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The Best Airbnb Check-In Time For Your Short-Term Rental

How do you know what Airbnb check-in time is best for your rental? By the end of this post, you’ll be able to determine just that.

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I'm Sabrina, a short-term rental host coach who knows starting your own Airbnb biz can quickly get waaaay too complicated. But it doesn't have to be. I help first-time Airbnb hosts like you go from overwhelmed to "Yes!! Another  booking!"
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When it comes to deciding on your Airbnb check-in time, you’ve got a lot of options. But, picking the wrong check-in time can lead to tons of guest frustration and even negative reviews (speaking from first-hand experience here!).

So, how do you know which Airbnb check-in time is best for your short-term rental? By the end of this post, you’ll be able to determine just that.

The Best Airbnb Check-In Time For Your Short-Term Rental

My Airbnb in Lake Tahoe | The Realist

Standard Airbnb check-in times

Airbnb check-in times are typically 3PM or 4PM in the property’s timezone. While choosing from one of these two options might seem simple, there are some very important differences you need to consider first.

How to determine your Airbnb check-in time

Before choosing the best check-in time for your Airbnb, you’ve got to consider two factors: (1) what your guests want and (2) what your cleaners need.

Your Airbnb guests, of course, want to spend as much time as possible at your Airbnb. So, if they had it totally their way, they would always get a 3PM or earlier check-in. (Many guests ask for a 12PM check-in!)

If you can have a 3PM or earlier check-in, go for it! Your guests will be happy and we always want happy guests, especially at check-in time, which is your only opportunity to leave a great first impression.

But, a 3PM check-in isn’t always possible because…drumroll please…your cleaners have to clean!

And cleaning takes time. Cleaning multiple properties on the same day takes even more time. Inspecting the property afterward (which your cleaning team should do) takes even more time!

When determining your Airbnb check-in time, considering what works best for your cleaners is just as more important than what’s best for your guests. Sure, you might get a complaint or two from guests saying your check-in time is too late for them (especially guests traveling from far away) but imagine the complaints you’d get if your cleaners didn’t have enough time to finish cleaning before the next guest—YIKES.

So, before deciding on your Airbnb check-in time, talk to your cleaners! Ask them what check-in time is best for them. Make sure to talk to them about the differences between back-to-back days and non-back-to-back days. They will likely say they can’t accept early check-in on days when another group is checking out that morning.

Then, it’s up to you to decide what works best for your business.

How do I change the check-in time for my listing?

Once you’ve decided on your check-in time, updating your Airbnb listing is easy! Under your listing settings, select “info for guests” on the left-hand side of your screen. Then, under “pre-booking details” you’ll see the option to add/edit your check-in time. More info here.

Airbnb Hosting Tip: To make sure every guest is aware of your check-in time, I strongly encourage you to include it in your house rules and in several of your automated messages.

My Airbnb in Lake Tahoe | The Realist

What if my guests ask for an early check-in?

In an effort to make your guests’ stay as wonderful as possible, I would strongly recommend giving your guests an early check-in whenever you can, especially if they ask.

But, before approving an early check-in, there are three different scenarios and potential issues to watch out for:

1) Guests asking to check in 1-2 hours early

Guests requesting an early check-in will typically ask to check in an hour or two early. Before approving any early check-in, talk to your cleaners about when they can accommodate an early check-in, how much advance notice they need, and how you should notify them.

As long as your cleaners give the ‘okay’ ahead of time, you should be able to accommodate check-ins 1-2 hours earlier than your typical check-in time.

2) Guests asking to check in 2+ hours early

Honestly, guests ask me for a 12PM check-in pretty often. When they do, if I’m confident I won’t get a booking the night before, I politely let them know that I require a half-day fee for that early of a check-in.

3) Guests demanding an early check-in

If guests demand an early check-in before booking, I would seriously consider declining their booking request/inquiry. Making demands is not a sign of a good Airbnb guest and it’s likely they’ll continue making demands throughout their stay.

Takeaway

Now that we’ve laid out these important considerations, you’re ready to make a super-informed decision about your Airbnb check-in time.

Drop a comment if you have any questions about your Airbnb check-in time.

My Airbnb in Lake Tahoe | The Realist

FAQs

What is the best check-in time for Airbnb?

Airbnb check-in times are typically 3PM or 4PM in the Airbnb’s timezone. So, how do you know which is best for your Airbnb? Read this post to find out.

Can you check-in early to an Airbnb?

If you have the host’s permission, yes. Simply message them through Airbnb to ask.

Do you have to arrive at check-in time Airbnb?

No, you don’t have to arrive right at check-in time but you are expected to arrive within the next few hours. If you plan to arrive later, it’s important to let your host know, as there may be certain check-in instructions they need to send you for a late arrival.

How strict are Airbnb check-in times?

You don’t have to arrive right at check-in time but you are expected to arrive within the next few hours. If you plan to arrive later, it’s important to let your host know, as there may be certain check-in instructions they need to send you for a late arrival.

How do you politely ask for early check-in?

Asking for an early check-in is simple, just message your host through Airbnb saying something like, “Hi there! I’m really looking forward to staying with you. Is there any possibility of an early check-in that day?” If you feel comfortable explaining why you’d like an early check-in, that can often encourage your host to be extra generous.

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