Why In-Person Airbnb Key Handoffs Are So Last Season

June 15, 2015 |

Phone? Check. Wallet? Check. Keys? Not necessary. Like many other property standards, the traditional in-person key exchange between host and guest is now being pushed aside by its more efficient and convenient counterparts of the new, home sharing economy. Each development to the ole’ key handoff technique is more than just a pretty face, it’s an important step towards the direction of new and improved ways for Airbnb hosts to conduct business. Destination: hands-off handoffs.

Luckily, unlocking the new world of efficient and convenient key exchanges is as simple as it is appealing. This is a world full of easily accessible alternatives, ranging from futuristic electronic and smart locks, to more simplistic models of key safes and lockboxes. When it comes to hands-off handoffs, opportunities are endless and practicality is guaranteed for both Airbnb hosts and guests alike. I said “luckily”, didn’t I?

What does it all mean? It means remote key handoffs for hosts, it means self-check-ins for guests, and most importantly, it means that it’s time for you to abandon your default in-person key exchange plan. While traditional in-person key exchanges are always a possible route for Airbnb hosts, they have proven to be comparatively inefficient, expensive, and now, unnecessary.

Keep in mind, this new leaf of key exchanges is not simply an alternative, it’s an improvement. It has seamlessly integrated into many, many individuals’ home sharing strategies because it has proven to be a step-up from strategies of old. And we seamlessly integrate with remote key handoffs as well, making this new convenient approach even more convenient. But two degrees of convenience for you isn’t yet satisfying enough for us, so we added the guide below to help you weigh your key options without searching far and wide.

Why You Should Get Your Hands On Remote Key Handoffs

1. Check-In Can Literally Be As Easy As 1-2-3

Yes, I talked the talk of hands-off handoffs marking a huge jump in hosting efficiency, but now it’s time to walk you through it. Here goes nothing…

Often times Airbnb hosts strategize the key exchange in advance – maybe there’s a certain composure with which they aim to maintain, or a certain spiel to give their guests, and, in most cases, a grand tour of the place. This requires energy and time.

And speaking of time… meeting a guest upon arrival is generally a very time-consuming process. Of course, there are those few guests who are the exceptions to the rule – they’ll show up at your doorstep within 30-seconds of their provided ETA’s. But I’m sure that most Airbnb hosts can agree that this is not the norm. Instead, hosts are more likely to experience the guest caught in unexpected traffic and the like. So what does that mean for you, the host waiting hours to spend 15 minutes handing over a key? It means you’re wasting your or someone else’s time, unnecessarily so.

Leave your key for your guests and let them check-in themselves. They’ll be happy to be liberated from a strict travel deadline. You’ll be happy to be liberated from waiting. It’s a win-win, and it’s easy to achieve. There are so many types of lockboxes, keypad locks, and key safes out there, just waiting to be securely attached near your front door or installed on your wall. This is the tried and true route to self-check-ins, used for years by experienced realtors, repairmen, dog walkers, what have you. In this scenario, your only responsibility in the whole key swap ordeal would be to communicate the code to your guests prior to arrival. And you won’t even have to do that much if you opt to have us help you out.

Your guests arrive whenever, you relax wherever, and the entire process that used to take a huge chunk out of your day just… vanishes. Seems like a disappearing act worth experiencing, am I right?

2. The Future is Here Now, and So is Your Guest

The awesomeness of hands-off key handoffs doesn’t end there (and neither do the bonus points awarded for efficiency). For one, remote key exchanges allow guests to “do their thing”. This is especially true for those “Entire home/apt” Airbnb listings: guests who book a private or shared room may be expecting some degree of Airbnb social interaction, but those who book the full property are more likely to not only expect but also prefer privacy. If they appreciate the beauty of this private experience, they’ll certainly appreciate the beauty of a state-of-the-art private experience. That brings me to advanced lock technologies. These are not only pretty, they’re easy. So, so easy.

