Is Allowing Early Check-in a Good Idea?

Should you Allow Early Check-in?

Allowing your guests to check-in early can be a positive for you, if you can manage. Guests feel like they are getting extra value, and usually are very appreciative. Often times people arrive to the area earlier in the day and want to put their things away so they can go be tourists. If you are able to extend them this courtesy, I think it’s great added value and can improve your guest rating. However, making sure that you communicate an acceptable check-in time is important, as it can make for an uncomfortable conversation with the arriving guest and you or your cleaning team. 

Extra Charge for Early Check-in?

First, you must effectively communicate the fee for arriving early. Similar to hotels, vacation rentals and short-term rentals should charge one half a night’s rate for early check-in. What about the guest arriving an hour earlier? If its no big deal to you, to enhance the guest experience you should let them have an early check-in out of convenience. Mention, “I usually charge, but I want you to have an awesome experience so no worries, you can check-in early…have a blast!”

What if it's Just Not Possible?

If an early check-in is not possible because you have a same day arrival-departure clean, politely explain the situation to the guest. A few good examples of that would be;

“Unfortunately we are fully booked and do need time to turn the room and get it perfect for your stay! I can see if we can speed up the process and try to get you in an hour early, I’ll let you know tomorrow morning!”



“We have a guest checking out that morning, so the housekeeper has to prepare your home so you can have a great experience, I can let you know as soon as they are done if its before check-in time.”

That way, they know you genuinely care about their stay and the need for them to check-in early, but it is not possible for you to accommodate their request beyond an hour or so early. 

Be Clear About Check-in Time in Your Description

Guests may think its ok to come a little earlier if you don’t clearly communicate with them during the booking process. A good practice is to have a standard welcome message that includes check-in, just to reitterate what time they are able to check-in to your place. Through the Airbnb messaging system or by phone / email, explain clearly check-in time is strict because your team has to prepare the home for their arrival and an early check-in is not possible. Clearly let them know, “an early check-in is not possible at this time.”

Consider a Smart Lock

There are a few models of smart locks that allow the codes to only work at specified times. These locks are smart, so they allow you to change the code when the guest checks out as well. These save a ton of time and eliminate headaches for both you and the guest.

August Smart Lock

Secure, keyless entry for your smart home allows you to remotely lock/unlock and monitor your door as well to integrate with Alexa, Google Assistant, Airbnb, Home Away Simplisafe and others.

Ultraloq UL3 BT Bluetooth Enabled Fingerprint and Touchscreen Smart Lock

World's First 5-in-1 Keyless Entry Smart Lock, Fingerprint + Code + Smartphone + Knock to Open + Key. Comes with Anti-peep Touch Keypad Technology, and ability to view logs via Ultraloq App

Kwikset SmartKey Lock

Works with Alexa for voice control. Lock or unlock your door from anywhere with a supporting Z-Wave smart home system using your phone.

Smart Lock Front Door

With Smart Digital Door Locks for Homes, You can share code with friends and guests valid for a few weeks,hours, or minutes, and revoke them again whenever you need to. Never worry about lost, stolen or copied keys again

Meeting Them in Person?

If you have the time and are local, it may help to greet them in person at a time convenient for both you and your guest. Some travelers really enjoy that engagement, and may want to ask you about great things to do or places to go. Others, like my husband and myself, prefer to go it alone. In our post How to Provide a 5-Star Stay we give you all the tools you need to provide your guests with that personalized experience without having to personally greet guests, or pay someone else to. 

via Airbnb

If you are not local, or don’t want to be that “hand’s on” of a host there are other options. You can consider hiring a local contact service who can meet and greet your guests for an affordable flat fee. Additionally you can utilize a smart-lock with timer that will only allow them to check-in after a certain time. Meeting the guest or using a smart lock prevents a guest with your door code from checking in too early without paying extra.

Super Host Experience

However you choose to meet your guests is perfectly fine, so long as you make it clear in your description what they can expect. We feel that anytime you can reasonably allow for an early check-in, you really should. This small gesture on your part could make a world of difference to a weary traveller.

Remember to think of your rental as your mini hotel, and you the general manager. You want to do everything in your power to provide the best stay possible for your guests. Reviews are the life-blood of Airbnb, and you want to get get as many positive reviews as you can. Go the extra mile for your renter’s whenever possible to attain Super Host status and ensure a 5-star stay.

What are your tips and tricks to being a Super Host with Airbnb? We’d love to hear your experiences with allowing early check-in.

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