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Check in 5 hours early?

I had an inquiry asking me to check in 5 hours early! How would you handle that?

I’m sorry but I’m unable to accommodate early check ins. I suggest you review the suggestions I have put together for guests who arrive early. (These include having a Mai tai in town or walking around one of our free national parks) See you at 4!

First, do you have someone in their space the night before? If it doesn’t cause you a problem then I’d add a nominal fee. I think hotels that permit it get $20-30?

5 hours early collides with my check out. I would say no.

How do you want to handle that? It’s up to you, what fits your style and circumstance.

If you know you won’t have anyone the night before, and can have the space ready, and want to welcome them early, then do so.

Sometimes this suits my family because our evenings can be hectic with work and kid’s activities. I’ve never had an early check-in that turned into a bad guest.

If it’s inconvenient, going to cause you stress, then, don’t.

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Indeed! You’ll get a great review.

My check out is 1PM, which is when she wanted to come in. My check in is 6 because I don’t get off work until 5:30, typically, I have about 20 minutes to clean the room and bathroom before check in. This is a room which has been about 96% full for the past 3 months and she wanted to book a month in advance. I offered to give her the night before for half price ($30). She thought it was too much. I was afraid to let her in early because I cannot clean the room and didn’t know if I’d have a guest the night before just rolling out of it. I’d get a bad review for sure!

This is my first instinct! I am not superwoman and don’t want the guest to walk into a messy room so that I can accommodate the time she wants.


Well, there you have it. You are working until 5:30 and if it would be inconvenient and cause you stress, just decline, as Nancy indicated. Remember, it’s your rental space and you make the rules. Even if a guest’s request is suitable to you in all respects, you are under no obligation to agree ~ you have the absolute choice and power to accept, modify or decline.

My No. 1 rule about early check-in is that the guest is never to see the place in anything but tip-top-ready-to-move-in condition. I instruct my housecleaner not to change the code on the door until she is done and do not even answer the door if there is knocking. I always inform the guest beforehand that they may have access from ___o’clock and not sooner because the cleaner is prepping the place. They may not drop their bags off or use the facilities, etc.

The reason I am so adamant about it is because first impressions are lasting. If the guest sees the bed unmade or any part of the prep being done, they will remember that first impression. No thanks.

Also, although I have relaxed early arrivals on occasion on a gratis basis, when a guest wants a significant time difference from the standard check-in time, I always charge a fee (early check-in or late checkout) and it is at least half a night’s rent. I figure that even if the place is not rented for the connecting night, I still might as well make some money on it.

If I had a response from a guest like you did, that the early check-in fee of $30 was too much, I would not give her any kind of a break at all. She can arrive at the standard time…and not a minute sooner.


We have a whole apartment, and if I can let people check in or out early or late, I do. I don’t let it stress me out, and I certainly don’t let it interfere with my personal time. I also don’t charge anything for it. But if it’s possible based on our schedule, and it doesn’t put me out at all, I do it.

One caveat: if they are too demanding or assume anything–regardless of whether our schedule permits—I kindly let them know that this is not a hotel with multiple rooms available and that our check-in/out times are there to ensure they have a clean apartment to “come home to.”

If we can accommodate an early check in we do, if we can’t we don’t - as already mentioned we’ll suggest alternative things to do, luggage storage option etc. It isn’t something we let stress us out.

We have a four night minimum stay on a whole apartment so sometimes get day or two gaps between stays which does allow us early / late check outs when appropriate. Guests seem to appreciate it when we can offer it but when we can’t it has never been detrimental.

A very smart business woman, SandyToes. I really like the way you think! My feelings as well. I have to protect my ratings and reputation.


I hadn’t thought of that, but it isn’t really an issue for us. Our guest rooms are on the third floor and it’s no problem if guests want to drop their bags early just inside the front door. But I have to be really clear that they can only drop their bags. We’re not busy enough that we can be really tough cookies about this, and frankly it doesn’t bother me anyway. It’s the late arrivers that can be a real nuisance. The worst ones showed up six hours late, with no notice, after what should have been a very straightforward five-hour drive from another city (no kidding: take one highway south for two hours, turn right and take another highway west for three hours). They said they got lost. Bullshit. I happened to be very sick that day and was dying to climb back into bed, but had to sit up waiting for these clowns.

Very simple. Sorry no. Offer to let them check in an hour early if you think you might lose the booking, I wouldn’t, but that is as far as i would suggest. Besides if you have guests checking out, it will be impossible anyhoo :slight_smile:

SHe thought it was too much??? I think you are being overly generous. What if you get a booking the night before?
She is asking something that you cant provide, just say no.
I always ask a host before i book if there is no one the day before can we check in early in a morning. SOme say yes, some say no. If i a person says no, i book with someone else, as for me after a flight this part is very important. Or i book at the hotel and either pay early check in or hope they have other rooms available. And very often they do.
Dcmooney is right, do whats right for you, and then she will figure out whats right for her

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You mention this is an inquiry, and not even a booking request.

Since your check in is at 6 p.m. and to get that done you have to scramble after work…then definitely do not try to accommodate this person.

If you haven’t already I would make a note under house rules stating “Check in and check out times are strict. I cannot accommodate any check ins before 6 p.m. due to my work schedule.”

Since your room stays almost 100% booked then obviously there are enough travelers in your market that do not have an issue with this. I would decline and move along. If you think you can fill the dates with someone else then I would just decline her inquiry. Also, if you tend to get last minute bookings then I wouldn’t give up a full night’s rent to offer someone early check in at half price. I would only if I thought it unlikely the date would be booked.

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I’m flexible if I can be and if it means scoring a long booking I’ll accept an early check in/late check out. I also have set my calender to block off 1 day before and after a booking as I can’t manage a full change over on the same day.

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