An Airbnb lockbox is the ideal solution to a common problem hosts face every time they are unable to be there in person to hand over their keys to guests. A secure lockbox allows rental keys to be stored for guests to collect when they are ready. Offering a self-check-in for guests has become even more popular recently. A self-check-in eliminates physical contact and gives guests more flexibility.
Learn more about the benefits of using a lockbox for securing your Airbnb rental keys and ensuring a smooth check-in process for your guests.
An Airbnb lockbox is a secure box that holds the keys to a vacation rental property. It enables self-check-in, eliminating the need for face-to-face key exchanges, thus providing convenience and flexibility to both hosts and guests.
Let’s discuss the different options for self-check-in:
Smart Locks: Smart locks are a popular choice for self-check-in as they offer convenience and high security. They can be controlled remotely, and access codes can be changed easily. Guests receive a code to enter into the lock to gain access to the property. They can either be a keypad on the door or a device connected to the home’s WiFi system. Some smart locks even connect to a smartphone app.
Push Button Locks: Push button locks, also known as digital door locks, have a numbered keypad where guests can enter a code to unlock the door. These codes can be reset for each new guest, enhancing security. They can be standalone units or part of a more sophisticated smart lock system.
Master Lock: Master Lock is a well-known brand that manufactures various types of locks, including lockboxes and combination locks suitable for short-term rental properties. They make robust, reliable lockboxes where hosts can safely store the keys to their property.
Airbnb Lockboxes: These are secure boxes in which hosts place the keys to the property. They can be simple key boxes with a combination lock or more high-tech versions with WiFi connectivity and remote access. They are usually fixed to a wall or another secure spot outside the property. The host shares the combination or access code with the guest, who then retrieves the key and lets themselves in.
Door Handle Locks: These types of locks incorporate a lock into the handle of the door. They can be either key-based or have a built-in keypad for entering a code. Some newer models are smart locks with remote control features.
Backup Lockbox: A backup lockbox is a secondary, usually traditional, lockbox used in case the primary method fails. For instance, if the WiFi is down and the smart lock cannot be accessed, a host might have a backup lockbox with a physical key inside.
Each of these options has its advantages and drawbacks, and the best choice will depend on factors like the host’s budget, the property’s location, its WiFi reliability, and the level of security desired.
Remember, whatever lock you choose, it’s crucial to have a secure system in place for managing access codes. Codes should be changed regularly, particularly between guests, to maintain security. It’s also a good idea to have a backup plan in case of technical issues or power outages.
You can use a lock box to protect keys or manage the lock for your Airbnb door. There are several common lockbox systems with different lock designs:
Push-button lockboxes —a push-button lockbox is regarded as one of the easiest safety boxes to work with. Punch in the correct sequence of numbers into the buttons and it opens immediately.
Dial lockboxes —these lockboxes resemble locker room padlocks, with a revolving dial. Users input a combination of numbers one by one into the dial.
Wheel lockboxes — a wheel-lock Airbnb lockbox consists of several scrolling wheels of numbers from 0 – 9. Users scroll on each wheel to select numbers for a combination that opens the lock (usually a four-digit code).
Electronic and smart lockboxes — electronic or smart lockboxes are attached to a door and open automatically with the correct code, or by sharing access via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. The passcode can be changed each time a guest checks out.
There are many benefits of using a secure lockbox as part of your property management strategy:
Having a lockbox removes the need for you to be there to welcome your guests. This saves time, as you will no longer need to plan your schedule around guests arriving at particular hours.
In addition, lockboxes can help to cut back on expenses, as hosts who can’t be there often hire a manager to do it for them. With a lockbox, you no longer need to constantly spend money paying someone to hand over your keys.
Guests also benefit from using a lockbox to check in, as they can choose any arrival time that suits them, and they have more control over the procedure. Without a host there, they can check in at a more relaxed pace. Guests who have had a long trip may also be tired and not in the mood to converse with hosts or managers.
