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.”
Like many who have commented before me, I meet & greet every single guest the first time. All new guests get the custom door code (4 cell phone numbers) but they don't know this UNTIL THEY ARRIVE. Repeat guests: I just give a custom door code (last four digits of their cell too, using the Kwikset 99100-081 SmartCode Z-wave Plus deadbolt) and wave at them whenever I see them later. Right after each booking confirmation, I send a detailed web page of instructions (a hidden page on our website) texted to their cell phone. This way, they know they can access the directions quickly, even when leaving the airport, I ask them to give me an approximate ETA, and if possible text me when they are 30 minutes away so I can be prepared to greet them. I keep the "tour" short, less than five minutes, unless they are full of questions. Sometimes I am with them in the apartment for 30 minutes, but that is rare. If I have departing guests on arrival day, I tell the new guests this IN ADVANCE so I can coordinate times with both of them that works for me (same on departure). I have had several guests try to sneak in extra bodies in high demand times and not pay the extra fee for setting up the convertible sofa. All guests, the first time, have to sign a Rental Agreement, basically saying they will be good guests, and adhere to the rules & payments they have made. After a reversal of charges on a credit card (not with Airbnb) I was perilously close to being badly scammed as I had no documentation. After a police detective intervened, I was made whole several months later. I cannot say enough good things about having a Ring Video Doorbell, this paid for itself the first week. The Kiwkset lock gives me the information about when the door is locked/unlocked which is useful from time to time too. It sounds complicated but really it's not, and it's all over in five minutes most of the time when people arrive. Everyone is happy.
Am I the only Super Host that finds meeting and greeting my guests is my best opportunity to insure they have a great stay? Yes, I have a guide and yes, if guests want to come in at 1am I can provide a method but I prefer old fashioned hospitality which is established in a meet and greet.
I think Google docs and the app are great idea’s and both can be used. Information overload is better than none !
Love this and will do it again but I already did and guests were using it and then Airbnb removed it, so I am confused. What’s changed?
Thankfully I kept all the pictures and instructions and it will be easy to do it again.
I think they should give you the option when to send the link for check-in. I communicate with all my guests the day before check-in, in case there's any changes or if there's anything I can do to for them.
For me 3 days in advance is to early to send them the check-in link. Or they should give us the option to schedule the message for everyone convince.
Sorry but I think on my kids and my safety. What happened if that guest comes to your home before his time? Or if they show up and there's another guest in the place?
Is a great idea but I believe it need more work.
Yeses I agree...it’s all about flexibility as every host has their own processes - I use an App ** that allows me send my guests an app with the information they need on and it automated check ins for me
**[Personal advertisement removed in line with - Community Center Guidelines]
Thank you for the information Kris. I'm going to check the app to see if is something that might work for me. 🙂
Great Idea AirBnb team!
If it would be accessable by going on the site and not only by app. that would be amazing and easy for whom who don't prefer to have a smart phone.
I do not live close to the appartement so this feature is very easy for me. I wrote it in my language adding pictures. I was counting on translation by the app according to the guest. But This didn’t seem to work. I added French and english...
Only as good as people actually reading it. Not like a recent French guest who should have been able to self check in, called me during a meeting to complain quite vocally. When asked about the check in instructions, denied being sent details.