How best to arrange self check-in

Hi guys, as you might have figured, I am new to all this and am hosting a 1 bed apartment in London.

Was wondering if there have been any ingenius ways of enabling guests to self check-in in apartments that are inside secured buildings.

So my apartment building requires a key fob at the entrance of the building to unlock the main doors, so a keypad lock on my apartment door would not be useful really.

My apartment is on the ground floor so maybe I was thinking of hanging a lockbox just outside my balcony that guests could access to get the keys from.

Any ideas would be greatly welcome!

If it’s ok for you, i don’t not see why not. I stayed in secured buildings and a host always greeted me . Actually when I see " secured building" I tried to skip this listing as I know checking in will be a pain with the exact time of arrival and sometimes at weird check-in hours. For example one host wanted me to check-in before 2 pm as she was leaving for work at that time. Her listing said 2 pm, but it didn’t say no later than that.
I would love as a guest to have this check in option

Thanks Yana, we actually live in the same building, just upstairs so welcoming hosts is not a problem at all for us, however I would like to enable self check-in so that i can include my listing in the so called ‘work collection’, my apartment is very near to a big business hub and also a conference centre so it can be ideal for people visiting for work.

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Hi @amafzal,

I always want to meet guests too but we decided to offer self check in too for the same reason as you. There are several hosts here who manage very successful businesses remotely but after many years hosting, I believe that a personal greeting can save you untold unpleasantness over the years,

I know that it’s easy to allow guests to let themselves in but the host can set the tone by being friendly, helpful and welcoming. I truly believe that 99 times out of 100 (or even more) the guests too will be helpful, friendly and look after your place. (And give you great reviews).

I say this, even though it wasn’t your question, because once you have a self check in system going, it’s easy to allow all guests to use it. It saves time, hosts, think, I don’t have to do the house tour. Wrong. Meeting and greeting guests can save you a lot of time and money in the long run.


Having a lockbox on your balcony would be a great solution if you can make that work.

I’ve also heard of hosts who make arrangements with a nearby bar or convenience store to have a key held.

There are also some key concierge services that operate in bigger cities - London must certainly have a couple.

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@jaquo we dont want to shy away from welcoming guests, I would say for majority of the guests I would certainly like to welcome them and give them a tour of the place, however for some that may want to check-in at late hours or while we are away then for those the self check-in option would be great.

You mentioned that you did eventually start self check-in, did you see an increase in more bookings for you?

Thanks @Allison_H, yes that is what I have heard too, however i just feel that if I send a guest over to a nearby convenience store to pick up the keys, that somehow reduces the ‘quality’ of service that you’re providing, but then again each to their own!

Hi @amafzal - I really hate to sound smug but we were back to back before and that continued so I can’t say whether the self check in meant more bookings - but without any data to back me up, I’d say it did.

Something I did find that could be irritatinfg to a host (if they let themselves be irritated!) is that despite the fact that we mentioned in the listing that guests who needed late check in should let us know at time of booking, that didn’t always happen. I assume this was because the 24 hour check in was mentioned but they didn’t read (as usual) to get to the ‘let us know when you book’ part.

So the day before check in I’d get them messaging me saying ‘our flight arrives at 11 pm’ or whatever. This bothered me because I work from home and schedule my day weeks in advance and down to the last minute so that I can keep guests, clients, me and the household happy.

So I started asking what time they planned to arrive in the ‘thank you for booking’ message.

“As you know, our check in time is 4 pm. Do you know yet what time you expect to arrive in [city]? I understand that it’s a little early to tell yet but if you can let me know when you’ve made your travel arrangements, I can make sure that I arrange a trouble-free check in for you.” Etc. etc.

This helps a lot and makes it seem as though you want to know for their convenience and not yours :slight_smile:

That’s great to know that we are going down the right route, we already are asking our guests a few days prior to their check-in regarding their arrival times…mainly so that we can plan our days accordingly as you do!

I always ask that question with the thank you for booking note as well and then re-confirm it a few days in advance, so hopefully thats giving them a good start to their ‘guest’ experience.

Do you mind if I ask where your listing is?

We have two self contained apartments in South Florida. I live opposite one of them and next door to the other so I can keep my beady eye on what’s going on. :wink:

P.S. Like quite a few hosts here, I’m from England. So I know London pretty well.

Hi @amafzal, we’ve had 100% self check-in since we started, and we are coming up on our 3-year anniversary. We have a separate apartment in our house, and the only issue we had was someone trying to sneak in a third (we have a two person max). The irony of that was my spouse had greeted them and failed to grill them about the presence of the third person, so even that was within our control. :slight_smile:

I hope you will not try to or insist on personally welcome the business/work guests you are trying to attract with self-check in. They will be choosing your place so they don’t have to interact with anyone.


If the building has an intercom you can get a really smart electrician to connect it to your phone number. Means they can get in the first time with you just answering the phone and then they can get the keys with the fob from a lockbox outiside your apartment.

@SuiteInSeattle, thanks for the insight, If we do manage to get self check-in we certainly would be asking before hand regarding reason for visit and judge whether the guests would require a more personal intor to the property or just a no-hassle self check-in

@Gem20, now thats an interesting idea, how would that work? and im sure the building management won’t let me tamper with their intercom system!

Hi guys. In asia, there’s currently an increasing amount of complaints from the management board of the building (if building is not a commercial title) and they disallow any form of short rentals.
Most of the people on the board are usually the residents of the building.
In my case, theres a front glass door that needs a key card access before they can reach the drop box where i usually leave my keys. Wanted to know if anyone of you have tired the igloo locks that allows self check in, with a pin sent to the guest. (as advertised by air bnb).

Planning to lock it to my bicycle, after securing my bicycle in the parking lot of the carpark.

If they are not allowing short term lets, why are you trying to skirt around the issue?


I thought the family and work “collections” were yet another failed Air experiment?

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I guess the collections or qualifying to be in a collection doesn’t exist but there is still a for work filter.



HI Deb.
Property was sold by the sales people to us saying we could run rentals. Now after the properties are sold, we are now left with the new ruling that it cant be run.
Multiple owners are now facing this issue, and was wondering what are the alternatives to these check in problems.

It isn’t a check in problem- it is a legal problem


LOL. I don’t know about the standard in Asia but in the US there is saying that dates back to ancient times: caveat emptor, meaning buyer beware. Sellers have always been known to say anything to close a sale with little regard for what happens after they get their money.

Anyway, I know it’s crazy to think that the residents of a building should have any say in what is and what is not allowed in the building. I’m sure if you lived in such a building you would have no problem with it being turned into a de facto hotel. But techniques to avoid the regulations will only be temporary solutions.

Most hosts here operate legally and encourage others to do the same. I have never seen anything here about the igloo locks to which you refer. The system sounds risky to me but it might work for you. You should try it and then report back to us as a public service.