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How to deal with guests that expect to check-in way earlier than your listed check-in time


#1

So when I first started with Airbnb, I didn’t explicitly set my check-in and check-out times where they were supposed to be set in Airbnb’s system, but I did mention them briefly in my house rules. It caused some confusion amongst guests who didn’t notice that, and to be fair, it did say “Flexible” on their itinerary.

So I corrected the mistake, and slowly the guests who booked while it was still set at “Flexible” wrapped up, leaving only reservations with the explicitly set check-in/out times, thinking this would cut down on confusion and allow guests to make more accurate travel plans.

Wrong.

I just had a guest that has a flight come in the early morning, and asked if they could check-in immediately. I have a private apartment, and I have another guest staying that night that would still be there when the new guest wanted to check-in.

I politely told the guest an early check-in wouldn’t be possible for this reason, offered a suggestion that if they had a car, they could stash their luggage in there and tour the city like they normally would while they wait for the apartment to be cleaned.

But the guest seemed frustrated and passive aggressive (something along the lines of “well I guess I’ll just lug my bags around all day”) in response.

Sometimes I have a vacancy the previous night, and in that case I really don’t mind early check-ins. But I can’t make compromises when I’ve promised the previous guest would have until a certain time to check-out, and the incoming guest wants to infringe on that.

I’m really just not sure what to say. Obviously I’m keeping my composure with the guest, and not responding with passive-aggression in return. I just wanted to hear how other hosts deal with this sort of issue.


#2

Could you give them the option of dropping their bags off at your place but not actually check in? That way they won’t have to “lug their bags around all day”, and your other guests will not be affected at all either.
Don’t be bullied by guests at all. If you give in, they will try keep pushing you on other things too. It is your house - your rules.


#3

I would also offer them baggage storage until their check-in time if it’s not too inconvenient for you to do so.


#4

I’ve had a similar issue and allowed the guest to check in early as the apartment was empty. BUT. This person was also passive aggressive and having given in to the first ‘rudely requested’ demand, it definitely set the tone for the week - there was nothing they weren’t prepared to complain about or expect me to do. I agree with EVedder - it’s your house, your rules and as it’s clearly written in the accommodation description they need to be adult about it and make other plans. I sometimes think the unequal Airbnb review process is spawning a lot of spoilt guests who know the power they wield over a host and will use it to get what they want. So, for your problem, suggest to the guest that they avail themselves of the luggage minding services at the airport, or train station or bus station - just like other travellers do! Good luck.


#5

You need CLEAR check in & check out times stated on your listing, otherwise you are open to anything with the potential of frustrating a guest. My times are very clear…check in at 2:00, check out at 11:00. Remember - you are running a business.


#6

Thanks for the responses y’all.

That’s what I ultimately ended up offering, and they seemed happy with the resolution.

That’s the thing, it was clearly stated in multiple places. It was just willfully ignored.


#7

As a guest myself I would never expect you to hold my baggage. If you offered it I’d be pleasantly surprised, but would never grumble if you didn’t. This is especially true if your check-in times are clear.

As such, don’t feel drawn into a discussion. It’s your property, your business, your terms. Yes you’re a host, you want to impress and be flexible, but there are boundaries! The good guests understand this.


#8

I’ve been having the same thing come up really frequently. Our check-in is clearly stated with an explanation of why I can’t check guests in any earlier and I’ve had 6 out of my last 8 guests ask for an early check-in anyway, some of those were annoyed about it even after I give them suggestion of where to store their bags while they wait. I sense that more frequently guests aren’t really taking the time to read the postings in full before booking. I wish there was a pop-up from air at the time of booking that highlights check-in/out policies and the fully amenity list (what is provided and what isn’t provided) that guest need to agree to before finalizing the booking.


#9

I’ve just received this message/booking enquiry:

"Hi Suzannah,

Traveling to New Zealand and Australia with my fiance for our honeymoon! Our flight gets in early around 8am so hoping to find a home where we can check in early. I’m an airbnb host myself, know to leave place how I found it :slight_smile:"

My check in time is 2pm…

I have replied:

"Hi X and Y
Thanks for your enquiry and congratulations on your impending nuptials!
I’m very happy to let guests check early in if I don’t have a booking the night before, otherwise it’s no problem for me to look after your luggage if you’d like to drop it off then go exploring until your room is ready…
Will wait to hear from you
Kind regards"

I felt like replying 'well, being a host you will understand that I am not prepared to lose a day’s revenue for you so feel free to pay for the night before". Cheeky monkeys.


#10

I am regularly asked for early check in, especially with guests flying in from where overnight flights are common (South America, Australia, Asian, etc). One guest just yesterday sent me an inquiry “we’ll need to check in around 6am as we’ll have been traveling for close to 24 hours”. Ha - ok my friend. I sent him a special offer for an extra night and he came back saying - whoa, the dates are wrong we arrive on the 29th not the 28th. I replied - yes I know but if you want a 6am check in the only way to secure that is to book the night before.

Most people that inquire about an early check in and are denied still book. The times where I’ve bent over backwards to accommodate and had guests not even show up after all the fuss and bother, only to arrive maybe an hour before check in and say - oh, we stopped for lunch.

