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Airbnb Self-Check-In Instructions Every Host Should Have for Guests

Self-check-in is a great feature to take advantage of if you are renting out an Airbnb.  When I first started my Airbnb, some of my first questions were, “How and when do guests get their self-check-in instructions?”

Airbnb Self Check In Instructions

Airbnb Self-Check-In Instructions: Here’s a Simple Approach

The best way to communicate self-check-in instructions is by sending a message through the Airbnb app.  I usually do this three days before check-in. Airbnb allows you to formulate your check-in instructions ahead of time, and I send them as a link in the message.  This way, my guests know exactly what the property looks like and how they will be able to let themselves in.

Check-in can be one of the most confusing times for Airbnb guests.  They will want to know they have found the right place, and they will need instructions on how to access the property.  Utilizing self-check-in will give your guests the clarity they need and also save you time. You do not have to meet anyone with keys to the house if you have sent clear instructions on how guests are to check themselves in.

When Does Airbnb Send Check-In Instructions?

I checked with Airbnb to see how my guests were supposed to receive their instructions for self-check-in.  Airbnb does not provide the check-in instructions.  These should be sent from the host to the guests in a message.  Airbnb recommended sending this message three days before check-in.  I find this to be a good practice, as it lets the guests know you are expecting them and erases any worry over check-in.

When you message your guests for the first time, you will see a key icon at the bottom of the chatbox.  Once you have initiated the conversation, you can click on the key to include a link in the message that will take your guests to your check-in instructions.  This is handy, as your guests can refer back to your past messages if they forget some of the details about checking in.

My message looks something like this:

“Dear Name,
Thank you so much for booking.  Please click this link to access the Check-In Guide.  If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask. (Link)
Your Name”

Once the guest clicks the link, they are taken to a page with my check-in instructions and photos of the street address, front door, and lockbox.  This way, they have a clear picture of what they are looking for once they reach the general area of the Airbnb.

What Information Should be Included in my Self Check-In Instructions?

There are a few things you should make sure to include in your self-check-in instructions.  Some of these are:

  • Photos of the front of the property and entranceway
  • Information on where the key is hidden if you are hiding a key
  • The combination to gain access to the key, if you are using a lockbox
  • Access codes to gates and doors that are opened with a code

No one wants to experience the confusion and the stress of wondering if they may be trying to unlock the wrong door when they are on vacation.  You should clearly state the address of your property.  Include landmarks that may be close by on the way to the property.  This way, guests will know they are headed in the right direction.

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Also, include lots of photos in your self-check-in instructions.  If you have a lockbox, it is a great idea to set it to the combination that will unlock it, and take a photo.  That way, the guests are getting a good mental picture of what they are supposed to do, even if they neglect to read your full instructions.

If there is a gate with a code to access the property, be sure that you include the gate code in your instructions.  If there is also a code to get into the house, be sure you have differentiated as to which code is which.  If the gate is locked with a key, give clear instructions as to where the key can be found, whether it is in a lockbox or hidden somewhere along the gate.

Once the guest has accessed your property and located their Airbnb, they need easy instructions on how to gain entrance to the house.  If you have hidden the key, be sure it is in a place that your guests can easily locate. Include the hiding place for the key in your self check in instructions.  It is a good idea to include a photo of the hiding place. If the key is under the welcome mat, take a photo of the mat.

If the door to the Airbnb is opened with a code, include that code in your self check-in instructions.  Once you have sent a message with this code, most guests will go back to that message for reference, should they forget the code


You can save your guests a lot of stress and confusion by providing clear self-check-in instructions.  Take plenty of photos to give your guests a reference as to whether or not they are in in the right place.  Be sure you have relayed all codes necessary to access the property or given directions as to where you have hidden any keys your guests will need.

To get these instructions to your guests, send them an initial message about 72 hours before check-in.  Thank them for booking with you and include a link to your self-check-in instructions by clicking the key icon at the bottom of the chatbox.

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Why Should I Use Self Check-In for my Airbnb?

Self-check-in will free up your time, as well as give your guests an opportunity for needed privacy after a long day on the road.  If you are using self-check-in, you do not have to be present on the property. If a guest running late interferes with your evening plans, it is no big deal.  With self-check-in, you have already sent the instructions to give access to the Airbnb.

If you plan to meet your guests during their stay, there are really more opportune times than upon their arrival.  Your guests are probably capable of touring the house themselves, without your guidance. Chances are, they want to meet you and exchange pleasantries, but they may not feel like it after they have been traveling all day.

How Should I Follow Up with My Airbnb Guests After Self Check-In?

It is courteous to send your guests a message the morning after check-in.  Make sure they have everything they need and that you have established a line of contact.  In this way, you have left them alone long enough to get settled in, but you have also shown that you are attentive and there to help.

Ryan Drew- Contributor
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Ryan Drew- Contributor

I'm an Airbnb Superhost sharing my Airbnb journey and tips that I've learned along the way.

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