There is a request that every vacation rental host has received in their career as a host. It’s the early check-in request way before the check-in time. Most guests choose to reach their destination early in the morning to make the most of their day. They just want to check in their accommodation to keep their luggage and freshen up.
How to Deal With Early Check-in Requests?
While it is a reasonable request, it might or might not be possible for you to concede to it. You need your time to clean and restock the rental before their arrival. Here are some ways to deal with these requests while being an accommodating host.
1. Send a pre-arrival email with the check-in time
Some guests arrive early due to a misunderstanding. Your check-in time can be different from the standard check-in time. To avoid these situations, you can implement a pre-arrival email or text message sent to the guests closer to their arrival date with the check-in time.
If there are no bookings for the day before, you can also give them the option of early in that email. If case of early arrival, they will choose the early check-in option. It will allow you to prepare for the guests accordingly.
2. Give an option to choose an early check-in time for an additional cost
There is another method you can implement to avoid last-minute early check-in requests. You can facilitate your guests to choose early check-in at the time of booking for an additional charge. It will help you prepare for their arrival accordingly and allow you to earn some extra money. Most guests are willing to pay extra to be able to get to their rooms after an exhausting journey.
You should choose this option only when you are sure that you can manage to get the house ready before their arrival. If other guests checked in at your accommodation, this could prove to be a tough promise to deliver.
3. Allow early check-in if no guest stayed the night before
If you can’t provide the early check-in option on your website, you can provide it based on your discretion. You could allow early check-in requests if there were no bookings the night before. It won’t cost you anything extra; you come across as an accommodating host and will ensure better ratings from your guests.
If the guests make an early check-in request at the time of booking, you can respond with the following message.
“Early check-ins and late check-outs are free if there are no check-ins or outs on your dates. Please check with me the day before your stay if interested. If your trip depends on early check-ins or out, I suggest you book that night to ensure its availability.”
It is also helpful to mention the market demand and how likely is the availability. Mentioning if it is peak or slow season will help make better decisions.
4. Explain why you can’t agree to an early check-in requests
There will be times when you get a last-minute early check-in request. If you have had a booking the night before, it is tough for you to concede to this request. Explain to the guests that you must prepare the room after the previous guests check out. You can simply say, “I understand your early check-in request, but we could not make the necessary arrangements since we were not informed earlier. A guest residing on the premises is scheduled to check out at (time). We need to clean and prepare the house for you after the check-out. I will try to speed up the process and prepare the house for you as soon as possible.”
5. Provide your guests with a list of activities to do in the vicinity
This is a continuation of the previous point. You can be a more accommodating host without having to provide an early check-in. Most guests just want to keep their luggage and freshen up before starting their day. You can have a secure cupboard or room prepared for such circumstances. They can just keep their luggage until check-in and, if possible, freshen up a bit.
As a host, you can offer them a list of activities, sites, or cafes they can visit until their check-in time. You can just say, “Sorry, we can’t accommodate your early check-in request with the way we operate. We can provide you with a place to keep your luggage and freshen up. Also, here are some fun activities you can try in the meantime until your room becomes available for check-in.”
Doing this shows your guests that you care about their experience even if you can’t provide them with what they requested. Most guests understand and will appreciate you for making the extra effort to ensure their comfort.
6. Mention your strict check-in rules in the description
If you are strictly against early check-ins or late check-outs, then you should mention that in your house rules or descriptions. Doing so will make it clear to your guests that you won’t be entertaining such requests. If someone’s trip depends on an early check-in, they will book their accommodation accordingly. This will save both of you a lot of trouble and effort.
The vacation rental industry is moving where the check-in and check-out times are flexible. The trend is beneficial for both the guests and vacation rental owners. Guests get more freedom and control over their stay while the hosts get a chance to monetize this trend by offering extra hours at their accommodation for an extra fee. Hosts can also add this service for free to enhance their guest satisfaction and make themselves stand out from their competition. As a host, it is for you to decide how you approach this request in a manner that benefits you and your guests.