Airbnb Advice,

27th July 2020

How to Find the Best Check-in Method for your Airbnb

If you’ve already begun hosting, you’ll know how important a seamless check-in is for giving your guests a great first impression of your Airbnb. For this reason, it’s essential to make sure you are using a check-in method that’s best suited for your type of Airbnb.

Through managing Airbnbs in the Auckland CBD, we have used a variety of methods for check-ins including personal check-ins, self check-ins as well as secure key pick-up locations and in this article we will help you decide which of these styles would work best for your guests.


Personal Check-ins

A personal check-in is where you meet your guests as they arrive and show them into your Airbnb. This method is great as it adds a human element to your guests’ Airbnb experience, and you can easily give guests an in person run-through of the important things to know during their stay as well as any tips for things to do around the neighbourhood. For more information on the perfect personal check-in, read here.

One downside to this method however is that travel plans can change suddenly and through no fault of their own, guests can arrive later than their given ETA due to flight delays, car troubles or other unexpected incidents and so you will need to be prepared and allow extra time in these cases.

For this reason, a personal check-in would suit your Airbnb most if it is a private room in your home or if you live nearby as you can quickly meet your guests at any time.


Self Check-in

A self check-in is where the guests are given detailed instructions for how to enter the Airbnb on their own, most likely with an on-site lockbox or keyless entry.

This method is certainly the most seamless, so long as the instructions given are accurate and easy to understand, since guests can arrive at any time they choose and settle in immediately. Some guests prefer this method also if they are weary from travelling and therefore not particularly in the mood for conversation.

If you’re choosing this style of check-in, it’s important to keep in mind the security of keeping keys on-site. In urban environments with a lot of passers-by, keeping a lockbox on the street might not be the safest idea so keyless entry where you can send each guest a different code for their stay would work out better. For apartment blocks where keyless entry isn’t always possible, it’s important to check first with the building manager about lockboxes as some complexes forbid the installation of them on-site and so they could be removed without your knowing.

Due to this, a self check-in method often works best for Airbnbs that are in rural or suburban areas.

To find out more about how to set up the perfect self check-in, see here.


Secure Key Pick-up Locations

This final method is where guests are instructed to pick up the keys from a secure location nearby, which could be an office, store, or even a café or restaurant. The pick-up could either be in-person where someone is available to hand the keys over to your guest or they could be set up for the guest in a lockbox inside the building. Ideally, the guests would be able to collect from this location 24/7.

This method is great as it reduces the risk of lockboxes being removed or broken into and it still allows the guest to have a larger time window for arrival. For this method, it’s important to state clearly in your listing that the keys will need to be picked up from another location to avoid any surprises after booking.  As above, this method will also require detailed self check-in instructions for collecting the key.

For more information on how to find a secure pick-up location that is convenient for your guests, read here.

We’ve found this option works best for Airbnb’s in urban or busy neighbourhoods for the extra level of security it brings.


All in all, there is no one perfect method for check-ins as this is dependent on the location of your Airbnb as well as the types of guests you normally receive. Hopefully this article has helped you decide however which type of check-in method to try with your guests. If trying out a new method, be sure to pay close attention to the reviews so you can perfect the experience for your guests!