If you have a rental apartment or house that you list on Airbnb or a similar service, then no doubt at some times you will have considered the possibility of using a keyless entry system to allow your guests to check themselves in. But is this really a good idea? Hosts differ in their opinions and there’s no right or wrong.
But here are some points to consider:
ADVANTAGES OF A KEYLESS ENTRY SYSTEM
- Your guests can arrive at any time. And you don’t have to be there to meet them in person. This can be a huge advantage if you often get enquiries from potential guests who will need to check in late in the evening or even the early hours of the morning
- If your guests aren’t solo travellers and there are more people in their party, then each guest can go out on their own and simply enter the code into the keypad when they want access. This means that you’ll not have to supply an abundance of keys and you won’t have to have more cut when they get lost
- Each group of guests get their own code number. This means that once they have left your premises after checkout you can remove their code and they will no longer be able to get into your apartment or suite. I use the last four digits of the guests’ phone number*
- If you’ve ever worried that your guests might have copies made of your keys so that they can return later, then this opportunity no longer exists. Some hosts are put off accepting local people as they don’t want to take the chance of people in the area copying the keys to gain entry at a later date
- Most keyless entry systems will allow you to program in several different codes. I suggest a master code that only you know, one for your regular cleaner if you have one and that you program a new code in for each group of guests. (Reset the cleaner’s code every now and again). Then, if you have electricians, plumbers etc. you can program codes for them too. I’d suggest that you change the code each time and not use their phone numbers. Another advantage, of course, is that you don’t have to be there when workmen arrive
- Remember that you can also use keyless entry systems on locked cupboards or rooms in your rental. This gives them a deeper level of security
- A keyless entry which uses the last four digits of the guest’s phone number gives then the security than no-one else has any access to the rental during their stay*
A FEW NEGATIVES ABOUT KEYLESS ENTRY SYSTEMS
- The main problem that I have with keyless entry systems is that I like to personally say goodbye to guests when they leave. But because they have no key to return, they can leave at any time without seeing me. The reason I like to see departing guests is to ensure that they had a good time and wish them well on their travels. They say that first impressions count but so do last impressions
- The systems are run by battery yet I’ve had one fail, despite the battery being new. This was no problem because it was mid afternoon and I was on the premises so could reset the code. However, if this had happened late at night then this could have been a problem for both me and the guests
- Although it’s relatively quick to do, removing the departing guests’ code and adding a new one for the next guests does take a little time. This can be a problem if you regularly have back-to-back reservations
- I would advise against keyless entry systems that are operated using a cellphone. Although these are convenient for the host – because they can be programmed remotely – often guests find them difficult to use. Many guests, even in this day and age, do not have smartphones or they have used all the power in their phones by the time they arrive by using GPS or using their phone as entertainment during their journey
You will see that the pros outweigh the cons of using a keyless entry product. On balance, I find that they are a great advantage for the host and for the guest as they can circumvent many problems. I use Kwikset products and have been very happy with them – see a selection below.
* The reason I use the guests’ phone number is because I know that it will be a number they can remember. But if I’m not doing that (for workmen, cleaners etc.) then I use an online random number generator to generate a two digit number between 10 and 99. This gives a result such as 21, 45 and so on. In these cases, the code will be 2121 and 4545. Again, these are easy for people to remember but still random enough so that people who are not entitled to enter will not be able to guess the current code.