My life as an Airbnb Host What I've learned from hosting and how I make money using Airbnb

Airbnb Check-in Guide for Hosts


Airbnb Check-in Guide. Some tips for hosts who want a simpler and easier check-in process.

Update: Its now March in London and all my listings are usually full every day. There are two major reasons why I am full every day. The first is I have many regular customers who come every week on the same days. These are all people who live outside London (some live in other EU countries and fly here and back) but work in London for two or three days every week. The second reason is I have slashed my prices by 10% to stay competitively priced.

How to check-in your Airbnb guest?

How you check-in your airbnb guest depends in some ways on how you manage your airbnb listing. If your a live-in host then it should be much easier to personally check-in your guests. However if your listing is not close to you then a self check-in will probably be your best option. Some positives and negative of each method are explained below. I personally use both the self check-in and the personal host check-in methods depending on what other plans I have that day etc.

Airbnb Host Personal Check-in

The Airbnb host personal check-in method is probably the best. This method gives your guests the personal touch that has helped to make Airbnb great. It’s always good to actually meet the person you are dealing with. It also gives the guest a chance to ask important questions or local knowledge which can really improve their stay. I also find that the less anonymous a transaction the less likely there is for any problems. Such as bad behaviour. But also I find the guest is more clean and tidy.

I always try and check-in a guest personally whenever I can. Meeting my guest usually gives me a better idea of what this person will be like other than just looking at their profile. When I first started  as a Airbnb host almost 5 years ago at least half of my guests were first time airbnb users (today it’s maybe a quarter). This means that they had no previous reviews to judge from. But also it means they perhaps were not 100% sure of what was expected of them. This way I got to explain the house rules to them in a more descriptive way that just what was written on the listing description.

Airbnb Check-in Methods
Airbnb Check-in Methods

Airbnb Guest Self Check-in

There are two main methods for Airbnb Self Check-in. The first is easily the most common and that involves using a key safe. The second is owing a door with a smart lock system – usually a keypad but could be a smart phone enabled lock.

If your a host and you live far away from your listing (or you simply don’t like waiting around for your guests who often arrive late etc.) then investing in a key safe is probably your most likely self check-in solution. A key safe is exactly that – a little safe just to store keys. I have my key safe bolted to the wall near my front door. It’s not easy to see from the street as it’s down low, but is easy enough for a guest to find it without too much effort.

Which type of key safe should you use?

There are many different styles of key safe. A simple search on Amazon reveals multiple brand names and styles. Some are very cheap in price. What you need to consider is safety. Many of the cheaper key safes I have seen are made of a plastic and would not be very difficult to break with a decent hammer. So you might want to consider a strong metal key safe. The one I purchased was at the time the only one that was ‘Police Approved’. This one was expensive at nearly £100, so about ten times the price of some of the cheapest options. But I believed this one would be best for me. Not just for peace of mind but it looks like it will last a very long time and i’m in this for the long haul.

key safe
A strong and reliable key safe means you don’t have to worry about the wrong people getting your keys

Electronic Keypad Check-in or APP

Some new modern doors no longer the outdated insert metal key and turn system but can now be opened by punching in a code. The advantage of a keypad check-in is obviously there needs to be no physical transfer of keys. You can simply send the code to your guests either at the time of booking or a short time before arrival. There is some possible drawbacks to this scenario. The first being a communication problem might leave your guests stranded outside, unable to enter the listing.

Allow your guests to enter your airbnb listing with a key code
Allow your guests to enter your airbnb listing with a key code

Keypad door locks average about £100. They often do not look particularly stylish and look like they should belong on a office building. Depending on where you like a keypad door lock might stand out as usual and may attract unwanted attention. This might be a problem if your trying to give your airbnb listing a low profile. Smart locks are possibly the way of the future but might not be compatible with everyones phone. Technical issues could make you wish you stuck with the old fashioned key.

About the author


Airbnb host and I live in London.

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By richsaint18
My life as an Airbnb Host What I've learned from hosting and how I make money using Airbnb

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