How to Set Up an Airbnb Lockbox the Right Way

How to Set Up an Airbnb Lockbox the Right Way

airbnb lockbox

Do you host remotely? Do you struggle with arranging in-person check-ins with your busy schedule?

What do you do if a guest arrives and you can’t be there?

It might be fine asking a friend or neighbor to help out, but this isn’t a viable long-term strategy.

If they’re also busy, what are you going to do?

To avoid relying on others, some hosts have turned to hiding their keys. This includes placing keys under doormats, in plants, or even in fake sprinklers. While these methods can work, they’re risky. It’s never a good idea to leave your keys out unprotected, even if they’re hidden.

If your keys are poorly hidden, strangers could find them and enter your home. But, if your keys are too well hidden, guests may have trouble finding them. That’ll lead to a bad review.

A lockbox gives guests a seamless and secure check-in experience. It also automates the check-in process, making your job as a host easier.

In this article, we’ll be covering the basics of Airbnb self-check-in and how to use lockboxes the right way.

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 What is an Airbnb Lockbox?

An Airbnb lockbox gives hosts a secure way to handle the key exchange. Hosts can lock their keys in these storage devices to prevent unintended access. When guests arrive, they can input the code to unlock the container and access the key.

Types of Airbnb Lockboxes

Dial Locks

You open a dial lock by spinning a dial wheel. These are similar to the locks you might see in a gym locker room or high school.

Wheel Locks

You open a wheel lock by turning several scrolling wheels. There are usually four wheels, but the number of wheels can vary by lock.

Push-Button Locks

You open a push-button lock by punching in a code. These are generally the easiest and most convenient to open.

Electronic and Smart Locks

Like push-button locks, smart locks are opened by entering a code. The main benefit of a smart lock is that it removes the need for a key. Smart locks are installed on a door. They allow hosts to manage the locks remotely. This means being able to create, delete, and manage lock codes from a phone or computer.

Smart locks like RemoteLock (get $25 off with code GP25) allow hosts to see every time their door is unlocked and what code was used. They’ll know exactly when a guest or cleaner enters the property. This means hosts will be able to keep track of all entries into their home.

Related Post: RemoteLock Review: Manage Access to Your Property Remotely

Benefits of Lockboxes for Key Exchange

Protect Your Keys

With lockboxes, hosts can protect their keys without having to hide them and hope that everything goes fine. This means no more worrying about strangers finding your key or looking for a good hiding spot.

Save Time and Energy

Hosts can meet their guests in person to check them in and show them around the property. But, this can be very time-consuming.

First, there’s the effort that goes into coordinating a guest’s arrival. What if there’s unexpected traffic or plane delays? A 10 AM check-in time might turn into a 3 PM check-in time. That’s 5 hours wasted.

Then, there’s the question of how much time you should spend with guests. Should you give them a full house tour and get to know them? Or should you hand them the keys and walk off? Guest expectations can vary a lot when it comes to in-person check-ins.

Some guests may feel exhausted from traveling and give you a worse review if you spend time showing them around the property. Other guests may feel insulted if you give them the key and don’t show them around.

You can avoid all this by investing in a lockbox. Guests will know exactly what to expect when it comes to checking in. There’s no confusion about what you should be doing.

Appeal to Guests

After traveling for hours, some guests may feel exhausted and want to go to their Airbnb and sleep. Having to spend time searching for a key or dealing with a chatty host can be a terrible experience.

An Airbnb lockbox also gives guests more flexibility and freedom. If a guest comes in on a late flight, they won’t have to worry about bothering you and making sure you’re there to check them in. They’ll be able to arrive whenever they want (assuming it’s not too early and the place is clean).

There are also guests who prefer the privacy of self check-ins. They may feel self-conscious after a long flight. Some guests may want to explore the property themselves. It can be fun to walk around without having a host point out everything to them.

And, if guests forget something when they check-out? They can re-enter the property to get their belongings. That means no more bad reviews from guests who forgot something and blamed you for it.

Get Work Collection Status

Looking to get Airbnb’s Business Travel Ready Badge?

Being business traveler-friendly means more bookings. Your listing will show up when guests say they’re traveling for work. Business travelers are great because they’re low-risk and willing to pay more.

To get featured in Airbnb's work collection, you need self check-ins. There are also other requirements such as having fast internet and an ironing board. In any case, that's another reason to get an Airbnb lockbox.

Related Post: RemoteLock Review: Manage Access to Your Property Remotely

Concerns around Self Check-ins

Host Safety

Some hosts may be hesitant to have self check-ins because they want to meet the guests in-person. This is their way of vetting the guests and making sure the guests are who they say they are. There are other ways to screen guests beforehand.

Hosts with a screening process can filter out bad guests right away. You can also install noise sensors and security cameras. Just remember to mention those in your listing.

