Key handovers are stressful, especially if you have multiple listings. They take up an insane amount of time, need pre-planning, require in-person contact, and often end in keys being lost and guests getting locked out.
It’s time for short-term rental managers to move on to bigger and better things. And there’s no simpler way to manage a check-in than with smart locks and keyless entry.
If you’re tired of meet-and-greets and chasing your guests’ time schedules, and would rather handle check-ins in a hands-off way, smart locks will make your life much easier. They’re secure, convenient, easy to install, and provide a great self-check-in experience.
In this blog post, we cover why you should consider adding keyless entry to your home automation solutions. And, we’ll list the best smart locks on the market, highlighting their most in-demand features.
Let’s dive into it!
Why smart locks and keyless entry are the future
Check-ins are easy to manage - as long as you have one rental. Once you start growing your short-term rental business and add a couple more units to your portfolio, you run out of time. It’s challenging to handle all check-ins yourself, and you may not have the resources to hire someone else.
This is where smart locks enter the picture. They are handy little devices that either attach to your existing lock or replace the one you have. Guests can use them to unlock the door with a passcode that you generate and send to them. It’s a simple solution, but it can free up so much of your time - and, it makes your rental a million times more secure than if you were handing out keys.
However, convenience for hosts and home security are not the only reason why smart locks are becoming the norm.
In a post-COVID-19 world, hygiene and safety will continue to play an important role. Guests will expect Airbnb hosts to do everything in their power to provide a rental experience that doesn’t foster the spreading of germs. With social distancing measures in place for an indefinite amount of time, the less personal contact renting a property involves, the better.
That’s one of the main reasons why self-check-in and keyless entry are replacing traditional key handovers. Hosts need to make sure that guests feel safe and comfortable at all times, and keeping personal contact to a minimum is a great way to do that. Plus, let’s admit, physical keys aren’t the most sanitary things in the world. Who knows how many times they’ve exchanged hands?
So, if you want to future-proof your vacation rental business, consider investing in smart lock solutions.
Features to look for in a smart lock
When buying a smart lock for your vacation rental, ask yourself what features would benefit you the most.
The main reasons for going keyless and installing a digital lock are:
convenience for you and your guests
connectivity with smart home devices
Here are some of the most useful features to look for in smart locks:
Unique temporary access codes.
This is crucial for security: each guest gets a key code that expires once their stay is up. This way, you don’t have to worry about guests being able to unlock your door outside the time of their reservation.
If your smart lock is connected to your rental wifi network, you can monitor your lock’s activity on your smartphone from anywhere in the world. This is super useful because it lets you keep track of who’s going in and out of your rental at all times, be that guests, cleaning crew, or maintenance staff.
Integration with home automation platforms.
While this feature isn’t a must, it’s good to have, especially if you use other smart home technology, such as smart thermostats or noise control devices. Using a home automation platform, you can manage and monitor activity across all your devices in one place. Plus, if your smart lock connects with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, you can control it with your voice - which is pretty cool.
Integration with a messaging automation tool.
This is an often overlooked feature that property managers can greatly benefit from. If your smart lock is integrated with your messaging system, you can use smart lock activity as a trigger and send automated messages to your guests or cleaning crew when someone locks or unlocks the door. This feature will soon be available for Host Tools and August Smart Lock users. Stay tuned!
Best Airbnb smart locks
Now that you know what features to look for in a smart lock, let’s take a look at some of the most popular keyless entry providers and their solutions.
1. August Smart Lock
Price: $149.99 - $249.99. Available in the US and Canada.
August Smart Locks are award-winning smart door upgrades that work with the most popular home automation platforms.
The basic August Smart Lock turns your phone into a key with Bluetooth access. The new August Wifi Smart Lock with built-in wifi lets you lock and unlock your door remotely, grant guests virtual keys, and check whether the door is open or closed whenever you want. Combined with the August Single Cylinder Deadbolt, it’s a perfect door security solution for your vacation rental.
