Check-in can be a confusing process for guests, and if things don’t go smoothly, it can cause extra work and worry for hosts, too. There’s a tool on the Airbnb mobile app that can help: check-in guide.
“I use [the check-in guide] to put all my check-in information within the premade fields. It saves me time and allows users to find things quickly,” said Superhosts John and Mary Ann, of Fayetteville, North Carolina.
The check-in guide tool allows you to write step-by-step instructions once, within the Airbnb app, so you won’t need to rewrite or copy and paste instructions from another email when you message future guests. You can even add photos to show landmarks or hard-to-find lockboxes, and to help guide guests who speak other languages. Creating this guide once helps you save time, of course, and also helps prevent miscommunication; you won’t run the risk of accidentally leaving out an important step, as you might in a one-off email to guests.
The tool also handles communication follow up for you: Three days before confirmed guests arrive, we’ll automatically send your check-in guide to their smartphones so that they can pull up the information easily via the app and throughout their trip, even without a local data plan. If guests don’t have the Airbnb app, you can still share your guide: Simply go to “messages,” press the “key” icon, and encourage your guests to save the link. Guests will be able to access your guide three days before they arrive.
Here’s how to make the most of the check-in guide feature and set the stage for a smooth arrival.
5 simple steps to publish a check-in guide:
Grab your smartphone, open the Airbnb app, and go to your listing. Under “Guest resources,” click “Check-in instructions.” Whether you greet your guests in person or choose self check-in, you can still create a check-in guide. The first screen will prompt you to select your entry method: smart lock, keypad code*, lockbox, or doorman.
Some hosts have guests check-in on their own and settle in before greeting them in person. “Nowadays we let the guests do self check-in, which makes them feel more at home,” say hosts Siyana and Khalam, of Imbituba, Brazil. “Then I write or make myself available to better explain the house, appliances, gas, and whatever else is needed.”
*For extra security and peace of mind, remember to change door or lockbox passcodes between guests.
Next, you’ll be asked to edit check-in instructions and write detailed steps to help guests locate and get inside your home.
Here are some step-by-step instructions** from hosts:
—Rubén and Dorothy, Vermont, United States
—Ben and Angel, Wellington, New Zealand
**Instructions have been edited and adapted for length and clarity.
These hosts also include street information and links to maps:
I include a photo of the front of the house, and if they are bringing a car I indicate which of the garages they can use. I also let them know that my street has two very specific times for vehicles.—Jessi, Mexico
I [include] a detailed explanation on how to find the [house]boat with a map and photos of the area.—Maeva, Msida, Malta
***Some hosts have told us they feel uncomfortable showing photos of the front of their homes. If you feel the same way, try photographing items close-up. Also, keep in mind that check-in guide photos will not be published to your listing. They will only be shared with confirmed guests three days before they arrive and during their stay.
Some hosts recommend adding a little humor to get guests’ attention:
“Hi, we are looking forward to having you here in our part of the world. Could you please SMS me your expected arrival time on [phone number] so I can make sure I am not feeding the crocodiles in the lake?” Yes of course it’s outrageous, but it always gets an immediate response. We all have a laugh. I know when they will arrive, and the check-in happens on time and without hassle—or crocodiles!”—Robin, Mount Barker, Australia
Once you’ve published your instructions, we’ll automatically share your check-in guide with confirmed guests three days before they arrive. Easy check-ins mean you’ll save time and set the stage for a five-star review.
Just take it from hosts like Stefan, of Wiesendangen, Switzerland: “Our efforts are limited to the absolute necessary. There is no idling or reworking. Nothing is forgotten, and there isn’t the stress of ‘Did I already….? Do you have….?’ Thanks to the [check-in guide], our standard is always the same without any additional effort.”
Good idea to include a link to the instructions, too! I have been using this new method during our last season as josts, but the fact that can only be done through the cellphone make it unreachable for certain guests. Hope Airbnb can fix this in the nearby future!!
I've used this for over 12 months. Its great. I love having this functionality on my phone because I'm often out and about woking all over Melbourne. I find most guests need a little help to use this so I actually message link to the check in instructions via the messaging app - if you want to know how ... go to a guest message and just click on the key on the bottom right. It is brilliant.
I have detailed instructions on my profile Re checking in, which I repeat again after booking in a message to the guest, but still many of them ignore it, do not bother to read it or just do not care. I honestly do not understand this. I often have to ask repeatedly what their estimated time if arrival will be, but often get no response Guests also often request to book in or out at ridiculous times Do they not realize it is not a hotel but a private home with hosts with lives
I have all this set up, and as much information as I can think of, but people don’t read it! I answer more questions about my rental that are clearly spelled out in the description. I guess you have to deal with that. I’m open to any suggestions to help me motivate people to read the full description and information
Hello Airbnb, this ia an awesome idea. I love it all the way. I will set it up! Thanks.
Immaculate, Trinity Motel ENTEBBE
I enjoy meeting my guests at check-in and this feature does not include options for that. Even though I meet them, I still send them arrival info and directions for finding the door. Also, I have an old smart phone and the app doesnt work properly on the old opperating system. The other thing I noticed is that you never really know if the guest has received this check-in guide.
If you enjoy meeting your guests you will have by sure a lot of great reviews, not only about the apartment but also about you as host. We believe on the same! And our guests reviews tell us that we are right.
I have found that sending this information to them (even though Airbnb does) in their check-in message helps that to store the information as "important." I have been using this portion on the app for more than a year now, I do use my phone 95% of the time but mostly because I am unabel to access this portion of the app on my laptop. When sending out 7-10 check-in messages, even though they are all pre-written it takes time and it would be nice to do it on my laptop and not my phone.
This is a great idea, but sent THREE DAYS before my guests come? Can we set it for the morning of arrival? I have a keysafe code that I usually change after guest stays and if I have three guests in three days the code could be changed twice by the third day! And if I have an empty property I'm giving the code to an empty property to someone three days ahead!
I just went on my Air bnb mobile app and I do not see anything called, "check-in guide". All this sounds like it will save me a bunch of time, but I can't get to square one??? Any advice?
Hi Lynne. I have the same problem. I have a smart phone but obviously I am not smart. I can't find "check in guilde" either on my iphone or on my laptop. Help please.
For us, this self checkins are contradictionary to the original idea and the acyial marketing of Airbnb. I connect self checkin with a hightech japanese box-hotel, but not with a social way of staying home far from home. Our guests are all very grateful for our personal welcome and introduction.
We made just recently as guests the experiance with self checkin, self checkout, all without any personal contact. After this experience we stand with great belief to our personal based system.