Check-in and check-out times can be a fragile topic between a host and a guest. People travel around the clock 24/7 and it is important that your check-in and check-out times are reasonable, but also flexible. Being flexible by up to 3 hours either way could mean the difference between the guest booking with you or not.
The average check-in time is 3 pm and check-out time is 11 am. As host, you can choose a suitable time during any given period of the day that is convenient and meets your and your guest’s needs.
Communication, as with any aspect of Airbnb, is vital when either confirming or negotiating a check-in or check-out time. It is recommended that you keep all communication within the Airbnb messaging platform. This is so that you can document your conversations in the event that anything were to go wrong. If your check-in time is set at 4 pm, the guest may ask if you could accommodate their arrival at another time, such as midnight. While obviously not ideal, the guest will appreciate the gesture and secure their booking with you. Having a self-check-in process makes this request much easier to accommodate, so you may want to consider options for keyless entry such as a smart lock or lock box for a key.
A host mentioned in our Facebook Group that he received a message from a guest requesting a discount on their first day since they “won’t even get to spend the full day there.” Now, most can agree that this is quite a cheeky request. It is unknown what action this host took, but more often than not, guests like this can be more trouble than they are worth. To save you trouble further down the road, if they do not like the check-in time and want a discount off the first day, send them a message to let them know your thoughts and decline their request. Whether they arrive at 3 pm or at midnight, you have reserved the space for them for that day and time and their reservation has blocked you from making it available to others, thus otherwise losing income for that day.
For one reason or another, being flexible with your check-in and check-out times can be the deciding factor for a guest wishing to book with you. It could be as simple as having an early flight and arriving a few hours prior to your usual check-in, or a train that departs a few hours after check-out. In these situations, it is easy to be flexible but it’s your flexibility in those unexpected situations which makes guests smile.
Suppose the guest has organized to meet a friend upon arrival to kill time before check-in but their friend did not end up showing. They contact you to check in a bit early due to this unexpected situation but you haven’t finished cleaning yet. What would you do? If the guest has been reasonable up until now, you may let them know it’s fine for them to check in early as long as the space is mostly clean and they won’t be in the way of you finishing preparations for their visit. It may also help to notify them that you may still be tending to the property when they arrive and this could negatively impact their experience.
You could also offer to allow them to drop off their personal items, so they can tend to other things such as picking up supplies for their stay or visiting a local attraction, without having to carry their belongings. This can allow you the time you need to finish up preparations for their stay and providing the best experience possible for them.
The answer is simple. If the guest is reasonable, understanding, and acknowledges that they will be arriving or departing at different times than the ones listed, do your best to facilitate their request. If you simply cannot accommodate their request for any reason, don’t stress. Let them know and they can decide for themselves if they would like to go ahead with the reservation or not.
If the guest attempts to squeeze a discount out of you, or questions you about your check-in and check-out times in a disrespectful manner, simply decline their request. This could be a sign of a troublesome guest and we all want to avoid that!
Again, there are no set standard check-in or check-out times and each host can decide a time that works best for them. It is recommended for a 2 pm-4 pm check-in and 10 am-12 pm check-out time. No matter what, communication is key, and if you feel uncomfortable at any point, you have full discretion to decline the booking request.
Jake Leavy has worked in the content industry for 8+ years. Travel writing has been his main focus, however, he also has luxury hotel management experience under his belt. He has traveled to over 50 countries and loves immersing himself into different cultures. Jake combines his passion for travel and hospitality experience to offer hosts tips and tricks to improve their business.
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