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


we have always done self check in. 1. our renters usually arrive late. Frequently after work, like 9 pm. or later (we’ve had renters arrive at midnight if they hit holiday traffic driving up). 2. our properties are all just far enough from our home that if we have more than one check in at the same time window, we couldn’t be there for each house. (but not too far that we can’t get there quickly if they need us.) 3. We send House Instructions when we send directions. The House Instructions also appear in the Welcome Book which is in full view when they enter the house.
We do prepare the house for them right before their arrival; open windows, turn on ceiling fans and lights, set their key code, etc. We’ve done it this way for nearly 15 years and they’ve always appreciated it.
We’ve heard from some guests that they’ve arrived to other properties that were cold and dark… uninviting. Bad first impression.
Self check in hasn’t hurt our stars (five) or superhost status. I believe it may have helped, actually.


I’ve had a couple of hundred bookings and am doing fine with a 4.9 rating. I live separately upstairs and just leave the guests’ side door unlocked (admittedly I can do that because my area has zero crime) and tell people to go in and make themselves at home. Usually I catch up with them when I take the dog out for a walk but sometimes when the weather is bad I don’t see them at all. One obvious advantage is they don’t have to stress if they are running late or early.

My Checkin rating is 4.9 (93% 5 star) so it doesn’t appear to make a difference. The couple of times I have been in the guest apartment when guests turned up and gave them “the tour” I ended up thinking “they could work all this out themselves in 5 minutes or by reading the handbook”. There is nothing that needs special instructions which helps I guess. So no unless it is expected in your area I wouldn’t worry.

Having said that I do think meeting guests sometime during their stay does help with the overall rating as they usually mention what a kind and helpful person the host was (aww shucks) :blush:


Lemme know the next time a hotel lets you “self check in”!


I would NEVER let people come into my house without meeting them first. That is the most insane thing ever, at least as far as I am concerned.

Also, as I stated in a comment directly to a person in this thread, lemme know the next time a Hotel or any other lodging place lets you check in on your own. They ALWAYS want to see ID and a credit card, at least in my experience.


@Carl_P To each their own, but this is perplexing to me. What do you do with their credit card? Do you run it yourself? Or you just want to see that they have one in their name? Do you turn people away ever?

I can understand being extremely selective with this, especially if you are inviting guests into your own living quarters, which is something I would never feel comfortable doing for a lot of reasons. I am somewhat selextive through the booking process, although I do allow guests who have recommendations from other hosts to instant book - I depend on you guys to tell me if someone is bad news. In a few cases I have also cancelled instant books or sought out more information because I didn’t feel comfortable with the booking.

But in my case I have a separate unit with a security camera. I can see everyone who enters and leaves. I can generally tell if they are the person on the reservation (or not, but they’ve always been the right person, so this hasn’t been an issue). I require that AirBNB vet guests and get their IDs prior to booking, so their pictures and IDs are verified as the same person. If the person who shows up is not the same I can call Airbnb, provide video, and let AirBNB handle the situation without a face-to-face confrontation, which is nice.


All the major brands, Hilton, Marriott, Starwood, offer self-check. Your phone will act as your room key.


Do you have a vacation rental? Just wondering.

Due to my location, my guests are often surgeons/pediatricians/public health workers and those in similar health fields. They are sometimes at the pinnacle of their profession, more often they are young and in training and on their way up. They’ve earned my trust.


No, not a vacation rental. I rent a part (but self contained) of my house. I do not care who it is or what they do, but nobody comes into MY home without me at least meeting them.

I learned this from hard experience with various people.

Other folks can do whatever they want, it is a choice for each host. But for me, there is but this one choice.


Lots of good thoughts here on check in.

I think most guests will ultimately rate based upon their check-in expectations.

I manage 2 properties remotely and self-check-in is expected. My guests who previously stayed at a condo requiring check in at a property management office then going to the property are thrilled to be able to go directly to the property and skip the check-in line.

I work full time so meeting my local guests at check-in is rarely an option. Of the 30+ stays at my local rental only one has mentioned the lack of a personal check-in. Because I explain from the beginning about self check-in and that I’m available by phone or text, guests are receptive to it.


I’ve noticed that when it suits them hosts LOVE to compare and contrast Airbnb with hotels. But when it doesn’t they post “this is not a hotel!” “Unlike hotels which have (fill in the blank)…” Just an observation.
The problem we are going to face is that guests are being trained by Airbnb to expect uniformity. I wouldn’t be surprised if in the future Airbnb requires instant book and self check in. They are moving away from the home share model. Yes, they will lose many hosts but gain others.

I’ve had about 400 guests and offered self check in for about 370 of those. I didn’t have it when I first started, maybe the first 6 months or so. I’ve never looked at a guest ID. I’ve had plenty of guests who had no profile picture or didn’t look like the picture that was posted. I’ve only had one guest with a problem that may have been solved by greeting them.

Carl is right though, every host has different needs and standards, at least for now.


