Airbnb Self-Check-In: No More Waiting for Your Guests’ Arrival

Airbnb self-check-in

By  The Hospitable Team

Providing your Airbnb guests with a great experience from start to finish is essential, that means you need to ensure a smooth check-in process. The best solution is to offer them a self-check-in option where guests can access your property using a key lockbox, smart lock, or keypad.

All you have to do is attach a lockbox or key safe to your door handle or wall. Your guests will only need to get a code to let themselves into your property.

The self-check-in process helps both guests and hosts because it saves time for everyone, especially in the case of early or late arrivals. Besides, this way you, as a host, can demonstrate your trust. You show your guests you’re confident that they will take care of your home and that they don’t need your supervision or micromanagement.

Here’s everything you need to know about preparing an Airbnb self-check-in process for your property.

Check-In Guidelines

You should start by adding self-check-in to your listing. You will need to select the way your guests will get into your house or apartment and add Airbnb check-in instructions.

It’s better to include photos for each step of the process. Make sure that each picture is clear and self-explanatory. You can also add text to each photo to describe it or add more detailed instructions.

What information to include in check-in instructions?

  • The address of your property.
  • Photos of the front of the property and entranceway.
  • Information on where the key is hidden if you are hiding a key.
  • The combination to gain access to the key, if you are using a lockbox.
  • Access codes to gates and doors that are opened with a code.

You could also change the door or the lockbox passcodes between guests for better security.

Airbnb will automatically share your instructions with confirmed guests three days before they arrive at your home. They’ll be able to access check-in instructions on the Airbnb app throughout their trip, even without a data plan on their phone.

You may want to automate your guest communication further.

Our AI will recognize and respond to questions about parking, WiFi, amenities, places to eat, and many more.

Airbnb Lockbox vs. Smart Lock: How to Choose the Best Option for Your Property?

Lockboxes are a simple yet great solution for the dilemma of check-in key exchanges. You can provide the Airbnb lockbox code to your guests; they can open the box and grab the keys. Then they come and go when they like.

Lockboxes come in many shapes and sizes, and they can be usually operated by a keypad or smart lock. There are several important aspects you should consider when choosing a lockbox:

  • Installation: lockboxes can be installed inside or outside the house either on the wall or at the door. The wall installation is more secure.
  • Type of a locking system: dial, push button, and combination. Dial models are ultra-secure and are the hardest to break into. Push-button models are simple to program, but passcodes can be predictable and easy to guess. You should look for a locking system that offers a balance between strength and ease-of-use.
  • Durability: a lockbox must be durable against impact and dust. If you are renting out private residences, it’s better to install weatherproof lockboxes.
  • Storage capacity: the size of your lockbox based on the number of keys you want to leave outside your property for your guests.

You can choose between mountable and padlock style lockboxes. Mountable lockboxes are installed on the wall with screws. They are sturdy, easy-to-use, and reliable.

Padlock style lockboxes are installed with a metal loop around a door or railing. They operate the same as mountable models with a dial or press button numbers that open a door. They are not as secure as mountable because metal loops are usually weaker and easy enough to break with a set of construction tools.

Don’t want to deal with lost keys in your short-term rental? There is a better option. Smart locks are installed on a door, and they are one of the most secure and convenient door locks because they require only a secret code. Hosts can manage them remotely from a phone or computer.

Check-in automation is a great starting point. Download our list of automation strategies to boost your revenue.

Keyless Bluetooth enables locks to work in the same way as smart locks, but they don’t need WiFi. You just need to send your guests a link to the lock maker’s app, and then they have to download it. After that, you need to send them the code that gives them permission to enter your place. The guest will need to press the button, and the lock will automatically open. They are great for Airbnb’s in remote areas that lack a good WiFi connection.

Keyless locks may be tricky to install, so they are great for tech-savvy hosts who value their time and use advanced tools to streamline their processes.

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Best Smart Lock for Airbnb

By choosing the best lock for Airbnb, you’ll ensure an easy, yet still secure way for your guests to enter your place.  The best smart locks for Airbnb use radio-frequency identification (RFID) and near-field communication (NFC) to authorize access.

These technologies are often associated with smartphones and smartwatches, so your guests will only need these devices to access your Airbnb rental property. They will need to download an app and use their smart device to open the door.

Smart locks offer a simple solution to people who manage vacation rental properties. You can use them to facilitate self-check-in and check-out for your guests by using passcodes that expire when your guests check out.

Some models make your Airbnb rental more secure. They connect to your smartphone and smart home devices and allow you to monitor who comes in and out of your rental.


Guests love the ease and convenience of a casual check-in process, so it is a great feature to take advantage of if you are renting out your property on Airbnb. Airbnb self-check-in will free up your time, as well as give your guests an opportunity for needed privacy after a long day on the road. 

But you should provide your guests with clear self-check-in instructions with a lot of photos and update your Airbnb vacation rental with a good lockbox for a key or a smart lock.

Check-in automation will save you lots of time. Make sure to read our list of Automation hacks that will boost your revenue.

Airbnb check-in instructions

Airbnb Check-in Instructions: Tips on How to Delight Your Guests

Your guests’ check-in sets the tone for their entire stay. If this process is stress-free and smooth, it can help lead to positive reviews. Find out how to create check-in instructions for your short-term rental and make the check-in process smooth for you and your guests.

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Airbnb Automation: Is it Killing Authenticity?

As Airbnb gained traction and secured its foothold in the short-term rental market, and subsequently the hospitality business, it became clear that its users clearly valued the communication and experiences they gained from interacting directly with the property owner—not the landlord or manager, but host. How, on earth, then can the hosts stay sane and have a life? We’re about to tell you, read on.

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