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.”
Sometimes I feel like the only person in the world who still has a dumb-phone! Is it possible to just do this on an ordinary computer?
Me too. I keep it for phone and texts, and U also have a smartphone for apps, not for telephone use it works!
I, too have what you refer to as a dumb phone and hoping that I can die before I am forced into having a cell phone or smart phone or whatever. Nice to know there are other Luddites in the world.
Mady in Boise, Idaho USA
if you see it through phone, you can do the instruction step by step. Host will be notified once you completed the step. so it's good for host and guest as well.
This is my biggest concern.
I have had this information available in the app for best part of a year, but it's not available to guests who don't use the app, and can cause big issues when they don't have access to the same information.
I think this just happened to me. I was traveling as a guest and was really confused about the check-in. When I messaged the host, he seems confused as well and acted like I should know the information. Luckily, we worked passed our confusion but it was a bit uncomfortable. Now I know it was because he had given me a bunch of info which I had no access too!
Hi Steven, I use the AirBnb guest guide, but my guests mainly look at an online guide I created on Google Docs. It's easily accessible and I give them the link to it on every guest response. It covers everthing and is easy to update.
Great idea Regina and Kelan! I too find that in the rush of travel, folks often don’t look at the check-in information and guide
I find it works well to send the self check in details as soon as the client has booked.
They're not rushed ,they read the directions . I has the added benefit that they feel confident from the moment they book the house on how to get in and find the house.
I send this directly to the client to their phone number. That way they have a record of it on their phone as well for reference. My clients seem very happy with this.
I use the Airbnb app and it is fantastic. I can highly recommend getting a smartphone. It will make your life as a host so much easier.
I agree with Frances as this is what I do as well and I am not sure I have had any problems with check-in except, one person forgot to have the instructions on hand and forgot the combination on the lock box. Because its all on the app now and most people have it on hand immediately when they get to the house. I am guessing others print the instructions out before they leave their house.