Airbnb Self Check-in

Airbnb Self Check-in: 5 Reasons Why You Need It Now

As technology advances and we shift towards a more digital society, Airbnb’s self check-in is quickly becoming a preferred property management solution.

I don’t know about you but the last thing I want to do after a 5-hour flight or car ride is to make forced small talk. While it is nice to be welcomed to a vacation rental by a host whose grin stretches from ear to ear, the timing is usually not ideal. 

Airbnb’s self check-in feature gives you the best of both worlds – hosts can make an impression through special details like welcome baskets or letters and guests get to settle into the property before being bombarded with questions. 

More importantly, the COVID-19 outbreak has made self check-in critical when it comes to social distancing. By providing guests the option to check-in to your property without the need for human contact, you’ll minimize the spread of the virus and promote responsible travel. 

What does Airbnb self check-in mean?

Airbnb’s self check-in is a convenient feature that allows guests to access a vacation rental on their own. Instead of meeting hosts upon arrival with a yogurt-stained sweater, self check-in makes the process much more effortless.

Self check-in methods include using a smart lock, keypad, lockbox, or key. Some vacation rental owners also organize for a doorperson or front desk attendant to give guests access to the property. 

However, if you’re already going through the work of setting up a self check-in process, we recommend opting for a solution that is foolproof and reliable. While hiding a key under a plant pot might seem like a good idea at first, the chances of it being misplaced and your guests having to spend 10 minutes digging through the garden to find it will lead to negative reviews and very unhappy clients. 

Airbnb Self Check-in

Benefits of Airbnb self check-in

Being an Airbnb host involves a whirlwind of jobs and responsibilities. That said, self check-in options simplify the management process while providing significant benefits for guests as well. Let’s take a look at what advantages and perks these check-in alternatives can provide: 

Save time and effort

Even if check-ins and check-outs are relatively quick, they still require a lot of attention and time when you start receiving back-to-back reservations. 

Not only is it time-consuming to physically drive to the property, but the communication leading up to the moment can also get quite complicated. Dealing with guest turnover, especially when faced with early check-ins or late check-outs, may very well end up throwing off your entire day of work. 

By providing self check-in options, your guest will also feel less anxious about arriving at the rental on time and you’ll be able to focus your energy on other important tasks. 

Airbnb Self Check-in

Manage multiple properties with ease

When juggling more than one vacation rental, things can get pretty hectic. Airbnb’s self check-in options make it possible to have several bookings on the same day without having to hire extra employees to welcome guests personally. 

This means you have more opportunities to invest in other rentals or even expand your business further. Looking for more exposure? For owners managing multiple listings, a channel manager can increase your bookings and visibility without adding hours to your workload. This tool syncs bookings, calendars, and rates from your vacation rental website and the top online travel agencies onto one centralized dashboard. 

Make your guests feel at home

There’s something special about arriving at a vacation rental and accessing it as if it were your own home. This trust makes guests feel welcome and comfortable, which is the ultimate goal for every vacation rental business.

Keep in mind that having a self check-in system doesn’t mean that you can never make an appearance! Once your guests are settled in, you can always schedule a day to bring over some homemade jam or just stop by to say hello. 

Airbnb Self Check-in

Receive positive reviews

Reviews are a major factor when it comes to your reputation and credibility. It’s simple – guests trust other guests, so they’ll take what they read seriously. No matter how delightful and well-written your Airbnb descriptions are, potential guests are unlikely to book if they see a reoccurring issue in the reviews.

Self check-in is a reliable and safe alternative that minimizes conflict. Both you and your guests will feel at peace knowing that not much can go wrong.  

Reduce the spread of COVID-19 

Many areas around the world continue to face restrictions and waves of COVID-19. Although traveler confidence might be picking up in this year of meaningful travel, it’s still crucial to avoid human contact as much as possible. 

Your guests are most likely looking to reconnect with loved ones away from crowds, so the less interaction, the better. Self check-in provides a contactless way for travelers to enjoy time away from home without putting themselves or the community at risk. 

Airbnb self check-in ideas

As new technologies emerge, self check-in solutions continue to increase. Airbnb suggests the following options: 

Smart locks

One of the most seamless self check-in options that currently exists is the smart lock. A smart lock is a technology operated through Wifi or Bluetooth that gives hosts the ability to send temporary access codes to guests upon arrival. These codes expire once the guests have checked out.

