I’ve talked to many guests over the years and I’ve learned that the check-in process is the part of their travel that causes the most stress when using Airbnb. And for good reason! Traveling can be very hectic and arriving at an unknown place can bring about many unfortunate and stressful experiences.
Many hosts like to greet their guests in person (which is great for home sharing) but that can be impossible if you have multiple properties or if you operate remotely. So how do hosts manage guest entry? The best way is to use electronic locks that can be operated with a mobile app. This is hands-down the best way for you to give access to your guests and a great choice even if you’re doing home sharing.
Having an e-lock is truly the best way to go… Here are the reasons why:
1. It’s convenient and flexible for your guests, they can check in whenever they want.
“I hate having to coordinate with the host when I’ll be checking in. Plans change and it’s difficult to have an accurate arrival time. I don’t want the host to sit around waiting on me.”
This is what I heard over and over when I interviewed guests. I know exactly what they mean because I’ve experienced the same thing as a guest. Guests don’t want to feel pressured or have to rush to get to your place to meet you in person.
What if their flight gets delayed? Or they are driving and they get stuck in traffic? Or they stop somewhere to get food? Traveling is stressful enough. Please don’t add any more stress to your guests by making them meet you in person to get a key.
The check-in process is crucial for a great guest experience so make it as easy as possible by offering an electronic lock.
2. You have control and visibility into what time your guests check in (perfect for preventing early check-ins)
One of my favorite features of e-locks is that you’re able to set the start and stop time of when the code works. For example, with the locks I use (Lockstate 5i), I’m able to set the code so that it only works during the reservation time and deletes at checkout time.
One common complaint from hosts is that guests ignore the check-in times and arrive early. With an e-lock, guests might arrive early, but they won’t be able to get into property until their check-in time. It’s also reassuring to know that none of your previous guests can wander back into the property after their reservation.
3. You can access the door lock remotely with the mobile app at anytime
The beauty of e-locks is that you can do just about everything from an app. You can reset codes, create new codes, alter codes, and even open the door for someone with the app. You can be anywhere you have internet access and operate the lock.
4. Flexibility and freedom for you; you don’t have to be home to let your guests in
When I used to host guests in my personal home (home-sharing), I had a new guest checking in a few times per week because I was hosting in two bedrooms. I also had a full time job in an office away from my home. There was no way I would have been able to greet every single guest, let alone let them into my home at random times. It wasn’t long before I installed the e-lock and it was a game changer! I was able to go on about my day (or go out of town) without having to worry about coordinating check-in times with my guests.
5. E-Locks are easy to install and they work like any other deadbolt
Even if you don’t consider yourself a handy person, e-locks are easy to install. I’ve only had setup issues once or twice—once the lock was installed—and was able to get the issue resolved with customer support. I’ve installed these myself and I’m not much of a handy person.
6. Prevents your guests from getting locked out (as long as you use a passage knob)
In my courses I always teach my students to use a passage knob with a deadbolt on entry doors. A passage knob is a knob that doesn’t have a lock on it (like the knobs used in closet doors). This prevents guests from accidentally locking themselves out.
7. Guests don’t have to carry around a key that can potentially get lost
I started out hosting on Airbnb with a standard lock and put copies of keys in a lockbox. One day I realized that if a guest lost a key and I couldn’t help my guests while I was at work, that I’d be in really big trouble! Can you imagine losing the key to the place you’re staying at and your host not answering the phone? That would be a terrible experience for any guest.
Having one less thing for your guests to carry makes for a better guest experience. Guests don’t have to safeguard a key and have it at the ready every time they get to your place. You also won’t need to provide a key for each guest in the reservation. Keys are easy to lose and it can cause a big headache for you if a guest loses the key.
8. Increased security because no one can make copies of your keys
Another benefit of having an e-lock is that since you’re not using physical keys, no one can make copies of your keys. Once someone has your physical key, you don’t have any control over who gets a copy. With an e-lock, you can set it up so that someone’s code “self-destructs” after check-out time. This is great because you’ll know that when someone checks out, they can’t wander back inside.
My favorite e-locks
I have two favorite electronic locks that I recommend to all of my students.
I use this e-lock in all of my properties. This WiFi enabled door lock allows you to lock or unlock doors remotely, it let’s you know when guests have unlocked your door, and you can even receive text alerts when codes are used. You’re able to issue new codes or delete codes from your computer or phone. It even gives temporary codes to guests or contractors.
Visit: https://theairbnbcourse.com/lockstate-5i to select your preferred wi-fi enabled e-lock and use promo code bnbpays25 to get $25 off your order.
The Kwikset 909 is the lock that I recommend if you’re on a budget. This is NOT a smart lock, meaning it doesn’t connect to wi-fi and you can’t access the codes from an app. Despite this, I love this lock!
This is the lock I was using in my home when I was doing home-sharing. You can set-up several codes at once and it’s really easy to install. The buttons are easy to push and the back-lit keypad provides increased visibility.
On a final note, if you’re on the fence of which e-lock to get… Comment below and I’d be happy to give you my recommendation. If you haven’t decided to make the switch yet, I strongly encourage you to use an e-lock. This is hands down the best check-in experience for your guests.