This method is also a safer way for you to hand over the rental keys to your guests, as opposed to a physical meet and greet. Airbnb lockboxes encourage contactless check-ins, which can help guests feel safe while they are checking in. Self-check-in eliminates the need for a meet-and-greet and a physical exchange, helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Your rental keys are more protected in a lockbox vs. a hiding place. Safety boxes are generally designed to withstand break-in attempts and lockpicking. Your keys are less likely to be stolen out of a lockbox than from underneath a rock or pot plant.
Secure lockboxes can vary in price, often starting between $10-$20 dollars for a budget model. Mid-range boxes start around $30-40 dollars and up. High-end smart lockboxes can cost between $100-$300 per model.
To find the best lockbox for your Airbnb rental, you should first shop around to get an idea of what is available:
Master Lock 5514D Bluetooth Electronic Wall Mount Lock Box. As the name suggests, the Master Lock Bluetooth Lock Box allows guests to gain access through Bluetooth connectivity. You can use the in-house app to set up access codes for yourself and your guests, share codes with them, and get notifications when they are busy accessing this smart Airbnb lockbox.
Price: $117 on Amazon.
Igloohome Smart Keybox 3. For a convenient and hassle-free key handover, a popular choice for hosts is the Igloohome Smart Keybox 3. The interior can comfortably store multiple sets of keys and access cards, in case guests need spares. Checking in is easy for guests, as they don’t need to download any app, they can send login codes via SMS, Facebook Messenger, and Whatsapp.
Price: $170 on Amazon.
Masterlock 5424D Portable Lock Box. The Master Lock Portable Lock Box comes with a shackle that can be looped around door handles or removed so the box can be mounted on the wall. Set your own unique four-digit code that can easily be reset. The dials light up during nighttime, or when there is low visibility. This model can store several locks or access cards.
Price: $40.00 on Amazon.
Kidde Access Point Lockbox. The Kidde Access Point Lockbox is a simple but effective Airbnb lockbox for storing up to two pairs of keys for your guests. It can be attached as a permanent fixture to a setting of your choice. Set a unique code for your guests to gain access, and reset the code to a new combination after they check out.
Price: $30 on Amazon.
ORIA Key Storage Lockbox. The ORIA Key Storage Lockbox is made from heavy-duty steel and zinc alloy, making it resistant to hammering or sawing. The dials are four scrolling wheels that can be set to create unique codes. Store up to five keys comfortably inside the box, for your guests to access when they arrive at your rental.
Price: $17 dollars on Amazon.
Kingsley Guard-a-Key Black Realtor’s Lockbox. The Kingsey Guard-a-Key Lockbox is the ideal budget Airbnb lockbox, offering great value for money. Set a unique combination lock using the four-number wheels and store up to ten keys inside it. It is made from durable metal and a scratch-resistant vinyl casing.
With over 10,000 possible combinations to set, you can rest assured that only your guests will be able to access the keys inside.
Price: $14 on Amazon
Some popular sources for buying an Airbnb lockbox include:
You can also visit a local hardware store to browse their range of lockboxes and get a recommendation, before purchasing.
Although your Airbnb lockbox has been designed to last, things like temperature and environment can affect it. It’s best to take precautions to safeguard your lockbox so that it will work optimally.
If you live in a country that experiences extreme weather, like heavy rain or snowfall, it could damage or impact your lockbox. Don’t leave your lockbox exposed to harsh weather. Rainfall or freezing temperatures could jam the lockbox. You definitely don’t want to leave your guests in this situation, especially if it’s cold or raining.
Purchasing a cover for your Airbnb lockbox can help keep it dry, and prevent the keys from sustaining water damage or freezing. A cover can either be a slip for the keypad or an entire box that protects the device.
This is why you should be proactive and purchase a cover to go with your lockbox. You can attach the cover as you are doing the installation, which will save you the hassle of uninstalling the box later on to attach it.
