Newbie guest: "I expect I'll want to check in right at 4. I will have gotten in on the early morning ferry"

New AirBnB member can’t instant book because no reviews so I get a booking request: “I expect I’ll want to check in right at 4. I will have gotten in on the early morning ferry”. He has booked for the day the ferry arrives at 4am and wants to check in then, as if the night before is either not booked or is free. I’m going to be kind and assume that he’s either not thinking clearly about the dates, or that he just doesn’t understand how nightly rentals works.

My reply:

"I think you may not understand how AirBnB bookings work. Unlike a hotel, you are booking a specific room, not one of many possible rooms. Like hotels, if you check in after midnight (which many hosts would not allow) you need to pay for the room for the night before.

Check in time is 4 PM not 4 AM. If you want to check in at 4 am on the 21st you will need to pay for the night before since I won’t be able to rent it for the 20th. If someone books it for that night, it won’t be available until 4pm.

Please cancel this request to book and rebook for May 20-23 if you wish to have the room available at 4am on the 21st.

Thank you."

Now to see if he wants to pay for the correct dates. I can tell the summer season is starting for Alaska, because suddenly folks started booking for dates from next week through the end of July. Its a great feeling to see the calendars for all 3 rooms starting to fill up!


It would be fair to charge that guest for May 20.

I always say to myself: “What would a typical hotel manager do?”

No hotel would ever allow a guest to check-in 12 hours before the accepted arrival time, without paying the previous day’s fee.


If I’m all booked up and get a request like this, I offer my sofa for $15 from 4 a.m. or 7 a.m. or whatever until the overnight guest checks out and I can clean the room needed.


Lol @PuppyLover If it works for you, go for it! But all I can say to this is “oh hell no. Not in this lifetime.”


@NordlingHouse - I think that your message is very abrupt and a little confusing. You’ve got me feeling quite sorry for the guy :shushing_face:


Why so @DozerPug? A lot of people arrive on red-eyes here from the West Coast and South America and Asia, and they’re happy to crash for a while, hostel style, until their room is ready, and I get a bit of scratch out of the deal.

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It just wouldn’t work for me. I value my sleep too much. I also have 4 pugs in my home who would be barking for hours if someone arrived in the middle of the night. They would also all be on top of anything living that they found on the couch the next morning!!! I admire you for your flexibility and willingness to help others. :joy::joy::joy:


I’ve had this message before and the guest meant that they would want to check in at 4pm because they’d would have been killing time all day since they arrived. I think you assumed they meant 4am, but it’s possible they meant 4 pm.


I agree with @jaquo, your message isn’t very nice to the guest. This wouldn’t make me want to pay for an extra night, this would make me want to look for other options. But maybe that was your purpose all along? In that case, just hit decline.

I don’t see anything wrong with the reply. The guest wasn’t polite at all stating their checkin time instead of trying to ask politely acknowledging that is a big favour. So they got the answer they deserved. I had a guest asking if I can reserve the biggest weekend of the year for them so they can pay cash on arrival. Almost replied with “piss off” :joy:.


Perhaps the first thing to do is to determine whether the guest meant 4am or 4pm?


“it is occupied by the current guest. Check-in starts at 4pm, thank you.”

I agree… I think in this case I would first send a message asking if the guest meant AM or PM… wait for the answer and then let them know when they can check in on the day of arrival, or pay for the 20th and arrive at 4 AM, if that is indeed their ETA.


This is my take on it as well. It sounds to me like the guest knows the check-in is 4pm and will be ready to relax by then after a day that started early.


Me too. If the ferry arrives at 4 am and he says “I expect I’ll want to check in right at 4. I will have gotten in on the early morning ferry” that implies to me that he understands that check in is in the afternoon. Unless the ferry is right next door, he’d be pretty clever to get from the ferry when it docks to the rental straight away.

I do think it’s a shame though when hosts assume that a guest doesn’t know how things work, or that the guest is trying to take advantage.

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Just to clarify a couple of things since Nordling hasn’t been back.

Everyone is assuming Nordling doesn’t know what he’s talking about and that the guest does. However there’s this:

Also Juneau is small and it’s a short ride from where the ferry docks to town. So the guest could be there shortly after 4 am.

As for people thinking this reply is rude, Hmmm, well, I don’t know. People sure do take offense easily.


Good points.

When I’m baffled by something like this, I’ll assume whatever interpretation needs to be dealt with ASAP (i.e., the worst case is, 4 a.m. check-in).

Then I’ll say, "Sure, I’ve sent you an amendment for an extra ($15 to sleep on the couch … $50 to reserve the previous night … whatever). Then the guest either approves the change or says Whoa, I meant 4 p.m.! And we’ve jumped more quickly into solving the dilemma.

@NordlingHouse Apropos of Juneau, have you read this book re: Haines? LOVED IT!

I would just charge more for early morning check ins. Sure I can do 4am, but your going to have to pay x, as I have to pay my rep overtime

And he apologized for his confusing message. He wasn’t planning to check in until 4 pm but said he will probably be quite tired then. He’ll have a car so he will be able to find some place to hang out.


Skagway, not Haines. And yes. Heather comes and goes from Juneau frequently. She has grandchildren here.