Coming soon to Host Tools: August Smart Locks integration! Users of the Host Tools short-term rental automation and channel management platform will be able to automate messages triggered when their August smart locks are used.
For example, hosts can get notified if the cleaner doesn’t use their pin code to open the door and the rental needs an emergency cleaning. An automated message can be sent to guests when the cleaners lock the door to let them know that the rental is ready for them.
Read our post on 7 ways to automate your Airbnb cleaning
And, property managers can get notified when a guest checks in and uses their unique entry code and send them an automated welcome message.
Price: $79.99 - $249.00 (Amazon). Available worldwide.
Kwikset smart locks and deadbolts let you take control of your door security and make giving access to guests easy and convenient.
The Kevo Smart Lock allows you to use your phone as a key: all you need to do is touch the lock with your Bluetooth-enabled phone to open it. You can also send eKeys to your guests. The Premis, SmartCode, and Obsidian models all have touchscreens that let you enter access codes. The Halo has the added benefit of being wifi-enabled, so you can control your locks from anywhere.
Price: $159.00 – $249.00 (Amazon). Available worldwide.
Schlage smart locks are sturdy, simple and stylish locks that make Airbnb keyless entry a breeze. They fit with any smart home system and put total control in the palm of your hand.
The Schlage EncodeTM Smart WiFi Deadbolt lets you connect to your door from anywhere without the need to install any adapters or accessories. The Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt lets you unlock the door from the Schlage Home app on your phone or by entering an access code on the touchscreen. And the Schlage Connect Smart Deadbolt has enhanced security features, like an additional layer of encryption, and lets you control your lock with your voice.
Price: $129.00 - $279.00. Available worldwide.
Yale smart locks enable you to manage your front door from anywhere.
The Yale Assure Lock Keypad lets you and your Airbnb guests open the door by entering a code on the lock’s backlit keypad. The Yale Assure Lever looks like a classic lever lock but with a touchscreen - you can lock, unlock, share access, and see who comes and goes by using the Yale Access app. If you use the Google Nest home automation system in your home, choose the Nest x Yale Lock, which works seamlessly with it.
Price: $83.95 -$170.05. Available in the US.
Honeywell has a wide range of different keypad smart locks that can be easily installed and come with extra security features, like alarms that sound after multiple incorrectly entered user codes.
The Honeywell Electronic Entry Knob Door Lock With Keypad has a convenient one-touch locking system. The Honeywell Bluetooth Enabled Digital Door Knob Lock With Keypad lets you control the lock from a free smartphone app and allows for auto-locking.
Price: $139.99 - $499.99. Available worldwide.
Ultraloq smart locks are highly flexible: they allow hosts and renters to lock and unlock doors using fingerprint identification, access codes, or smartphones via a Bluetooth proximity sensor.
You can monitor who’s in your property remotely at all times, and it’s easy to give temporary access to Airbnb guests and service staff.
The U-Bolt and the U-Bolt Pro deadbolts are a combination of security and versatility, offering 6-in-1 keyless entry to your rental - including “magic shake”, which lets you unlock the door without unlocking your phone. If you prefer more traditional-looking handles, choose the Ultraloq Lever which comes with a keypad and 4-in-1 access.
Price: $199.99 - $749.99. Available in the US.
Lockly smart locks use 3D fingerprint scanners to make Airbnb keyless entry easy and secure. The mobile app allows you to create single-use, online access codes, share eKeys with guests, and lock and unlock your door. Lockly is also compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, so it allows voice control and blends in seamlessly with your home automation setup.
Choose the Lockly Secure, the Secure Pro or the Secure Plus for secure smart locks with digital keypads, or pick the Lockly Vision, which has a built-in HD video doorbell and streams live video straight to your smartphone. If you’re looking for an exclusive, high-end model that allows access in multiple ways, check out the Lockly Secure Lux.