If you don’t want to buy a cover, then make sure your safety box is installed in a dry area that will not receive direct rain or snow. A porch or veranda wall could work, otherwise, a sheltered garden fence is also a good option. Make sure you test the area first for weather resistance before installing your Airbnb lockbox.
A potential issue that hosts might face when using an Airbnb lockbox for self-check-in is the possibility of guests mishandling or damaging the lockbox. Though guests may not mean to mismanage the box, it could happen if they are not used to working with lock boxes.
Pressing incorrect buttons, or typing in the wrong code too many times, could cause the lockbox to jam or shut down. Another problem could be guests not properly closing or securing the box after retrieving the keys. This leaves the box unlocked and exposed to petty criminals who could steal it.
Fortunately, thinking ahead can help you avoid these issues. Leave detailed, step-by-step instructions on how to open and close the lockbox for your guests. If your Airbnb lockbox is visible from the road, avoid leaving check-in instructions with the box, as strangers could stop and read them.
Another solution is purchasing a smart lockbox that allows you to send backup codes to guests if the first one doesn’t work. A smart lockbox is also a safer option because it activates and grants access via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. It will be very difficult for a stranger to unlock it, as the unique code will only be sent to the guests checking in, and it can be reset after they leave.
There are two main places that a lockbox attaches to, which are walls and doors. It’s usually easier to install a lockbox on a door, but the downside is that it’s more visible, and it might be an easier target for pickpockets.
Installing your lockbox to a wall takes longer and may need specialized tools to get the job done. The benefit of this is that you have more options for deciding where to place it.
You should strive to be savvy when installing your lockbox. Try to pick a spot that balances “well-hidden” with “easy to find”. Your box location should be discrete, but still accessible for your guests to find.
If you put it in a location that’s difficult to spot, guests might become irritated (especially at night) and they could write a negative review. To avoid this, send your guests detailed, clear instructions for finding your Airbnb lockbox on your property.
Avoid installing your lockbox in an area that’s visible from the road. Try to place it on the side or at the back of the house. If you live on a busy street, with lots of traffic and pedestrians, there is less risk of someone trying to access the lockbox. However, you should still aim to keep it hidden from people on the street.
Here are some suggested areas to install your lockbox:
Along the side of the house — installing the box on the side of your property is the easiest way to keep it out of sight, while still keeping it accessible for your guests.
In the backyard — the backyard offers many options for safeguarding your Airbnb lockbox. You could install it on a backyard wall or fence. If you have trees or outdoor amenities, such as a pool or fire pit, you could place it near them to use as visible landmarks.
In the garden — a garden is also a great location to hide your lockbox. It’s become popular for rental owners to hide their lockboxes in props, like under a fake rock or inside a fake hosepipe. Make sure you leave clear instructions for your guests where they can find them.
Pinpoint a place that is easy to find but not directly visible. You should not install your lockbox right near the street or an access gate.
If you are subletting a property, you might need to ask a landlord for permission to mount an Airbnb lockbox on the wall or door, to avoid any complaints.
Using an Airbnb lockbox can help guests feel safer when checking into your vacation rental. It can boost your rental bookings as many guests these days prefer a self-check-in option. Offering self-check-in can also improve the guest experience. Guests will be able to schedule a check-in time that best suits them, without having to worry whether someone will be able to meet them or not.
Another way to enhance your guests’ experience is by using vacation rental software, like iGMS, to streamline all essential business tasks. With iGMS, you can run your vacation rental business on autopilot by:
Managing all your rental listings on Airbnb, Booking.com, Vrbo/HomeAway, etc., on our integrated channel manager
Automating your guest messaging, reviews, and the check-in process
Accessing all your guest messages in one unified inbox
Inviting managers and cleaners to join your team and assigning tasks to them
Managing direct bookings using automation tools
Collect payouts by connecting your Stripe account to iGMS.
It’s so easy to ensure your guests have the best possible stay at your rental using iGMS to take care of business for you!
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