Check-in time frustrations

I try to be as flexible as possible with guests checking in. If they tell me in advance when they are arriving I will try to be available. Lately, guests are arriving before the time that they originally specified. It’s driving me crazy. Sometime they are coming 5 and 6 hours early. One showed up at 11am when she told me that she wasn’t arriving before 7pm. Is this just the way it goes or is there anything I can do to try to get people to stick to the time originally specified?

What is the check in on your listing?

For us if it’s before the listing check in, I say that they have to come back latter (sometime if the place is ready and no guests before I can give one hour earlier but not more)

Make it clear in your listing. Confirm with them a day of two before arrival that they understand. Make it clear that if they come at a different time they may not be able to check in. I have people tell me they are arriving at 1 or 2 and when I tell them check in begins at 3 they usually say That’s fine, I’ll get something to eat or whatever. Don’t let the guests dictate your schedule or you will burn out. The more popular airbnb becomes, the more problems you are going to have.

Can you set up self check in?

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If you’ve agreed a time then I would just state that earlier check-in isn’t possible as you were working towards a 7pm check-in or you’ve made other plans, etc.

11am is a bit cheeky if not agreed in advance, because most places have check-out times between 10am-noon.


Once I’ve set the check in time I don’t admit guests early. On a fair few occasions I’ve had messages saying ‘we’ve arrived!’ And I reply : 'wonderful! I’ll be able to check you in at the agreed time( xx:xx) but in the meantime feel free to look around the neighbourhood. :slight_smile:

I now say in my message confirming check in that if they arrive early to feel free to take a look around and come back at the agreed check in time.

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I am never “available” early. I imply that I will be out. If they think nobody is home, they don’t come early!

Extra early checkins? Don’t answer the door!

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I message the guests the day before arrival. The message includes ‘as you know, check in is at 4 pm. If you’ll be in town before that time, please let me know and I can recommend some great places for you to enjoy in the meantime. Also, if you’d like me to look after your luggage until 4, please let me know’.

I know that not everyone can offer luggage storage but this could be replaced with information regarding places in your area that provide the service.

Luckily, I have never had guests arrive before check in time.

My advice is to be firm about your check in times (I am taking it that you have made the time clear in your listing) unless it genuinely does not put you out. One of the big down sides of not sticking to your check in time is if you are ‘back to back’, your turn around times will be shortened and disrupted which will cause you unnecessary and avoidable stress and pressure. You will be trying to get a house (or whatever) clean, beds made etc in a shorter timescale not of your choosing and that will add to your pressure, so why would you do that to yourself?

I’m back! Hello all!

Ive decided I don’t need the hassles during the week of guests coming and going on the same day as I work full-time, even getting the room ready at night for a next day guest is a challenge (just did it last night and am training, and paying, my 18yo to help but he has a LONG way to go, you should have seen his “vacuuming” and “bed making” lol.

As such, I never offer early check-in but if requested, make it available if its suits me and leave the key out in a locked box. On weekends I do same day check-in and out am strict with a 10am check-out ‘the cleaner is coming’ (that’s me coming home from yoga at 11) and am strict with the 2pm check-in ‘I’ve arranged to be home at 2pm to greet you, please let me know if you’ll be later so I can change my plans to assist’. I check with every guest 72 hours before arrival (due to internal flights people can travel 2 days to reach me down under) and insist on a check-in time then.

I’m much stricter with guests, spent two weekends before uni went back developing a ‘house manual’ to make my check-in tour less than 3 minutes (you can’t miss it, it has chocolates on top of it!) and have in my ‘house rules’ on the listing site (now much smaller) that they are agreeing to reading and following the manual. I offer to email a Word copy on request for them to translate 2 days before arrival if they are from a NESB. I’ve lifted my prices 15% and never been busier or more relaxed.

Your house, your rules, be firm and the right people will respect it.