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I have been hosting for about a month now, with 6 stays under my belt, one under way, and three more upcoming. My listing seems to be effective, my pricing is likely close to where it should be for now, I’ve figured out my turnover process, etc.
One place I don’t quite have down: the check in process. Several hosts have mentioned “giving the tour” etc on the boards, and I’m still pretty erratic in how I do that - should I reiterate every house rule? Point them to my printed guidebook? Offer keys, show them where there room is, and then GTFO because sleep is good after travel?
What’s your check-in process like? Is it something standard for every guest, or do you end up shifting and tailoring it as needed? How in depth do you go?
I have a room attached to my house. I go in the room with them, tell them a few things that might be tricky like how a switch works or the AC set up for this climate. I also have a printed sheet in the room that I point out. If I’ve gone to sleep or aren’t home they let themselves in and just read the sheet I have there. 95% of them don’t need my help. Thing is, it’s just a room, I’m onsite, it’s pretty simple. If I had a whole place separate from me it would be a tour if at all possible.
I always mention where extra towels/linens are, what to do with dishes, how the front door works, and the switch next to the bed that’s sometimes hard to find. And what the heating/cooling options are during their stay.
If they’re interested, I’ll show them where we are on the map, where the corner market is, close-by drinking holes, great breakfast, etc.
I’ll mention use of the yard and bikes - and if they’re interested I’ll show them that stuff, too.
How do you all handle rules? Do you go over each of them? I feel like a school marm when I picture it, and can’t bring myself to do it!
No. They are supposed to read and agree to the rules. I’ve also mentioned my check out time in my short guest guide. If a guest says they will be arriving late at night/early the next morning I’ll remind them that check out time is 11 am. I do it in a friendly way, e.g., “Arrival at any time is not a problem. The dogs and I are unlikely to hear you. Check out time is 11 am regardess of arrival time. Have a safe trip.”
Recently I’ve had two young guests who checked out late. In each case I messaged them on the platform and on their phone right at 11am. I didn’t wait to see how late they were going to be. I simply said “check out time is 11am, thanks.” No threats, no anger, just facts. One guy didn’t leave until almost noon. The other was gone within 10 minutes. On the reviews I knocked down a star on rules but would recommend each of them. Either would be welcome to stay again. With the hour late one I mentioned in the review.
Doing this detailed check-in has made my life significantly easier. It also seems to make expectations clearer for the guests from the beginning, and no one has ever complained about it. They actually seem to appreciate knowing everything beforehand.
My check-in process (Trust me, grasshopper, I never used to do this but have learned it the hard way):
I welcome them, show them where to put their outdoor shoes.
I explain about the firedoors (super heavy and shake the house if you slam them, not to mention the fact that I have lovely neighbours on the other side of my semi-detached home who love us, and whom I’d still like to love us). I apologize for having to tell them this (I have learned what happens if I don’t) “I know you probably know this already, but please be sure to turn the doorknobs when opening and closing the doors to any room, because otherwise it wears away at the wood and disturbs other guests/people in the house”. Nips in in the bud everytime.
I show them their room, how the lamps switch on (not easy to find), how to open and close the windows, blinds etc. Where the outlets are as well (not all are visible). Also I show them where there are extra towels and bedding (in their bedroom).
I show them the binder with house rules, wifi info, local business info and emergency info as well as tourist brochures
I show them the kitchen, which cupboard they can store their dry goods in, show them the fridge and freezer, which cupboards and drawers they have access to (cutlery, dishes, cookware, baking ware, dish towels, cups, glasses, Tupperware, zip loc bags/Saran Wrap) and explain that the rest have my personal items and if they need something they need to ask me first. Also, I explain how to separate the organics/recycling and garbage.
I point out how to use the stove (it’s a common question and not all countries have similar ones), point out the light switches, living room, eating area etc.
I show them the bathroom and explain that all toilet paper goes into the toilet, any water on the floor after a shower (there’s no drain in the floor) to be mopped up “because I’m worried that someone will slip and fall”. I also point out the shampoo and body wash that they’re welcome to use. I show them how to clean out the hair out of the thingy (technical term) that I put in the bathtub drain as well as kitchen one.
I also show them how to use the shower - pull on etc…and washing machine/dryer and explain about when laundry can be done.
(trust me, I’m rolling my eyes here too, but these are all issues that had to be addressed in the past so I save myself the hassle by showing everything now).
I ask them if they have any questions for me. I explain that I have my phone on while I"m awake, and that I turn it off when I’m asleep, so that if they message me during the night they won’t be waking me up and I can respond in the morning (and it also sends a clear message that I"m not on call 24/7). I show them how to reach me in an emergency.
Man, I should just make a video (like the airlines do with the hands pointing to the emergency exits at the front centre and back).
The whole point of my “10 minute or less tour of everything you’ll need to know during your stay” has save me a LOT of time trying to explain over the phone/text in the middle of work/a family event etc. and also empowers the guest with what they need to know.
I found that if I don’t spend the time eliminating the problems at the get go, they will happen down the road - at the most inopportune times.
Posting this as another POV. We have a separate apartment with keyless entry and self check in. Have never given a tour and don’t even have a binder of instructions in the unit. All instructions are on our Air page. We’ve selected appliances and other doohickeys that are easy to use and we’ve received only one question about the induction cooktop. Around 75 sets of guests so far and no issues that would have been prevented by a tour (only by better guest manners. ).
This style that has worked for us and apparently the vast majority of our guests. If we were sharing space with our guests we might do a tour as OPs do.
This is what I send my guests. My home is pretty self explanatory. I’d find it pretty annoying if my host needed 10 minute formal tour when I arrived. Travel is tiring, I want to take my shoes off and crash.
"The door to the rental cottage is the yellow one on the ground floor. It will be unlocked. Let yourself in and get settled.
I’ve found most people prefer to be left to get unpacked and have a look around before I come to greet you. Please call my cell. when its convenient.
I may not be home when you arrive, as I work n the afternoons. I’m usually home by 5pm. If there is a black escape in the driveway. I’m home.
Please don’t forget to bring towels. The beds will all be made with fresh linens for your stay.
If you forget an item, I will do my best to assist, I have a well stocked pantry.
I look forward to meeting you."
So far no one has needed me to show them how to use lights, shower, stove etc. The only info I have posted is how recycling is to be sorted, and emergency contact info
I have 2 Airbnb’s in my home. One of them is a bedroom suite within our home, the other is an apartment under the house. The bedroom suite check in usually takes the route as follows:
Greet guest at the door or at the street, " Aloha! you found the place OK? Is this the first stop for you? Have you been here before?
Here is the key! then I show them the lock the key goes to, and were the front lanai light is so and instruct them that if it is on when they get home to please turn it off.
Show guest to their room- " The bathroom is here, the pocket door slides out from here, this side of the wall has the light switch.
Show guest the handbook which containts the Wi-Fi password!!!
Introuce the guest to kitchen space- glasses, plates, silverware, ( also with pictures in the handbook) and as them if they’d like some water now—
Make yourself at home and let us know if you have any questions or would like recommendations
Some guests are EASY during this process, other guests have LOTS of questions. I go with the flow, and if I’ve made some fresh lemonade I offer that depending on the vibes I get from the guests.
My unit downstairs is very hands off. I send them directions through airbnb and let them know they can contact me with any questions. Most of the time, I never see them. Sometimes I get lots of questions… it really just depends.
Hope this helps you! Do whatever feels authentic to you. If you have a friend that can role play with you, I suggest you give that a go. The best you can do is be yourself.