How do you deal with late check out on air Bnb

22 Replies

Hi everyone, Just got my first booking and my guest was asking if they could check out like 4-5 hours later than my check out time. Luckily my calendar is still pretty wide open so I’m able to make this exception plus I would hate to get a negative review since I’m trying to build up my business. I wouldn’t want this to be an ongoing issue in the future so how do you guys go about handling this with getting penalized with air bnb? Thank you.

I charge an hourly fee for late check-out (or early check-in) and set the maximum at 2 hours.  I tell them I frequently have same-day check-ins (which is true) and that's the most I can give while still allowing my cleaners to do their job.  (this is also only true for my smaller houses; I don't allow it at my larger house, as my housekeeper needs the full turnaround time there)

I find the charge (it's only $10/hour) prevents frivolous requests.  I occasionally have people take me up on it, but not that often.

I make it very clear they are not to ask.

NO LATE CHECK OUT
NO EARLY CHECK IN

Occasionally I’m asked for early check in and I can usually make it happen.

My properties are never empty so the cleaning crew needs the 5 hours to get it ready

It depends on the calendar as well as the flexibility of our cleaner.  If my wife and I plan to clean and we don't have another guest arriving that day we will try and be accommodating.   If and when I do I always ask then for a good review and do follow up afterwards if they haven't submitted a review within a week I will send them a friendly reminder.  It has always worked except once.

I take a more generous approach.  If the house is available and ready for an early check-in, I send THEM a note early and say something like "Great news!  It's ready for check in at XXX time if you want to arrive sooner"

I especially do that if I need them OUT no later than check-out time for the next guest.  That initial "great news" note allows me to also say "...since we won't be able to offer this on check out because we have another guest coming"

Of course we also allow a few hours late check out if no one is checking in on the tail end anyway if they ask.  Most people usually only want 1-2 extra hours anyway.

Great thanks everyone. I definitely want to be flexible if our schedule allows especially if it would make for a good review. I like the idea of offering early check in as well.

I don't deal with check in or check out times.  I go by the day.  People I rent to don't know what day they will be done with the job, let alone what time they will be done.  It's like asking "How long is a piece of string?"

People I rent to are contractors.  They work on those large erections of steel you see at a petrochemical refinery. 

If it’s available I say this,

“I’m happy to offer a late check out (or early check in) for no additional cost, in exchange for a nice 5* review”. They’re happy and always leave the review. 

@Mark Futalan I agree with the several people above who advocate for flexibility as long as the booking schedule allows. Airbnb in particular is very picky about review ratings. If a guests explicitly asks to check in early or check out late and if I can accommodate it, I generally try to "capitalize" on it in the form of good will gained and a good review, which a lot of times is more valuable than $10-$20 per hour you may get. I do charge $50 extra per hour if a guests fails to leave the place on time and the cleaning crew is waiting outside and I have a reservation back to back. At least that is what it says in my rental agreement that I have guests sign. I've never actually had to charge that. 

If I'm not able to provide early check-in I try to provide some other accommodation. My check in is at 4pm. If the guests arrive at noon but the particular condo is not ready, I sometimes give them the parking garage passes early as well as access to the pools or beach sets. Reviews drive rankings and rankings drive future bookings, so flexibility (as long as schedule allows) can go a long way. 

@Mark Futalan

I really try to avoid it when possible.

Here's why-

I just had someone checking out recently that asked for a 3pm check out (we have someone checking in at 4pm). When I declined saying I have someone checking in the same day, the pressed it for 12pm. I stood politely firm, letting them know we sadly cannot accommodate requests like these as easily as hotels as when someone books are property, they are booking our whole property. It also takes 4-5 hours for my cleaners to properly clean the house and we would like to get it ready for the next guest.

When this person checked out, it was horrible. I would have had a horrible review from the next guest because there would have been no way the place would be ready on time.

The other time someone asked for late check out last minute, I gave them an extra hour, but they took an extra 2 hours to leave the property. Sadly, this tends to be the consistency when people ask for late check out. 

Sadly, always assume people will leave an hour later than their normal check out time. So if you give them an hour, you are now looking at 2 hours down. 

I always try to allow early check in. I even pass the guests number off to my cleaner so they can call when it's ready. But it is a good habit to be firm (but polite) on late check out. 

I charge and get $100 for early check-Ins (noon instead of 4pm). Never had to charge for late check-outs and rarely get asked. Worst thing for me would be the review that says “it was great and I even got to check-in early.”

I don’t blame anyone for asking but if I respond like a business, they treat the rest of the stay like a business transaction too.

I accommodate my guests to the greatest extent possible. They appreciate the attention and effort even if I cannot make it work. I have 150 five-star reviews on 2 properties in the past year. So something is working. 

Irony is that I received a note yesterday asking me "What time is check in?  We were hoping to be there by noon.  If not, we would have to leave later".  (check in is clearly posted as 4pm).

