Over the last few years, smart-home technology has seen a significant spike in popularity. The tech is more affordable and easier to install, and, now that it’s been on the market for a time, more hesitant adopters are ready to go all in.
Still, though smart-home technology remains optional for the average homeowner, many who rent properties on popular home-sharing sites like AirBnB are finding that smart locks are security must-haves.
The Key Exchange Challenge
One of the biggest challenges that major AirBnB hosts face when trying to get guests checked in is the simple fact that they can’t always be present. This can pose a problem, either because the host is renting the property while he or she is out of town or because the owner doesn’t actually live in the same neighborhood as all of the rentals.
In some cases, the host may also want to enable self check-in for visitors who arrive at an unusual time, such as very late at night or early in the morning – but how do you get a key to those guests? Homeowners have tackled the key exchange challenge in many different ways.
In cities, it’s not uncommon simply to leave the keys with a trusted nearby bodega or 24-hour shop for pickup. This sounds like a workable solution, but as it turns out, it’s not been a very good one, no matter how safe the drop site appears.
As was recently reported in Bloomberg, AirBnB guests have been assaulted after unintended users made copies of the keys and broke into the property where they were staying. When keys are left in a public place, even with people the host trusts, terrible things can still happen, and that’s hazardous for guests and owners alike – but it’s one that smart locks can prevent.
Add-Ons and Alternatives
You don’t have to install a smart lock on your short-term rental in order for it to be safe, but this technology is a particularly convenient tool for guaranteeing security. Another option for high-turnover rentals, though, is to hire a property manager to perform key handoffs.
Though many people assume that such professionals only handle long-term rentals, they can actually be even more beneficial for AirBnBs and similar short leases, in which a lot of people who are unfamiliar with the area come in and out.
Of course, even if you hire a property management company, most managers are not on the premises (and awake) 24/7. That means that even the professionals are likely to desire smart locks in place in order to facilitate late-night arrivals, and they may even insist on them in order to minimize liability for all parties.
In addition, since they’re responsible for secure exit and entry, a property manager will typically reprogram the locks for you after each guest and communicate the new entry information to the new booking.
A Move Toward Partnership
One issue that AirBnB has encountered when it comes to encouraging the use of smart locks is that this is all they can do: encourage it. They can’t require hosts to use them because a private home is still involved.
Thus, the company is taking steps to drive these upgrades by partnering with technology companies. Many regulations govern which technology AirBnB hosts can use on their properties, particularly in terms of surveillance, but many other standard smart-home features like those used for entertainment and ambiance are treated as popular amenities.
So in conclusion, do you need to install a smart lock on your short-term rental? It may not be absolutely necessary, but it’s certainly a good idea, especially if you’ll be hosting a lot and even more so if you won’t be on the premises.
Although there is no such thing as a perfect security solution, it’s better to move toward stronger security than weaker, and a smart lock provides just that.