions through the messaging that I asked whether they had read the letter I left for them. No, they hadn’t. They had thrown it onto the floor of their truck. They added an LOL when admitting it.
I like your system, @jaquo . I did try to be firm before, but obviously was not, and parameters like yours might firm things up further if I go back to face-to-face. I don’t know. They really didn’t seem to care at all about times.
Yes, @HudsonNY , same. I’m not opposed to meeting hosts at all, but I’m perfectly happy with self-check-in when travelling. Prefer it on stressful days.

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I cannot understand people like this. It isn’t LOL, as they seemed to think. It’s just plain rude and disrespectful. As if you just wrote the letter for the hell of it, because you have nothing else to do with your time.

It would be like them cooking a nice meal for you, and you take the whole plate full of food and scrape it into the compost pail.

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I do too. Both when I’m a guest and when I’m a host.

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I wish I could do self check-in, but our city mandates meeting guests in person. While I like meeting guests in person, this option would be a huge help. Our city thinks that in person check-ins reduce problems from Airbnb ‘s (like more guests coming in than allowed), but I think that having outdoor security cameras achieves that purpose far better.

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I have always done meet and greet for 3 reasons-- to share little “personality quirks” of the place that they probably won’t bother reading in the house manual; to try and instill honest guest count; and to try and put a human element/face to my home so guests will know I care and hopefully treat my place respectfully.
I do work hard to try and make them happy (aka try to earn a high star rating.) I enjoy interacting, so it didn’t occur to me that other people might not appreciate that personal interaction. But after many struggles with check-in delays, which was getting frustrating, I thought I would try self check-in. I bought a keypad deadbolt, and last weekend was my first trial. Guess what happened? The 5 guests turned into a 45 person rager with a party bus showing up!! Ruined the integrity of my house in ways I never considered. Back to personal check-ins and staying very nearby! Ugh.

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There are other things you can do to decrease the chance of this happening. One, you must have exterior cameras on the property. Two, was this a booking just for one or two nights? If this house is large enough to hold a 45 person party then make a 3 night minimum in high season. Right now demand is through the roof and you can easily raise prices and length of minimum stay.

Cleaning fees are a contentious topic but if I had an entire home I’d probably have a high cleaning fee and then refund part of it if the house was left in good condition.

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I cohost a house down the road - it is secluded and in the woods and does not have an address. The address on the listing is the address for the owner and she pays me to make sure guests do not disturb her. I have an automatic reply that asks guests to meet me at my house a few miles down the road and they can follow me in their car to check into the cabin. Once or twice a season someone ignores the reply to meet me at my house and shows up at the owner’s house. Most of the time she is not there and I get urgent texts from guests asking me where I am. Sigh. I have a very busy life and hate waiting around for guests to arrive. Check in is 3 pm to 8 pm. Most guests are coming from the city and they get stuck in traffic so 3 becomes 4 and 4 becomes 5 and 5 becomes six because they decided to stop and get food. Sigh. Yesterday a guest booked the cabin and said, I am arriving late, hope that is ok. I responded with Check in is no later than 8 pm. (Because you know their late check in of 10 becomes 11 and becomes midnight and I get up at 5 am) I told them that if they could not accommodate the 8 pm check in then they could cancel the reservation without penalty. I also suggested they leave super early in the morning and the next day and I would happily meet them any time after 5 am. They wrote a long plea message about wanting to wake up at the cabin. Boo hoo Ya da ya da. I did not budge. Somehow they managed to change their plans and expect to arrive at 5 pm which becomes 6 pm which become 7 pm. At my other property, which I own, I charge a $35 late arrival fee. I’ve only had to charge two persons in five years because they stopped to eat dinner and did not communicate with me. They understood the rules and paid the late arrival fee. The majority of guests are super communicative and great guests.

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Thank you for the suggestions. I love the idea of returning a portion of the cleaning fee if they leave things in good condition! I have a 2 night minimum but have been considering making it 3 nights, great suggestion.

I do have 8 security cameras all around the exterior of the home, but it doesn’t always connect to my phone- wifi struggles I suspect. The cameras mostly only help confirm issues when I return to review footage, and by then the damage is done. If I make a 3 nite minimum stay and raise rates, that may help. But I’m still going to stay very close by from now on.
Thanks again for great suggestions!
V

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Also telling the booking guest that you will check them in personally and that you live nearby can help deter problems. A guest planning a party will be put off by that. Then you can always let them self check in if need be if something comes up. Don’t let one or two bad guests put you off from what are mostly good guests.

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I have a similar arrangement in that I live on ther premises but rely 100% on self check in. However, if I notice a Lyft/Uber pull up to deposit a guest. I’ll go out and greet them. Travelers from abroad always seem to appreciate that. From my perspective, the payback is when guests open the apt door, and exclaim “Oh, this is really lovely!” I’ll mention where things are stored, tell them where the closest restaurant / grocery is and how to reach me quickly, then I’m gone.

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One of the best hosting decisions I’ve ever made

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