The Airbnb Check-In/Check-Out Process

Airbnb has changed the way guests check into their vacation suites. Your guests are looking for an easy and efficient check-in process so that they can get settled in. Keep in mind, often when your guests show up, they’re tired – maybe they’ve been driving for hours, or travelling with children. The goal is to make the process as simple and stress-free as possible on both ends.


So if you want great reviews, start with optimizing your check-in process! 


Self Check-In

We recommend self check-in for guests. With self check in, your guests can get into your Airbnb property using a key lockbox, smartlock or keypad on the day of their arrival. The host does not need to be present. Self check-ins are typically the preferred method of check-in (as opposed to host-led) because it saves everyone time. 


By enabling self check-in, you’re giving your guest more privacy. It can help to make the process smoother and more comfortable for them. Your guests will be thankful for the stress-free arrival – and ready to settle into a relaxed vacation in their Airbnb suite!



If you are meeting the guests at the property for key handover, you’ll have the opportunity to give them a warm welcome and a quick tour of the Airbnb. This is a great time to go over any house rules and answer any questions they may have. Keep in mind your guests might be tired from a long trip, and are probably excited to get settled in in private!


Tips for ensuring a smooth self check-in

If you want to ensure a smooth self check-in process, you’ll want to make sure the instructions you provide are clear as day. Little details are important. You can even add photos to your check-in instructions through Airbnb! Include all of the crucial information, and try to put yourself in the guest’s shoes. When in doubt, ask a friend to test out your check-in instructions. You may know your property well and not pick up on details that someone else might find confusing.


Communication is key. Make sure you are available during the check-in time to answer any questions your guest may have. If you don’t hear from them, touch base to see if they’ve checked in okay or have any questions about help checking in.


It never hurts to be proactive. We recommend that you check to make sure that your lockbox is where it should or that the smart lock batteries aren’t running low.


If guests are coming at night, leave a light on outside! It will help them find your property safely, and makes it easier for them to get sorted with the lockbox/keypad. Plus, it’s a welcoming touch.


Check out

The check-out process is typically much easier. At this point, your guest has already checked in and is more familiar with the property. If your Airbnb uses a lockbox, your guest will need to return the key to the lockbox.


Send out your check-out instructions a day or two before your guest checks out. Make sure they know that they can reach out to you with any questions they may have. You can touch base with them to make sure everything has gone smoothly.


Early check-ins and late check-outs

Sometimes, a guest may request an early check-in or a late check-out to accommodate an early arrival or a late departure. 


Ultimately, it’s up to you. Will it interfere with the cleaning schedule? Will it interfere with another guest’s stay? Is it something you feel comfortable with? These are all things to consider when deciding whether or not to allow early check ins/late check outs. If you do decide to bend the rules, you may charge the guest an extra fee for the change.


Often, guests have time between their check-in/check-out and flights, and don’t want to lug a heavy suitcase around while they kill time. If you can’t accommodate their request for an early check-in/late check-out, could you offer luggage storage for a small fee instead? This option is a great compromise that should keep your guest happy.


Struggling to find time to manage your Airbnb? From check-ins and check-outs to cleanings and guest communication, hosting takes time! If you’re looking for a little support, /c to learn about our Airbnb property management services in Ottawa and Gatineau .