Addressing guests who arrive hours ahead of check-in time?

Hi there,

I am new to the forum and also pretty new to AirBNB so I am hoping to get some good advice here.

The listing I have on AirBNB is a private guest room with a shared bath (shared with me, the owner - my house only has one bath). I’ve got 10 completed stays under my belt with 5 star reviews as a host across the board so far.

I have check-in time listed as 3 PM and check out time listed as 11 AM.

So today I had a guest scheduled to arrive at 3 PM. Yesterday afternoon she sent me a message on AirBNB that said “I just noticed check-in time is 3 PM. I’ll be getting into (city) at 11 AM. Am I able to come early?” I was driving when I received that, and I have a within the hour response rate. Yet, not even 2 minutes after messaging, she called and asked the same question. I explained to her that I can’t guarantee the bed will be made before 3 PM, etc. She said “That’s OK. I just need somewhere to leave my bags.” I told her she could stop by and leave her bags, no issue. I am reasonably flexible between having a lock box for guests if I’m not home, and working from home often.

Except…today she got here at 11:30 AM.

She went to the front door for entrance (I send out instructions to all guests telling them to come to the side door - front door is original to the house and the lock/doorknob do not work well nor do I have a key for it).

I showed her where the side door is, the bathroom, and the guest room.

She has now settled in and save for leaving briefly to the convenience store has made herself at home. Made coffee (not an issue - it’s there for guests) and got on my wifi (also for guests). I don’t have an issue other than…she’s here 3.5 hours early.

This is not what I call “leaving bags.” I thought it would literally be…she comes in, leaves bags, goes away til after 3.

I do not know how to address this with her without risking a bad review or appearing rude. Should I just wait and knock stars off her review as a guest after she leaves? Is this a common thing, that guests expect AirBNB hosts to allow this even though hotels usually won’t? I still need to make her bed, and now I feel like while I do that she is going to be standing there watching me and it’s just super awkward.

Also - earlier this week I updated my house manual and listing to reflect STRICT 3 PM check-in time and that I’m happy to direct to area attractions if you’re in town ahead of that. Now I feel like I will have to update it again and say “due to previous guests taking advantage, I can no longer allow luggage storage ahead of check in.” I mean there’s only so much I can do if people don’t read, but still.

Anyways, any advice to prevent this from happening in the future would be great! This was kind of just venting too but man, am I mad. I wish there was a way to charge an extra fee through the site for early arrivals.

Kill her with kindness, then ding her big time in the review.


You should not have allowed her to make herself at home. Once she was in and had literally set her bags down, you should have not given her a key, you should have said “You’ll have to leave now as I have many things to do before the official 3PM check-in. You can go here…or there…”


Say this:

‘You are welcome to leave your bags here. Just text me when you arrive and I’ll meet you and store your luggage for you. As you know, check in is at 3 pm but if I can get the room ready for you before that time, I’ll text you to let you know, Would you like me to recommend some places you can go to for lunch?’

Please be as firm as you can with your guests. The problem is that when new hosts aren’t. then the guests get ‘trained’ that their behaviour is acceptable. Then they are disappointed when they come across a host who sticks to the rules. It’s to everyone’s benefit in the end.


Was there no mention of “okay - your bedroom will be ready for you at 3 p.m. Do you remember how to get back in?” - or just anything to indicate that the room will not be ready…see ya later…bye bye.

Also, I wonder if because you showed her the bathroom and her room - that she took it to mean she could hang out. She may just be completely clueless.

I wouldn’t change your house rules just because of her. Just be better prepared next time. It’s hard when we are caught off guard with guests. It’s just part of the learning curve.

So next time you will know to be clearer and say “I don’t allow guests to check in, nor use the facilities before check in time. I need the complete time to prepare your room, bathroom, etc. But I don’t mind if you want to drop off your luggage to take it off your hands. I’ll meet you at the door and I’ll bring it inside.” - I don’t know…something to that effect.

