The dreaded 'late check out' request response

Guests routinely ask for later check out (11am rather than 10) and my replies are sometimes met with a ‘wow’ etc. Guests would prefer a reason I suppose, an answer beyond “Sorry, no”.

What would you reply? BTW, please no discussions of ‘oh well, it’s only an hour’ or such - in the cases I am asking about, I do not have flexibility. I really want the guest to feel ok when I tell them ‘no’.

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You say you have a good reason for saying no. You can either tell them that reason, or say something generic, like “The cleaner is already scheduled.”

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Most people, I think, are more understanding if you give them a logical reason why you have to say no. (not that they shouldn’t be willing to accept a simple Sorry, no- after all, they were informed of check-out time when they booked).
Another tactic I’ve heard of some hosts using is to have an earlier check-out time than you really need, that way you can give them an extra half hour and they feel like you were nice. But I don’t think you can have check-out times on Airbnb on the half-hour, so you couldn’t state a 9:30 check-out time.

This is one of my biggest pain points around hosting. I send a version of this message.

Another guest is checking in that day, and I need time to prepare the room/studio/house/apartment for the next guest. Due to covid-19 cleaning protocols, it takes longer to clean. I need to leave the ozone generator/UV light on for a few hours as part of the protocol. Here are some places you can spend time after your check-out (bars/restaurants/libraries/coffee shops depending on the nature of the trip).

As soon as people book, I ask them if they agree with the house rules around check-in/check-out/etc. This means I have the conversation about check-out time well ahead of time. If they need a late check out I ask them to cancel for a full refund, some of them do, and most of them agree to the checkout time. I used to get late check-out requests a few minutes before check-out. The early conversations around check-out times have minimized those requests (but not completely eliminated). I send a reminder the day before around check-out time.

If they still argue, I take good care of them in the review sent one minute before the deadline.

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I usually just say "we need x hours to do the turnover for our next guests. Normally we would be able to offer a later checkout but I’m sorry that today we cannot. " We get asked for early or late extensions all the time , I swear there’s been some blog post somewhere telling people “it doesn’t hurt to ask, and you might get lucky” ugh, it DOES hurt to ask cos it makes them look greedy (esp the ones who ask to check in before noon and check out after noon, completely oblivious to how the calendar works. We have one of our listings (the small one) set to an 11am checkout so they get a standard late departure, and still people ask to stay longer…

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We rarely get a late check-out response.

I wonder if it’s because our confirmation and pre-check-in letter reiterate that the reservation is for x guests with a check-out time of y. In our pre-checkout letter we say that we and our cleaners will enter the property at 10 am.

When we do get that rare late checkout request we give it if we do not have a turnover that day AND if we can get the cleaner to come in later. We say that we scheduled the cleaners on the day of reservation to come in at 10 am on the check-out day (this is true) and we will see if we can change that.

If we do have a turnover that day we have said that our housecleaners cannot come before 10 am and there is no way we can start later than 10 am and clean the unit before the 4 pm check-in time, which is generally true (the cleaners usually are done by 3 pm but we have one cleaner that can barely complete the work by 4 pm; we don’t like to ‘cut it close’ or put pressure on our cleaners).

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I have had a request for late check out too many times! My response always is “I would love to accommodate your request but we have guests checking in at 2 PM and our cleaners need four hours to prepare the home for our incoming guests. I’m sorry.”

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If I can not accommodate, I let them know that I have cleaners scheduled to arrive shortly after check-out. If I have to accommodate a later checkout I have to pay my cleaners a rush fee and if that is they case, I can offer you a late check out at 1 pm for a fee of $30.00.

(FYI - I am the cleaner and I have 1 1/2 days to clean so the message above is BS but this is how I explain my late checkout fees.)

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Since we do our own cleaning we do have more flexibility. If they ask within 24 hours of departure, I usually know what time the next guest is coming or if there is not one and that drives my answer. If they ask at reservation time I tell them that they cannot plan on it because we need the time to prepare for the next guest. However, they can leave luggage for a few hours if that helps. If it is a guest whom we are really sorry to see leave (We have a lot of interaction with our guests) we sometimes offer to let them hang in our side of the house a little longer while we prepare the guest space.

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Because we’re still blocking a day in between bookings, it hasn’t come up in a while, in fact we just offer a late checkout before they even have a chance to ask. However, we used to have a really tight turnaround, often doing turnovers in 3 units a day. I think it helped to be just straightforward and polite about it. I’d just say, “I’m so sorry, we can’t pull that off today, but I wish we could because I totally understand.”

And because your checkout time is earlier than typical it also makes sense to do as @house_plants suggested and make sure they are entirely clear about it when they book.

There are some people who won’t be happy no matter what you do but you can’t worry about those types.

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I seem to be having an increase in guests simply not getting out the door by check out time. I’ll get a message telling me they’re running late, so sorry, and will be out by x time, thank you so much for understanding, yada yada yada.

Kinda annoys me they are from the school of ask-forgiveness-rather-than-permission, thanking me for a service I did not agree to provide.

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Do you charge a fee for late checkout? That would put a damper on that! It’s amazing what people will do to save a few dollars.

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In the rare event that it’s a same day turnover - then no.

Otherwise - we are flexible.

I do not remember a way to add this to our airbnb listing. How is it done?

We say in the message the day before that we and our cleaner will enter the property at 10 am. That is our intention. SO if someone were running late we’d be in there.

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Just add it to your House Rules.

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I know as a guest the last thing I want to do is check out by 10 a.m. As a host my checkout is noon and I have a gap day.
My old rental I sometimes booked people on the same day someone was checking out, but not now.

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“Sorry I’d love to but our next guests are arriving later today and I need to get the apartment ready for them. Is there anything I can do to help your checkout go more smoothly?”

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Agreed. I prefer that hosts provide me with an 8 AM check-in and 9 PM check-out as a guest. It’s my right!

But as a host, I prefer that they check out by the agreed upon time (10 AM). Once a guest checked out late, left a mess behind and the check in for the next guest was delayed by 45 minutes. She contacted airbnb, got a full refund and Airbnb counted that as a host cancellation.

Now any guest who does not check out by the agreed upon time gets a 1* review from me. I wouldn’t want any other host to have to put up with such behavior.

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Your response to what zillacop said is absurd. They weren’t suggesting ridiculous check-in and check-out times. They only said that 10am seems an early check-out time for them as a guest. I happen to agree- 10 AM seems early for someone on vacation to be up and out the door, especially when hosts expect guests to do several check-out chores. 11AM seems more reasonable.

We discuss all kinds of things which we think are reasonable and unreasonable, better choices, etc. here- this is no different.

That is simply an observation, as I and zillacop stated it. It certainly doesn’t mean that guests should disrespect the stated check-out time and there may be good reasons why hosts need guests to check-out by 10.

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