After dark, after hour arrival at country property not feasible. What to do if this happens?

I’m a relatively new host and have seen postings related to this but they don’t quite answer a question I have.
I live in town, and rent out a cabin 25 minutes away. Check in time now corresponds with sunset, and I explain why this is when people make a reservation. It is at the top of a long, steep gravel driveway and one has to drive on country roads to get there. These roads are mostly unlit at night. It really isn’t easy to find at night, and doesn’t feel safe to have people go up the driveway the first time in the dark. There are gates, junctions, ditches etc…
Self check in also wouldn’t work because there are a number of things I need to orient people around (the sofa bed, propane stove, walking around the property). So I feel it’s necessary for me to be there when people arrive.
My question is: What happens if people end up arriving late - well after check in time and dark - either through their own actions or no fault of their own? Is there a policy for dealing with these situations through airbnb, or a policy others have used that both takes care of the guest and allows me to avoid late night stress and worry?
Thank you!

We are only 1.5 miles off the beaten track and I meet guests day or evening and they follow me up. They love the confidence of not having to worry about finding a destination. Sets them off on the right foot into thinking they are headed somewhere cool. I tell them they will get lost if they try to find the Tiny Tiki Retro Hideaway (true!)

Would you consider doing this? Personalized type check in? If it’s so hard at night it sounds like it could be difficult for some in the daytime, too. If you’re there already to do no self check-in, this approach could work for you ( If they text you when they are actually xx minutes away) like it does for us:)… but guests should always adhere to your check-in schedule parameters unless they have made a special request in advance. Do you have a 3 or 4 hour window when they can come?
Luckily our 50 couples have all been pretty responsible and easy in this regard, but we are onsite and can be flexible.

If they have already driven off the proverbial road on the way, you may not even want them to arrive…

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Check-in “at sunset” just isn’t going to work, as non-local people have no idea of when that will be in any given week (most locals won’t know either!).

I would set a rigid 2 hour check-in window and have them meet you at a gas station or some place and then have them follow you to the place.

In all Caps prominently written on your listing page. And in your Thanks for Booking note to them you need to explain (again) that "All Guests MUST call you when they are 20-30 minutes from town or whatever, and MUST meet you at the gas station to be led to the place. If they can’t follow those directions they should not bother booking with you.


Any free weather app will tell you when sunset occurs. Just sayin’


Ken doesn’t use apps

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Well there’s always the newspaper or they could ask.

I message my guests the day before they arrive to make sure we are all on the same page.

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Thanks for your responses and suggestions. I do let people know the check-in time (it’s a 6-8 hour window), and adjust the end time according to when it gets dark (I don’t make them look it up). Meeting them at a nearby landmark and driving up with them is a good idea especially when it gets dark early.

The question I still have, though, is what do you do if the person is going to be waaaay late, for whatever reason. Since self check-in doesn’t work here, am I required to be available to escort them up the hill and let them in, regardless of the time of day or night? Or is there a point at which I can legitimately say that I’m really sorry, it’s past check in time, and some other arrangements need to be made? If so, what might those be?

Perhaps I make it clear in my listing that because of the circumstances (which I describe) I’m not able to accommodate check in’s past a certain time. And if it turns out they aren’t able to make it by that time, I would be happy to give them the names of nearby hotels for the first night. And if so, do I then refund all or part of the first night???

Definitely would welcome your thoughts.

Thank you!

Yes, you certainly can restrict hours of check-in time. That was discussed on another thread recently, too. Just be very clear about it (“No check in after 10 pm”) and then don’t let the guests wiggle out of it.


Yes and yes would be my advice, but perhaps there are tweaks possible –

Alternatively, do you have spare rooms or an Idaho guest room (j/k, travel camper) on your own property for those who miss sunset, so you would not have to pay for a hotel?

Or a short-term rental in your town they could go to, instead of a hotel? Perhaps with the rental being on stand-by each night you have a check-in?

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You expect people who don’t read listings to check a weather app to determine when sunset occurs??? Optimist!!!

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? weather app ?

Google (anyplace) sunset, back comes:

It could not be any easier.

Build your check in requirements into the rules, your first communication with them, etc.

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Ask Siri/Google/Alexa.

Id say establish a window of hours when they can check-in (sunset in winter is different than sunset in summer).

when someone books you reply immediately to them explaining what you told us, that they have to check in between 5-7PM lets say and that is because of…

Also put in caps that there will be no late check-ins and if they are going to be late better turn around and find a hotel.

Put this in your rules too, but you must send it to them because people don’t read rules.

Also put strict cancellation policy, so if some people are late and end up in a motel, they won’t be able to get all of their money back. It will be their fault if they are late.

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Just take charge. (Remember too that guests are grown-up people who don’t need hosts to hold their hands during their travel. We are not nannies :slight_smile: )

In your listing, state clearly that you only allow check ins during the 2 (3, 4 whatever you choose) hours before sunset and that you’ll advise them of the time when they book.

When they book reiterate the check in times but because they are now booked guests, give them the accurate times. Explain to them that they must make their travel arrangements accordingly.

If your cut off time arrives, but your guests are still not there, turn off your phone. Leave a message in the Airbnb message system telling them that they were two late and you look forward to seeing them next day.

It is the guests’ responsibility to arrive at a decent hour, not yours.

If they are delayed for reasons beyond their control, then the chances are that this won’t happen often. If it happens once every couple of months, you can probably live with having to go out to the rental with them after dark. If not, then (this sounds harsh, I know) then it’s their problem.

If I am delayed on a flight and miss the connection, that’s my problem, right? So don’t feel that you’re being unreasonable. If you’ve given them a reasonable window - three to four hours for example - then you’ve done what you can.

As long as the guests know what the cut off time is and know that they won’t be able to get into the rental without being there at a time to meet you, then it’s amazing how they can suddenly arrive on time :slight_smile:


Thanks for your suggestions. This is what I decided to do:

In ‘House rules’ in the posting, I added:

of the rural nature of the property, it’s best to navigate the first time when
it’s light and we can be there to show you around. So, we’re really sorry we
cannot make exceptions to the 12-7 pm check in time, unless you’re a returning

I’ll repeat this and have the guest confirm when I write to them after they make a reservation.

And, when I send driving directions, I’ll let them know that if something comes up and it turns out they’re going to be late, they should contact me (give cell phone number) and ABB so we can make accommodations.

ABB customer support said that in those circumstances they can help the guest find another place for the first night, and the guest will have the choice of staying at my place the rest of the time (I have a 2 night minimum), or cancelling completely.

No penalty to me, except a financial one, and that works for me.

Thanks again for your help.


Calm down Francis! :upside_down_face:

I was “just saying” it’s easy to find out when sunset occurs at anyplace in the world through a weather app and if you read my other post you would have seen that I also touch base with my guests a day prior to their arrival to confirm all the particulars and answer any questions they may have.

Hey. Early birds can find out sunrise too! Not me—but early birds can. Unless sunrise is after 8 am, I won’t see the pink glow of a fresh new day beginning

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I might be a bit firmer, and put it up front in the short description. “NOTE: Daylight check-in required to access property.”
Then explain further in the detailed description: “For your safety, due to the rural nature of the property, we cannot accommodate arrivals after dark. We look forward to welcoming you and orienting you to the access road and property during our 12-7 pm check in timeframe.”


Thanks again to everyone who responded for your thoughtful feedback. I’m finding I especially appreciate the feedback that supports me in being clear. And firm. It seems like that will work best for the guests, as well, as getting here safely is also in their best interest…

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