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Our recent guests assumed that it would be okay to come at 6:30 am. I told them that our check-in time was 3pm but then felt bad for them after they had driven 15 hours. We didn’t have anyone there at the time and were set up anyway, so I told them that they could come early.
What would be appropriate in the future? How much extra should be charged.
Settle on your own policy that is not affected by guests’ actions or requests. Whether it’s “no early check in, no late check out,” “complimentary early check in, late check out if property is not booked,” or “$xx fee for early check in, late check out if available” doesn’t matter so much as long as it’s consistently applied and thereby relieves you from weighing and thinking about it.
Have canned answers for requests you don’t accommodate, due to some factor a guest can’t argue with, such as “Sorry, the cleaning schedule doesn’t allow for changes to check in and check out times.”
If you are ready and if you have the time an early check in of up to a few hours is ok. For us this has been a very rare request. More than six hours I would just say no. Or, for that much or more, charge 1/4 of the nightly fee.
I actually just had to deal with this with my current guests. It used to be that I had back to back one nighters about 70% of the time and I seriously just could not do it. Now if I refuse to do it I kind of feel like a jerk.
So bottom line is, how much are those 8-9 hours costing you? Especially if it’s peak summer AC use or 2 people are taking an extra shower and using 2 extra towels, it’s a real cost. I might say “Good news, I the room is ready and I can offer you the extra half day for just $xx.”
Personally, I raised my price and I’m not going to worry about it. Some people will take every hour they are alloted and then some. Others will leave after just 8 hours and won’t ask for a discount so it evens out. I can’t just think of $$, I also have to think of what works best for me mentally.
Repeat after me “I am not a jerk because I am stuck operating in this capitalist system and I require and deserve acknowledgement of my time, effort and hospitality. In this society, that means payment.”
Your solution was to raise prices and entertain reasonable requests. Good on you.
I tried it but it’s kind of a mouth full. It doesn’t roll off the tongue like Om Mani Padme Hum.
If the room is ready and I did nothing extra then there is no reason not to allow early check in, so denying entry just seems like some kind of power play and I’d like to avoid the psychological toll that kind of thinking takes on me.
However, in the room all day people just aren’t a good fit for me at this time. These folks have been here nearly a full day and I think they left the house about 2 hours yesterday afternoon.
With one night bookings and two days in between I can easily offer early check in or late check out. When I go to one night in between it’s iffier. Back to back bookings it’s not possible.
My dog boarding is off the hook. I had to unpublish my website yesterday, I’m not available to new clients on Rover and I’m going to have to turn down new referrals.
When guests assume it’s okay to arrive early then I simply say “the apartment will be ready for you at 3pm. If by chance it can be ready before that time, I’ll text you and let you know…”
In normal non-Covid times, I’m happy to let guests come in early as long as the apartment is ready for them.
I appreciate the point that they’ll be using more utilities if they arrive earlier but the guests that departed that morning used less due to their early checkout so it balances out. Therefore I don’t charge and guests appreciate the favour.
I’ll also let guests check out later than usual if the next guests aren’t arriving until late afternoon or evening. As long as I always have 3 - 4 hours to complete the turnover, that’s fine.
I would let them in, given their lengthy travel, if the room is ready. I agree with those who say don’t charge because others who barely use their rental even out the cost. However, I would chat with them and point out that many hosts are very strict about their check in and check policies for a reason. They should request early check in for future stays or they could end up in a quandary. I have had people wish to come that I could not accommodate. Occasionally I have let them drop off their luggage since I have the space to set it aside until the room is ready.
Most of my guests come straight from the airport and, these days, mostly they are staying in my suite for their quarantine. Consequently, even though the suite is attached to the house, our practice is to have no-contact check-in.
I always keep at least two days between stays, and the suite is always ready the day before arrival, so I am flexible about check-in. I’ve never had anyone arrive at 6:30am, but in my situation I wouldn’t say no and I wouldn’t charge extra. We do frequently get people whose flight gets in late, and then getting through customs is unpredictable. We just leave the porch light on for them.
I can totally understand that other hosts have a tighter schedule… we all have our niche!
This is a very good policy, Christine. I’ve never done that but I realise that it’s a good idea and will in future. So many of my guests are first timers and although I don’t really like the idea of ‘educating’ guests, to explain to them about early check in would be a kindness for them and for future hosts.
I know that hosts tend to post quite a lot about early check in requests but I wonder how many really have a problem with it? Several times when staying in Airbnb rentals I’ve asked for early check in and there’s never been a problem. This leads me to believe that most (?) hosts are fine with it.
We usually time our cleaning and whatever fixes or small things we do in the space (like leaving treats, replenishing extra towels, doing some touch up paint etc) according to the next check-in time. Since we let the house “air out” before guests arrive we can’t usually accommodate more than an hour or two early or late checking/checkouts. And we don’t send our door code until just an hour or two before check-in to prevent issues (and we say this in advance).
A last minute 6:30am check-in request would be a definite no-go for us and honestly I wouldn’t feel bad that they had some weird timing with their own travel plans. That’s something they could have figured out in advance and cleared with you before leaving!
And each host’s requirements and situations too, I’d imagine.
As I work freelance from home, a guest arriving later than check in time doesn’t bother me at all. Early is different though because I need at least a three hour turnover window. (Especially on the odd occasions when I’m turning over both apartments - that’s a really busy day!)
But as a general rule, if the rental is ready and the guests arrive early, I don’t see why they shouldn’t make the most of their vacation.