Welcoming guests in person vs Self Check In - Will it impact ratings?

Dear fellow hosts,

My listing is about 20 minutes from my house. For the last 2 years I always welcomed my guests in person. I try to give them a warm welcome, a quick tour of the apartment and answer any question they might have. So far for the most part I had nothing but 5 star reviews.

Two weeks ago I decided to install a key lock box for two reasons:

  • Sometimes guests arrive very late at night and since I work during the day I end up taking time off from work to compensate for the lost sleep.
  • Occasionally guests arrive hours after the agreed check in time and I am left there waiting for them.

In these instances, the lock box will allow me to leave the key for the guests and they can check-in at their own convenience. The lock box will also allow me to switch on instant book since I can now be more flexible with organising check-ins.

Do you think not meeting guests in person will impact the star tarting that they give?
Will they have less respect for my property since they wouldn’t have met me in person?

Your feedback is much appreciated.


I have stayed at four Airbnb’ so far and. All have been self check in whole house places. I gave them all five stars. Some of my own guests in our backyard granny flat self check in with a key in the door I never meet and still get great reviews.

When we first started hosting, I met every guest, gave a tour, and answered questions. While I really enjoyed meeting guests, waiting for them, changing times at the last moment, etc… was a huge time suck. It was also emotionally draining for me after a year or so.Sometimes I felt guests were annoyed they had to be greeted.

I began to offer the option of meeting/tour or self check-in. Nearly all of my guests chose self check-in. I think my reviews weren’t quite as glowing, but I saw no difference in ratings.

Now, I use self check-in as the default with meeting/tour as an option. I ensured our step-by-step check-in guide was very clear (with three keypad locks, it can be a little daunting), and I always have a personal note and welcome treat for them. They know I’m close by if they need me, and reviews are back to glowing.

I’ve just this minute opined on this subject in another thread.

We’ve just installed a lock box. We’re not ticking that amenity in our listing to be ‘business ready’ for self check-in as we only wish to use it as a backup check-in option not the default option.

Our accomodation is attached to and is essentially part of our house so we want to meet people to make sure we are both comfortable. It answers questions straight away and allows me to make recommendations. We’ve had all 5-stars for check-in and communication so it is working for us.

I just stayed in two Airbnbs where the hosts greet guests. It was stressful for me as a guest to get there on time to meet them as I had to figure out the public transport system in a strange country. Both times I ended up taking a taxi because I didn’t want to keep them waiting, which added to the cost of my stay.
After a long day of travelling it can be very nice to just get a key out of a lockbox, have a cup of tea and a lie down and not have to be polite to anyone.


We’ve stayed in Air listings all over the world – before we became hosts. We have always preferred places where the host has enough interest in their Air business to actually meet us in person.

We always give more stars and much better reviews for personal check-in – sometimes even a tip or a gift in some countries where being impersonal is a major cultural trait.

I’ll knock down a star on Communication if there is no personal check-in, because I feel that real communication between Guest/Host is one of the most important differences between us and a chrome and glass box.

If I want a soul-less check-in, I’ll stay at a Marriott or a Comfort Inn or a Motel 6.


The personal touch of greetong guests is important for us too. My parents ran an actual B&B when I was growing up and that’s the model we’re following. Save offering breakfast of course!

Our set up is that we have a basement apartment with a keypad. A lot of our business is people arriving late and leaving early when they are passing through town. I feel like those people usually want an easy in and out, not an extended meeting/conversation/tour. They want a bed and a shower and coffee in the morning.

So generally I leave them be unless I really feel like they WANT or need a meeting. For our longer stay people I’ve done it both ways. Usually it feels like the tour is awkward for the guests. I have a detailed manual broken down into areas -everything they need to know about the kitchen, bathroom, tv, wifi, etc. Most of the time I let them check in on their own and send a message letting them know to let me know if they need absolutely anything. I usually try to find excuses to meet them and visit if they have time.

Most of our guests are here passing through, for work, or to visit family. Those people usually don’t want or need to spend time with me . They are here for a bed and a shower.

Furthermore, when I have travelled in AirBNBs I’ve never been greeted personally. I much prefer the ease of a keypad/box to having to interact with a stranger when I’ve just arrived in a strange place. Communicating through the app and perhaps bumping into people throughout the stay is much more comfortable for me. So obviously the response of the guest is personality based. Some people expect a personal greeting and others are kind of offended by it.

I used to think that a personal greeting puts a face on the listing and makes people more compassionate in their ratings, but I’ve found that isn’t true across the board either.