If guests accidentally get locked out of the property or forget their phone inside, hosts can easily unlock the door from wherever they are. Since you can create as many codes as you want, smart locks also facilitate housekeeping and maintenance processes.  


Lockboxes are simple and affordable storage devices for keys. In order to open a lockbox, a code must be manually entered. To ensure maximum security, this code should be changed between stays. 

When searching for the perfect lockbox for your vacation rental, you should consider whether you want one that is portable or wall-mounted. A wall-mounted lockbox is typically the more secure and long-lasting option but it depends entirely on your property. 


Another simple check-in option is a keypad. This lock system requires a code to be entered on a numerical pad and is favored by those who are less tech-savvy. The host simply sends guests the code before their arrival.

There is usually no limit to the number of times a person can change the code on a keypad. Therefore, we suggest changes be made after every stay to guarantee the utmost safety of your guests. 

How to manage Airbnb self check-in instructions

Once you’ve organized a new self check-in system, it’s time to put together some clear instructions so that your guests know exactly what to do. To update or add self check-in instructions to your listing on Airbnb, complete the following steps: 

  • Go to the Listings section
  • If you have multiple listings, click on the one you want to edit
  • In the Listing details section, click on Guest resources
  • Where it says Check-in instructions, click Edit
  • Choose the best option and click Save

Sending Airbnb self check-in instructions

According to Airbnb, check-in instructions are automatically sent to guests three days before their arrival. To ensure that no detail is forgotten, guests can access these instructions directly from their phones using the Airbnb app. 

Although Airbnb sends this information to your guests, it’s also recommended to take some extra precautions and send reminders. 

Property management software for self check-ins

Overcommunication is a big plus when it comes to self check-ins. You want your guests to feel overprepared and know that their doubts will be answered on the spot. 

Vacation rental software provides hosts with tools to automate guest communication. This means you can set up messages and emails in advance to remind guests of any details needed during check-in or reply to frequently asked questions. Using Airbnb email templates will not only minimize your workload but it’ll also improve the overall guest experience. 

Aside from features like automation and a direct booking system, vacation rental software also allows you to manage several properties and listings on a single platform. This means you and your staff can keep track of bookings from several channels while assigning specific tasks. 

Airbnb Self Check-in


If Airbnb’s self check-in teaches us anything, it’s that the vacation rental industry is always adapting as technology advances. If you ever feel overwhelmed by these technological replacements, just remember that there is an ever-growing stream of free resources available online to learn about these changes and implement them in your own business. Check out our complete Airbnb guide to always stay in the know! 

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  1. As much as this might be a helpful article I really cannot understand Lodgify’s obsession with promoting and highlighting AirBnb since this actually takes people away from booking directly with our websites. A recent Scottish survey indicates that 48% of Guests wish to book directly and like and trust the relationship with owners that direct booking through our own websites brings. Its seems to me also that the 14% or so AIrBnb fee now levied only on hosts who appear to have their own websites should equally highlight the less than equitable approach that AirBnb takes. Lodgify you need to fight your/own corners as owners otherwise what is the point of us paying to have our websites. Do you really think AirBnb is the answer? I would appreciate a reply from Lodgify.

    1. Hi David! Thank you for your comment. Our blog’s main goal is to share tips and insights to help vacation rental owners and property managers make the most of their short term rental business. We have a wide selection of articles; from marketing, channels, home decor to web design… you’ll find everything you need to learn more about the industry! So yeah, we write about our product and features but we write a lot more about things that are helpful for any type of user (non-customers too!).

      On the other hand, Lodgify’s mission is to empower any host or lodging business worldwide to get started and grow their business through technology. Our ultimate goal is to make them independent from large incumbent corporations. Although we recommend users to diversify their channels and continue to have presence on OTA’s like Airbnb, Vrbo,, etc., our core goal is to offer owners an opportunity to have their own direct channel!

      So yeah, we think it’s great to advertise your vacation rental property on listing sites to reach big audiences and generate more inquiries, but we think it’s extremely important to have your own website to become more self-sufficient and take control over your vacation rental business. And not just any website, either! Vacation rental professionals need an optimized website with all the features and functionality needed to take direct bookings, manage reservations, automate tasks and synchronize all your other channels for complete ease…. Just like Lodgify’s!

      We’ve written a lot about direct bookings in our blog as it’s our ultimate goal and the reason why Lodgify exists. You can find them here:

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