This is an issue I've reported to AirBnB 10+ times over the last 5 years via feedback form, chat, and phone calls. It's unlikely to ever get fixed but maybe they'll look into it if enough other hosts report the same issue.
The attached screenshots pretty much sum up the problem. My place has a check-in time of "after 3PM" but whenever I get booking within the next 24 hours, the booking confirmation that comes through includes a guest-selected check-in time that is generally before the time shown on the listing.
How do other hosts deal with this? If I tell the guest "sorry the place can't actually be ready by the time you selected, even though the website displayed those options as valid selections", that definitely sets things off on the wrong foot.
I don't think this is a bug - I think it's Airbnb trying to give hosts as many options to get booked as possible. This is what it looks like when a guest books a listing within 24 hours of arrival. The check-in time defaults to your indicated time (in hopes that the guests should likely know their plans.) If the guest selects a different check-in time (outside of your scheduled time) then it will come through as a request. The host then has the option to make it work or decline and wait for another booking.
Oh that makes sense! You’re right, now that I think about it, it’s always been a request rather than an instant booking
@Sean95 I used to do IB but stopped. I do remember being triggered to look for the reason why a booking would come through as a request instead. There could be so many different reasons. I guess this is another one to add to the list.
@Emilia42 is right. If a guest selects dates further out, the option to request a different check in time doesn't appear. It is supposed to be a request you need to approve though. Is the check in alteration request being overlooked somehow perhaps, and you're inadvertently approving and accepting? Because you say the guest selected check in time is on the confirmation. I've never dealt with this as I don't allow short notice bookings. @Sean95
@Colleen253 I will need to get back to you on this. Inadvertently approving/accepting a request that contains undesirable parameters doesn't seem like something I'd do but you never know. It's been a few months since this happened so I can't remember, but if it happens again then I'll follow up.