Home Security

It’s good practice changing the lockbox combination after every guest. This ensures that the only people entering your home are the ones who are supposed to be. But, a traditional Airbnb lockbox requires hosts to change the combination in-person. This can be a hassle and not always possible, especially if you’re a remote host.

Smart locks allow hosts to change lock combinations from a phone or computer. This means maximum security with minimal hassle.

Key Protection

Sometimes, guests may forget to put the key back in the Airbnb lockbox or lock it. There’s also the possibility of lockpickers breaking into your Airbnb lockbox. While both are rare, you want to make sure you’re prepared for these possibilities.

You can protect yourself by requiring guests to take a photo of the locked lockbox before they leave. You can also be smart about your lockbox placement to reduce the risk of lock picking.

If you’d like to avoid these issues altogether, it may be worth getting a smart lock. A smart lock provides keyless entry and can be set to lock automatically after a certain period of time.

Where to Put Lockboxes

When it comes to installing an Airbnb lockbox, location matters.

Leave it somewhere obvious, and you might be opening yourself up to lockpickers.

Leave it somewhere too well hidden, and your guests might never find it.

Here are some tips for Airbnb lockbox placement.

For Private Residences

Your lockbox shouldn’t be visible from the main road. This means placing your lockbox on the side of your home or in your garden. While some hosts hide their lockboxes under fake rocks, this is generally unnecessary.

Lock picking is less of an issue for hosts who live in areas with high car or foot traffic. It takes a lot of effort to break into a lockbox, and lockpickers are somewhat easy to spot.

But, this doesn’t mean that you can leave your lockbox out in the open, even if you live on a busy street. You should still be smart about lockbox placement.

For Apartments

First and foremost, you want to check with your landlord if you can Airbnb your apartment. Once you have approval to do so, you can chat about their policies around lockboxes.

In general, you shouldn’t leave your lockbox somewhere easily accessible from the street. You should install it beyond the first gate or door.

How to Install Lockboxes

There are generally two places to install lockboxes: a wall or a door. 

Lockboxes attached to a wall take more effort and require special equipment. But, they are more secure than lockboxes attached to a door.

Most door lockboxes loop around the door handle. This makes installing it super easy, but it has one big downside. The metal loop can be broken with construction tools.

Communicating with Guests about the Airbnb lockbox

If you use a lockbox, you’re going to have to be able to give guests specific instructions on how to find and open it.

This means detailing the exact path a guest should take from the front door of the property to the lockbox. While not necessary, including a few pictures of the lockbox can be helpful. You can do this using a digital welcome book that guests download beforehand, for example.

To check if your instructions are clear, give them to a friend who has no idea where the lockbox is. They should be able to find it easily, especially if they’ve never been to your home before.

Fortunately, Airbnb handles this entire process for you. You don’t have to worry about forgetting to tell guests how to enter your property.

Airbnb will ask for these details when you add self-check-in to your listing. It will send them to guests three days before they arrive.

But, you should still communicate with your guests on the day of their arrival. You can send a message that includes the lockbox code and welcomes them to the property. This opens up a channel for communications and tells guests you’re there to help if anything comes up.

Adding Self Check-in to Your Listing

You have to add self-check-in to your listing before your property will show up under that filter.

To add self-check-in, go to Your Listings on Airbnb and select your listing. Look for Guest Resources and click Edit. Then, click Add Self Check-in below Directions. Select the ways guests can enter your property. Do you have a smart lock, a lockbox, or a keypad? Finally, follow the instructions to add check-in instructions.

How to Prepare for Accidents

Mistakes can happen, but there are ways to deal with potential accidents beforehand.

Weather-Related Issues

During extreme weather conditions, lockboxes can malfunction and refuse to open. This can be prevented by purchasing a cover for your lockbox

Lost or Misplaced Keys

Guests may forget to return the keys or lose them. This can be very stressful if you have new guests coming soon.

You should message your guests on check-out day and remind them to return the key to the lockbox and lock it. It may also be smart to leave an emergency key with a neighbor or to install a backup lockbox. This ensures new guests can still enter your property while you work on recovering the lost key.

Low Battery

Depending on its type, a smart lock can last anywhere from 1 – 20 months. A smart lock that connects to WiFi has a shorter battery life than a smart lock that connects to Bluetooth.

Here’s a table of the most common Airbnb smart locks:

Connection Type

Average Battery Life

Average Price

WiFi

1-3 months

$200 – $300

Bluetooth

12-20 months

$200 – $300

Z-Wave

12-18 months

$250 – $350

You should be aware of what kind of smart lock you own and check the battery life accordingly.

Conclusion

Using a lockbox can save you time while giving your guests extreme flexibility. This is key in having a seamless check-in process. While you could hide your keys or hire someone, these methods can be risky or expensive. Lockboxes provide a cheaper and more convenient way to handle the key exchange.

Tools are what transformed my side-hustle to a 6-figure business. I wrote a list of my favorite ones (with discounts)

Get the list of tools!

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