Knowing when guests arrive/leave - improving communication?

Hi Folks,

We’ve been letting now for a few months over the winter, but we are getting very busy for spring and summer. Does anyone else have problems with communicating with their guests when they arrive and leave? Days where I have guests arriving and leaving I always get flustered because we never know when they arrive for us to meet them and later when they’ve gone for us to clean up. We had one guest very recently who was in the shower when we entered after the check-out time (no answer to the doorbell) - very embarrassing for us both!

Any tech or tips that could help? Goodness knows I need to change something!

1 Like

I send a message the day of arrival letting them know their door code and asking for eta. Day of departure many hosts send a message reminding of checkout time etc.

1 Like

Thanks for your reply, I should have mentioned - we need to hand keys over in-person to confirm ID and answer any questions they may have. We tend to find that even when we request them to stick to our arranged times, they get caught up in traffic and may not arrive for a few hours!

Most guests do leave on time, but different people have different priorities - we don’t want to appear militant!

According to Air, you are supposed to communicate with the guests prior to arrival to get their ETA.

I call mid morning of the guest arrival day to check ETA, unless guest has told me when their flight arrives. I ask the guest to call me (no text) when they are at the airport or otherwise 20 minutes away.

Had one yesterday… young couple from the other side of the State come to check out our Gulf beaches. I was running late, cleaning the place from previous guests and didn’t call till noon.

"When do you plan on arriving (knowing they live about 2 hours away)??
“Oh, 8 or 9 this evening.”
“Oh, no, no, no. Check-in is between 4 and 6!”
“I thought check-in was after 4PM.”
“YES, after 4 and before 6! This is not a Marriott where you check-in any old time. We have plans for this evening after 6:30. Be here by then.”
“Oh… Okay, we’ll get there as soon as we can.”
“Before 6PM.”
“… Okay…”

They were here by 4:45.

During the guest stay, usually day before they leave, I ask them, face-to-face what time they plan on departing, if before official check-out at 11AM. After 11 AM, anything is fair game, and if guests are in the shower, that’s tough – they’ll be given 10 minutes to dry and dress and be gone. Have never had anyone leave later than 11 AM though.


Enforcing a check out time is not militant. No, you don’t want to walk in on people but they must respect your check out time.

I’ve been hosting 5 years and have noticed a decline in communication. I have self check in and don’t have to meet them in person but still, I wish they would let me know their check in time. I have outdoor cameras I can check to make sure they have departed if I’m not here when they check out. If you don’t live on the premises and you can install exterior cameras you should do so at once.

1 Like

Our Airbnb guests’ check-in times are between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Our Airbnb house is within a 575-home gated-community. My wife and I live full-time on the house’s upper-main floor. Our community’s main entrance vehicle-gate closes nightly at 7:30 p.m., whose gate is monitored by private security officers.

I tell all scheduled guests they must arrive by 7 p.m., or they will be locked-out at our highway entrance. I do loan our guests a vehicle-gate card-key at check-in, so they may come-and-go throughout the night.

I have not yet had a problem with late-arriving guests past the 7:30 p.m. gate closure.

1 Like

No, not at all. It clearly says in your listing what your check in and check out times are. On the day before arrival, I email the guests to tell them (tell, not ask) what time check in is and that I’ll meet them to show them round the apartment. For guests coming from overseas, I tend to ask the day before that because of all the hours they’ll spend in the air).

I give them a two-hour check in window. They have to meet me to be shown to the apartment, otherwise they simply won’t get in. (I am not a monster and can arrange self check in if guests have had travel delays).

As regards checking out, I contact them the day before check out day and tell them what time they have to be out. Again, there is nothing ‘militant’ about this, I simply tell them that housekeeping will be arriving at check out plus 15 minutes.

None of this is draconian and I will let guests check in early or late if it suits the schedule. I have all five star reviews for check ins so the system, which is normal for most hosts, is fully accepted by guests.

Please remember that guests are adults. They are perfectly capable of planning their travel to fit in with their host’s check in and check out times. The onus is on them, not you.


Thanks everyone, from the sounds of things perhaps I’m simply too accommodating to tardiness for fear of poor feedback. I have had the suspicion that people assume I am very flexible so I will try my hand at being more robust in my messages - whether they answer or not!

If anyone is interested, here are my Airbnb guest rules and other information I have framed and displayed in our guestroom area.


