When your Airbnb accommodation is all set for new guests and it comes time for them to arrive, one of the first impressions you will make is through how you welcome them. Therefore, a hassle-free Airbnb key exchange process might matter more than you think.
There are plenty of options for how you can arrange a seamless and efficient Airbnb key handover. Read on to learn about the pros and cons of each of them and to choose the one best suited to your as well as your target guest’s needs.
When it comes to checking in, a well-thought-out key exchange solution will simplify the process for both you and your guest. Consider the following benefits of a well-arranged key handover:
There are many options available to suit your unique needs. Here are some of our top picks to facilitate your Airbnb guests’ arrival.
Different options for handing over keys will appeal to different hosting styles and circumstances. Some hosts may prefer more traditional options, while others may opt for a more automated approach.
Likewise, different hosts and property managers may also choose a certain option to cater to a specific need or constraint. Some may look for the most affordable key exchange solution, while for others, time efficiency or security will be the main determining factors.
Standard ways to arrange an Airbnb key exchange usually involve relying on another person. This could be someone you know or perhaps someone you employ. These options require good communication with all parties involved.
As the person you select will literally hold the key to an outstanding welcome, building relationships and trust with them is key to making it all work.
If you have a neighbor or friend that lives near your Airbnb, one of the easiest solutions would be to ask them to keep a set of keys and manage the handover.
You would need to arrange a set arrival time with your guest and communicate this information to your friend or neighbor. Your guest will then meet them at the agreed-upon time to be welcomed in.
If you already employ a cleaner, a natural option may be to ask if they are willing to stay long enough to hand over the keys.
You could organize your cleaner’s shift so that it falls a few hours before the set arrival time so that they do not have to wait long after they have completed their cleaning tasks.
A key holder, sometimes known as a greeter, can be hired to provide a professional key exchange service. For a fee, they will meet your guests, hand over the keys, and give them a warm welcome at the beginning of their stay.
If your Airbnb is an apartment, or within a gated community, chances are you have a front desk administrator for the building or complex. By building a good relationship with the administrator, you may be able to leave the keys at the front desk for your guests to pick up once they arrive, and drop them off once they leave.
A coffee shop, or other stores or eateries, would be a convenient place to exchange keys. They will naturally be available during their operating hours and guests will be able to meet the store owners or staff at the establishment to pick up the keys.
When deciding on a store, it’s best to assess which are the closest places to your accommodation, preferably within walking distance. Try to select a smaller store where you can build relationships with the staff and owner. Also, be sure to ask the store owner for permission to leave your keys with them and make sure you notify them about arrival times well in advance.
A great personal touch would be to buy your guests a sandwich or coffee at the store you choose, as a way to give an extra special welcome.
Professional property management companies will pretty much take the reins of the management of your Airbnb. It is a premium all-in-one service where you can sit back and relax while they ensure that all management-related tasks — from the welcoming process to cleaning management — are all taken care of.
Property managers are best suited to those who would prefer to let someone else manage their business, even if it means taking home less profit at the end of the day.
Advancements in technology have produced a whole new league of automated solutions for key exchanges. They are easy to set up and manage and usually equate to a fraction of the cost of professional services.
These options don’t involve relying on other people, allowing for self-check-in. They are also often more secure than traditional methods.
A simple yet effective solution is the unassuming lockbox — a small, durable, and secure storage container specially designed to lock your keys securely inside. Lockboxes are able to be accessed through a security combination. Before arrivals, you would simply have to communicate the correct lockbox combination.
Lockboxes come in a few different varieties, using push-button, wheel, or dial mechanisms. Some popular lockboxes include the Igloohome Smart Keybox 3, the Master Lock 5424D Portable Lock Box, or the Kingsley Guard-a-Key Black Realtor’s Lockbox.
Think of a lockbox, but all digital. With a smart lock, there is no need for you to hand over a key at all. Your door will open when a passcode is used — a code over which you have complete control.
The software is managed through the company’s website or app. It enables you to activate and update the passcodes online through a computer or a smartphone. Some of the leading smart locks include the August Smart Lock Pro and Yale Assure Lock SL.
A key exchange service can be thought of as the happy middle between traditional and automated self-check-in solutions. They act as a go-between for hosts and their guests. A key exchange service can act as an accessible drop-off and pick-up site for key exchanges, can help you track when your keys are checked in and out online, and can even assist with automating keyless entries.
There is a wide selection of key exchange services, each providing handy features to help automate the key exchange process. These services can be taken one step further when integrated into vacation rental automation software like iGMS, which allows you to manage all aspects of your vacation rental from one convenient platform. Here are some of our integrated solutions:
KeyNest and Keycafe offer exceptionally accessible and affordable Airbnb key storage options. KeyNest provides thousands (and Keycafe, hundreds) of key drop-off and collection spots, mainly across Australia, Europe (including major cities like London), Canada, and the USA.
The digital communication software of both KeyNest and Keycafe enables you to send passcodes automatically via their platforms and track when a key is checked out and in.
Both EveryDoor and Lynx offer key automation services for your vacation rental so that you can spend less time managing the key exchange process. Their software allows keyless entry into your property, providing effortless access.
As you could probably guess, the key exchange process involves so much more than just fishing a set of keys out of your back pocket and handing it over. To play its part in a flawless check-in experience, key exchanges involve effective planning and communication. Here are some tips for perfecting the process.
As a host, preparing comprehensive check-in guidelines and sending them to your guests well before it is time for their stay is an excellent way to curate an impressive check-in experience.
It sets out a clear path for what guests need to know about the Airbnb property upon arrival. It also lets them know that you have planned ahead for their visit and that you want them to have a wonderful stay.
Make sure to include the following information:
We’re all well aware that a picture is worth a thousand words. So in some cases (especially if you’re opting for a self-check-in), it is a good idea to add photos of your Airbnb, and pictures illustrating the steps of the check-in process. This eliminates having to describe what certain things look like. For example, instead of describing where your lockbox is hidden, you could rather include a photo of it.
Pictures are simpler to follow and avoid the risk of miscommunication. The less your guests have to decipher what you’re trying to say, the smoother the check-in process will be.
Vacation rental software like iGMS is essential for saving time and keeping things simple. It also comes in handy to provide a central point to manage the check-in journey from beginning to end.
With iGMS, you will be able to:
When it comes to a flawless check-in process, it is always a good idea to pay attention to minor details. The little things count and add up to either a positive or negative guest experience. An important part of this experience is your Airbnb key exchange process.
One size does not fit all when it comes to deciding on an option, and it’s crucial for you to decide which works best for you and your business. Whether you decide to go with a traditional or automated option, the key to your success will lie in how well you plan and communicate.
About the Author
Callan Riddles is the Content and Social Media Specialist at iGMS. Callan has a passion for finding new ways to help vacation rental businesses thrive. In her free time, she loves to travel, read, and experience all the new things that life has to offer.
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