You won’t be always present to physically hand over the keys to the guests. So, we came up with a list of the best Airbnb key exchange solutions to help you. Even in your absence, the guest can enjoy a seamless check-in process. Formulate a strategy to make the experience quick and effortless. It looks like a tiny part of the job. As a host, you must understand, that it is one of the most crucial parts. If your system fails and you lose the keys, the guests won’t be able to enter the property. It will ruin your ratings, relationships and Airbnb search engine ranking. To avoid sending a guest back from the door itself, let’s learn about the secrets behind Airbnb key exchange solutions for remote entrepreneurs such as you.
In case you are a present host that handles everything physically, you can continue reading as well. It will help you find a solution in case of any emergency.
Why Key Exchange Is Crucial?
Your keys can end up in the wrong hands if not handled carefully. You don’t want your possessions to be stolen or destroyed, right? Thus, crafting a strategic plan for key exchange is essential. It is a decision you have to make while listing your property. You must find a full-proof Airbnb key exchange solution for the sake of your property and profit.
How to boost the security of your AirBnB read here.
No one likes waiting at the door of their Airbnb after a long trip. Your guests want to unlock the door as soon as possible. A smooth transfer of keys allows them to experience the best. Ensure that your key handling plan eliminates any wait time for the guest.
Positive customer experience translates into good customer reviews. You know the significant role of reviews in your Airbnb business. It is your chance to make the overall experience seamless. An inefficient key handing over will ruin their experience from the start itself. In turn, ruining your chances of 5-star reviews.
Airbnb Key Exchange Solutions
Let A Local Business Handle
Sometimes the solution is in the neighbourhood only. There are various ways to use the services of any local business to enhance the check-in experience. However, partnering with such enterprises requires financial investment.
Pair with local cafes and restaurants
One of the most practices and affordable techniques is to agree on a deal with the local coffee house or other small business. They will get an opportunity to promote their business and attract tourists to their establishment. You will get a full-time place to securely store your keys. It is a preferable solution in small friendly neighbourhoods. You have first developed a mutually beneficial relationship with the local business owner. You cannot leave the keys with a stranger.
Make sure to do a background check on the store as well. If the café has a history of carelessly handling the keys, then change your plan. This solution works best if you can trust the business owner completely. Furthermore, you should assess their communication skills as well. You need to ensure they treat your guests respectfully. A cranky local business manager can ruin your customer review in a blink.
If you are familiar with the neighbourhood then this might work out just fine. For efficient execution, develop a communication system with the local establishment and inform them about each booking well in advance. The owner has to be informed beforehand to ensure a smooth transfer. Also, share the address of the business with the guest and request them to collect. It is advised to share audio instructions. To enhance the experience, you can also make a deal with an owner to offer a free welcome gift with the keys.
Hire a property manager
Property managers have become a must for entrepreneurs with multiple properties. In your absence, they take care of your business asset. Handling the key is just a small part of their job. Hiring a property manager means transferring the responsibility of that Airbnb listing. They will look after the maintenance, security, guests’ requirement and key exchange. You can just take a weekly update from the property manager and leave the rest on his shoulders. Their job is to keep the property safe and customers happy.
The manager is directly accountable to you, so you can trust them with this task as well. This solution is mostly employed by well-established entrepreneurs and investors. It is an expensive method for making your key handling efficient. If you have an expensive property such as a Bungalow, investing in property managers will be a good decision. On the other hand, for small apartments, it won’t be feasible.
If you manage more than 2 properties, you can mix and match the Airbnb key exchange solutions. For the busiest listing hire a manager and find other solutions to cover the rest. Check your financial plan before investing in this option.
If you require, you can even hire Airbnb management services. They will employ a whole team to manage different aspects of your property and hosting experience. Key exchange will also be a part of their duties.
Modern-day Tech solutions
Once again new age technology is here to save the day. They might look complex at the first glance. After learning their basic functioning, you can control your security from miles away without any middleman. These solutions also demand monetary investments. It is not just a one-time contribution. You have to take care of the maintenance as well.