The reality is that there are going to be guests with whom you communicate and they won’t communicate in return. Some can’t, some just don’t. Then they will check your messages when they arrive and have a problem and blame you in the review. Even the best host will occasionally run into it. If you really want to know then try to reach them via their cell phone, either call or text. I prefer text since that puts it in writing. Some folks like Ken seem to prefer calls.


My listing is a whole-home. I send a message to every guest the day before they arrive and ask them to provide an estimated time of arrival and tell them that I’ll be happy to meet them and give them a tour if they want. I have self check-in with a lock-box, so I don’t really care what time a guest actually arrives unless they want a tour.

For checkout, I send a message the night before check-out with check-out instructions and I clearly mention the checkout time. I ask that the guest let me know as soon as possible if they will be checking out late and I ask guests to send me a message when they leave. I have setup a 1-day preparation time and I don’t even question anything up to 2 hours late. So far, I have not had a guest that asked for more time that that, but anything more would need to be negotiated depending on my schedule. Unfortunately, guests rarely send a message right when they leave. Usually, it’s an hour or more later and sometimes not at all.

Luckily, I have an advantage that I live directly across the street from my listing and I can just look out the window and see when the guest’s vehicles are gone. Funny enough, though, this backfired on me once. We had 9 guest that showed up in 3 vehicles. My wife saw that there were no vehicles in the driveway just after 10am (checkout is 11am) so she walked over with intent to start doing laundry. She started to put her key in the lock and happened to look through the window and saw luggage just inside the front door, so she turned around and came back home. The guest sent a message at 10:54 saying they had left. We assume they had just gone for breakfast. Lesson for us.

I had a similar experience. I had a band staying and saw their van leave before check-out time so I went downstairs to clean. Walked into the apartment and it was really messy. Then I noticed a guy sleeping on the couch - their local roadie - so I snuck back out without waking him. At official check-out time I went back and he’d gone and the place was spotless.


I use to overlook it also but these people now recieve 1 * from me.

1 Like

You should see what happens in Florida with guests coming in from the northern states and airline cancellations. Many guests arrive four or five hours late. We have smart locks on the doors and give them the code.
Also put up a driveway cam so we can see when they drive away.

1 Like

Trying to keep an open mind here…but now I understand why my self-check in/out is so popular in my area. Saying that I understand why people want to show a guest the home and meet them but it is honestly so inconvenient to be pinpointed to an exact check in time when you are going on vacation or work related trip. With transportation and road delays these days it is almost impossible to keep to an exact time table. Or you fly in the morning of event but need to leave the event so that you can check in between a certain hours (4-6) would put a real crimp into staying at a location. In reading these posts most would accommodate and meet later. Which is why I have self check in and am going to install camera’s to make sure no extra guests. As far as check-outs I am very clear my check out is XX and I am usually there within the hour and if they are still there I politely inform them check out was XX and I need to start resetting the home. No embarrassment, no hassle just clear direction with a firm voice but pleasant facial expressions. The night before their arrival I usually forward a polite message saying something to the effect…we look forward to your arrival tomorrow, be sure to review the House Manual for check In/out information…etc etc. Very brief and very on point. I have learned one thing in doing this… KISS… (keep it simple stupid). Even the brightest minds will have issues if they overwhelmed with information.


Check in time is 3pm. We all agreed to it. However the guest arrives at 1:15 with a “friend”. I myself am not presentable nor is the listing but I believe he is in from overseas. What is the elegant way to handle this?

If it was me… I would politely say… I’m sorry the room will not ready until 3 and you can wait at the local coffee shop, fast food place…etc. I am sorry but I can not do an early check in.

1 Like

@Cindy_Turner_Dodd 's advice is good. I’ve arrived early to hotels many times while on business trips, and if they don’t have a room, they’ll ask you to wait in the hotel’s restaurant or lobby, or suggest some things to do nearby, and they’ll hold your luggage for you. So, I would try to do the equivalent by allowing them wait in a specific area of the home such as the patio or living room, or holding their luggage while they wait in a nearby cafe/restaurant/bar.

Now, if the “friend” is an unregistered guest, that is a different topic from knowing when guests arrive/leave.

The ring doorbell works well for me. It time stamps everything that goes on with the property including, coming and going of guests, car make model etc.

1 Like

I should also state I have a keypad enterance. You can change the codes as often as you want. These two investments allow me to continue with other responsibilities with little to no fuss. It is also convient for guests.
Definitely, a time saver and makes me feel more secure when I have to be away

1 Like