Generic booking message help

As seems to be the case with a lot of you, I have trouble getting guests to tell me an arrival time (which is so important to me as I am self employed and need to schedule appointments around my guests - not a problem as long as I have advance notice. In my house rules I ask for arrival time at least the day before). I also want to make sure they’re reading my whole listing (ha! Don’t we all!).

So I’m trying to come up with a message I can send to all my guests when accepting their booking request. Something that will be effective most of the time… hopefully. So far I’ve got the following which says everything I need it to, BUT I’m afraid it’s not friendly enough and could need a little reworking.

Any help/advice much appreciated!

“Hi ‘guest’,
Thanks for your booking. We look forward to seeing you.
What time do you plan to arrive? Please note check in is 4-8pm and we are unable to accommodate arrivals outside of this time. I will plan my working day around your arrival so, as per my house rules, if you are not able to give me a time you may not be able to check in.
You will have read the entire listing and house rules prior to sending your request - please familiarise yourself with these as they are important to us to ensure your stay goes as smoothly as possible.
If you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask!
Many thanks”

Hmmm, as someone who just had a terrible guest not read a word I wrote, I offer this with a grain of salt. That explanation is a bit wordy. Just put Please text with arrival time in the line above your directions, so they can’t miss it.

It usually works pretty well.

I have been parsing this more and more finely. For those guests arriving by plane, I ask for the flight no and airline so I can track them, and then make sure they aren’t planning to head to Chinatown before they come here. For trains or buses, I ask for the scheduled arrival time. And for someone arriving by car, I ask for an estimated time, and then arrange for them to text me from a specific location along their route.

Before I know all this information, I generally include something like: Please note that check-in can be arranged anytime between 3pm and 10pm. Since I prefer to greet all guests as they arrive, a specific time will be appreciated and ensure that you don’t have to wait on the porch.

So far, it has worked very well. Of course, stuff happens. Yesterday’s checkin was detained for four hours in immigration. No way they could have known that they would have troubles at the border, so obviously, we have to maintain some flexibility when those types of snafus occur.

I think you should adjust your expectations for border crosser arrival times in light of the new regime’s policies.

1 Like

@KKC. I believe you are correct. This man is here to work for a short time, and brought his family. Had all the proper papers from the University, but was still detained for a singularly long time. Tonight, though, we put that behind us and celebrate the Chinese New Year with dumplings and soup!


Agree – too polite and wordy. Don’t say please, just say it: Text arrival time. Check-in between 4-8PM ABSOLUTELY No early or late check-in.

Unfortunately, there will always be the occasional guest whose travel plans run awry. I message guests the evening before their arrival and tell them that check in time is between 4 and 7 pm. I also let them know that if they arrive after 7 then they’ll have to have a self check in.

If they haven’t arrived by 7, then I send them the self check in instructions.

There will always be the occasional problem that’s beyond the guests’ control. That’s just the way of travel. My current guests, for example, had their rental car towed on the day they were due to arrive here.

Sometimes, they simply see a great restaurant, museum or attraction on their way here so decide to make the most of it.

So when guests are due, I always arrange my work schedule so that I’m available for check in between 4 and 7 but if they need to check in after that, then they check themselves in. This has always worked well.

I’m self-employed too but arrange my work around that three hour window. There’s always computer work that I can be doing while I wait.

1 Like

Thanks, I like that wording. It makes it sound like I need a time so that I don’t have to put them out (by having to wait on the porch).

Obviously I know things can happen en route and I’m prepared to be a little flexible when needed, I’m talking about the guests who ‘forgot’ to let me know and left me waiting around for 5 hours (ie., they just don’t care about anyone other than themselves)


I do already say that with my directions. But as it’s not working I thought the explanation might help them to realise how important it is

Self check in isn’t an option for me, for various reasons. I have thought about changing check in time to 6-8pm though, as I’m almost always done with work by 6 and I don’t mind hanging around 2 hours. Maybe I could say earlier check in may be available by prior arrangement?

That’s what I say in the listing. It’s only in private messages that I let them know that I can accommodate later if needs be. I think that most guests would be okay with 6 to 8, especially if you told them about local places where they can leave their luggage if they have to. For example, our local UPS office will look after luggage for a small fee. You can also recommend local coffee shops or cafes where they can wait.

But I realise that it must be tricky if you can’t have self check in.

1 Like

Ok thank you, this is what I will do!

1 Like

Hi @Gardenhost

When I am liaising with guests before I confirm the booking I remind them of my check in time (6 - 11 p.m.) and ask them when within that slot are they planning to arrive and how they will be arriving and if they are flying in ask for the details.

They then confirm the time - say 7 p.m.

When I send the booking confirmation message I confirm the arrival time given. I remind them that if there are any delays to let me know, so I can make sure I am home to meet them.

The day before arrival I message them again with further details of the check in process and to remind them to let me know if there are any delays on the day.

So far, I haven’t had anyone turn up without letting me know about delays.