Pre-set Check In Times

I’m not sure if this has been discussed before, but I’m wondering about check in times. Here’s my situation:. My settings are check in from 3-8pm. I do allow late check ins since we have a keypad and as long as the guest reads their messages, it’s no big deal. But I need to be able to discuss check in with guests if it is after 8pm, because I’m not available to assist them. We do same day bookings. We are on a major freeway and get a lot of people passing through town and staying one night. This is a huge part of our business. Our same day booking cut off time is 7pm. As long as I know by 7 that someone is coming, and I can communicate with them, there’s no issue. But last night I got an instant book at 6:56 pm and the guest selected a check in time of 8-10pm. Air allowed his reservation to go through this way. I don’t understand why if our check in time is 3-8pm why this guest was able to instant book for an 8-10pm check in. Again, I can accommodate late check-in times, but require communication with the guest to ensure they know how to check in without me.

Has anyone experienced this? Is there any way to prevent this from happening?

This is an issue Airbnb doesn’t give a :poop: about fixing.

I put it into “Host Voice” (aka Screaming into the void) last October and they assigned it to the “Archive” pile, which means they recognize, but don’t care to fix.

I do believe you can call CS and have them cancel a guest who expects to arrive after your stated hours, but the way they have it set up is misleading to guests.

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@Allison_H Woah, woah, woah! Really? They allowed an instant book for BEFORE your stated check in time? That is just setting hosts up for failure.

The late check in time would really be a non-issue if we could somehow make sure guests read their messages. But a surprising number of people book and never check the site/app again. Trying to contact people in a few hours’ time can be challenging.

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It received 18 up votes and a number of agreeing comments yet they don’t fix it and archive it. Unbelievable! This is going on all over the world and they do nothing! It seems like an easy fix and one that would alleviate problems for hosts and guests alike.

Yes. It seems like it would be an easy fix.

At the very least they could take the range input by guests and pop up a warning “Your preferred check-in time falls outside the host’s hours of 3-10pm. Please check with your host to see if this is possible.”

@Ashb24 I believe they can even select a time that’s before your prior night’s CHECKOUT time! How they expect this to work in the real world is beyond me. You’re right - just setting hosts up for failure and guests for disappointment.

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I just got off the phone with the Superhosts hotline, and you guys are going to love this.

AirBNB says that the check in time selected by the guest is NOT binding unless the host agrees to it. The host’s preset times ARE binding unless the host and guest both agree to something outside those times. I was advised that I had the option to cancel the guest based on his request to check in outside our normal hours, but would not receive payment in spite of our strict cancellation policy. BUT, what the rep advised me to do in the future is allow the guest to arrive and NOT admit them based on their late arrival. In that case, they can contact AirBNB and request assistance with finding a new unit AT THEIR OWN EXPENSE. In this scenario, I have an angry guest standing outside my home in the middle of the night, but I still get paid and don’t have to clean because no one went in.

So this is the craziness AirBNB wants to handle, apparently.


I guess, similarly, you can turn a guest away who shows up early, but now you’ve started off on the wrong foot with a guest because AirBNB allows them to request early check in on an instant book. So you either destine yourself for a bad review and disgruntled person in your house, or you bend over backwards to keep them happy. But if you cancel, you don’t get paid.

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That’s NUTS!

I can’t believe that’s seriously their advice.

Actually, I can. I had a CS rep tell me that it was “no problem” to accept a 3rd party booking. When I gave him a hard time and asked him to check policy, he came back and said it “wasn’t recommended, but okay because the guest had traveled as a business account before”. As if. I’m sure they’d be saying something else if I claimed damage under a 3rd party booking.

Their customer service is more of a liability to guest satisfaction than an aid at this point.

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@Allison_H Right? How about don’t allow instant books to request/select times outside the set times? Tadaa! Problem solved.

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I don’t believe this; the rep doesn’t know what they are talking about. I had a party of three booked in for last Sun-Tues who initially told me they would be checking in at midday, so I referred them to my previous message and check-in time on the listing, that I would see them at 5 pm. They said they would arrive at 7 pm. By 9.30 they had not arrived so I sent a further message asking their whereabouts. The organiser then told me that she wasn’t coming and was still in London but that her friends were just getting on the train. She would join them tomorrow and had given them my number. I told her I couldn’t accept this as a third party booking is against Air’s ToS etc etc. She went ballistic so I went to call Air whilst husband did a bit of co-hosting with her. Before I could call Air , my phone went off, with the caller pretending to be her-still-in-London, but in Dover, about to get a taxi up to the village with her friend. I smelt the rat, told her she couldn’t come etc etc, put phone down and called Air. By now it is 11.15 pm. 20 minutes to get through, then to explain and they agreed to cancel it themselves. They must have gone for a break, because the cancellation didn’t come through until 12.01 am. They thus fell foul of my moderate cancellation policy and I have been paid in full.

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@Joan It’s true that answers from Airbnb are very inconsistent. I wonder if I could have called at 8:01 and said “It’s after check in time and my guest is not here. Please cancel them.” And maybe then I would receive a payment anyway? It seems logical since I didn’t have to admit them after that time.