Take electronic and smart locks, for instance. These advanced systems are some extremely practical upgrades to the traditional keys-and-locks, for both convenience and security reasons. On the convenience side of things, there’s no question of misplacing keys or other key emergencies. On the security side, most advanced lock systems allow you to create unique entry codes for guests (or even cleaning services and the like) that can be changed and deleted at any time.

But wait, there’s more! Many of these progressive entry systems also notify the host every time their door is unlocked. How’s that for home security in the big world of home sharing? You’ll save the time you would have otherwise spent waiting for your guests as well as the time you would have otherwise spent worrying that everything is running smoothly. And time is money, so you save that too.

But hey, don’t just take my word for it – Nathan Blecharczyk the co-founder of Airbnb uses an electronic lock himself (Kwikset, to be exact).


3. Hands-off Key Handoffs are the New Black

Nathan Blecharczyk brings me to my next item – hands-off key handoffs are hip and they’re cool. Get with the times, grandpa.

Can We Get Some Help Over Here?

Feeling a little uneasy that this hands-off key handoff is a little too impersonal? We get it – you’re a host who prefers to have your guests welcomed by a meet & greet upon arrival in order to give them an authentic and personable first impression. Don’t worry – all hope for the carefree, remote key exchange is not lost for you. We agree that first interaction can be extremely valuable to the guests’ overall Airbnb experiences. That’s why we not only help schedule third-party key storage facilities, key delivery services, and key concierges to meet your guests at the door, but we also coordinate with them every step of the way.

Yes, there are third-party services and other outside options that give hosts like you more freedom and convenient key exchange possibilities, wherever you may be (in re: “Hosting while Vacationing”). Allow me to make the introduction…

1. Go Where Everybody Knows Your Name

Airbnb hosts, meet your local shopkeepers (or baristas or businessmen). It’s always good to have friends, and these friends can also be huge assets to your hosting career. Nearby cafes and stores by day, key exchange hubs by night.

If you want to go down the path of remote key swaps but fear that good hospitality may get lost along the way, this is an excellent option for you. Find a neighborhood personality who you would be comfortable having as the welcome wagon for your guests. Make sure it’s someone whose shop is open late (preferably 24/7) and someone that you like. Make sure the welcome is warm by arranging for the worker to offer a complimentary coffee or snack to your guest upon arrival… followed by a complimentary key exchange between the two. Easy, efficient, and hospitable. Job well done.

2. Store-to-Door Service

Airbnb Key Handoffs

Hike up the professionalism behind your [removed] hospitality by hiring a service whose job it is to play the role of key hand-er off-er. Meet Keycafe andCity Co-Pilot.

Each service offers its own little something, so you can choose whatever it is that you’re into as a host. Keycafe teams up with local coffee shops to arrange the exchange, City Co-Pilot is more of a front-desk service kind of situation, and Proprly delivers. What they have in common is that they’re all incredibly affordable and reliable, and they’ll be waiting for your guests so you never have to.

Though you can’t rely on these amazing secondary Airbnb businesses to be in any and every location, they are growing quite quickly (Keycafe just launched in London!). But have no fear, Guesty is here. We can manage Airbnbs in any and every location, and we can coordinate with any third-party key exchange service nearby – whether professional or not.

3. Phone a Friend

That brings me to the final introduction: people you already know. This is a good money-saving alternative (in case secondary Airbnb services are out of budget) and a good authenticity-saving alternative, as well. Friends and neighbors know you and they know your property. You can offer them a quick buck or two to welcome your Airbnb guests, show them around the property, and give them advice about what to do around the neighborhood (and most likely, they’ll offer to do it for free). We can even tell them what you like in a guest greeting and any expectations, to help make sure it runs as smoothly as it would if you had been waiting at the front door for an hour.

A Few Words To Close The Door On This Issue…

This is a whole new world of easy hosting… it’s the world of remote key handoffs. It saves Airbnb hosts time, money, and hassle. It takes pressure off Airbnb guests for maintaining strict travel time expectations. It gives guests more privacy without taking away from host accessibility. This world paves the way for efficient and convenient self-check-insand hosting with ease. Now, make like the traditional exchange approach and upgrade.

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