There is an ever-increasing number of people who put their homes up for short-term rental hosting on platforms such as Airbnb. In fact, according to AirDNA, the number of active Airbnb listings in Sydney in 2016 was double the number of active listings in 2015 (Airdna rental data), often facilitated by short-term property managers such as MadeComfy. In doing this, one of the most common concerns we hear from prospective hosts is about security.
There are two main concerns when it comes to managing access to a short-term rental property:
- The need to handle physical key exchange between guests
- How you manage the number of people who can access your property
If you keep a spare key to your house under a pot plant near the front door or in a lockbox with a code to access it, that's fine if no one knows about it. However, if you keep the keys to your short-term rental property in a lockbox, each time you have guests in the property, more people become aware of the code to access the box. Either you have to change the code all the time, or you have to accept that more and more people know how to access the property.
Or do you?
What is a smart lock?
It seems like technology is getting into everything these days. Even locks are smart now! But what exactly is a smart lock? Essentially a smart lock is a lock that is operated without the use of a key (hence also known as a keyless lock). It can be accessed either by a code, or in some cases even by Bluetooth! There are several gadgets out there on the market at varying price points depending on their sophistication, with the cheapest usually starting at around $180.
The cheaper ones generally include just a keyless fob feature built into a traditional lock, so you have an alternative to carrying a key. With some of the more sophisticated ones, there are additional features such as being able to remotely change access codes and see access logs in an app on your phone.
Smart locks in short-term rental properties
There are several benefits to installing a smart lock in your short-term rental property, the most immediate of which is the improved security. By their very nature, short-term rental properties have more people through them than someone's own home or a property rented to long-term tenants. As we said earlier, with traditional keys and lockboxes with codes, this means that over time more and more people become aware of the code to access the property. However, smart locks allow the code to be changed much more easily, usually from an app on your phone. You can change the code and set for how long that particular code will be valid. If you have a 3-day booking followed by a 4-day booking, you can set it so the codes change automatically between bookings. This means that you have total control over who can access your property and for how long.
A smart lock that includes access logs in the app that synchronises with your phone is a worthwhile investment because it allows you to see a full list of who has come and gone from the property and when. This extra information is great for that bit of extra peace of mind - it's just good to be able to keep tabs on things and make sure nothing unexpected is happening.
No more key exchange
One of the most time-consuming elements of managing a short-term rental property, especially one that receives a larger volume of bookings, is coordinating the exchange of keys between guests. You, or someone you asked nicely to help, or a contracted property manager such as MadeComfy would have to meet the guest upon checkout to collect the key and then meet the next guests to give it to them. This issue is somewhat mitigated by lockboxes, but all sorts of problems can arise if a guest loses the key, or locks it inside when they head out for the day.
Smart locks do not require keys at all, so this problem is consigned to the pages of history.
The icing on the cake
The Igloohome Deadbolt has a feature (for a small additional monthly cost) where it synchronises with Airbnb listing calendars. This means that the system can access your calendar to see when bookings have been made. An hour before their scheduled check-in time, the system automatically generates a code to open the lock and emails it to the guest. The code then expires automatically at the guest's check-out time. This means that managing access to your property can more or less take care of itself.
MadeComfy provides Airbnb management in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Which means property owners don’t need to do a thing when they hand over their keys. MadeComfy makes the process of earning greater returns from short-term renting effortless, achieving up to 40% more than long-term rentals and self-managed Airbnb listings. Get in touch with us today to see how we can help!
Now you know how we think of safety, you might want to know more about hosting your property with us. MadeComfy got you covered. Learn more on our home rental management services!