Now - unless it’s such a good booking that it’s worth spinning my wheels over the answer is no, and then a suggestion of where they can store luggage and what they can do for a few hours.


#11

I just add a client today. Was bargaining to not pay for the extra price 30 dollars 5 hours before check in and 5 hours after normal check out. Next time it s a big no for before and after normal time as it make more stress.


#12

When i travel i never book a host who denies holding my luggage. First i think, why not? What is the situation with a host’s house, appartment that he/she can not take my luggage? When i ask for luggage storage i always explain that i travel very lightly and its one small bag , but its heavy enough to not want to carry it around. I would understand refusal if i had few large suitcases, and place is tiny, but when i specify and still hear no, i just move along.
The thing with early check in and guests not understanding the simple fact that it can be rented the night before bugles my mind. Really, its not chinese grammar, how hard is it to comprehend that its a matter of physical presence of someone in your room.:grinning:
I ALWAYS ask about early check in if its transatlantic flight that arrives early in a morning. But i never insist on it, thats just ridiculous. Some hosts have 3 days minumum, and if they are booked before me and there are couple days are not occupied most host are happy to accomodate. The same with me. Even if people dont ask me, i volunteer to let them know if i am not booked the day before, that room is available in a morning in case they arrive early.


#13

We are working during the day, i don t see how i can do for luggages.
Edit we don t have an airport and all clients are coming with car. Usually it s more same country clients that want to shower the saturday morning and changing before a family event and of course they don t want the previous night


#14

It’s definitely your perogative to book with hosts who can provide the services you need and something every traveler should do. However, you seem to be confusing a hotel stay with one at an Airbnb.

Hotels have lots of “entire spaces” under one roof.
Airbnb hosts with entire spaces generally have one space under a roof. Hotels have many employees and an army of housekeeping staff.

This limits hosts in terms of flexibility to a great degree. If there is a guest already using the space, we can’t barge in on them and ask them to make room for your bag, no matter how small.

The same applies for early check-ins and late check outs. There are fundamental differences between a hotel and an Airbnb. Sure, you may get additional room, a kitchen and private bedroom with an Airbnb but you may have to sacrifice some of the services typically offered at hotels.

I always do what I can to accommodate guests but I always say I can’t guarantee flexibility of check-in/out times. I also can’t promise to hold luggage. There are too many factors outside of my control to be able to offer these guarantees.

I always offer the same suggestions:

  1. Arrange travel to coincide with check in and out times.

  2. If travel is already booked, make plans to occupy time until check-in. I am happy to offer suggestions.

  3. I am a travel agent by trade and not aware of any hotel that guarantees early check-in or check-out but odds are much better at a hotel. Most hotels will also hold luggage, although many have a fee to do so.

  4. Like a hotel, my advice, if this is an absolute requirement, is to book the night prior or the day after, as the case may be.

As for the reasons hosts may not be able to hold your small bag, I can think of many:

  1. The space isn’t their primary residence.
  2. It would be rude to impose on existing guest.
  3. They have a job, outside of being a host. Many do.
  4. They value their time and have more productive things to do than to spend the time, energy and effort to accommodate.
  5. Safety concerns.
  6. Liability concerns.

As you pointed out already, guests are free to book with someone who can best meet their needs. I would encourage everyone to to do what makes sense for your their situation.


#15

You can recommend local places where your guests can store their luggage though, surely?


#16

Why though? Why is this her responsibility?

Travel is full of unknowns. What to do with your luggage because of timing is one of them and should not be the burden of who you rent a room from hours before check in.


#17

Very true but we all know what guests are like :slight_smile:

However I find that a saved message giving details takes a couple of seconds and is a (slightly) additional service that makes the host seem to be helpful.


#18

It’s true and I do extra things for guests, but I find that sometimes making recommendations like this could backfire on you if something goes wrong.

That said, if someone begs to leave luggage early (hardly ever happens) I tell them they can leave it in my carport but I can’t guarantee anything regarding its security, I can’t promise to be here to watch over it and will ask them to sign a waiver releasing me from liability. That is usually enough to discourage them! :smiley: I just don’t want to be responsible for guest issues when they haven’t even checked in yet.


#19

This is a good point and something I’ve never come across. “The host suggested xxx cafe and I got food poisoning!” Hopefully we couldn’t be help responsible for that - I hope :slight_smile:

Guests are welcome to leave their luggage in our secure apartment (opposite the rental) but I’d never considered the idea of a waiver - great idea.


#20

I recently had it backfire when I tried to be helpful to a guest. She is a regular who needed to stay in the area during a time when I was booked. She asked me for recommendations of other Airbnb hosts nearby. I told her that I didn’t know any of them personally and hadn’t seen the listings, but that there is one two blocks away who gets very good reviews. The next time the guest stayed with us she told me nonstop about everything she didn’t like at the other Airbnb listing (difficult to open the microwave, too many people sharing the bathroom, funky smell in the house, more than one room rented to Airbnb guests, no parking, etc.). Not only that, she bugged me endlessly to drop my price to $40.00 per night like the nearby host and to add cable television as the nearby host has it.


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