It won’t be possible for Airbnb to require this in many countries in Europe. In addition to what I said above about preferring to meet guests personally, we now have to do so, in fact, as we have to register all guests over 16 with the police within 24 hours of arrival. Name, passport/ID number, nationality etc.This is one reason that we have a 3-day minimum stay - imagine what a nightmare it would be for someone like you who has a lot of short stays! The procedure can be shortened and made easier for guests by getting some of the info beforehand, but the “lead guest” has to sign before we send it in. Of course, if guest arrival times aren’t convenient for the host they can self-check in and meet later, but it still has to be done personally (and is a reason why so many people in Spain are making a nice living as Vacation Rental Managers).


@Malagachica Instant book would still be possible though, correct? Do you have to meet them personally or do you simply have to submit the information to the police within 24 hours? Meaning one could get all that information the next morning or even ask the guest to supply it without verifying it in person. People disregard the law all the time so I’m wondering how that plays out in your location.

Obviously complying with thousands of national, state/provincial and local regulations is a headache for airbnb. That’s why they don’t step in to help any individual host when they have issues with the local regulators. There are tens of thousands of governments in the US alone.

Here is in US if hosts were required to meet or have their representative meet all guests it would be quite burdensome and would probably cause many hosts to quit listing the VR at all.


In my big city units I’ve found almost every guest PREFERS self checkin. The exception may be older guests that are used to the traditional B&B format but they are getting fewer and fewer and others are right–it’s a huge time suck. Whatever upgrade might result from better reviews isn’t worth it.


hosted about 4000 guests with self check in and did not notice anything difference in rating.saves me tons of time tho


We live very close to our rental. We state that we wish to meet the guests to give them a tour, since it is for an entire home and we want them to know about the main amenities. I offer the option; Would you like us to be there when you check-in or allow you to settle and swing by shortly after? Most like to get settled, though I feel meeting them in person really drives home our caring that they have a great stay with us. Granted, you need to be less stressed, as well, so I’d say it is all personal preference and depends on the size of the rental.


I agree and that’s exactly my experience. I like it (and it’s not just an ego thing, honest) when guests mention me in the review because it demonstrates to potential guests that this is a personal experience and not a faceless hotel.

Guests who arrive after 6 pm are not greeted by me - I arrange a self check in for them. People I’ve actually met are far more likely to leave a review than the self check in people.

Maybe it depends on the location type? We are a very small complex of a dozen apartments, all individually owned and most are owner-occupied. So we’re less personal than people who are sharing their homes but more personal than people renting our apartments in resort-type complexes. So the personal touch suits the rental better.


I have a lockbox, which is convenient for them and me. I will try and meet the guests sometime during their stay however. The info booklet in the apartment covers most subjects they may request eg wi fi login,
relevant mobile numbers, maps, cafe and restaurant suggestions etc etc etc. Prior to their arrival I tell them how to get to the apartment and so on.
My ratings are generally 5 stars


Yes, Karma, self check-in would theoretically be possible, but the host would at some point have to call during that 24 hours and would have to make sure the guest/s were at home so it seems to me easier to combine the welcome (when you know the guests are going to be around!) and the data collection. There are two copies of the form, one has to be kept by the host for 3 years and signed by the “lead guest” and the other goes electronically to the police.
As for your question about how many people actually comply with the law … well, this is Spain, after all! And, to be honest, I’ve not got onto the system myself yet, not because I don’t want to be legal, but because despite phoning the Police Station at least 5 times a day for the past two weeks I’ve yet to be able to get hold of someone who will give an appointment to register! No wonder a recent local press article said that only 20% of hosts were compliant with the new regs!
Here is the dread form!

. You’d then have to


I have self-check in. I got tired of waiting to greet guests that showed up late or early. I have a camera in the front entrance so I do know when they check in and I send a welcome message via Airbnb. During the course of their stay I tried to say one hello. I do not go up to their suite but wait to catch them when they are leaving or arriving. I find putting a smiling face to greet them once helps with review but not saying hello often hurts.


Most of our renters come after work on Friday evening. They have to, perhaps, pick up the kids, pack the car (and/or rent it first), etc. By the time they get here it can be 10:00 pm. or midnight. If there’s traffic, they have gotten here later.

First. We literally can’t be there for more than one property.
Second. We are very likely to never know when they’re going to arrive. Even a time window. Life happens and slows down the best of plans.
Third. Cell service can be spotty in the mountains. They may not be able to tell us they’re running late.
Fourth. If they’re late… do we really want to stay up and wait for them?

Our renters seem to enjoy the flexibility of checking in any time after 3:00. Sometimes they’re surprised, and happy, when we tell them that. Perhaps they’re more accustomed to
“booking an appointment” just to get into the house. They know how life can be. With a flexible check in time, they can relax a little.

We change the key box code for each rental for security. We prepare each house for their arrival; lights on, heat turned up (or windows open depending on the season), inspect to make sure that all is cozy.

We send them house instructions with the directions and they’re in the Welcome Book at the house also. We send a “Checking In” email the following day.

We’ve been on Air for a year now. Over a hundred reviews. Superhost and 4.9 stars. (we lost a star because one person didn’t like the “location.” Location is really the one thing we’re not responsible for and should not be subject to a renter rating. But that’s a discussion for another time, I guess.)

So that’s my long-winded answer to your question :slight_smile: - self check in doesn’t seem to bother our renters at all.


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