Early check-ins - add it to the "NOPE" list

There was a thread on here awhile back about guests increasingly asking for very early check-ins because of early flights. I was on the “side with them”/“they can’t help it”/“you don’t know the circumstances” “offer an alternative” etc if I was caught not being able to request they book the night due to another booking.

I’d like to change my stance. The last 4 bookings we’ve had (driving in from fairly short distances) asked for an early check-in. We don’t charge for it and I try to accommodate whenever it is possible, and in this case was because we didn’t have a same day flip, but it really is a hassle. Even an hour makes a big difference with double checking the cleaning team, taking videos, moving around my schedule, and having a breathing window in case something needs urgent fixing. It is just more exhausting.

Here I type and the family who HAD to get their vacation started at 1pm today is no where to be found, probably stopped for lunch. The other 3 were hours past normal check-in time, too.

From now on, my only answer will be: “Here are some great places to stop for lunch if you are eager to get to the area. The condo will be ready at the stated check-in time.”


yes, I find that in increasing number of people ask for early check-in.
Due to our location I know most people will turn up late, it’s always further than what they planned for, and many do opt to have lunch, so they often turn up hours after they said they would. It’s not a big deal as we have self check-in, but it’s just annoying at how entitled all these people are, they can’t be bothered to message me except to ask for early check-in and/or late check out. I still try to comply but i have to grit my teeth and force the politeness.


I once had a guest, coming from Canada to Mexico, whose flight was seriously delayed. She had been a great communicator pre-check-in day, and fully kept me up to date on her flight delays. My cut-off check-in time is 11 pm, but I’m a night owl anyway, so didn’t mind waiting up in a case like that.

When she finally boarded, she called to say the flight would get in a little before 11, and as it takes an hour to get here from the airport I expected her at midnight. But midnight came and went, 1am came and went, and she finally arrived at 1:30.

After being so good about communication up til then, when she arrived in my town, she decided to walk around and check out the town and sit down and have something to eat, without letting me know.

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We’ve granted a few early check-ins to guests when the cabin will be already prepared for them and setting their keycode to allow early access is trivial. One set of guests seemed really grateful for us letting them have that. Instead of 4 PM they could check in any time after 10 AM. Our security cameras showed them pulling in after 8:30 in the evening!

It seems like all these people who request early check-in, and then don’t arrive until almost the end of the check-in window just ask for the sake of asking? Maybe they’re like the gal I caravaned with from the US into Mexico- she told me she was an early riser, that she took no time to be up and out the door in the morning. And then I ended up waiting for her, having already packed up whatever I had brought into the motel room, walked and fed my dog, and had breakfast, every morning of the 3 day road trip.


It’s been my experience that folks just don’t show up anymore at the time they ask for. If it works with my schedule, I will offer them an early check in at 1 pm for a “$30 rush cleaning fee.”

I find that those that really want/need the early check in will pay the fee and then I don’t mind having to rush the cleaning.

For folks that don’t want to pay the fee, I let them know that if the previous guests check out early and I can clean the suite, I’ll send them a message but I never let these folks come any earlier than 1 hour before check in. I would say at least 75% don’t show up early when offered.

I have now changed my check in time no later than 11 pm (and it’s right in my listing and when they book I remind them.). I suggest that if they have things to do in town, to check in first and then come in as late as they want.

While I like to be an accommodating host, I’m finding that many guests just don’t understand that you are not a hotel and at their beck and call.


indeed! i got slammed on BDC for this and I thought it was ridiculous, but we still live in an era where guests are only used to hotels. this is actually strange cos STR has been around for decades, and previously was run by cowboys, with shitty rules and conditions. i’ve stayed in plenty of coastal STR in the 80s and 90s and they were all snarky, meagre and anti-hospitality (byo everything, and you had to pay to rent linens, and make your own beds, and given the cheapest towels ever, but byo beach towels. forget any kitchen condiments, or a host trying to please you in
any way, and complaining or leaving a review? pre-internet, who cared? no such thing!). Boomers and GenX should actually be grateful to see STR game up so impressively (and perhaps that’s why those 2 groups are not a problem for me), but entitled millenials can never be impressed …cos they are always seeking the latest fad? (you’d need a doctorate that doesn’t exist to truly understand them)


If the guest already has the code for the door, how would you even know if they checked in early unless you were there?

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"If the guest already has the code for the door, how would you even know if they checked in early”

The codes for our front door aren’t activated until check-in time.


My stock answer is: I will send you a text when the cabin is prepared for you.

Usually I send the text an hour early unless the guest was pushy.


Ah. I have the manual keypads that take about 10 steps to reprogram a code so it’s awkward. What kind of lock do you use?

Another thread I started last month, sadly these places still exist. I was absolutely horrified by a place my partners parents booked on the NC coast. Just disgusting. And like you said, paying extra for bed linens and bath towels only to have them come in one large laundry bag. A few weeks before that trip I had a woman message me that she “looked into the brand, thread count, and purchase price of our bed sets” and would have expected better for the nightly rate.

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Please do a search of this forum for the many threads with suggestions.


We have RemoteLock on our front door and on each of our guest room doors. Easy to program at my laptop. Harder to do on the phone.

Our standard check-in and check-out times are programmed into each lock. I don’t have to set those for every guest. I just change the code to be the last four digits of the guest’s cell. The lock software gets the dates and guest’s name from Airbnb (well, it did when we were using Airbnb—now we’re booking direct with the guest).

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We use a Kwikset Smartcode 914. It’s ZWave compatible, so as long as the Internet connection is working and the Zwave Controller Unit isn’t glitching out (avoid the Vera controllers), I can remotely unlock and lock it in real time, as well as add & delete codes and set validity dates/times without having to do it manually on the lock itself–it all happens via the app. (Without the app, I can manually add and delete codes, but can’t set effectivity timeframes. And I set a Master Code to prevent anyone from adjusting the codes themselves.)

I set each guest’s code to the last 4 digits of their phone number, and their code essentially only works for the dates and hours I set–a couple hours before their check-in, so I can test it, and it expires 15 min after check-out. I keep a spreadsheet of all the codes & dates that are currently programmed and that will be programmed for upcoming bookings. The lock holds up to 30 codes. 1 is ours, 1 for our neighbors in case of emergency, and the other 28 we use for guests.


Cameras plus I live below.

WOW. You guys have a bunch of advanced locks! They sound expensive but so much better than the Kwikset ones I have. Thanks for the insights

Also, when working properly, the Zwave controller sends an alert when the lock is operated.

I don’t ever agree to early check-in, but tell folks they can drop their luggage and take a walk or have a meal a 10-minutes away. Then, if the room happens to be ready when they do the drop-off, they are surprised- and grateful😉


I have similar to you, just a keypad and it’s a bit tedious to change the codes, so we don’t. but our listing is on our farm, no one is turning up here and sneaking inside. recently a guest managed to reprogram the keypad (there’s a trick where you take out a battery while it’s on, and it resets) back to default so the code is still 123456 :sweat_smile: