Arrival survival - a guide for Hosts

I'm writing a 3 part series of SuperHost tips for creating perfect guest information. What information, how much information, and timing of information is all critical to hosting success and guest satisfaction. Here's how you can strike the right balance by giving them the right information at the right time.

  1. Arrival Survival - what guests need to know and how they get that information

  2. House Rules - set expectations but avoid over-kill

  3. House Manuals - Tolstoy already wrote War & Peace - you don't have to

Arrival is the most critical part of the guest experience, the time when things have the potential to go horribly wrong and lead to stress for both guests and hosts. But some clear, concise and well-timed instructions can avoid all of that and guarantee a hassle-free check-in.

K.I.S.S! Simplicity is the key here... you only want to give the guest as much information as they need to check in, not overwhelm them with irrelevant, confusing or complicated instructions. Don't give them your life story. The key is to give them exactly the right information (and no more) at each stage of their stay.

Here are my tips for a smooth guest arrival:

When a guest books, they are automatically sent an itinerary. This includes details of:

  • The property address

  • Check-In and Check-Out times & dates

  • Cancellation policy

  • Directions to your property

  • Your House Rules

You should include full arrival instructions in the Location section of your listing set-up ("Location" can be found in the left side menu in your hosting dashboard). That way, they receive this information automatically in their itinerary when they hit the Book Now button without you having to lift a finger, and it is no more and no less info than what they need to get them safely to your door.

It is important to remember that the guest will not get this information until after they book, so if any of this info could turn into a deal-breaker, please note it in the listing description to give the guest the opportunity to consider whether your property is right for them, and avoid the possibility of a last-minute cancellation. For instance, if your property has difficult access (ie: steep stairs or no parking nearby) it may not be a good fit for elderly guests. You don't want them to find that out when they arrive in the middle of the night! Being upfront about these kinds of things is also the Host's best defense in cases where guests make a booking that is not appropriate to their needs. Airbnb will back you up if the details are clearly available before the booking is made.

Include the following information in your Itinerary info in the Location space:

  • Distance & travel times from airport

  • Transport options from airport (taxi, bus, train info)

  • A description of a unique feature can be helpful (ie: it's the house with the red front door)

  • Parking instructions and locations (and dimension of space if the property has a car stacker)

  • Key pick-up information (if you are remote hosting)

  • Location & code for lock-box

Nice to know guest info (not critical, but can be helpful)

  • Luggage storage options if any (for early check-ins or late check-outs). This could be at a railway station or bus depot. Including this information will discourage guests from asking you for early check-ins, late check-outs and luggage storage generally, and that's a good thing!

  • I always include this note to encourage people to try Uber - and I've picked up lots of travel credits on my Uber account as a result! It's surprising how many times guests use this: NEED A RIDE? Why not try Uber! Use this promo code when you sign up and you will get a credit towards your first ride! Feel free to share this promo code with friends & family. Promo code: veronicak26

Ever had a guest whose phone runs out of charge before arrival, leaving them without instructions? I include the following statement at the top of my Location information:



If you're like me, you may get lots of guests who do not have English as a first language. They may even be relying on translation apps to decipher your instructions, so don't make it hard for them.

Keep your language simple! Don't overwhelm guests with wordy, verbose instructions.

  • Use bullet points

  • Use simple words

  • Don't use Aussie slang or jargon!

  • Use generous line spacing for visual clarity

  • Only include the minimum information needed to get them in the door

Want to see a sample of my own arrival instructions? Click here

Next: House Rules - set expectations but avoid over-kill

Enjoy reading my articles? I'd love you to subscribe to my website!

(find the subscribe box on the right of the home page)

Don't forget to follow my FaceBook page Host Hacks for the latest news and links.

Regards, Veronica