Early check in vs adding a day

We all get requests for early check in.
A couple hours usually isn’t a big deal, as long as the cleaning to get done in time.
At what point should you insist the guest purchase the night before, rather than giving an early check-in?

Based on an exchange here on the forum my listing says that an early check-in before 3 pm [our normal check-in time is 4 pm], if available, is at 50% of the nightly rate including additional guest fees.

We get few requests.

If our property is available earlier than the normal 4 pm check-in time we usually offer it on a complimentary basis.

The challenge for us is that: Especially in summer we have turnovers the same day. So our cleaners are scheduled to start at 10 am, and they generally finish about 2 pm. But then we need to inspect and refine, so the place is rarely available before 3 pm.

If the guest asks for an early check-in even a week ahead of time I won’t know if I’ll have a guest that makes an early check-in problematic, OR if I do have a day or two in between guests whether I need that time for minor repair/maintenance projects.

Each of our messages references the date of check-in and its 4 pm time, as well as the date of check-out and its 10 am time. We think that this helps us with guests knowing the times and deters requests for changes.


Thank you - I appreciate you taking the time to reply in such detail.

I have also done same-day turnovers and my check in is 4pm. I say 3pm if the place is clean. Many people have had early flights that get in in the morning and those I suggest they either book the night before OR get breakfast and be a tourist until 3pm. One asked me what she was supposed to do with her luggage and I asked if she was renting a sedan with trunk space - then put the luggage in the locked trunk (can’t believe I had to say that) and come later in the day.

I tried the “half day fee” and it didn’t go over well, so now I just say - night before OR play tourist. That has not affected bookings and has saved hassle.


We do the same.

We’ve had one that said they just need a shower and I gave them a place where they can take a shower at Logan airport, one of the airport clubs (there’s a small cost).

No one has taken us up on our listing’s offer to pay for an early check-in. If they ever did, I haven’t thought through what my rationale would be for not permitting, say, an 8 am check-in. I think of an early check-in no earlier than noon but I really can’t defend that.

The early check-in is more for deterrence and to assure us that they really want it, as I’m sure you have had the experience we have where someone who requests an early check-in but in reality they want that ‘just to keep their options open.’ Usually they end up checking in well after the regular check-in time. And why not? If all you have to do is ask.

We’re happy to take in luggage in our garage, though I think that request is subterfuge to just get in the house, which we wouldn’t generally permit. Why not the trunk? But we’ve had a few guests without vehicles or with lots of luggage, so it could be legit.

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Thanks for sharing - good points !

Thanks, I think I’m going to follow the lead that is described her: Nothing before 2:00 based on normal 4:00 check-in - if you want it early, just like a hotel, book the night before.



Do you mean 3 pm?

Of course, 2 pm is nicer for the guest. Either way, I might say something like “I’ve worked with our cleaners and we’re now able to accommodate your request for a 2:00 pm early check-in on a complimentary basis.”

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IMHO there is no ‘should’. It depends on your own situation.

I have allowed an early check-in as ridiculously early as 7am, because:

  • it was a two week booking

  • I leave two days between stays, so it wouldn’t have been booked anyway

  • they were coming straight from the airport after an overseas flight

I know some hosts feel like my approach makes their own lives more difficult, but I stand by the notion that all Airbnb’s are unique, and I’m happy to give away for free something that costs me nothing.


I leave a day between bookings and my check-in time is 11am-11pm. Eliminates the early check-in scenario, rushing to get it ready. Some would say I’m losing money by not doing back-to-back bookings, but I prefer stress-free hosting.
Seems like half the time guests ask for early check-in and the host goes out of their way to accommodate, the guests don’t show up for hours after they said they wouid, anyway.


That happened to me last week - a wedding party was coming in, and asked for early arrival, had it ready by 2:00 - arrived at 7:51 pm. SMH

I offer check in up to 4 hours prior for 1/4 of the daily rate (rounded up). Very few askers become takers at that point.


This happens a lot.

If a guest asks you well ahead of time you can ask the guest to get back to you three days before check-in, explaining that you could get a guest reservation between now and then, but if they contact you three days ahead of time you’ll know then whether you have a guest or a work project at the property that would preclude an early check-in.

That way – IF they think about it – they COULD offer to pay something for an early check-in as they realize by that explanation that this is potentially a revenue decision to you, not just something that costs you nothing that you could give away if you want to. IF they don’t offer something I’m not inclined to give it away because for us it involves a sacrifice and planning, and regardless I don’t think most guests appreciate it.

IF they ask at the last minute, say a day ahead of time, for me it depends on when the cleaners are scheduled. Most of the time they’re scheduled for 10 am, but sometimes they can’t come until noon. If they’re planning to come in later, I give the guests the late check-out up until noon; but if the cleaners are planning on coming in at 10 I don’t put the cleaners out (and they’re busy; it would be a BIG inconvenience for them to re-arrange if even they could) and then I do not offer the late checkout.

