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What to charge for early check-in and late check-out


The fees for early check-in and late check-out in short-term rentals will vary based on factors such as location, property type, and market demand (writes James Varley).


I run a couple of country cottages between Leeds and York in the north of England. If a guest requests to check in an hour early or leave an hour late, I'll generally allow this for free where feasible. However, if the guest is looking for two hours of leeway, I will generally charge about £30 – depending on the length of stay and time of year.


An early check-in and late check-out can also be valuable upselling options. For example, if your guest is due to arrive on a day when you don't have a check-out, they could potentially check in as early as they like – which presents an opportunity to offer an early check-in and make a bit of extra revenue. Likewise when guests are checking out – if you don't have anyone arriving until the next day, it's a simple way of potentially earning some extra cash.


When determining your fees, have a think about the following factors:


Market rates


Research local market rates to understand what other hosts in your area are charging for early check-ins and late check-outs. This can give you a benchmark to ensure your fees are competitive.


Property type and location


The type and location of your property can influence the demand for flexible check-in and check-out times. Properties in high-demand areas or with unique features may command higher fees.


Guest expectations


Consider guest expectations in your market. If flexible check-in and check-out times are common or expected, setting reasonable fees can be more acceptable to guests.


Operational considerations


Assess the operational impact of early check-ins and late check-outs on your cleaning schedule and property turnover. Factor in any additional costs or inconveniences.


Length of stay


Some hosts offer early check-in or late check-out as complimentary perks for longer stays. Adjust your fees based on the length of the guest's reservation.


Time flexibility


Consider whether you are willing to be flexible on these fees in certain situations, such as during low-demand periods or for repeat guests.


Communication


Clearly communicate your early check-in and late check-out policies, including associated fees, in your listing description. Transparency is key to managing guest expectations.


Seasonal variations


Consider whether your fees should vary based on the season or demand fluctuations in your area. You may adjust fees during peak periods or special events.


Guest satisfaction


While fees are important, prioritise guest satisfaction. Ensure that your policies are reasonable and provide value for the fees charged.


As a starting point, you might consider charging a percentage of the nightly rate for each additional hour of early check-in or late check-out. Alternatively, you could establish a flat fee for these services.


Ultimately, the fees you set should align with the unique characteristics of your property and the expectations of your target guests. Regularly review your pricing strategy based on market trends, guest feedback, and the overall performance of your short-term rental.


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