Guest arrives early, is locked out of house, then leaves low review

in
Silver Spring, MD
Level 10
486 Views

I've had this happen about three times in the past two years and am curious for opinions and options.  A small number of guests have arrived upwards of one to two hours early and have found the door to the residence locked, due to our using an electronic lock which is on a timer to gain entry at the published check-in time of 3PM.  The 3PM check-in is widely stated throughout both the listing, check-in messages, and the message sent right before the guest arrives (24-48 hours) with the door code.  The guest will certainly have seen the check-in time since it is right next to the door code in the message.

 

In these cases, the guests will send messages that they "cant get into the house" and often have to be contacted and told its because they arrived before check-in time.  About two years ago we had a 10AM arrival for a 3PM check-in and that person actually tried to force their way into the home, checking other doors and windows, at one point using a rock to try and break one of the window panes.  Our housekeeper called and said they thought someone was breaking into the house (which I guess, they kind of were).

 

For reviews, normally four stars overall with low stars in check-in often with a comment that there was a "problem at check-in" or "couldn't get into the house" or "door lock was broken".  I think these should be removed as irrelevant reviews, but have never pursued it with AirBNB since they were 4 stars and I can live with that.  What do others think?

14 Replies

Re: Guest arrives early, is locked out of house, then leaves low review

in
Arkansas, United States
Level 10

@Anthony608 

 

It’s difficult but apparently possible to get false reviews removed. I probably wouldn’t bother because I don’t really care.

 

 I would be sure to mention that a guest is unable to follow simple instructions in my review or response though.

 

And for the person who tried to break in? 1* and DO NOT ALLOW THIS PERSON ONTO YOUR PROPERTY!

 

 

Re: Guest arrives early, is locked out of house, then leaves low review

in
Silver Spring, MD
Level 10

@Brian2036- Yes, that was very early in my hosting career and I was much MUCH kinder than I should have been.  I found out later they were a homeless couple, migrating around the area living in AirBNBs and were pretty spaced out most of the time.  They had thought that they could arrive anytime they wanted on check-in day and had showed up at 10AM.  The guy then attempted to use a rock on a window which was cracked, trying to force it open somehow while the woman called me and said they couldn't get into the house.

 

We let them in at noon and charged them for emergency early check-in, so at least made some extra money.  There were no real issues in the house except they had a habit of, whenever they wanted to use the kitchen, they would just stop the oven or the microwave if someone else was using it, pull the other person's food out, and use it themselves then just walk away.  The thing I remember the most, though, was that they were wary the police were looking for them.  They apparently had a car with plates from another car (an arrestable offense) and had *thousands* of dollars in fines from red light and speed camera tickets and at least one bench warrant for not showing up on a moving violation charge to court.

 

They left at the end of the stay without incident and I actually didn't say anything about the 10AM break-in attempt since they had later paid extra.  Today, however, older and wiser host I would definitely have slammed them in the review.

Re: Guest arrives early, is locked out of house, then leaves low review

in
Sayulita, Mexico
Level 10

@Anthony608  What I think is that when you send guests the check-in info, don't just include the time, state in bold, "Door codes are set for our 3 pm check-in time. You will not be able to gain entry before this time, so do not show up prior to this."

 

As far as trying to get the 4* reviews removed, up to you how much time you want to spend faffing around with Airbnb CS.

Re: Guest arrives early, is locked out of house, then leaves low review

in
Silver Spring, MD
Level 10

"@Anthony608  What I think is that when you send guests the check-in info, don't just include the time, state in bold, "Door codes are set for our 3 pm check-in time. You will not be able to gain entry before this time, so do not show up prior to this."

 

Yes indeed, @Sarah977 .  Thats pretty much exactly what our check-in message says.

Re: Guest arrives early, is locked out of house, then leaves low review

in
Sayulita, Mexico
Level 10

@Anthony608  Maybe you should include a photo then of a guest sitting shivering in the cold and snow on the front step, with their luggage next to them, and captioned- "Don't try to check in before 3pm or this could be you" 🙂

Re: Guest arrives early, is locked out of house, then leaves low review

in
Arkansas, United States
Level 10

@Sarah977 

 

Wonderful idea! And so convenient for the illiterate.

 

I’m still chortling over this sign posted in the local liquor store:

 

DE8584C8-7A12-43A9-8BE7-FC3219B7EE1C.jpeg

I’m thinking of making a copy with the last line modified to say, “DON’T TRASH MY HOUSE.”

