How does check-in work?

in
Alameda, California, United States
Level 2
58,705 Views

How do I coordinate check-in with my host?

12 Replies

Re: How does check-in work?

in
San Francisco, CA
Level 2

I'm curious about this too! I've had different experiences with each of my hosts—some send an extensive message with details a day or two before my arrival, some I've had to reach out to the night of (sometimes even kind of last-minute).

 

I've found it's really helpful to at least get an idea of what the check-in process will look like first (ex: there's just a code lock on the front door vs. I need to meet the owner in person to get keys), knowing that gives me a better idea of how much I need to push as a guest for an exact check-in time/details in advance/etc.

 

Definitely curious what other people's check-in experiences have been! I'm also curious to hear what hosts prefer re: check-ins...

Re: How does check-in work?

in
London, United Kingdom
Level 10

Hi @Madelyn0@Jessica1! Some interesting questions here for our hosts actually - I'll tag e.g. @Deborah0 who has been super active here and has a lot of hosting experience, so could give a hosting point of view. 🙂 I saw  @Paul-And-Raymond0 mentioning about travelling on Airbnb a lot so looping you in Paul too in case you want to participate in this discussion!



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Re: How does check-in work?

in
California, United States
Level 10

Hi @Jessica1 and @Madelyn0

This is really interesting, as I believe this is the first time guests and hosts have been able to participate together in groups on Airbnb, and it's the first time that guests have had their own groups where they can discuss matters from a guest perspective.  I am hoping that having this available for all, will be a vehicle to help foster a lot of dialogue between guests and hosts, so each group can understand the other's perspective better.  (Many hosts have also been guests, but not all have been).  

 

There actually isn't any standard check in procedure that applies to hosts across the board .  There are some universals, but there can also be variation among hosts as to how they prefer to handle this.  

 

Each host is expected to either designate a certain check in time or check in "window" , or state that check-in time is flexible.  THis is part of what hosts are required to do when they set up a listing.  If a host has check in time/window and/or check in requirements, they should state these on their listing description (which you can read before booking) or on their house manual ,which you can read after booking.  When a check in time is stated on the host's listing (Airbnb requires that all hosts either set a time, or they get the Airbnb "de facto " time of 3pm for check in)  that means guests can arrive at that hour or later.  It doesn't mean that guests have to arrive at exactly that hour .  Any hosts who have requirements/limitations regarding check in, should state that clearly on their listing description, so that guests can read this before booking, and have the opportunity to choose another listing to stay at if any given hosts' check in requirements don't work for them.  For instance, some hosts only allow guests to arrive during a certain window, say, 3pm to 9pm.  A guest cannot arrive at 8am or at midnight, in that situation.  Other hosts are flexible, and allow guests to arrive at any time after the stated check in hour, except perhaps not too late, because the host may not be able to stay up late at night waiting.  Guests  wanting to arrive later than say 9 or 10pm at night, should ask host in advance if this is okay, rather than assume it will be okay.  

 

As to whether hosts will meet in person or leave a key or have a code lock on the door -- and guests wanting to know what the process will look like - I think the difficulty for hosts with having a set check in process that they can communicate in advance, is that it may not be possible to apply the same check in process for all guests.  Some guests arrive when the host is not home, but at work, and host cannot leave work to meet that guest, particularly if the guest cannot state with absolute certainty that they will arrive at a certain hour.So a lock box or code entry and guest self checkin may be needed in that case.    Some guests arrive at a time when host is normally home, so personal check in is available.  Others arrive on a day or time when host is at an event, or out to dinner.  Exact check in procedures may not be able to be specified in advance if host doesn't yet know what they will be doing that day.  


What I do, is ask guests when they will be arriving, and  allow guests to arrive at any hour after the specified check in hour.  I prefer that guests arrive before 10pm, but if that is not possible, I will allow them to arrive at any hour as long as they can come in quietly into  the house, not disrupting me or my neighbors.  Often the guest does not know the hour they will arrive, until closer to the arrival date.  Depending on the time they want to come, I say that I will either be there to meet them, or leave a key in a lockbox for them.  Then, I say I will show them  around the house either right when they arrive, if I am there then, or later, when I come back home.    

 

Hosts vary as to how much they will either be flexible and work to accomodate guests's needs vis a vis check in time, or are unable to be as flexible and require guests to fit into their time window and their schedule.  THis is something that guests may want to ask hosts about in advance, even before booking if needed, particularly if this is important for the guest to know --- eg, I am coming on a bus from the airport with heavy luggage, I need to be able to go right to the listing and get in, I cannot wait elsewhere for several hours.  New hosts often express confusion about what they are "allowed" to ask of guests, as they can feel like it is impolite to ask the questions that hosts really need to ask to screen guests and make sure they are getting a guest they will be comfortable with, and guests may not ask all the questions that they need to ask to make sure that they are getting a booking at a listing and with a host which will work for them and where they will feel comfortable.  

