It's 11:01 PM and I'm waiting for my Airbnb guest to arrive....UGH!

It’s my own fault! I didn’t adhere to my own check-in rules! I have a stated check-in of 3:00 PM - 8:00 PM. I have made exceptions for guests who are going to be checking in early to leave luggage. I have made exceptions for people who want to check-in at 9 PM. When this guest registered for 9-10 PM, I agreed. After sending her directions yesterday, she finally answered today and said she would be checking in ‘about 10’. At 10:35 I called her to see if she might be lost. She said she won’t be able to arrive until after 11:00 PM. Why do some Airbnb guests expect inexpensive accommodations with hotel conveniences? UGH!!! No more! I’m sticking to the rules… I am exhausted! How do you handle late check-ins?

Three words: self check in

There may be a lot of reasons for not offering self-check-in for every guests but being late is a fact of life for travelers, so having a self-check-in option for these situations might make sense.


This happens through no real fault of anyone. On a number of occasions I have had guests anticipate arriving at 10.00ish because that’s what their Satnav tells them the journey will take but it doesn’t allow for traffic, diversions, road works, rest breaks etc.

Whenever I have someone say they are driving here from a distance I always add on an hour to their anticipated arrival time.


For many hosts, particularly those hosting in their own homes, self check in is not an option, for very real safety reasons… I am not going to allow complete strangers to come into my home in the middle of the night.

I completely understand the OP’s feelings. She’s probably already had a long day, and the stress of someone taking the piss over when they will arrive is exhausting.

I had a horrid young man here last year with his sister, who said they would check-in at 7 pm, after driving here directly, once they had picked their parents up from Heathrow. To cut a torrid tale short, they arrived just after midnight, after responding to my messages variously with “we’re just leaving London”, “we’re having a meal in Canterbury”.

So they went on a tourist tour. No apology for the late hour, just a complaint that we didn’t have self check-in. Fortunately his mother, once she realised what had happened, gave him an absolute earful. She totally understood why we wouldn’t allow strangers to self check-in.

Delightfully, he made a complete, entitled arse of himself in the review he left. When put with my factual account of events, I doubt he has stayed in an Airbnb since.

I now only allow late check in if it has been negotiated well beforehand. I have twice called Air to cancel guests who have not arrived by 11 pm, and they have raised red flags about where and when they will arrive.

I have personally told a couple, who wanted to come regularly after their first weekend, to turn around and go back to London. It was 1 am. The red flags were the phone calls with increasingly bizarre reasons for being so late. We concluded they were both drug dealers and users. Strangely, they didn’t argue!


After the first 3 months of dealing with guests that almost never showed up at the time they said, I switched to self check -in with key coded locks.

Best thing I ever did.

It’s a separate suite space on my second floor. I try to make a point of saying hello once during their stay as they are leaving or coming but other than that I very rarely have interactions. I do allow late check ins after midnight with approval with helps with overseas guests.


I’m another who has self check in- although I only allow it after 6 pm. (Roughly. I mean, I tell guests that the check in window is 4 - 6 pm but in reality, I’ll take it up to 7 pm. I just don’t want guests to know that). But I appreciate that’s not always possible in a home-sharing situation.

However, although I don’t host in my own home now, I used to for many years and I was strict about it.

It is :slight_smile:

But where we differ is that if a guest told me that they’d be arriving after a reasonable hour, I’d tell them not to bother coming at all unless they had a very good excuse (by which I mean that they were in the emergency room having a broken arm fixed or they’d been waylaid by wild tigers or something).

Brian is right though - there are many reasons, completely legitimate ones, where guests simply can’t be there on time. I’d wait up for them if their lateness was caused by some sort of emergency.


Late arrivals are going to happen from time to time. 11 pm isn’t terribly late so waiting for the guests is no real hardship, is it? You refer to ‘inexpensive accommodation’ but presumably you’re still making a profit?


When guests came into my part of the house I did let guests self check in after I’d gone to bed. When I couldn’t allow it was when I wasn’t home due to the dog boarding (the one time I let someone do it I got a 3 star review and cancellation of day 3 of a 3 day stay.)

I would just go to my room and go to sleep. No one ever woke me or believe it or not, upset the dogs. That said I have a pet gate in front of my door, and a lock on my door. I also have an exit door out to the back yard. [edited to remove misinterpreted comment about firearm] I have cameras that record the entrance through the front gate. So if someone had tried to enter my room to harm me (my only true concern) then they would have a hard time doing so without giving the dogs and I some warning and a photographic record being left.

I don’t see the difference between a bad actor checking in with you and a bad actor checking themselves in. In fact, a truly sinister person would probably check in with you and charm you and then rob you while you are at the pub or burn your house down while you sleep.

I understand that everyone has to accommodate their own comfort level but like @Lynick4442 if a host can make changes to their routine and listing to get themselves comfortable they can get more bookings and have more time to themselves. Probably a quarter of my guests check in after bedtime. That’s another reason I’m 85% booked month in and month out.


I host in my own home and have created a self check in system for guests arriving late. I don’t wait up for anyone arriving past 8:30.

The way I look at it, the safety issues/security risks are not really any different if I meet the people at 11 o’clock at night or not. I’m still letting strangers into my home. If they came with the intent do harm, I don’t think meeting me is going to stop them. If they came with no nefarious purpose, I don’t think NOT meeting me is suddenly going to put ideas into their heads.

I do lock my bedroom door at night, but that is as much to keep snoopers out as anything. If anyone really wanted in, it would be a simple matter to kick the door in.


Joan, YES! Thank you! Our guest room and private bathroom are in our home. We sleep here. We have a 19-year-old son who still lives with us. He gets up quite early to go to work. My husband is still working. We do real life in our home. Our home is quite spacious with lots of room in our common areas. People from the U.K. and Europe are amazed to see the size of our rooms, however, I like to meet my guests, in part for the safety reasons you mention. For us, using a lockbox (self-check-in) is not an option. The solution for me is to stick to my house rules! LOL!! Our guests finally arrived last night at 11:50 PM and settled down well after midnight. It was a fitful, short night.
P.S. We loved our visit to Canterbury and Kent last year! Paradise! :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:


The low tech solution: let them ring the doorbell when they arrive. You will hear it and then go and meet them. Although it night take a moment to compose yourself, it is a small price to pay for more bookings -

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I have a lock box. It works great. I highly recommend it.

Exactly. There is literally nothing more secure about meeting them in person. E.g. Whatever you think that complete stranger could do in a self check-in can still be done after you go to bed, or when you’re out the next day, or whatever. I will agree there is probably some psychological effect that may prevent opportunistic behavior. Still, you’re only kidding yourself if you think you don’t have all of the same security issues after you meet your guests.


Guests SHOULD be able to calculate AT LEAST for their own rest stops. I understand traffic and road work may or may not be taken into account, especially if they aren’t using Waze or similar. I consider those that don’t take into account their own stopping as very poor planners…and yes, it’s frustrating, and likely to be indicative of not the best stay.

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I COULD offer self check-in at my whole house listings but only do if I can not accommodate their check-in. I cannot at the listing on my home because I need to be able to introduce the guest to the dogs to limit their barking.

Interestingly, after introductions, I have had some guests that the dogs never do warm up to and will let me know any fine they come or go and some guests that the dogs never made a single peep with. I have some that sleep in my room with me all the tine and then some that sometimes do and sometimes sleep in their crates in the kitchen, depending on the day and how they feel.

The dogs are more often than not great indicators of what type of reviews I will get…lol

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Let’s be frank. Lots of people have feelings about things that completely irrational and illogical and nothing we say is going to change it. I’ve commented here multiple times about the illusion of control, and many people have issues centered around it. People orient their entire lives and careers around it.

A lot of people don’t want more bookings, they want more control. Those two things are mutually exclusive. Meanwhile those of us who can offer self check in are reaping the benefits. We should quit trying to talk them into doing self check in and just take their customers. LOL.


I agree this is a huge problem that Airbnb guests expect host to wait up all night.

@kkc you have a very efficient self check in service set up, that’s a competitive advantage, that’s a bonus for you! Airbnb is very diverse we each have something individual to offer. I have a 180 panoramic sea view, that’s my competitive advantage , not self check in.

There are many reasons why self check in might not be an option, and it’s not laziness of the host. Apartment block with a security street door, local laws requiring ID check on arrival, neighbor complaints or community bans, safety concerns if hosting in your own home, etc.

  • Airbnb should deicde if self checkin is desired model let us know and all the meet n greets go elsewhere.

  • if not they should help educate guests that not all properties have self check in and midnight arrival

  • I have spent a year setting up my listing to make it clear people can’t arrive in the middle of the night I will be glad to share my hacks if interest

  • finally, I have found Ways “share my drive “ and Google maps position sharing super helpful on arrival days. Let’s me see real time where guests are without constantly texting them. You know exactly where they are real time. Ask them to share their drive position you can get on with your day or your sleep.


So you recommend that I allow self check-in and get a shot gun for emergencies? Yikes! Oh, and the cameras.

This is the UK.

I just used that Waze feature recently when my husband and I had to take separate vehicles back from a vacation. It’s awesome - no need to call or text the driver (which, if you don’t have a hands-free device, can be a safety hazard!).

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Absolutely not.

I recommend locking your door first, dogs second. I own my father’s shotgun, I have shells, and I know how to shoot it. However I would never, ever, ever, tell people to get a gun for protection.

I’m sorry you misunderstood my post and I’m going to edit right now so that no one else misreads it. We just had a racially motivated massacre here in El Paso and I’ve been what some would call “anti-gun” for the better part of 4 decades.

Don’t get a gun in the UK or anywhere else.


Reminder, at airbnb locations, bad things only happen when guests come in after the hosts’ preferred check in time. Usually a guest, when seeing specific times for check in, will calculate how that fits in to their plans for harm, and will usually discard plans to do physical harm if it is outside the check in window:rofl:. The hour of the day also has a lot to do with criminal activity, as we all know criminals do bad things only at night.