Early Check In Requests
Updated: Dec 22, 2019
Man, this has come up a few times and each time it always rubs me the wrong way. During your time as a host, some guests will try to sneak in on the sly and request to check in early, sometimes very early, recently a whole half a day early, to the point where it comes off as an obnoxious scam attempt.
Our check in and out times are mentioned boldly and easily to find on the booking info page, then the guest gets an automated sms before checking in saying again what the check in and out times are, and a final automated sms saying when check out time is. This specific policy is mentioned in detail 3 times for each guest. This is annoying in many ways. One, we have a schedule for a reason. Our cleaning is done in the few hours when we do not have guests. Two, guests are paying for a predetermined length of time, which both parties have agreed upon. Its like do you hit up your landlord and ask to move into your new apartment for 3 free days before your lease begins? No, you don't, and its ridiculous to even ask. And finally, whats most important is we cant promise anyone a check in time for when guests might already be in the unit. For instance, we approve an early check in to a booking one week in advance, two days later a paying customer books the day they plan to arrive, and we cant honor our promise for the early check in. Its drama waiting to happen.
In our home, we decided that we're not bending the rules for anyone, for no reason. Its not worth the headache and potential for double bookings and breaking promises. Its also important to see the warning signs early check in attempts present. If a guest is so willing to reach out and try to bend the rules right off the bat, and you let them, it sends a message that you as a host aren't taking your own rules seriously and puts the idea in the guest's head that they can get away with breaking the rules, too. Because, apparently the rules are just words and no one gives a shit. Wrong. Be firm and consistent with your rules. They're there for a reason and are very important to the flow and efficiency of your listing. And as I've said before, this is a business to us. We're not in the market to give away precious hours that can be booked by other guests willing pay for their time.
I don't think all requests are malicious or a scam attempt, but if you know when you're landing in town, you should have booked for the appropriate times and dates. It comes down to personal accountability. Its kinda that old saying, "your lack of planning does not constitute an emergency on my end." End of story.
Here is how you handle these situations with grace, and not anger anyone in the process. All you gotta do is gently explain how the system works. Let the guest know that you need that time for cleaning. Let them know that your rules apply to all guests, and if you make a concession for them, then you have to make it for everyone else. Offer the guest the opportunity to book and pay the day before the day they arrive, to guarantee their check in time. Tell them they're free to look for other homes in the area that better fit their needs. We are deciding if we need to warn other hosts of this behavior in the review, but still haven't decided if its worth. Maybe we'll just drop a line in the private review. Ill let you know. I suppose if the guests behave well during their stay, we can let it slide, but if they're disrespectful in any way, we will certainly think of including it. It just says so much about the type of person coming into your home. Red flag right off the get, and I think hosts should know.
I believe in most cases the guest will understand and maybe learn something for future bookings. If they're abusive in their language, cancel that booking, screen cap the abusive language (literally document everything) notify airbnb and loftium as soon as everything is happening. But, I cant stress enough. Be a professional, and document every last detail. You never know what you're gonna need to prove your side of the story. And losing your temper damages your credibility and will boil down to a he said, she situation, being moderated by two companies in different states. I cringe on the inside even thinking of how frustrating that mess could be.
Loftium gives you 3 penalty free cancellations a year, in a case where abusive language comes up, remember that you have these cancellations. Don't try to reason with abusive guests, just cut them and make contact. If this situation ever arises, this would be a good reason to use those cancellations.
Hope this helps out. If you've ever had to deal with something like this, please share in the comments below.
thanks for reading