Whether you have just one or multiple vacation rentals across Airbnb, Vrbo, Booking.com, and other platforms, manual key handovers can be time-consuming and laborious. Especially if you have to go far distances to cover, guest delays, shortage of time, or other unforeseen circumstances. But there’s a smart, safe, and simple alternative to manage check-ins that will please your guests and save you money and the hassle. It’s time to transition to smart vacation rental door locks and vacation rental keyless entry systems.
The benefits of having a smart lock
Rental locks come in all shapes and sizes. Smart locks, generally electromagnetic, work by receiving encrypted instructions wirelessly. Airbnb hosts can upgrade existing deadbolts into smart deadbolts or smart door handles. Smart vacation rental door locks open doors both literally and figuratively, unlocking financial and time-saving benefits by adding security and convenience to the guest experience and your own operations:
- Save time and money
A smart short-term rental keyless entry system puts an end to the task of coordinating the handover of keys after bookings. It streamlines the process so that nobody has to be physically onsite to check guests in, cutting down on labor costs, and more importantly, your precious time.
- Provide additional security
You can program unique temporary access codes on your vacation rental door locks that provide an added layer of security for both you and your guests. Codes expire when guests check out, and any given code can be assigned to an individual. Your cleaning and turnover staff can have their own user codes that you can track on your smartphone (including enabling notifications) from wherever you are. You will also be able to check exactly who has gained access to a specific property in a given timeframe.
You will no longer have to worry about stolen keys or unauthorized access to your property. And with a keyless entry system, even if someone tries to enter your property illegally, it is faster and less costly to change a code than to change a lock.
- Enhance your guests’ experience
Many guests just want to take it easy on arrival, particularly if they’ve had a long journey. First impressions matter, so providing an easy self-check-in experience is an important marker that can set the tone for their stay to come. An immediate feeling of security upon arriving, and knowing they can confidently leave valuables in your property, will make them feel at home.
A vacation rental keyless entry system avoids person-to-person contact by cutting out the traditional key handovers. In a world that’s not yet free of the pandemic, not having to handle a physical key to the front door and not having to be let into the property face to face is an important extra health and safety protocol. Happy guests leave positive reviews, and smart home technology such as smart locks can play its part in securing them.
Choosing the best smart lock for your property and your systems
There are many different brands and types of smart vacation rental door locks on the market. They work in different ways, so you must consider which lock features are must-haves and which features you can do without when you select a system. Do your research and make an informed decision on which smart lock will work for your vacation rental properties.
Even if you have an expensive traditional security system, it may not stop lock bumping. A bump key can be inserted into any traditional lock that uses a pin tumbler mechanism—inserting the key and turning the knob to open the door. This weakness likely means that your old-fashioned existing locks will soon be a thing of the past. Expensive rental locks don’t necessarily guarantee better security features, but smart lock systems can secure your rental and provide guest satisfaction for a long time after the initial capital investment.
Look for multiple-code programming
A keypad smart lock is easy to install and gives you the ability to set up multiple pin codes for different people, so you can track who’s going through the rental locks at all times. Most keypad smart locks use a touchscreen keypad for entry, and you must consider how many codes you will need since many models only support a limited number of codes.
Keypad and smart lock combos, such as keypad-operated deadbolts or deadbolt and handle sets, are widely available. Many come with optional connectivity features that allow you to connect to smart equipment like Z-Wave, which is fast becoming a home security standard. But some systems don’t use keys at all.
Consider keyless and wireless smart locks
Keyless and wireless smart locks can connect to your vacation rental’s Wi-Fi network. Doors can be programmed to be openable or locked at specific times of day, from anywhere in the world, via a smartphone app.
Surveillance and other smart devices can also all be integrated with remote access door locks as part of a complete, connected tech stack. Keyless rental locks are definitely worth serious consideration, particularly for owners of multiple properties.
Avoid smart locks with downloads
When you’re considering a smart vacation rental door lock, security isn’t the only consideration—don’t lose sight of the user experience. Any system needs to be easy and convenient for your guests. Having to download an app for a one-time visit to a vacation rental property is going to put some people off making the booking.
You want guests to feel like you’ve done all the work upfront for their comfort, so they can just sit back and relax. The easier and more relaxed their experience, the better chance of a five-star review at the end of their stay. To hear firsthand how a vacation rental management company secured its properties, enhanced guest experience, and cut costs with smart locks, read our case study.
Smart, integrated brands
There are a number of vacation rental door lock solutions available, and several of the most trusted systems are already integrated with Hostfully, offering tools to power your vacation rental business.
- Operto offers automation solutions for vacation rental properties, with systems that connect smart locks, thermostats and other smart devices. It’s a complete solution that’s already integrated on the Hostfully platform.
- RemoteLock is another solution for remote control and management of connected locks from the cloud. Control access for guests, employees and support staff, again integrated with Hostfully. They offer smart locks from trusted brands including Yale, Schlage and OpenEdge, starting from a little under $200 each with integrated keypads.
- Lynx, meanwhile, offers keyless entry and home automation for thermostats, leaks, noise, smoke and CO sensors, and combines it with workflow and guest communication. Lynx is fully integrated with Hostfully.
- Other trusted brands include August smart locks and Kwikset.
Building your tech stack for smart vacation rentals
In order to automate guest check-in codes, you will need to ensure that your smart lock works with a home automation company that will integrate with your PMP. Once you set up your smart lock you can integrate with brands such as Operto, Remotelock, Lynx and many more. These brands will help you to automate the check-in process for guests and make it seamless for both ends.
How it works:
- Once a booking is made, the PMP captures the reservation details
- The PMP sends check-in and check-out times to the door lock integration partner such as Operto, Remotelock, or Lynx.
- The door lock integration partner creates a code and sends it to the physical doorlock and to the PMP
- The PMP sends the code to the guest via email templates and triggers
Each generated code will be unique to that guest or supplier to ensure the safety of your home.
The smart locks at the property your guests have booked will also be automatically primed and ready to accept their guest access code—there’s no need to update or change them manually, even by computer. It’s a seamlessly integrated system that takes all the manual work out of your hands and provides both you and the guest with peace of mind.
Always have a backup plan
Of course, even the best-laid plans occasionally encounter unforeseen issues that have to be addressed. Circumstances completely outside your control could still contrive to make gaining access to your properties difficult, and the best-run businesses always have contingency plans in place to deal with Murphy’s Law.
Provide lock boxes
Lockboxes with keys to gain access are a useful backup if, for example, the property’s power fails. Make sure the guests know how to get into the property if the smart lock isn’t working, for whatever reason, and you’ll avoid a negative first impression for your customer, and neither you nor any staff will have to spend time going to the property to let them in.
Light up your lock boxes and doors
Make sure that guests are greeted by a well-lit entrance upon arrival. Dimly lit entrances can create anxiety for your guests in unfamiliar surroundings. Check light bulbs between guest stays and place the backup lock box in a well-lit area.
Time to future-proof your vacation rental properties
In an industry being disrupted by tech, investing in smart lock solutions will future-proof your vacation rental business and put you ahead of the curve in safety and security. Smart security solutions will free up your time, enhance your guests’ experience and provide them, and you, with peace of mind.