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Pricing an Airbnb can be a struggle for some hosts. There are many factors to take into consideration such as cleaning costs, amenities, the rate of similar rentals, and also the host’s time itself.
One issue that causes a lot of contention between hosts and guests is a late check out fee. Some feel it is unfair, while others believe that it shows that you value your own time and effort and that guests should too.
Should you charge your Airbnb guest a late check out fee?
While it is ultimately up to the host to decide what extra fees to charge their guests, most feel it is a good idea to charge Airbnb guests a late check out fee. This deters people from overstaying their booking and ensures that they are respectful of the host’s time.
If you’re considering implementing a late check out fee for your own Airbnb, you might have some questions about the process and how other hosts have dealt with it. Keep reading to find answers to some common inquiries about Airbnb late check out fees.
When Should I Consider a Late Check Out Fee?
This is a tough call to make for a lot of people. You don’t want to be perceived as someone who nickel and dimes their guests, but you also know that your time is valuable. When it becomes a pattern in your bookings that guests request a late check out, it is time to think about charging them for it.
The main issue with late check outs is that hosts purposefully set their standard check in and out times so that they have enough time to clean renew the space in between guests. More often than not, this is a short window of only a few hours at most.
When guests overstay or check out late, that means significantly less time to turnaround the Airbnb. I’ve even read stories of hosts who have had their next guests arrive while the previous guest is still there! This is obviously not just inconvenient but also very embarrassing.
Guest checkout etiquette aside, you might want to institute a late check out fee even if you’re lucky enough to not have had any issues so far. It is much easier to put a policy in place than it is to argue or negotiate during an argument, and it’s much less likely to earn you a negative review.
If you do choose to start charging for late check outs, it’s still a good idea to make reasonable exceptions to the policy. It’s important to take weather and other events into consideration. Guests might want to wait out a storm or may have had a meeting that ran late. Either way, always use your discretion and remember that you’re the one in charge!
How Much Should I Charge for a Late Check Out?
There is really no one-size-fits-all answer to pricing. Certain markets demand way higher rates than others, so you’ll need to take that into consideration with your fees as well.
I’ve seen hosts employ a variety of different pricing models to help them decide what they’ll charge for a late check out. Some simply have a flat fee where any overstaying at all means the guest will be on the hook for up to 50% the nightly rate. This type of stricter policy might be more of a deterrent than anything else, though.
A lot of hosts choose to charge guests for each hour after the standard check out time that they stay. If you decide to use this strategy, it’s best to have discussed it in advance with the guest. This allows you to collect payment in advance (see the next section) and helps you to have a better idea of when the guest actually expects to leave.
If you’re using the hourly strategy and don’t discuss it in advance with your guests, you’re going to have a much harder time proving that they overstayed and collecting money for it. Using the Airbnb messaging feature is the absolute best way to communicate with guests and is the proof you’ll need to collect any money if you end up having to file a claim.
As far as dollar amounts go, the hourly rate is totally up to you. Telling your guests up front that each hour after your set time will cost them X amount of dollars often makes them think twice about whether or not it really is worth it to check out later.
Don’t forget that the price you charge is essentially a valuation of your own (or your cleaning staff’s) time, so price in a way that’s fair to you!
How Do I Set Up a Late Check Out Fee on Airbnb?
Deciding on a time with the guest in advance is by far the best and easiest way to collect a late check out fee on Airbnb. Once the reservation date gets close, I message my guests with check in instructions and my policies, including check in and out times. This is usually when they’ll ask for a late check out.
Communicate clearly how you’ll be charging them (whether it is hourly or a flat fee) and then wait for them to agree. Once you’ve settled on the terms (don’t forget to establish a firm check out time!) use the “Request money” feature to collect your fee.
If you and your guest didn’t work out the fee before the booking, it can get a bit more complicated. Sometimes the guest doesn’t ask for a later check out but overstays anyways, which is not only stressful to you as a host but disrespectful as well.
In this case, I would restate my policies in the messages and still use the “Request money” feature to try to collect the late fee. Of course, sometimes the guest will not accept the request. This puts you in the uncomfortable situation of having to either push harder for the money or lose out on the extra income you should have earned from the longer stay.
If a guest is refusing to pay and you know you’ve clearly outlined your policies (and can prove it), contacting Airbnb support is your next step.
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What is the Best Way to Communicate My Policy with Guests?
As we’ve discussed, sending check in instructions in advance is key to clarifying your policies with guests. It also doesn’t hurt to send check out instructions at the same time, especially if it’s a one night stay.
Having your rules stated in the listing description is another good way to cover yourself in case anyone claims they were unaware of them. If you want, you can even include a brief overview of how you would charge for late check outs or early check ins (or if you even allow them at all). This saves both you and your guests time and effort down the road.
Overall, though, message, message, MESSAGE! It is far and away the number one way to avoid potential issues during a stay.
Rental Recon Tip: Don’t let things fall through the cracks when managing your Airbnb. It can be difficult to keep track of every little detail, especially if you manage multiple properties. Thankfully, there are some great tools out there to help.
Airbnb management software is a really great way to maximize your time as a host and help you to work smarter, not harder. While the initial investment can give some people second thoughts, in my opinion most of these programs are well worth the affordable prices they charge and will make your life as a host much simpler.
How do I set my Airbnb’s check out time?
It’s very simple to set your check in and check out times from the Airbnb website. Find “Your Listings” and click on the one you want to edit. Then click “Booking Settings”.
Next to the Policies section, click on “Edit”. From this screen you can change check in and check out times. You can even set a range of times if you prefer. This is especially handy for being somewhat flexible when guests request earlier or later times often.