A new take on hiding the keys under the door mat. This one is smart and more secure. You can install it at the front gate and place your keys inside. Then all you have to do is lock with a pin code. No one can get the keys without the code. Research a few models and go for high-quality lockboxes. Make sure trespassers can not hack into the box. It is advisable to change the code every day or at least weekly. And consider it compulsory to change the code after every stay. The guests might misuse the access to the keys. Leave a user manual for them to lock the keys safely after their trip ends. Also, ask for pictures and proofs of the same. Remember to share a guide with the guests in the chat. Help them understand the functioning prior to their arrival. It will help speed up the process and avoid any inconveniences.
A few models of Lockboxes, also come with an alert feature. It will inform you if some tries to enter the wrong code continuously. Some models even advance the security after such an attempt and allow access only with your fingerprints. It is great from the safety point of view. On the other hand, it means you have to be careful while sharing the code with the guests. Make sure they understand. Never share a picture of a handwritten note.
Well, you can now completely remove the keys from the equation. Allow the guests to unlock the gates with smart lock technology. There are various models available in the market. The basic function of a smart lock is to keep your doors locked until opened with a verification unit. It can be a code, fingerprint, face recognition etc. For short-term rental, pin code-led smart locks are the best option. Once your guests are about to reach the destination, share the code with them. Few smart locks even allow remote access. You can be sitting in another corner of the world and open the doors of your house with just a few clicks. You can connect the lock with your smartphone and enjoy the technological advancement. It saves time and energy. It works as a surveillance device as well.
Some of the best features include an inbuilt camera and microphone. However, it demands a significant investment. You have to take care of the maintenance of the lock. Depending on the internet exposes you to hacking threats. Furthermore, the guests must be comfortable with technology. Smart locks are one of the most complex Airbnb key exchange solutions. You have to improve the customer experience, not make them struggle.
Avail of the professional help of Key exchange services
Another method to ensure professional key handling is key exchange services. They are less expensive as compared to a property manager and guarantee professional treatment. Since the key exchange is a prominent issue amongst remote Airbnb entrepreneurs, a lot of small key exchange services have been developed. You can research the best one in your locality and avail the services to ensure timely and efficient key transfer.
Everything is mainstreamed in such businesses. You will have to inform them, and they will use their network to safely hand over the keys to your guests. Keep them updated if there is an extension in the stay so they can delay the pickup.
Similar to other local business handoffs, you should first do a thorough background check. Ensure the services are legit and cross-check their testimonials. Outsourcing key exchange is one of the easiest and hassle-free methods. However, if you are just starting as an Airbnb entrepreneur, this method might also appear expensive. There are various free-of-cost solutions you can try.
If your guests believe in traditional methods, then these will work wonderfully. The solutions are inexpensive
Under the welcome mat
Eliminate the middleman or any technological devices. Just adhere to the old tradition of leaving the keys in the flower or under the doormat. Nowadays only a few people use this technique, but it has been working for ages. Your keys are hidden under the mat and demand utmost care. The locality should be trustworthy. You can not leave your keys lying around in an area with a high crime rate. Secondly, you have to hide the keys but not too deeply.
When you hide your keys in a flowerpot, there is a high chance of them getting lost in the soil. Guests don’t want to ruin their manicure while looking for an Airbnb key. Some guests have even objected to the efforts required in lifting up the flowerpots to find the keys. Thus, this solution is only suitable for a specific demographic.
If your guests are not tech-savvy and you have a security budget, you can install a door camera to ensure the safety of your keys. It’s your responsibility to hide a key in a manner that guests can find it easily, but trespassers can’t. This method can be used as the last resort if there is no one in the locality to take care of the keys.
Include friends and family in your plan
You are in luck if your friends and family live around your property. You have known them for a long time. They will take good care of your keys. It is easier to communicate and coordinate with them. The guests will also feel safe knowing someone close to the host is there to help them if needed. It is one of the smoothest key exchanges.
However, you have to remember that they are not professionals. They will not chance their only plans just to fulfil their duties in your key exchange plan. The mantra is not to rely on an individual. You can give the collective responsibility to 2 or 3 trusted people. Every time there is a booking, check the availability of everyone and ensure at least one person is available to handle the keys.
Some guests expect formal behaviour from the host’s side, so you have to share a few pointers with your family and friends before giving them the keys. Also, share the contact details of the person in charge with the guest and vice versa. Let them contact you directly in case you are unavailable. Once your Airbnb business is well established it is advisable to take professional help only.
Entrepreneurs prefer this method when they are managing multiple properties and one is in their hometown. They focus on investing in expensive solutions for other listings.