 

From a host's perspective, these are some of the common frustrations:  (1) Guests do not arrive at the time they say they will arrive (even when this delay is not owing to flight delay or anything out of their control) or guests do not update hosts on delayed arrival time.  THis can result in host waiting a long time for the guest and unable to attend to other business because they need to be there when guest arrives.  (Some hosts have left work to meet guest and planned to return to work in 1 hour, only to find guest does not arrive at that time, but comes 6 hours later)  (2) Guest asks to check in early, sometimes very much earlier (eg, when check in time is 2pm, guest asks if they can arrive at 8am).  Guest may insist on this and be upset if host doesn't allow it, but really, if the guest wants to check in that early, they should book to arrive the day prior, so that they then are paying for the space from the day prior starting at 2pm and so arriving at 8am is actually late, not early.  (However, even if they pay to arrive a day earlier, host may have limitations as to when they are physically able to do check in of the guest) . 

Re: How does check-in work?

in
San Francisco, CA
Level 2

@Deborah0 - Thanks for such and awesome and thorough reply here. Really appreciate both the tips and getting a host's perspective on this!

Re: How does check-in work?

in
London N4
Level 1

Yep - excellent reply! (I have nothing to really add but will emphasise prior communication with the host will make for less misunderstanding) 

Re: How does check-in work?

in
Paris, France
Level 10

As a host, I find it very helpful if guests tell me exactly when and how they will arrive in town: at the airport, by train, by private car, by bus. If I know that, it's easier to adapt my schedule to that and send them details how long it will take from the station to my door, which transport to choose etc. If I know how a guest arrives, I can follow the news and if there is any information on delays, I can look up the train or plane and see if the guest will be in time or delayed. For a plane that means giving either the flight number or the airline, departure airport and arrival time.

I have set up an automatic answer with travel information but it's impossible to cover all possibilities and languages. Therefore I refine it after knowing details. If you get your booking confirmation, print it or open it on a computer, some people do not see the information on a phone.

Arriving at the door can be different - some people take a taxi and are dropped at the door, some guests know the area and find it, others feel lost in a big strange city and prefer a meeting beside the bus station.

Check-in will be different too - some hosts have an inventary and go through it, checking every item with you, letting you sign that and do the same at check-out. That will be more frequent for entire apartments or houses. Others will discuss house rules or explain how things work.

Generally I'd say it's necessary for both parties to either have everything cleared in detail including questions like "what to do in case of delay, how long will the host wait for me. Or else have a phone with data access with you which will work in the country you visit. If you travel to other continents, your phone may not work, but airports have free wifi.

Another thing: print your booking confirmation and take it with you. It contains the host's phone number and address and client service phone number. If your phone is dead, you can still take a taxi or call from a restaurant. It's absolutely annoying to be lost in a strange town and have every usefull information on a phone without power.

Re: How does check-in work?

in
San Clemente, CA
Level 5

Well, I am a Host and have been a Guest. As a Host I message my Guest a day or 2 prior to them coming. I ask for their itenery like are they flying in that day or driving. I have a 3:00PM check in but I am flexiable. I always meet and greet them at my front door our in front of my home. I take them to the Casita and do a little explaination and let them do their thing. When I have been a Guest I really like being greeted by my Host. When we rented a home in Seattle the Host greeted us, showed us her Guidebook that had everything about the home and the surrounding areas and then she left........perfect! My other Host left a note on the gate and we fended for ourselves. We never saw that Host. 

My question is "when do you contact your Guest about check out? 

Re: How does check-in work?

in
Minneapolis, MN
Level 6

Check-in can be tricky, and requires a lot of communication so both guests and hosts know what to expect.

 

We've been those late-arriving guests a few times. Once renting a mountain getaway, we'd confirmed a 7 pm arrival. Unfortunately, our day plans went late. We called well in advance to let the hosts know we'd be late, probably 9 pm. But the winding roads left the toddler car sick and vomiting in the rental car. We had to stop and clean up on the way, as well as drive much slower. It was after 10 when we finally arrived, but we kept the host updated. (They lived on site and met us with an ATV to bring luggage to the rental, which was a half-mile walk from the parking.)

 

Another time, my husband and son arrived from Minneapolis in the morning and had a train reservation from Frankfurt to Muenster. Railroad construction meant repeated train delays, and unbeknownst to him, his Aldi SIM card had expired so he had no cell service to let the host know. But she did have his flight and train info, so she could figure it out.

Re: How does check-in work?

in
Fort Walton Beach, FL
Level 2

I have my first gust arriving tonight. How does Airbnb know? What steps do I need to take to affirm that have checked in? After they arrive what do I do next?

Re: How does check-in work?

in
Honolulu, HI
Level 10

@Gina105 Definately a frequently asked question... https://www.google.com/search?q=How+does+aribnb+check-in+work 

 

You don't tell AirBnB that the guest checked in. Your procedures for accomidating the guest after they arrive are between you and the guest. Personally I don't meet and greet so the guests just follow the instructions in my house manual. Of course I message them the next day to confirm that they are settled and to encourge them to call me with problems.

Re: How does check-in work?

in
Bristol, United Kingdom
Level 10

 

@Gina105 Airbnb have no way of knowing.

 

Do you host in your own property?

 

What time have you agreed with your guests that they will arrive?

 

You or your representative should show them around your place and answer their questions. And leave them with contact details.

 

Airbnb has quite a lot of information on its Help Centre and website around this and also provides you with a check list of how to prepare your home. Have you had a look at this?

Re: How does check-in work?

in
Shelburne Falls, MA
Level 1

For security purposes is it important for the host to have the names and ages of all staying at the property, in case of fire or some other unforeseen issue? Do hosts have a ‘check in’ book similar to hotels listing those staying at the property?

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