If I’m going to give an early check-in or late check-out by more than say an hour, then I want to get ‘credit’ for it. Even if it was not an inconvenience for me I’d want either a fee or knowledge that I was building a lot of good will because the notion that we sell based on our costs is really old-fashioned and limiting; ultimately we sell based on value received and on that basis guests who value early check-in or late checkout should in my opinion pay or I should believe I’m getting lots of goodwill.

Failing to generate potential revenues would violate the spirit of the Ferengi’s Rules of Acquisition if not specific injunctions and eternal truths [StarTrek The Next Generation reference].

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I’ve posted here elsewhere about the guy who requested to book, not instant book and asked if he could check in between 12pm-2pm. I said yes because the room was ready since I didn’t have a booking the previous night. He didn’t show up until 1:30. He and his guest stayed two hours then left. They didn’t have luggage just a large bag that looked similar to large shopping bag. He didn’t return after 3:30 pm and he left the room in good condition. He also left a 5 star review. I left him all 5 stars other than lowering the rating on rules because he only booked for one person.

Friday morning he again requested 12-2 check in and indicated there would be him, one other adult and an infant. He arrived at 3:30 pm and his guest arrived shortly after, no luggage but infant in tow in a carrier. Again they only stayed two hours. I’m quite pleased with this early check in guest but most guests just want extra time for free and when you do a lot of one night bookings as I do, it’s not possible to accommodate them. Every host and every booking is potentially different.

Certainly anyone who wants to check in before the previous check out time of the prior night’s guest has to book the added night to ensure that no guest will be in the room when they check in. No guest should expect you to give up a night’s income and give them extra time in the room for free.


Yeah that’s not what I’m doing… basically my cost for every guest is minimal, aside from the cleaner and a few supplies.

My only real costs are opportunity costs— what else I could be doing with my money and my energy.

It suits me just fine to give up a tiny bit of potential cash on the rare occasion that I’m asked for an early check-in. The ability to say, “Sure, no problem!” is very freeing, and I will always say it whenever I can. Pinching pennies is way too exhausting.



But you’ll never be able to say you’re a Ferengi Host.

So there’s that.


Yes, there are so many issues hosts post about, that to me could be entirely eliminated by understanding that focusing on the highest profit possible isn’t necessarily worth it.

When hosts want to flip their properties in a few hours to do same day bookings, they run into:

Fielding requests for early check-in.

Reaping bad, retaliatory reviews because you didn’t say yes.

Having to nudge guests to check out on time.

Being super stressed out when they don’t, rushing to get the place cleaned before the next guest arrives.

Occasionally having to cancel the next guest, or apologetically tell them it won’t be ready on time, when you find the previous guests left a disastrous mess, damages, or stunk the place up by smoking or using heavy perfumes or cooking highly odorous food.

To me, it’s far preferable to lose a night’s fee by leaving a night between bookings than to be ongoingly dealing with all or any of these issues.
And being able to accommodate a guest’s early or late flight leads to good reviews. Lots of my guests have flights which leave in the mid-late afternoon or early evening.

Making them check-out by 11 would mean they would have to find somewhere else to hang out, shlepping their luggage until it was time to go to the airport. While they may be accepting of following an 11am check-out and not specifically complain about it, and had no issues with their stay, I think anything which inconveniences a guest’s trip can influence the rating they leave.

I also find guests to be quite respectful when they feel you are generously accommodating. I recently had a guest who didn’t need to be at the airport until 8pm (my listed check-out time is 4pm). While I didn’t have anyone booked in that night, I had another guest checking in the next morning and needed time to clean, which I mentioned to the guest, but didn’t tell him he had to be out by 4. On his own initiative, he packed up his stuff and tidied up his room and bathroom by noon, so I could get in to do my cleaning, went into town and came back to pick up his luggage around 5.

I am sure that my solid 5* review history is partly due to being able to be easily accommodating without a bunch of negotiating, extra fees, etc.


Another thing I like about not doing back-to-back bookings, because I do my own cleaning, is that if I’m busy and pressed for time, or have other plans, I often will do half the cleaning in the afternoon after a guest checks out, then finish up the next morning. I like the flexibility of not having to be confined to a continous cleaning time slot.

Our check in time is 2 PM and we rarely get requests for early check-in. We do let people leave luggage. When they bring luggage, if their room is ready because it wasn’t booked the night before or previous guests left early, we let them check in then.

I just tell the guest I am unsure if the cabin will be ready before 3:00 and I will text them if it is available sooner. Then I usually text between 2 and 215 and say
Good news the cabin is prepared for you, the gate is open and you can check in anytime

If they ask can we pay for early check in then I would suggest booking another night


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