The benefits of operating an Airbnb are similar to the benefits of running your own business. As such, they can attract a similar creative entrepreneurial crowd.
With this freedom comes a bit of confusion (both on the part of the host and the guest) about what is expected during a typical stay. One of the biggest ways your booking can get off to a rocky start is by having a chaotic or unclear check in experience. This all begins with choosing what time your guests will arrive.
So, what is a typical Airbnb check in time?
Hosts can set their own check in times according to what works best for them and their guests. A typical check in time is 3-4pm, and unless specified it is assumed that check in will be 3pm local time.
Some factors to consider when choosing an Airbnb check in time are…
- Weekdays vs. weekends
- Who is your typical guest?
- How long is your turnaround time?
- What do your guests need?
Follow along below to see my top tips for a smooth Airbnb check in experience!
Weekdays or Weekends?
It shouldn’t surprise most people that bookings that occur during the week often have very different purposes than those that occur on the weekends. I see this most often with the “business crowd” that will typically book a one night stay and be out long before the latest checkout time.
Lots of hosts use different check in times for weekday and weekend stays. People that come into town for a work event or other function typically don’t mind checking in later as they’re often arriving after work hours anyways. A “dinnertime” check in time tends to work well for them, but having a slightly earlier time like 3 or 4 pm is nice to accommodate those arriving before the evening begins.
Alternatively, weekend stays tend to be more for relaxation than work. As such, weekend guests sleep in longer but are more eager to arrive and get their vacation started. An optional early check in on the weekend can make their experience a little more special. However, this may decrease your turnaround time (more on this below).
Check in times tend to not have the strict boundaries that checkout times necessitate. Since the only thing guests are missing by checking in late is their own time, it’s not usually an issue for hosts. If they do want to check in early, that can be another story.
Regardless of how you choose to approach check in at your Airbnb, it’s best to have a solid system in place. I always send my guests self-check-in instructions at least 3 days in advance to ensure there is enough time to clear up any issues.
Check Out This Rental Recon Article: Airbnb Essentials: 75+ Items Every Host Should Have For Guests
Who is Your Typical Guest?
This may seem a little silly, but if you haven’t already, it’s necessary to have a well-formed idea of who your typical guest is. This is the first step to understanding what type of Airbnb you are running and who it caters to, which is critical for marketing and branding.
Envisioning the needs of your guests starts to get easier when you consider how, when, and why they’re booking with you. We’ve discussed the varying needs of weekday renters versus weekend renters. The next piece of the puzzle is the length of the stay.
A short, single-night stay during the week is almost guaranteed to be for a utilitarian purpose such as a conference or meeting. These guests don’t typically have time to wander town and check out the local scene. They usually arrive later and leave earlier than other guests. For this reason, they often don’t need a very early check in time.
Conversely, weekend stays are usually for at least two nights and tend to show that someone is in town for the experience. They (hopefully) want to stay as long as possible and sometimes prefer early check ins, especially if they arrive on a Saturday morning.
To ensure that all of your check ins go as smoothly as possible, I find it’s best to prepare well in advance. Sending out early instructions as discussed previously is a must.
My next tip is to be sure to include photos of the property from the exterior, preferably a “street view” if possible. This will help your guests avoid frustration and help you avoid early morning calls from a lost traveler looking for your house.
How Long is Your Turnaround Time?
A common mistake by over-eager hosts is to crunch their turnaround time as much as possible. While theoretically this may seem like a good idea, ultimately it will leave you feeling exhausted and providing a sub-par experience for your guests.
Rushing means that you’ll almost definitely do a worse job of tidying up than you would if you were taking your time. It’s also not respectful of your time and energy spent on being a great host!
Guests notice when an Airbnb doesn’t have the finer touches that they were hoping for. When others have left reviews mentioning a certain aspect that they found special and you’ve forgotten to include due to a time crunch, you’re bound to have some unhappy campers on your hands.
Coordinate your check in and check out times to allow yourself enough time to prepare for the next booking. An early check in and a late check out can spell disaster if you’re not careful! This is especially important if you’ll have to do labor-intensive tasks in between such as laundering linens or deep cleaning a bathroom.
Turnarounds can be chaotic if not properly managed. Having an organization system is an absolute must, and this is doubly true if you have any cleaning or support staff helping you. A good rental management software like Your Porter is well worth the investment and will save you a ton of time and money down the road.
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What do Your Guests Need?
Anticipating the needs of guests is what makes a great Airbnb host. Communication is paramount to this, and there’s no excuse for not communicating effectively!
Airbnb’s messaging system is both the preferred way and the easiest way to chat with guests before, during, and after their stay. Also, in the case that s dispute arises, it is the best form of proof that can be submitted to the Resolution Center.
Before a guest even arrives, they should already have a pretty solid idea of what to expect from their booking. At the very least, the check in process should be crystal clear.
Sending check in instructions at least 3 days prior to the booking is a very effective way to communicate expectations and give guests an opportunity to raise questions. This is typically the time when they’ll as for an early check in if they want one. Whether or not you offer alternate times is up to you, but it is best to clarify your policies in your listing.
If you’re a guest and you have a question for your host, never hesitate to contact them about it!
Rental Recon Tip: Did you know that you can add and remove guests to your trip’s itinerary? Just go to Trips, and select the trip you want to edit. Click “reservation details”, then “Who’s Coming” and then “Manage”.
To remove a guest, simply click the Remove button next to their name on the page. To add a guest, you’ll need to input their name and email address before clicking Invite. Keep in mind that if you want to add more guests than you originally booked, you’ll need to do it with the Edit Guests button (this may change your price!).
For more information on coordinating with your host about your stay, Airbnb has some great tips on their website.
What are some killer check-in message ideas for hosts?
Setting yourself up for a successful Airbnb experience starts long before the booking officially begins. Communication between guests and hosts is super important, and it all starts with a great check in message. Message templates make it fun and easy to efficiently communicate with guests, especially if you’re juggling multiple overlapping bookings.