What is an AirBNB smart lock?
I am sure you may remember the “old days” of vacation rentals – you made a reservation by looking through a management company’s property offerings in a magazine/pamphlet, selecting your dates and then when you finally arrived to your vacation destination, you had to stop by the management company office and pick up the keys.
I can remember having to sit in a parking lot for over an hour waiting for everyone else to get their keys as well so that you can finally make it to the beach! Or maybe you had to wait for the keys to arrive in a FedEx package before your stay and then you were responsible for overnighting them back to the owner afterward?
Luckily, those days are long gone, and checking in to property has never been easier.
So what is a smart lock? These door locks are essential to your AirBNB property as they allow your guests to seamlessly check-in and start relaxing! They also provide a completely contactless check-in so that you do not have to sit around and wait for your guests to finally show up.
Smart locks allow you to create custom door codes for your guests, contractors, cleaning team etc.. and you are able to track if they have arrived. It also gives you, as the owner, peace of mind since you can always make sure doors are locked when the property is not in use.
If you have not installed one of these locks at your property yet or have never even explored the smart lock option, this post is for you!
Things to consider when choosing a vacation rental smart lock:
One of the main keys to owning and operating a successful AirBNB is being able to systemize certain processes so that you are not wasting your valuable time worrying about minute details and that is where these locks come into play.
Believe it or not, there are quite a few lock options available in the market today and unless you are experienced in this area, it can be quite overwhelming. Below are some key things to consider when deciding which lock is the best one for your properties.
How often is my property going to be occupied and who is my main target guest market? Different locks operate differently, meaning that certain locks actually activate a deadbolt lock every time it is locked and unlocked.
For example, if you have a property where your primary market is families, this particular type of lock may not be the best choice as the batteries will not last as long. We have found from our experience that little kids love to press the buttons on these locks, so definitely something to keep in mind.
Another feature that you want to make sure your lock has, which will, in turn, make your life so much easier is the ability to access and monitor the lock remotely. We use the same lock at each of our properties and I cannot tell you how nice it is to be able to create codes and delete codes remotely.
We visit our properties quarterly now and this feature allows us to be able to create a different code for a new contractors and guests from anywhere in the world. Again, you always want to simplify your life when it comes to rental properties in any way that you can.
If you choose to go the management company route (which can most certainly make your life easier!), you will need to ask the company you hire if they have a preferred lock.
As I mentioned previously, we utilize the same lock on all 4 of our vacation rental properties and this is because of ease – once you learn a product in and out, you do not want to have to learn something new all over again. The software and apps that are tied to the locks are all integrated.
There is simply no need to have multiple different locks and multiple different programs – it is too much to keep track of. Certain locks integrate much better with different software programs, so be sure to ask when you are in the setup phase of your rental property.
One last item to consider is the internet capabilities at your rental property. Now that might seem silly in this day and age, however, we own mountain properties and in our market not all properties have the best internet service and some do not have internet at all. All smart locks need an internet connection in order for you to monitor remotely, so you need to make sure you are able to meet that requirement.
Lastly, things do happen and these smart locks, like most technology, can malfunction. One tip I have is to always have a backup option in place for your guests, so make sure you always have good old-fashioned keys available in combination lock boxes for these times, just in case (Pro tip – always have more than 1 set).
How to use an AirBNB Smart Lock?
Even though at first glance these locks seem super complex and confusing, they really are not. Once you decide which lock is best for your property, the next thing to do is switch it out.
They go right into where your normal deadbolt is located on your front door. There are no wires to hook up as they are typically powered by batteries and each lock usually will come with a manual to help guide you through the setup process.
They will tell you how to immediately program codes and how to get connected to the specific app for the lock. From there it is just trying out the lock and see what capabilities you have through the app.
Make sure to take your time and really play around with the new lock. The more you know, the better equipped you will be at addressing any guest problems or concerns.
If you can, go ahead and create codes for your property management/cleaning team and contractors/maintenance team and make sure to keep them all in an accessible place.
This also allows you to try entering the codes and making sure the lock works properly.
Top 3 AirBNB Smart Lock Recommendations
There are quite a few smart locks available today but the below three are the ones that are worth pursuing if they work for your property. Let’s dive in a little deeper.