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I was typing when you were typing…but yours sounds better :slight_smile:


I have this issue from time to time. I try to keep the rest of the house other than the guest bedroom clean enough for the guests who have early flights. One time I had a guest ask to arrive at 9:00 A.M. (My check in time is 3:00 P.M.) to drop off her bags. She settled in and requested lots of attention from me: glass of water, information about the area, etc. I finally told her outright that the prior guests had left half an hour before she arrived and I needed to excuse myself to clean her room.

If you want to stop letting people drop their luggage, you’ve taken the correct step in adding a strict check in time.

These issues are easily solved. DON’T LET THEM COME EARLY. Even if the room is ready. Sorry, the room is still being cleaned and will be ready at 3. See you then! Guests are used to doing this at a hotel, figuring the room is ready so why not. Well you don’t have 140 rooms to rent, some of which may already be clean. And if they aren’t ready, do they let you come while housekeeping is making up beds and putting out little soaps? NO. They make you sit in the lobby and wait… or they store you bags with the bellhop. In the lobby.

Arriving hours early is like getting an extra from me. It’s like me going in the market and asking for a free gallon of milk because I am going to buy some other groceries. She just ripped you off essentially. She got almost 4 hours of free time she didn’t pay for.

I learned as a new host almost seven years ago, that once they are in the room, THEY ARE IN. It’s like putting toothpaste back in the tube. Can’t be done. Just say no to early arrivals. In my info, I state, “Sorry I can’t accommodate early arrivals but fortunately there are some great things to do if you arrive to Kona early…” and proceed to list them. I never allow early arrivals!

Don’t put that in your rules either about guests taking advantage. No one can take advantage of you without your permission… It sounds lame. Simply state… check in is 3 Firm. I can’t accommodate early arrivals. TAKE CHARGE HERE!
That should solve it!


Thanks everyone! Fortunately for me this is the only time this has happened. I really want to make sure it never happens again. Next time I am just outright saying NO to early luggage drop-offs.


I had a guest who was very persistent and I told more than once check in time was 3pm.
They still arrived early…
All I could do was give them a lower rating after check out and told then way I did it.

@southernbuckeye - I’ve had guests leave bags many times and never had this problem, so don’t think that it always will.

But as others have said, don’t give them a tour, just stand there at the door, take the bags, and wave bye-bye. “OK! Well, see you at 3:00!”. I agree with @cabinhost that you unwittingly welcomed her in and she just assumed it was ok to hang out.

We are all learning step-by-step!!!


I had a group show up hours early, stood in the doorway and gave them directions to town so they could do some sightseeing. Told them it wasn’t check in time, room not ready. I have agreed to early checkins when I’ve been asked beforehand and it fits with my life. If they are in a vehicle there is no reason for them to drop off bags.
Too bad this woman ruined your day.

I used to be flexible but guests weren’t grateful or ended up showing even earlier than expected. I am now firm. “Check-in is from 3PM onwards, as specified in the listing and in your confirmation.”

If the previous night is available, I also tell the guest that he/she can book the previous night to benefit from early check-in. It worked once :).


I don’t allow guests to my place before the check in time. I give them information about bag storage facilities in the city

I’m curious what those facilities cost. We do have such a thing at the train station in town, but the prices are exorbitant. Only suitable for an hour, at the most 2. After that they could just buy all new things for what it costs them! So it doesn’t seem reasonable to me. But again, for me, it’s not big deal. They show up, put their bags in the living room, and leave. I often have tourist maps, metro guides, that I hand them on the way out. It doesn’t cost me anything.

Charge a fee for early check in.

Is there a way to do this via AirBNB?

I am going to edit the initial “Thanks for booking” message that I send to people to book to include the 3 PM rule in it as well. That way, 3 PM is on the listing, in the thanks for booking message, and then in the pre-arrival message I send out the day before.

No one can plead ignorance if they are told that many times!

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Add it into the verbiage. Learn from this woman:


where I live is 5Euro for 24 hours. The tourist office also offer the storage facility at same price.

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