It still doesn’t make sense that AirBNB has this policy that literally helps no one. Guests think they are communicating with hosts, hosts are put in a bad position, and AirBNB ends up having to mediate. The rep told me that it’s “clearly stated” that there is a set check in time, and any variation to that time must be approved by both parties. But we all know that people do not read the fine print, or even the property description most of the time. So ultimately we are all losers here, right?

I have a similar business in that I’m by the freeway in a pass-through town. I allow same day up until 7 pm. Big difference is that check in can be at any time after check in time begins. Midnight is fine, 2 am is fine. If they are arriving really late I just remind them that check out time is at 11am regardless of when they arrive. If they come really late I’ll sometimes offer an extra hour to check out.

What is your set up that cause you to have to communicate with them. One tricky thing I have is guests having problems with the digital lock so I just leave the door into their room unlocked because the door into my part of the house is locked I don’t worry about it. Not everyone can do that.

Early check ins are more of an issue. The other day a woman reserved and told me she and her husband would be arriving at 11 am if she could get an early check in. I just ignored that part of the message and sent her the standard “I will send instructions on the day of travel.” I don’t like early check in but will allow it if the room is ready. But check out is 11 so I don’t know why she thinks checking in so early is an option. I do have a guest the night before and most guest don’t tell me when they will be leaving, only when they are arriving.

As for Airbnb policy (in general not necessarily this booking) I suggest ignoring them whenever possible and doing your thing. They can’t control when the guest arrives and departs better than you can.

My issue is that I have people who book and NEVER check the app again. I can send check in instructions, information, phone numbers, etc., but if they dont read them then I end up with angry, tired guests. I had one late check in who couldn’t figure out where the apartment was, in spite of the info being in our ad and in the messages. She didn’t call because she didn’t check the app to get my phone number. And then she ended up leaving a scathing review in the end.

I don’t mind late check ins, but if someone is going to check in without assistance I need to know they are reading their messages. I cut off at 8, because by 9 we are settling in and I don’t want to have to get re-dressed to go help someone who can’t read simple instructions. I build in an hour for them to be late, basically. But I have a husband who goes to work at 4AM and a toddler who wakes up early, so we keep early hours here.

I do give guests my phone number and tell them they can call after 9 in case of emergency, but again, it only works if they read their messages.

I see. Guests aren’t all going to read and there is nothing we can do to make them. My approach after 4 years is to modify on my end. You might need to move booking time back. I get very few last minute bookings that are after 4pm. Most same day bookings come in the morning, and no later than mid afternoon.

So don’t depend on the app. I know we say keep communication on the app to protect yourself so message them on the app then text them or call them and make sure they know how to get in. I’ve had multiple times in the last few months when the app and site are down. So if you are driving solo, stop for a break and check the app and it’s down it is VERY inconvenient to have to keep checking it. If I have limited data and am on the road using it a lot, every bit of info I can get via text helps.

Always think about what you can change to make Airbnb work for you, not how you can change the guest or change Airbnb, they don’t care about you.

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Airhost forum jinx! Today sets a new record: two last minute bookings for the same day on the day of booking.

A woman booked this morning for tonight and then messaged me around 5pm to say she wouldn’t be staying here after all. She didn’t cancel, she didn’t ask for a refund, she just messaged me. I told her to cancel and I’d give a partial refund if I got a replacement booking. At 6:53 I got a replacement booking for tonight. I had lowered the price from $45 to $42 and pushed the cutoff to 7 pm from 6 pm and got 'er booked.

Pshaw! I have a date coming up that is on its fifth guest! I have never had cancelations before, but this Spring/Summer they are a regular occurrence. In fact, it might be an epidemic!

I’ve never gone past two for a single date. The cancellations seem to be slightly higher but the replacement bookings are keeping pace. Another great thing about last minute bookings is I can block a date on someone I’d rather not have book and then open it up two or three days later and it will probably get booked. Two years ago it would just be empty for that night.

I think that I get far more “way out” bookings than you do. Well, I used to. My market is changing as the type of visitor is changing.

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I wonder if the sheer volume of listings is contributing to this. In the past if you were a savvy Airbnber you’d reserve early because there wasn’t much to choose from. Now there are and you can wait. I just returned from Phoenix and my Airbnb would have been $14 a night cheaper if I’d reserved the day before instead of two months ago. I’m pretty sure it would have been available (as it is the rest of the week). Since I rarely lower my prices as the open days approach it somewhat slipped my mind that I could have waited to reserve.

Maybe. Maybe not. The past two summers my rooms were booked well in advance by Europeans coming for vacations. They would book a room as soon as they had a flight.

The days in question I had a family from Eastern Europe coming for graduation, but a friend of the graduate then offered them a house for free. Then I had a Korean family that planned to come to Boston following graduation at one of the seven sisters, but has decided to head to New York instead. Then a random, coming to Boston on a whim, who simply canceled, and now I have a father coming to hear his daughter’s ensemble’s final concert of the year. Reservation 1 was a 8 day, Reservation 2, was a 4-day, and the last two are only two-nights. More work. Less money.

The number of cancelations since AirBNB loosened the rules has been noticeable.