Airbnb Self Check-In Using Buzzers & More

  • April 6, 2015

When Your Guests Arrive, And You Can’t Be There (cont.)

Airbnb Self Check-In Using Buzzers

For hosts with apartments, beyond basic keys there’s the additional problem of figuring out how to buzz your guests into the building. If you aren’t around, it might seem easy enough to have a friend or a neighbor manage the intercom and buzz your guests in when they arrive. But this solution comes full of what-ifs, and if your guests are late or early, they can be left stranded in front of your building.

The Smartphone Intercom & Buzzer

The alternative is to connect the intercom to your smartphone so that when someone buzzes your door, you can answer and let them in remotely. The most popular of these “smart intercom” services is Ringo, which works similar to a Smart Lock, letting you manage your buzzer remotely, and open the door of your building from anywhere via mobile. Also like a Smart Lock, smart buzzers let you create and manage different access codes for your guests to punch into the intercom so that you can have a distinct code for cleaners, friends, and family, giving you control over who buzzes into your front door or building.

Is it For You?

Any intercom that can connect to a landline can host a service like Ringo. Of course, for most buildings the easiest way to buzz guests in the door when you aren’t there is to simply give them the code for your buzzer. Using a service like Ringo is an extra luxury, letting you manage incoming guests while also keeping private the personal access code for your intercom.

We Can Manage Your Buzzer

Guesty’s system has a feature that allows us to handle buzzers for you. When your guest presses the buzzer, our phone rings, allowing us to grant entry for you. If your apartment’s buzzer is already connected to your phone line, you can choose to transfer that trigger number to our system.


If you don’t want to invest too much time and effort into keeping track of your buzzer, you can also just give your guests the key to the front door of the building. Of course, that means now having to deliver two keys, but all the same options still apply:

  • Attaching a lockbox next to your intercom outside of the building
  • Leaving the key at a coffee shop
  • Leaving the front door key with a friend/neighbor, etc.

If All Else Fails

Your guests can always just wait for another building resident coming in or out to open the front door. It’s an easy solution and works nearly every time.

But there are a couple downsides to keep in mind:

  1. It’s an unpredictable strategy. Your guest could be kept waiting seconds or hours. If your guests are pressed for time, they might find waiting at the front door annoying and think of you as a disorganized host.
  2. The neighbors that let your guests into the building might ask them why they’re there. If you’re uncomfortable with other people knowing about your personal business, this could be a problem. Who knows, maybe a nosy neighbor might talk to your Airbnb guests and think of listing one of his rooms on Airbnb as well, meaning more competition for you!

If that worries you, maybe think about giving your guests something semi-scripted to say if a neighbor asks why they’re there.  Have your guests tell them they are old friends visiting, distant cousins, co-workers, whatever you’d like that’s vague and easy.  Just make sure you let your guests know that the white lie is purely for privacy’s sake and not for some ulterior motive.

Here’s an example of what to tell your guest:

“I don’t know if you’ve heard, but Airbnb has recently gotten some bad publicity and is in regulatory limbo.  Because of that, if one of my neighbors asks you for your identity I was hoping you would be comfortable with telling them that you are my friend.”

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