Early check in vs adding a day

We have some “Quick Messsages” saved, and they all work well. We have similar ones to handle late checkout requests as well.

For when we don’t know:
Hi [guest first name]! Thanks for your inquiry! We won’t know if we can offer early check-in until closer to the date. It depends on whether there will be a guest checking out at noon that same day. If that ends up being the case, we will need a certain amount of time to properly clean and prepare the cabin in order to give you the best experience possible. We appreciate your understanding. What check-in time are you hoping for?
Bob & Tam

For when we just can’t:
Hi [guest first name]! I’m sorry, but early check-in is not possible at this time. We have guests scheduled to check out at noon on the day you check in, and we need the time to properly clean and prepare the cabin in order to give you the best experience possible. We appreciate your understanding.
-Bob & Tam

For when it’s no problem:
Hi [guest first name]!
We are happy to accommodate your request. You may check in as early as noon [or other].
-Bob & Tam

For whenever we finish cleaning early:
Hi [guest first name],
The cabin is all ready for you [and 2nd guest if applicable]! Feel free to check in anytime!
Bob & Tam


Happened again. Guest asked to let them know if the suite would be ready before check in time. Next message said they would arrive after normal check in time.
Guests routinely tend to be overoptimistic about their travel time.

I don’t go out of my way for an early check in unless 1) they’re a valued repeat customer and I’ll let them know if the suite happens to be ready early or 2) they’re willing to pay my early/late fee.

Back and forth negotiations on arrival and departure take up time, and my time is a valuable as anyone else’s.

I suppose Justice Alito might want to arrive a day early “because it’s vacant anyway.”


Key here is that most guests arrive later than they planned. History here is 99%.

If I get a request for early check-in and we have no idea yet about the night before booking, I just say I will let them know asap.

Yes, I get these entitled requests all the time. I have a saved message that I fire back. It’s annoying to have to provide early check in because of their poor planning or cheap behavior in picking a morning flight. If their child needs a nap that is not my problem. Book the night before or book better flights.

But the cheapos don’t want to do either.

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Cheap behavior in choosing a morning flight? While they shouldn’t try to make their choice your problem by trying to demand an early check-in, choosing an economical flight isn’t “cheap behavior”. Not everyone has unlimited amounts of disposable income. And people with young children often try to book flights that won’t overly disrupt their kids’ nap schedules, because flying with a cranky toddler is a drag, both for the parents and the other passengers.

Many people would never be able to go away on a vacation if they didn’t have low cost alternatives for flights, accomodations, etc. That doesn’t make them “cheap”. Cheap is when you’re wealthy and count your pennies and try to chisel everyone down.

Again, it’s not my problem that they cannot afford to book the night before because of their limited income. Find another place. I usually offer them an offer to cancel and find another place that will “meet their check-in time expectations”. Some have taken me on the offer. I’m so happy that they will not be my problem to deal with.

Now, there are a minority who say, “I understand your check in time is 3 PM, but will you please let us know if it is ready early. We would be very grateful, but if it’s not possible, I understand.”

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Did you miss the part where I concurred that they shouldn’t try to make it your problem?
I just think it’s quite judgemental to characterize someone choosing an early flight because it’s more affordable as “cheap behavior”.


Ah, sometimes the comments here are worth the price of admission.


To all early check in requests I say something like, “Due to the number of same day turn overs we process I am not able to guarantee an early check in. The unit will be ready by the promised check in time of 3PM. On your arrival day I will message you as soon as the unit is ready for check in”

My housekeepers text me when they are done so I send my welcome message as soon as they are done which is usually 30 minutes-1 hour before the official check in time.

I also tell all guests I NEVER offer late check outs. And I don’t- it’s too much of a hassle.

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I’d like to add something to this discussion from the point of view of a guest. We host an STR in CA, and are preparing another, but we also frequently use STRs for travel—so we are sensitive to guests’ needs when they are similar to ours.

When we travel, we like to stay in the same place for 4 nights or more. We often daisy-chain STRs on a 2-, 3- or 4-week trip. Most places have us check out around 10am, which is reasonable. We never ask for a late check-out because we know what a pain it can be. Most places allow check-in around 4:00.

However, by now it is very unsafe to leave luggage in a car: this is not the 1980s any more. We have had our luggage robbed from a sedan’s trunk once, and another time have found our trunk popped open although nothing was stolen because we had already offloaded our luggage. We NEVER leave luggage in a car unless we are in it. What this means, though, is that when you go from place to place you are wasting a day every time.

So we generally book from places where we are allowed to drop our luggage early. We don’t need early check-in, but we do need the ability to leave luggage in a safe place early. We think that most people who travel, at some time or another, do need the ability to leave the luggage early in a safe place. We make sure to allow that in the place we host. We allow early check-in when possible. We always try to make it possible to leave luggage early, though.

I really don’t understand the hostility that so many hosts have to a feature that is important to many people when they travel—not in terms of early check-in, but luggage drop. Not everything needs to result in additional income: @muddy’s ability to pick up people at the airport at no cost is a lovely attention!

I suggest that, if one cannot offer early check-in but has a way to offer early luggage drop, that one offer early luggage drop when asked for early check-in. I think that, in most cases, it will take care of the guest’s need. Best to all.

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I agree.

We offer a complimentary early luggage drop off, which we keep in our garage for the guests.

It’s very easy for us to do this.

I can imagine situations where it’s not easy for the Host to accommodate this, or where some effort at coordination might be necessary.