Schlage Encode Lock
- Smart Lock with Built-in WiFi allows you to lock/unlock from anywhere - no additional accessories required. Pair with the Schlage Home app or Key by Amazon app to create and manage up to 100 access codes for trusted friends and family for recurring, temporary or permanent access
- WORKS WITH ALEXA. Check the status of your lock and lock / unlock your door. In addition, Alexa will let you know when your battery is running low or set-up smart reorders through Amazon Dash Replenishment so you always have replacement batteries when needed.
- Fingerprint-resistant, capacitive touchscreen with easy one-touch locking. Optional voice control offers hands-free convenience when using voice-enabled products
This might be the most popular lock in the AirBNB/short-term rental world. If you have just done even the most basic google search about which lock to purchase, I can guarantee that you ran across this one.
This lock is truly one of the best out there for multiple reasons. It has a built-in WiFi connection, meaning no separate external bridge is required. This makes the setup seamless since it can just automatically connect to your property’s WiFi and in my opinion, this feature is a massive plus.
The external bridges can really be difficult at times and it is yet another device that can malfunction which makes accessing your lock remotely impossible.
Another awesome feature is that the device allows up to 100 guest user codes – this helps simplify your check-in process as you are not having to constantly go in and delete codes to add a new one.
Personally, we love Schlage products as they have a great warranty and we have found that they hold up very nicely.
Overall, this is a very solid choice for your AirBNB property.
- No separate WiFi bridge required
- Integrates with several different software including Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Ring.
- Stores up to 100 guest codes
- Highest available security grade
- Fairly short battery life compared to other options.
- Availability – this lock is recommended so many times that it has a tendency to goout of stock very frequently
Google Nest x Yale Lock
The Nest x Yale Lock from Google has a very sleek and modern design and is very user friendly with regards to the install and overall setup process.
This is a great option especially for those who utilize other Nest products (thermostat etc…) as you would already have the Nest App/software downloaded.
The lock does allow for remote access if you purchase the Nest Connect Device, which enables the lock to connect to WiFi.
It holds up to 20 different passcodes for guests and other members of your team and it gives you the ability to set customizable entry parameters and revoke access at any time. Another very solid choice for your property!
- App software is user friendly
- Can be unlocked with a simple 9V battery if for some reason the battery dies
- Can set entry parameters and revoke code access at any time
- Remote access capabilities
- Needs the external Nest Connect device for WiFi capabilities
- Does not connect to any other home devices except for Nest
August Smart Lock
- YOUR LOCK ON THE OUTSIDE, A SMART LOCK ON THE INSIDE: August smart locks replace the thumbturn on the inside of your door, making your regular deadbolt smarter, more secure and way more convenient. Keep the outside of your door the same, and your keys just in case (but you won’t need them).
- GET IN AND OUT WITH THE AUGUST APP: No pockets? No problem. Lock and unlock your door with the August app on your phone or Apple Watch, and leave your house keys behind.
- AUTO-LOCKS AND UNLOCKS: Auto-Unlocks as you get home for totally hands-free unlocking -- great for when your arms are carrying kids or groceries. With Auto-Lock and DoorSense, your home automatically secures once your door is closed, or after a set amount of time (optional feature).
The last lock we are going to dive into is the August Smart Lock. This lock is unique in the sense that it can be connected to your AirBNB account and once a guest reservation is confirmed, the guest automatically receives instructions on how to access your property.
It generates a unique key code for every new guest that is only valid for the duration of their stay, which is a huge plus to this lock. It takes out the guesswork of having to remember to create codes, as well as having to remember how many you already have stored.
This company does offer additional locks as well for cabinets or owners closets and they even have a safe option for your guests to use. This helps keep everything more streamlined, if that is something your property could benefit from.
- Can be connected to your AirBNB account
- Generates new unique codes for every guest and automatically sends them upon aconfirmed reservation.
- Fairly user friendly
- A more bulky design – does not look as sleek and modern as other options in themarket.
- Requires a bridge device to enable WiFi
Overall, all three options above are very good, and personally, I don’t think you can go wrong with any of them.
It really will just come down to personal preference as so many choices related to AirBNB properties do. One thing is certain though, a smart lock is absolutely key for maintaining that 5 star rating for your check-in procedures, so do not skip out on purchasing one for your property early on!