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.”
I have two properties but my online check in guide is only applicable to one property so how does that work??
We always meet our guests and welcome them but we set this up a couple of weeks ago just in case as multiple methods are always good. However, none of our guest have received it. How do we sort that out?
I use a keypad - self check in, works great for my vacation rental. I do change my door code for each guest, I use a saved message and add the new door code. Can the app accomodate a new code for each guest?
This is NOT new.... I set this up over a year ago! But do you actually send it to the guests?? Doesn't seem like it... so I STILL have to... along with a LINK to my images. So is it working yet?? you should also send the HOST an email letting them know directions have been sent to the guest.
Just echoing what others have said - we like to greet guests if we can, but sometimes have to use a keysafe. We need an option that gives different kinds of checkin methods. Thanks.
Lots of comment on this! I will add my bit...
We have a high volume of guests in peak season so self check-in is vital. We were minded to do this when a guest arrived 6 hours late, at 3am. A few of those and you learn fast 🙂
We issue a 6 page welcome pack as a pdf with all the important points clearly laid out, with pictures. The pictures are vital so guests with little English can work it out.
Sadly, the check-in app is not really fit for purpose. It is not easy to be typing complex instructions on a mobile. We want 100% confirmation that the guest has received it. We tell them to have a printed or digital copy to hand when they arrive - so we manage the process.
This needs to be built into the main app and a lot of process flexibility added in before we can use it. We do seriously look forward to that day!
When I preview my photos in the check-in feature, they are all cropped. If you double tap the photo it enlarges. This is a problem because I don't think most people would know that double tapping enlarges the photo. Also, as is the case for my photos, they will look fine to the viewer, but they won't know what they are missing from the cropped photo (e.g arrows and text that I added) so they wouldn't see a need to enlarge the photo, even if they knew how. Thus they will miss critical info. and guidance
I'm all for using humor but humor is regional and linguistic limited so when this Australian says "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?" I, being a non English native speaker, have no clue what he's trying to say. I'd refrain from using humor, especially when we're dealing with people from all over the world that may use English as a common language but aren't necessarily familiar with the nuances of humor.
I have to check in guests in person, our neighbours wouldn't give permission to install key safe.
I am on Airbnb for last 6 years and 95% (at least) of guests do not state their estimated time of arrival.
So I have to write them a message as a reminder.
Airbnb should find a way to prompt guests couple of times to state their arrival time as reminders and all that post booking comunication is a lot of additional and unnecessary work.
On that note, guests should be prompted to carefuly read description, list of amenities etc.
Hosts often have to write repilies about thinkgs that are clearly stated in the listing.
What a pain!
Great feature, seems like it would save an awful lot of potential miscommunication and hassel all round.
I recently received 4-stars for check-in because the guests had a hard time finding the check-in code. How can we make it even easier to find in the check-in guide and/or in the app? I use the guide and have ti all set up, but I've found most guests cannot navigate to it in the app. Can we get some better in-app tour/guides/visual cues to that portion of the app on their arrival day?