Re: Guest arrives early, is locked out of house, then leaves low review

in
Penngrove, CA
Level 8

Let guests know idoor code is set at 3. But set it for 2:30 for a 3 pm check in. Who cares if the show up 1/2 hour early, as long as house is cleaned. Stayed at an Airbnb in Hawaii which had a 4 pm check in. arrived after 3 due to airplane landing. Had no problem checking in and all was good for hosts and us as guests 

Re: Guest arrives early, is locked out of house, then leaves low review

in
Silver Spring, MD
Level 10

@Basha0- The door code is on an automatic timer and goes active at around 2:45-2:50PM for a 3 PM check-in.  Most of the people who try to get into the house early have arrived between 1-2PM, essentially one to two hours ahead of check-in time.  A few even earlier, one at 10AM and one case, a few years ago, the night before.

 

As far as who cares, I definitely do.  We have check-in times for a reason and our instructions for the guest clearly say if they want to arrive early, they can pay for early check-in.  I have also found most guests who nonchalantly arrive a hour or more ahead of time think nothing about staying past checkout time.  And that's an even bigger problem.

Re: Guest arrives early, is locked out of house, then leaves low review

in
Arkansas, United States
Level 10

@Anthony608 

 

The night before check in day???

 

OMG. That’s not lack of consideration, that’s trespassing.

 

Why not show up a week early and sleep in the car? Surely no one would object to that.

Re: Guest arrives early, is locked out of house, then leaves low review

in
Silver Spring, MD
Level 10

@Brian2036- Homeless couple and a great learning experience.  They arrived at 11PM the night before the booking with all of their bags in the front yard.  This was very early in my hosting career and the door lock was set the night before so they were able to open the door and get into the foyer.  We stopped them from going up the stairs to the room, asked what they were doing there, and they said they were confused and had the wrong day.  They paid for an emergency extension and thankfully the room had already been cleaned.

 

Today, this kind of thing wouldn't be able to happen.  Our door codes are automatic, fifteen minutes prior to check-in, and the housekeeper now comes the morning of and not the night before.

Re: Guest arrives early, is locked out of house, then leaves low review

in
Berlin, Germany
Level 10

@Anthony608   I'm convinced that there's not a universal consensus on what it means to "check in." I've lost track of how many times I've told someone that the earliest available check-in time was 2 PM, and they've asked "OK, can I come at 10 AM to just drop off my bags and get the keys?" Umm, no, because that would be checking in.

 

Ultimately, I decided to stop using the term "checking in" altogether - it was always a poor choice of words for a homestay, giving too much of an impression that an Airbnb worked like a hotel. Instead, I asked guests to schedule their arrival time as an appointment, something more like going to the doctor or hair stylist. That seems to help them appreciate that my time is occupied by other commitments outside of the house, but I'm dedicating a window of time to the special occasion of their arrival.

 

Even though self-check-in allows for more flexibility, it's still completely possible to approach a guest's arrival as a scheduled event rather than something they can just randomly do anytime after 3. 

Re: Guest arrives early, is locked out of house, then leaves low review

in
San Antonio, TX
Level 2

Hmm .. they were not able to check in as it wasn’t time.   They are in the wrong. I find most people do not read “ rules” or even know.  They should not be allowed to give low score for trying to check in early. 

Re: Guest arrives early, is locked out of house, then leaves low review

in
Columbus, MS
Level 2

Yeah, I really wish the app had a step in the booking process that made the customer expressly click to agree "I understand that Check-in time is ____, and I cannot arrive before then". 

 

I spend a lot of my life hounding people several days in advance to ask them what time they expect to arrive. I don't actually care what time they come as long as it's after 4, but this is really the only way to flush out the people who expect to show up at noon. If they don't reply on AirBnb messaging by 24 hours before, I start texting or even calling their phone number. 

 

....like I said, I spend a lot my life on this. I wish there was a better way, but this is the best I can come up with. In most cases it flushes them out; they say "oh like 12 or 1" and I'm like "actually, check-in starts at 4", and they do not in fact show up at 12 or 1. Or, in those cases where I never can reach them, if they try to complain I can show a history of me trying to reach them for several days. 

Re: Guest arrives early, is locked out of house, then leaves low review

in
Sayulita, Mexico
Level 10

@Steph27  Then there's the ones who request an early check-in, which you can actually accommodate if you boogie the cleaning a bit, so say okay,  then they don't show up until 7pm without giving a revised ETA. 🙂

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