There is no one there the day before them so I'm sure i will be flexible.  But the presumption/ignorance gets under my skin.

$100 for early checkin is starting to sound good ;)

Originally posted by @Mark S. :

Irony is that I received a note yesterday asking me "What time is check in?  We were hoping to be there by noon.  If not, we would have to leave later".  (check in is clearly posted as 4pm).

There is no one there the day before them so I'm sure i will be flexible.  But the presumption/ignorance gets under my skin.

$100 for early checkin is starting to sound good ;)

I feel ya Mark. I think it’s perfectly reasonable to ask for one or the other. But occasionally I’ll get the one sentence message asking for an early checkin and late checkout at the same time while asking in a very presumptuous way. 

These requests are the ones that get under my skin too and I’m generally less flexible with them as a result. The nerve of some people!

Does anyone ask why the guest needs extra time? I don't have any vacation rentals right now, but do stay at them. I am usually looking for extra time to work.

Would it matter if the cleaners could get into the home to start cleaning? Would it matter if the guest was only looking to drop off bags or put food into the fridge?

Originally posted by @Mindy Jensen :

Does anyone ask why the guest needs extra time? I don't have any vacation rentals right now, but do stay at them. I am usually looking for extra time to work.

Would it matter if the cleaners could get into the home to start cleaning? Would it matter if the guest was only looking to drop off bags or put food into the fridge?

Doesn’t matter Mindy.  I used to allow the early bag drop offs, drop food in the fridge, etc and people regularly took advantage and end up squatting. I got so many calls from my cleaners about this...  “I’m trying to clean and they threw their stuff everywhere, used the bathrooms, took a nap, etc” that I am more hesitant now.  I’ve also had a guest call when they arrived early to ‘just drop their bags off) and complained it wasn’t ready for them and was dirty.  (No sh*t, I told them the cleaners would be there working). 

It’s usually this scenario: they have an early flight in (mine are in Hawaii), then take the latest flight out, sometimes as late as 11pm.  They have the option of reserving the additional night(s) to make this much more comfortable for them so they don’t need to deal with storing their bags somewhere, finding showers etc. but they decide to save a few bucks and roll the dice.  If it’s open, I’ll allow one or the other.  If it’s not, they spend their first or last day stressed.  Totally not worth it imo. 

Ive found being flexible with guests if it doesn't inconvenience you much is a good practice, but also curious if 

@Luka Milicevic @Nancy Bachety who charges $100 which to me sounds like a lot unless you are charging like $500/night.   Do you get guests who are unhappy/ leave bad reviews if they are charged $100 to check in a couple hours early?

Sometimes I charge, sometimes I dont-- for me its more about the reservation itself.   If the person has been friendly and asks politely I will allow the early bag drop/ late bag pickup of a couple hours.  If they want a FULL early check in (8am-12noon) I will charge something like Nancy's $50-100 depending on how expensive the property is.

@Noah MenciaNo, never. Most of the time, they accept the early check-in. It’s about $300/night plus $250 cleaning fee. It could be for a weekend stay and they want to maiximize their weekend. Now for our other houses, I would not charge them that much, $25, but that hardly comes up. I usually send them a message after their inquiry or request (before accepting them) telling them of the checkin and checkout times and asking if they are good with them. I think this might make them accept the fee if it comes down to it. 

There was a time when a traveling nurse wanted a 7 am check in (after her shift), and a late check out, 6pm  (before her second shift) and wanted to book one night. Needless to say, she did not book with us. 

I didn’t mind her asking at all, after all, if you don’t ask your answer is always no. 

I remind them of checkin and checkout times. If I don't have a sameday checkin or checkout I usually offer to let them check in early. I don't offer late checkout often as I have already scheduled the cleaners to start at checkout time.

I have told cleaners to feel free to pull into drive way at checkout time to motivate someone who is running late to pick up the pace.

It's too much hassle, particularly if your property is booked 24/7, and not worth the effort to even check the calendar in my opinion. Every time I have offered it for a fee on the rare occasion it was possible, folks magically find some other solution.

OP, you're running a business. That's why you set check-in/out times. You don't need to apologize or worry about bad reviews when guests are not respecting the terms of your agreement. Guests understand this.

BTW I have over a 4-star rating on AirBnb, and my stated policy is NOT to accommodate early/late check-in. I've pasted the wording from my listing below:

Check-in time is 3pm. We are unable to accommodate early or late check-in/out requests. Should you require a check-in before 3pm your day of arrival, or a check-out after 11am your day of departure, please book an additional day.

For those that do charge extra for early checkin / late checkout? How do you do so? Is there a way to set this up in AirBnb, VRBO, etc platforms? Do I noticed a software called Guestbook that does have an automation process for this? Just curious. Thanks!

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