Check in can be a very stressful time for some guests. They are coming to a strange city and have to follow a ton of instructions before being able to relax. It is a host’s job to alleviate as much of that stress as possible. There are two types of check in (I call them) personal and remote. A personal check in is when you meet the guests and check them in yourself. A remote check in is when you give the guests instructions to get the key and get into the apartment themselves.
When I started running my Airbnb, I used to do personal check ins. There is one major downside with them which is you may be stuck there for a while. With traffic, delayed flights and delayed trains, I have been sitting and waiting for up to four hours. However, it does give a personal touch that a lot of guests enjoy.
A remote check in is when you are not there and guests get the key themselves. The most common way to do this is to use a lockbox. If you have a house, this works perfectly. If you have a condo or apartment it can get tricky. You have to put it in a place that can be found at night, but where it doesn’t tip off security. Some suggestions are to find a 24 hour store like a convenience store and give a lockbox to them. I don’t like this idea much. You have to trust that they will keep the lockbox and make sure all the employees know what to do. The way I do it is I leave the key on the counter and the door unlocked. I use the intercom at the front door of my building to unlock the door and then they can go right up. This only works if you don’t have to use a fob in the elevator to get to the correct floor. If your check in instructions are clear it can be more relaxing for a guest. I found that guests felt pressured when running late knowing that I was sitting at the property waiting for them.
A way to test your remote check in instructions is to give them to a friend or family member to follow. This will help you work out any confusion.