One of the biggest problems Airbnb hosts face is, of course, the key hand-over to guests. If possible, a meet-and-greet is a great solution as it allows to show the guests around and to give them some tips about the cool stuff to do in the neighbourhood – problem solved. But what to do if you’re at work, on holidays, meeting some friends or are simply too busy to meet your guests in person?
Here are 5 ways to hand over your keys if you’re away.
1. Your cleaner/friends/family:
+ Your usual cleaner could be a good intermediary between you and your guests: as he/she is familiar with your flat already, he/she can even show them around as well as giving them the keys.
‑ However, there are some disadvantages. He/she may not always be available when your guests are supposed to arrive (and that is assuming they are always on time). It all depends on your cleaner – if he / she is very reliable and has great interpersonal skills, you may want to consider this solution.
2. Sharing Economy Services
+ Some new companies offer a location based key exchange service. KeyNest for example, is a smart key exchange service that partners with local cafés and shops to allow you to store your keys and have your guests collect them. All your guests need to provide is a single-use code. Easy and secure – no one holds the addresses. Most of the stores have long opening hours, so that your guests can check-in at any time!
‑ These services are, however, only available in certain locations. KeyNest is currently only operating in London and other cities in the UK. There are other companies providing similar services in other parts of the world, so if you are a host in a large city, chances are that you will be able to use this service.
3. Under the doormat / flowerpot
+ Probably one of the simplest way to exchange keys! Nothing is easier: nothing to book, nothing to pay, nothing to plan or to think about.
‑ The simplest way is unfortunately also the least secure one! Many guests will also not appreciate having to look for the key, and you risk that your key will be found by someone who is not supposed to be there.
4. Airbnb management companies like GuestReady
+ In addition to managing your guests’ check-ins, Airbnb management companies like GuestReady also take care of the cleaning, professional maintenance and guest communications. If you don’t have time to manage all of these aspects, it’s a great solution.
‑ These premium services come at a cost; you will have to share a small percentage of your Airbnb revenues. Though sometimes, it could be cheaper than the Airbnb co-hosting feature introduced last year!
5. Lockboxes / smart locks
+ Lockboxes are very simple to install and to use. All you need is to send a code to your guests so that they can open it and get the keys. Smartlocks can often even be controlled via an App.
‑ There are quite a few security issues with lockboxes; codes are not single-use and have to be manually changed and the boxes are quite easy to crack. Smart locks can only be used in houses or if you manage a whole apartment block. However, it would be quite expensive and a major hassle to change the front door of your building if you only manage one or a few flats in a building.
How do you currently exchange your keys with Airbnb guests?