Request your neighbours for help
In highly competitive areas, competitors become key exchange partners. In rare cases when no one is available to take care of the keys, you can ask your next-door Airbnb host to handle it for you. When the right time comes, you can return the favour by doing the same. Apart from making the check-in more efficient, it helps you build relationships in the Airbnb community. Hosts appreciate small help every now and then. Your neighbouring Airbnb host is experienced and knows how to please guests. So, you don’t have to worry about professionalism.
One of the biggest disadvantages of this solution is the lack of trust. It is not easy to trust your competitor. Once you build a healthy relationship, you will have nothing to worry about. Just be sure to be nice to everyone. It is the golden rule of Airbnb to respect your competitors. Few beginners try to start unhealthy competition which leads to their failure only.
Let the maintenance team take care
Some hosts believe why hire someone else when you already have help. The maintenance team, especially the cleaners are often trusted with the keys. Since they have to be at the property anyway, it is considered an efficient method. Before the guests arrive, the cleaners have to prepare the property for them. Exchanging the key won’t be a tough job for them. However, for security reasons, this method is frowned upon by many.
Some entrepreneurs don’t trust their cleaning services with the keys. They ask neighbours or friends to hand over for every scheduled cleaning. If you are working with a trusted company with years of experience and a thorough screening process, the chance of fraud is negligible. In the end, it is your call.
If you are comfortable with your cleaners handling the key exchange, then go for it. It is an inexpensive solution that won’t require much effort. Just inform the guests to hand back the keys to the cleaners only.
How To Select The Best Method For You?
Understand Your Target Market
The psychographic and demographic factors of your target audience will assist you in selecting the most suitable and secure key handling plans. The people you host play a significant role in this decision. Corporate personnel would like a quick, fast key exchange without any disturbance. However, a family tend to appreciate a warm welcome by a property manager, or a greeter assigned by the key exchange services. The age and experience of your guests are also vital. If your property attracts senior citizens who are not equipped with technology, smart locks would be a bad pick. Thus, you have to understand the abilities, interests and preferences of your guests and pick on the Airbnb key exchange solutions accordingly.
Research About The Locality
You have to research the local area and understand what works best there. You can analyse the Airbnb key exchange solutions utilised by the competitors as well. This will allow you to note the threats and opportunities in your region. For example, if the local coffee houses are trusted by other Airbnb hosts as well, you can just go ahead and make a deal with them. However, if a locality has previous records of trespassing and property damage, then you have to go for a secure option such as smart locks.
Check Your Schedule
Your schedule should be the catalyst in the exchange and not the inhibitor. In case you are managing just one property, it would be great if you can physically exchange the keys. However, it is not always possible. So, you have to make room in your schedule for sharing the smart lock password or coordinating with the local business. If your schedule is jam-packed then giving easy access through friends, family and neighbours would be a good plan. Complex solutions such as smart locks, lock boxes, and pairing with coffee houses will require your contributions during the exchange process.
Make Note Of Availability
Checking with the in-charge of your key exchange strategy is extremely important. They might have their own travel plan for this season. So, you have to come up with alternative solutions. If the people around your property are usually travelling, then tech solutions are the best. Your smart lock won’t go on holiday. No need to check with the lockbox if they are available for each booking. Ignorance in this sector could lead to confusion and a long wait time for the guest. What if your neighbour is out and gave the key to another neighbour, whom you can’t reach? Same yourself from such nightmares with smart solutions
What is the season is it?
During holiday seasons the guest will be impressed by a greeter, so hiring professional key exchange services or a property manager will help. However, during off-seasons people tend to travel to find peace. Remote ways such as hiding under the doormat or lockbox will work best here.
Remember, you don’t have to rely on just one technique. You can mix and match to gain the best results. During the holiday season hire a professional key exchange service, but for off-seasons rely on your friends and families. Hand pick suitable solutions for each property. It is an essential task. The right solution will help you smoothen the check-in process. Don’t’ worry about managing your time with these solutions. Hand over the virtual management task to Hosty while you take care of the physical issues. The integrated platform of Hosty will allow you to easily coordinate with your key exchange team. You can quickly share the details of every booking with your team. For tech solutions, you can schedule the code delivery through the automation feature. It will ensure the code only reaches the guest once they have arrived at your property. Airbnb key exchange solutions can be made more effective and efficient with Hosty’s help.