I agree with @konacoconutz. Clarity is really important with hosting - especially with check-in times. I work 3 jobs and have a very tight check-in window (6-8 p.m.). You’d think this would be an issue - thankfully, that’s not the case! If people need a different check in time, they ask and I can either accommodate it, or not. Another thing is that there is a company that will pick up a guest’s luggage from the airport, hang onto it and then will drop it off for them at the time they requested and it’s about $15. So if they have to entertain themselves before I get home from work (self-check in is not an option, too many little details that need to be shown right away to avoid issues with neighbours and other guests etc.), they have the option of not hauling their luggage around (and my hearing about it).
So, my process is always:
- Send response email to inquiry/booking request.
- Prior to pre-accepting/accepting any bookings I require all guests to confirm that they’ve read my entire email (including house rules and amenities - you’d be amazed at how many people get weeded out because of this small step - which may have allowed me to dodge a bullet more times than I can count) as well, they’ve confirmed that fact that they know there’s a friendly indoor cat who hangs out in all of the common areas.
- Once they’ve confirmed all of the above information, and I’ve accepted the booking, I immediately send an email thanking them for booking with me and saying "As you’ve seen in the listing, my check in time is 6-8 p.m., I do try to be flexible wherever possible. Will you be arriving in Toronto that day, or will you already be here? If you’re arriving that day, I do ask everyone for the following information (so that I can track the flight online and will know if there are any delays)
- Airline/transportation company (if arriving by train/bus):
- Flight number
- City of Departure
- Time of Departure
- Expected arrival time at Toronto Pearson/Billy Bishop Airport"
So this already clears up any possibly last minute issues with a lack of communication. Everyone appreciates the clarity, I can see online if there’s a flight delay and the conversation about check-in happens quickly.
More often than not I receive a request/inquiry (as I did yesterday) from a guest, saying that his flight will be arriving at 10:30 p.m, and if it was possible to still book. Since I know this in advance, I’m able to accommodate this (with the caveat that he will take a taxi/uber to the house -vs. public transit), as I can’t stay up much later because of my work schedule). He was happy to agree.
As far as check-out - either the day before or two days before, I send a friendly email, saying “Hi… I just wanted to touch base with you about check-out on Thursday (or whatever day they’re leaving). Check-out time is before 11 a.m., (in the instances where I’m not itching to get them out of my hair asap) however, I don’t need to clean the room until 1 p.m, so if you wanted to stay later, you’re welcome to do so. Please let me know what works for you.” Once I hear back, I send a thank-you, with final check-out instructions (to leave the key on the desk, hang up any wet towels, and to leave all bedding on the bed). It works like a charm! Boundaries are clear and even if they don’t need a later check-out time, they appreciate the offer.
In the instances where they’re great guests but need to clear the room, I do occasionally offer to let them leave their luggage in the front hall as long as they pick it up by (for example 5 p.m.) so that there’s no overlap between outgoing and incoming guests (tight hallway, will feel crowded and I want everyone to feel comfortable).
I’ve been hosting for years (did homestay before Airbnb) and the one thing I’ve learned is lay out the rules clearly beforehand. It’s the vagueness that creates resentment on both ends. I’m happy to report that the signs I have all over the house ( Such as: “Please remove outdoor shoes” etc. but that’s a whole other post) and in hosting hundreds of people, only one (of course, a local) complained. Everyone else says that they appreciate knowing what is expected (and it makes me feel less stabby).