First impressions are key, and that is also true for Hosting. Any experienced Host knows check-in is crucial. Everyone has a unique way of approaching it, adding their flair to it, even if that means doing it in a much more "hands-off" way.
Considering the past year, many hosts are thinking about the best way to adapt their routines for our world of safe distances and limited contact. Check-in is a big part of it.
What changes have you made to your check-in routine?
I am looking forward to hearing your personal tips and experiences.
@Stephanie let's see....
Its summer here so we have fresh plants blooming on the porch. Inside guests will see a clean space with cut flowers on the table, a little basket of curated treats and/or a bottle of wine based on their preferences. We write a note welcoming them with our contact info and leave it in the treat basket. We also have a chalk board hanging from a coat shelf that you see right as you come in with their names and a hand drawn pic by yours truly.
Nothing really. We leave a personalized note for all guests when they check-in but now we put more bullet points on where to find the most up to date "local" Covid information and if there are any restrictions locally they need to be aware of.
We do not bother our guests on the day of arrival. They have a code for the guesthouse so we send an email the following morning just to make sure everything is good and they are satisfied with the space.
Honestly, the last year has changed nothing for me. Everything is exactly the same. I've always been 100% self-check-in and can't imagine it any other way.
We meet and greet every guest, except when they arrive late, say, after 22:00. We have all the key code entry things and a well oiled procedure, so that's not a problem.
Aside from the obvious good relations meet & greet facilitates, our home is a "smarthome", off grid solar powered, so we need to introduce most guests to the special nature of all that, and show them how it all works. It's all very simple and uncumbersome, but for many, it's different and unexpected, so it's important that they get a bit of an introduction.
Aside from that, we also have guest services vendors who can (optionally) provide daily cleaning and/or private chef breakfasts, lunches and dinner, shopping services, horseback tours, and even hot air balloon flights taking off right from the villa. So, we also introduce those additional services to the guest before and when the guest checks in. Our last guests hired a chef and cleaning services for every day of their stay. They didn't have to do anything but have a holiday. The ones before that booked a balloon ride from the Villa to the South coast.
For some, that's what a real holiday is all about. 😎 We feel lucky that we can provide this level of service. But then, aside from the nice personal touches, it's still a business, and we have to be competitive.
I still don't have self-checkin. So I often have contact with guests.
When the guests arrive, I welcome them and show them around the apartment quickly. I can also give them some tips on places to go and tours, of course if they want to. Some guests are more talkative and others more reserved.
I consider using self-checkin as an option in the future.
@Stephaniei like to welcome each guest to our cottage, this way I am saying we live on the premises too. I give instructions to go down the side path and I will meet them down at the cottage.
My husband meets and introduces himself from our back varandah while passing me a hamper basket. Which has supplies for 2 morning breakfast, 1x light continental 1x cooked breakfast which I dont advertise in case curcumstances change. I also provide fresh warm scones jam and cream. I provide these items because i want to and my research showed if one gave back 10% you would still make a profit. I like to give a genuine welcome and after staying as a guest in other peoples homes experiencing different types.
I also provide them a full introduction to the cottage and where everything is. (for no complaints you didnt have this or couldn't find that).
We try to give our guest private space and only converse if we are out and about in the garden. Then we exchange peasantry conversation trying to keep neutral.
Lastly, I have adapted Airbnbing as a hobby as my cottage had sat vacant for 6 months after we moved out and into the main residence that we had been renovating for 2 years. I didn't realise we would have so many bookings for our first summer with people travelling and staying in each state because of covid outbreaks and laws changing all the time. If I get tired of it or it is taking up too much time (as I am the cleaner, husband man useful) we are learning to close the books and have time out or run away ourselves to catch up with family and friends.
I normally personally greet my guests. I live in my listing and just airbnb a room. I've found it awkward to have them check in and pretend I don't hear them arrive. I have found some guests appreciate it, and some don't seem to. I wish I could read to know before they show up so I knew for sure. I try to greet them when they come in, give them some time to put their stuff away, and then ask if they'd like a brief tour.
@Stephanie , I have never met my guests in person, but try to hit all "six" senses when my guests arrive...
SIGHT: Ok they already have viewed my listing photos... I just need to make sure everything is spotless and lives up to those photos.
SMELL: I want my place to smell awesome. For me that is really the absence of bad smells and chemical smells. Helping me to accomplish this in an older, pet friendly home is lowering humidity (HVAC or dehumidifier), charcoal, simmering lemons in water or vinegar in water, baking soda on the rugs, washing all linens/bedspreads/couch covers, carefully choosing cleaning products, and ventilating the home as much as possible between guests. This is often my biggest challenge during turnovers and can take some time...
TOUCH: Fans are going in all rooms when guests arrive, even during the winter months.
TASTE: My favorite local chocolates, coffee and ice cold water are available for the humans; locally made organic biscuits for the pups.
SOUND: Ok I am realizing I have not really addressed this one... I just hope it is quiet except for the birds... fingers crossed the neighbors (and the birds) cooperate!
PERSONAL CONNECTION: I try to make sure the guests feel welcome with a personalized chalkboard note and communication through the messaging system.