Guests that don't communicate?

We have a guest due to arrive today but they’ve not responded as to what time exactly. What do I do in this situation? I’m at work all day and only have specific times I can nip out to meet them…

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I’m sorry that I can’t offer assistance, just commiseration. This is the bane of my existence. It’s one of my house rules that guests have to give me a time of arrival, but so many don’t. One thing that I’ve done is since it’s one of my house rules, I’ve called Airbnb and asked them to ask the guest. This worked once and didn’t work the other time I tried it.


A firm check in time before you give house directions solves this 100 percent of the time.

I know flexibility is a point of pride Ellen, but I think if it keeps happening you might want to insist on firm check in time as well. Otherwise they think it’s whenever.


I have directions in my guest info that they get when they book and even if I didn’t GPS brings them right here. That won’t work if you have IB.

We are in an entirely different situation from yours. We have guests coming in to LAX which as you know has flights coming in at all hours of the day and night. We would have very few guests if we insisted on a narrow check in window. All I ask is that they let me know. I make it extremely clear that I need to know the time so the only way they would think they don’t need to tell me what time is if they don’t read my house rules, the final email from Airbnb prior to booking and my reminders.

Hawaii has late flights as well. In general my check in is from 4 to midnight. That pretty much covers the latest possible flight, car rental and drive time

Any later than that is just people being rude.

Are you saying you accept guests 24/7 like a hotel?

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Yes, we do permit guests to arrive whenever their flight lands. If they plan to arrive before our check in time of 3:00 P.M. we tell them that their room won’t be ready, but they may leave their luggage. How is it rude if the flight landing, customs and car rental make them later than midnight? It’s not the late guests that are a problem for me. I’m a night owl. It’s the ones who don’t tell me when they are arriving at all so I don’t know if I can leave to do errands or whatever.

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I arrange my daily routine around the guests’ arrival. If they say that they will be arriving at 4.30 then I make sure that any errands are done before that time. When people are paying me for accommodation, then I adjust my own schedule accordingly.


I always try to be here to greet guests.its much easier for me to collect the tax and give all the instructions I need to when I do it in person. If I can’t be here I tell them how to get in but if at all possible I try to be here as well.

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I don’t mean for you, not if you allow 24/7 check in. I mean for me. Unless it is something really special such as they had booked a stargazing tour, then anything else after midnight is rude, such as clubbing.

@ALCH – Have you explained to them that you are at work and only have specific times…yadda-yadda-yadda? You have?..and no response from them?

Well, then it’s on them to contact you from your front porch or wherever. You’ve done all you can and you can only cater and coddle so much.

That’s what I exactly do… I’ll try to give them proper instructions whenever needed. It’s our responsibility to guide them properly.

Ellen, I know exactly what you are alluding to. IF you don’t hear from them, then it puts you at a quandary, as to what to do while they arrive. SO, based on that premise - it is indeed important to convey the ~importance~ of them to do let you know what is happening. My guests are constantly missing flights, flights get delayed, some switch gears and end up renting a car, or take the shuttle, or an unexpected military coup is taking place and impeding their progress, etc etc…

I do send them an explicit message on the subject ahead of their trip (screw House Rules where is also mentioned of course), via Airbnb message making it clear that to let me know is PARAMOUNT; considering they are coming to a foreign country & town and we need to find each other. 99.99.99% pick up on it, the .00 00 01% that don’t, well they deserve to sleep on a bench at the local park with the bench-warming winos. :sunglasses:

Addendum: One thing that is happening at my end, guests do have international phones, and we do end up communicating via text messaging, not internet-dependent Airbnb, come to think about it.

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@ALCH I text those who don’t respond after a week. Usually that works. Once I had to call the Airbnb support and let them get in touch with the guests (they did). It turned out, it was a older couple who left their cell phone at home;) They were only occasionally checking their emails in cybercafes. As a last resort, I offer a self-checkin possibility. This comes handy when people just don’t know when they will arrive or they grossly underestimated the time needed to get to my apartment.

I’ve found that guests who are quick to provide flight/car info and estimated arrival times are the best. It’s a sign of an experienced traveler, familiar with how the sharing economy works. Ones who just leave you hanging tend to be less experienced, assuming you are like a hotel with a 24-hour front desk, and they can just drop in whenever. These have tended to be my worst guests.

Agree with others. Put a firm check-in window and let them know you need advanced notice if they anticipate arriving outside that window. That way if conflicts arrive you are covered.


Probably too late this time… but in future, perhaps make it clear bordering on blunt if they don’t reply to the polite request for check-in time. “I need your arrival time urgently, please. We need to make an appointment time for your arrival so that I can make sure someone is there to let you in.”

Nothing like the fear of being locked out to suddenly make guests open their mouths and name a time, and it seems to stop them wandering off for leisurely lunch and a movie on the way, too.


Exactly, as long as they keep us up to date on arrival time, even if it changes a few times, it is fine; just not having a clue and being in total limbo is way too crazy.

In over 30 stays since we started 1.5 years ago we’ve only had a couple of groups of guests that we didn’t know when they would be checking in. We Airbnb the upstairs of our home and live in a locked off apartment on premises downstairs… We’ve had a Schlage keyless entry from the get-go and use the last 4 of their phone number for their access code. Aside from a few minor sleep disturbances when people show up at odd hours, we’ve hand no problems and we love it!

We may run into our guests occasionally when we’re coming and going… but don’t make it a point to be there to greet them or to explain much of anything… We keep a very detailed house manual (in print form) as well as a house manual/guidebook. Since we’re not in a shared environment, we’re selling privacy… so we let our guests know that we’re here for them, but pretty much leave them alone unless they have an issue… and we’ve had very few issues!

I put it in a way which makes them nervous that if they don’t respond they may not get in - What time do you expect to check in? Also I let them know another way to gain entrance in case “our cell phones fail us or if I am not available to greet you” this solves all the planning around their well meaning but inaccurate check-in estimates.

Just last month we had so many completely non-communicative, inconsiderate guests that we just decided, that’s it - no more flexible fanny.

We’re firm. Arrive AFTER 4:00. Leave BEFORE noon. Can’t manage that? Book somewhere else.

It helps me to remind myself that we are not the only option for guests and we don’t need to get all the guests in order to be a success.