I would never knock stars off for being greeted or not being greeted. I would if the host was late or if the self check in didn’t work and the host wasn’t available to remedy the situation quickly. So I think it’s your call - you know what type of guests you have and what their expectations are better than anyone. Sometimes you just have to feel people out and make decisions. But I do agree with what someone said above - being a guest who is running late to meet a host would totally stress me out.


It will vary somewhat person to person, but in general people do not want to deal with another human being. I had a coworker say he would pay $20 extra to not have to meet a host in person. The travel industry advertises heavily new advances for customers to not have to stop at the check-in counter when arriving.

This is not to say you should not be prompt for questions and concerns as they come up.


I agree with those upthread –

My guests adore self checkin, and I may meet them the next day after they’ve settled in.

As a guest, I like it a lot, too.

I know a host in my area who chains herself to meeting every guest in person. After you get stood up numerous times by guests who switch plans, I changed my outlook. Don’t know why others don’t, too.


I love not meeting my guests, I only meet when I feel a sketchy vibe. I have had people come stay that were not the actual person booking. I do feel that a lot of my guest are older and not from Canada they defiantly are not comfortable with the lock box usage and always give me low stars for the check in process.

I’d have to add a $45 meeting fee if I were to meet all guests its not worth it to me or the guests.

Also lots of my guests are new to airbnb witch is also frustrating, guess its not easy money right…

Actually, we offer the breakfasts too. I am a Personal Chef and offer about a dozen Breakfast For Two meal choices to our guests.


I had seen that from previous posts. It’s just not for us!

I started greeting in person just to get tax and take care of business. Also if I showed them the particular th8gns I wanted them to pay attention to, that seemed to head off a lot of issues.

However all my reviews start out with K was a great hostess, blah blah. They mention me and my hospitality way more than they discuss the actual apartment and amenities. So I sometimes worry my room isn’t up to snuff.

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Same here,Kona, our reviews almost always are about us and our hosting - how kind, helpful etc we are (not to boast, of course!) and how much they love their wine and tapas on the terrace with us. But I think that, as always, it is horses for courses … our guests are always vacationers, most of them from other countries and visiting Malaga for the first time so they appreciate help with directions, sightseeing, shopping ideas etc.

Although I can see this might be true for the tired business person who just wants to crawl into bed it shocks me that you feel it might be generally true - what on earth is the point of travel if we’re not willing to interact with people we meet on your journeys? As a guest, I don’t really mind which option hosts choose, and have good experiences with both but I do have to admit that I am always slightly more warmed by the personal touch and if the host lives on the premises or nearby it would seem strange NOT to meet them!

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@Malagachica I think it’s a personality thing a lot of the time. Even when I’m on vacation, I already have a plan and don’t care to spend a lot of time chatting with strangers. Maybe it’s a flaw on my part, but it’s just my nature. My husband, on the other hand, prefers to talk to anyone who will listen.

In any case, just because I’m an introvert doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy nice, kind people. I do, but I don’t seek out interactions. So I think my rating would be affected little by meeting my hosts.

Maybe dependent on accommodation type. I was mostly referencing whole/house condo rentals. I could see if it shared accommodation set up a guest may enjoy interaction more, as they may be seeking that out.

I just remember renting an Airbnb in new orleans and the host spent 30 mins showing us how the shower worked. (we have used indoor plumbing i wanted to scream).

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I don’t think it will impact ratings. What’s best for your guest will be dependent on your property and the guest. Introverts will most likely be happiest with self check-in; extroverts will be happy to meet someone new and talk to them!

I did have one experience with having to meet the host that was less than stellar. We were traveling from Salzburg to Frankfurt, and there were lots of delays due to construction so we arrived about two hours late. From our check-in time to the time we actually arrived, the host texted me every five minutes asking for an update and sending me big videos and information packets. He chewed up all my international data and cost me $50 in overages. Nice guy, nice place, left him five stars because it was our fault we were late. But I was wishing I had picked a self check-in place for that night!

I’ve also had it both ways, where the host meets us and shows us around or the self-check-in. I choose the latter, unequivocally 100%. I like to enter the space and be surprised or “wowed” (ideally!) and delighted, rather than trying to focus on what the host is saying and taking mini-peeks. I want to look around and explore on my own.

I must be an introvert. … :persevere:

I’m finding this topic very interesting. I’ve always greeted my guests on arrival, even though we have a keyless entry. I haven’t even thought, that guests would prefer to go it alone. Now this discussion is making me think twice about my greeting ritual. I’m going to start asking guests their preference and not asume as I have in the past.

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