I might be guilty of over-thinking this but I can imagine situations where a request for a luggage drop-off is really subterfuge by the guest for an early check-in or where the Host suffers some inconvenience to arrange for the luggage drop off but the guest is a no-show. For example, we had a guest who requested an early luggage drop off but when I replied that I would take the. luggage in our garage they lost interest. As a practical matter if the only place for the drop-off is the listing itself it can be awkward to get the guest to leave and come back at the normal check-in time. These issues might discourage some Hosts.


I too will allow guests to leave their luggage - either before their stay or after checkout. However, I take it into my own apartment - I don’t let them into their rental…

"Oh I’ll just use the bathroom while I’m here " is a common comment which in one case led to the guest having a shower, not just a pee. Also, I don’t like guests to see the rentals in a less-than-ready state.

I do wonder whether those hosts who let guests leave luggage in the rentals have this covered by their STR insurance. Some insurance only covers stuff between the ‘official’ check-in and check-out times.

In most towns and cities there are places where luggage can be left for a few hours for a small fee so it’s a good idea for hosts to be aware of these so that they can let the guests who ask for early check in that there are official places to leave their bags.

Some places are specific left-luggage businesses, some bus / train stations have lockers and (here anyway) hotels will take in luggage for non-residents for a small fee.


My car has been broken into twice in the 80’s. It was my trunk in my city. The third time was in the 90’s at a Holiday Inn parking lot in Denver. So my experience isn’t like yours in terms of timing. But in terms of leaving valuables in the car, it’s never been a good idea in my nearly 50 years of driving.

If I lived in a big city with luggage storage places I might not offer luggage drop off, otherwise I would.

I can’t speak for other hosts but this seems to fit in a category of “your problem can’t become my problem.” If luggage drop off doesn’t cause me any problem or extra work, I can do it. Travelers who want luggage drop-off can hopefully find an Airbnb that offers it. It would certainly be a competitive advantage for those hosts who can do it.


Slight correction- I don’t pick them up at the airport. That’s an hour’s drive each way. No way I would do that for free, in fact I wouldn’t do it at all.

I pick them up at the bus station in my town, which is a 5 minute drive from my house. They still have to shlep their luggage up and across the overhead walkway from the airport to the bus stop there.

Of course they could take a taxi from the airport, but most of my guests don’t want to pay the $50-$60 that costs, compared to $2.50 on the bus.


I offer luggage drop off but many hosts don’t have that ability. Airbnb has a check box in the settings where you can put yes or no towards your ability to have luggage dropped off.

At some point, guests need to be responsible for making a good decision: pick a listing that offers luggage drop-off or book an extra night. But many guests are in the category of “my problem is the host’s problem”. I take good care of them in the reviews so they don’t become a problem for another host.


There’s no such thing as a free lunch… Early check-in costs you something.

What does it cost me?

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Because I leave a night free between bookings, my check-in is 11am-11pm. Which suits almost all guests and in fact most don’t check in until mid-late afternoon, because of when their flights arrive.

But a couple of times guests let me know they were arriving in town earlier than that. It didn’t “cost” me anything to accommodate that, because they let me know in time to make sure their space was ready for them. And they weren’t at all pushy about it, so I was happy to accommodate.

I can certainly understand hosts who do back-to back bookings not being able to accommodate early check-in, but it seems that hosts who want to wring every possible penny out of their listings by taking back to back bookings and fast cleanings pay the price in possibly less than stellar reviews, frantic cleanings when outgoing guests have left mess, and some contentious communications with guests. I just prefer to make my hosting job less stressful, and have happy guests who I never have occasion to fret about whether they will leave a 5* review.

To me, if you are in the hospitality business, if you are able to accommodate guests’ individual circumstances without it being a big hassle, there’s no reason not to. If you simply don’t accommodate as a matter of principle, that doesn’t seem very hospitable.

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Agree to disagree with hosts who accommodate early check in. I have a day in between bookings, but early check in has some downsides from my business perspective:

Back and forth time with guests negotiating, limit on how early, etc.
Pressure on my cleaning schedule – I may go out of town or be doing something else in the day between.
Guests who request early check in can be over-optimistic and arrive well after normal check in time anyway.

The product I am selling is time in a short term rental space.

Would I accommodate one of my good repeat guests? Sure. That makes business sense to me. YMMV, you do you.


As I said, “if it isn’t a hassle to accommodate”. I would consider having to spend time “negotiating” with guests to consitute a hassle, as well as dealing with guests who were trying to pressure me or wanting to check in at 7am.

When I asked a guest who was arriving by highway bus from another part of the country for her ETA, she replied that the bus got in at 9am, but that she knew that was too early to check in, so she’d find a cafe to hang out in until my check in time of 11am. Knowing that after a long bus trip, she’d likely be ready for a shower rather than traipsing around with her luggage, and the fact that she was so respectful, it was no hassle for me to offer her to check in when she arrived.

That’s the kind of early check-in accommodation I was referring to, not having to deal with guests who expect you to accommodate them without regard to the host’s own circumstances or respect for the host’s time.

And, as with many other hosts who live in a mostly fly-in destination, 90% of my guests know more or less exactly when they are arriving. So I’m not dealing with guests who are driving and whose arrival may in fact be 3 hours earlier or later than the ETA they gave me, unless they have a delayed flight. And if they tell me their flight arrives at 4pm, I know for a fact they won’t be at my door until 5:30 at the earliest, and that I have all day to clean and prepare.

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