Airbnb Lockbox: Should You Get One for Your Vacation Rental?

airbnb lockbox

By The Hospitable Team

A smooth and hassle-free check-in process is an essential part of providing a great guest experience, even if you can’t be physically present at your STR  property to greet your Airbnb guests. So, if you don’t want to travel onsite whenever you rent out your beach house or a ski rental to hand over your keys to guests, an Airbnb lockbox can be a good solution.

A lockbox is an affordable and secure way to facilitate self-check-ins and give your guests the keys to access your property. Learn more about the benefits of using a lockbox for storing keys securely outside your home and ensuring an utterly contactless check-in experience for your guests.

Airbnb Lockbox: What Is It and What Are the Advantages?

An Airbnb lockbox is a small, secure container to store keys to a vacation rental property. You can install it on the doorknob or the wall; just put the keys in there and choose a code for the upcoming guests so they can let themselves in upon arrival.

Then you don’t have to meet them in person and handle over the keys. Installing a lockbox for managing property access remotely saves time for hosts and gives guests greater flexibility with check-in time, especially in case of travel delays. Guests can check in and check out at the time that suits them most without you being there.

Remember that you need to choose a spot for installing your lockbox that's easy to find and reach, and you should always change the code between bookings.

Numerous surveys reveal that the majority of travelers who use Airbnb prefer self-check-ins. With a lockbox, you can offer your guests this option, making your Airbnb listing more appealing to travelers who often filter search results by this feature. That means that using an Airbnb lockbox can potentially help you get more bookings and become a successful host.

You’ll be able to build a thriving business on Airbnb faster if you also use vacation rental software like Hospitable to streamline all essential business tasks. With Hospitable, you can manage all your listings on major OTA platforms from a single dashboard, automate guest communication, assign tasks to your team, and much more.

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If you manage several vacation rental properties, installing an Airbnb lockbox to offer your guests self-check-in lets you juggle the hosting responsibilities much more easily. You don’t need to plan your schedule around guests arriving at particular hours or pay someone to grant access to your guests. You can have several groups of guests checking in at different Airbnb properties simultaneously because you don’t need to greet them physically.

Choosing an Airbnb Lockbox for Your Property

Airbnb lockboxes can vary in price. Budget models usually cost between $10 and $20, and you can get a mid-range lockbox starting at $30-40. There are also high-end smart lockboxes that can cost between $100-$300 per model.

Lockboxes can be installed on a door, attached directly to the door handle, or mounted on an outside wall of an Airbnb rental, providing a convenient and secure method for key exchange. They come in various designs and sizes, depending on the number of keys they can store. Lockboxes may also have different locking mechanisms, such as combination dials, push buttons, or electronic keypads.

You can choose from combination dial, wheel, and push-button if you prefer manual lock types. These lockbox models are easy to use, and everyone knows how to operate them. That’s why they can be a good option if you frequently host older guests. Besides, you don’t have to worry about batteries, Wi-Fi connections, and app glitches.

Dial models are the ones with a spinning knob, and you need to rotate the dials to enter a combination like on a classic school padlock until you line up the number of the code. Although lockboxes with dials are less convenient to open, they are also the trickiest to crack, so you may consider installing one if you’re looking for extra security.

Wheel models have different wheels of numbers and letters that you must scroll through until you have the necessary combination in the window-box opening. These locks can be used to encode long, secure PINs. However, for experts, breaking into most wheel models can be easy by inserting a small piece of metal between the tumblers and working out the right combination by feel.

Airbnb lockboxes with push buttons require pressing the numbers to get the code. They are very simple to program and operate, even for kids. You can set a combination of numbers, which can be pressed in any sequence to open this lockbox. This is a significant drawback because it reduces the effective number of possible combinations. As a result, the passcodes can be predictable and easy to guess, which reduces the security of push button lockboxes.

What Is a Digital Lock Box?

You can buy a digital lock box with a keypad if you want digital models. Such lockboxes require users to enter a numeric code or password on an electronic keypad. When you enter the correct code, the lockbox will electronically unlock, providing access to the keys. Smart lock boxes also allow you to control access to them via Wi-Fi and a smartphone app.

What Is a Smart Lock Box?
A smart lock box doesn’t require a combination of codes to open. You can unlock the box and access the keys inside of it using your smartphone. However, some smart lock boxes can include a keypad that you can use if the Internet goes out or your smartphone dies.

Although smart key lock boxes are more expensive than traditional ones, they are also more secure. They pair with a mobile app that allows you to grant access to keys remotely from anywhere in the world. You can also monitor who’s unlocking the smart lock box and when.

What Is a Smarter Alternative to Airbnb Lockboxes?

An Airbnb lockbox is the simplest solution for hosts who want to avoid at least some of the pains associated with check-in. You can install a lockbox and let your guests do it themselves. Just provide them with clear check-in instructions and details on using the lockbox to access the key. You should also always keep a backup key for unexpected situations.

But if you’re looking to take your vacation rental business to the next level, you should consider turning a low-tech lockbox into a high-tech smart lock. Smart locks replace the traditional lockbox with an electronic system that will unlock the door after receiving a wireless signal from an authorized smartphone or a unique code.

Smart locks can integrate with vacation rental software, enabling hosts to generate and send access codes to guests automatically. If you opt for Hospitable, you can automate sending messages with door codes to guests shortly before check-in and ensure you’re not letting any unwanted guests into your property.

Hospitable supports many smart locks for Airbnb, Booking.com, Vrbo, and your direct booking website via direct integration with the lock apps, such as Schlage, August, Yale, SmartThings, RemoteLock, Nuki, and Igloo.

Smart locks are a technologically advanced alternative to traditional and digital lock boxes since they offer remote access control and eliminate the need for physical keys, ensuring a seamless experience for guests and hosts.

Smart locks allow hosts to enjoy all the benefits of traditional Airbnb lockboxes, such as self-check-in, safety, and convenience. Moreover, you’ll also be able to avoid potential issues with lockboxes, such as forgotten passcodes, lost or misplaced keys, and vulnerabilities to mechanical breaching.

Where to Install Your Airbnb Lockbox and How to Protect It

Lockboxes can be attached to walls or doors. It’s usually easier to install a lockbox on a door, but there’s a downside that it’s more visible not only to guests but to thieves as well. A more secure placement is attaching it to the wall, but it takes longer and may require specialized tools. Still, this way, you can have more options for finding a safe place to hide your key. You should try to pick a well-hidden place and, at the same time, conveniently accessible for your guests.

If your short-term rental is a private house, you should avoid installing your Airbnb lockbox in the area visible from the street. Instead, you may place it on the side of the home, in the backyard, or the garden. If you rent out an apartment in an urban area with lots of foot and car traffic, don’t worry too much if you don’t have the option to put the lockbox somewhere discrete. Here, the threat posed by thieves is significantly lower.

It’s also important to protect your lockbox from adverse weather conditions, such as snowfall, heavy rain, or freezing temperatures, that could damage or impact your lockbox. A good idea is to purchase a cover that can help keep the lockbox dry, providing a barrier against elements. Don’t forget to leave detailed, step-by-step instructions for your guests on how to open and close the lockbox to ensure that they use it properly.

Airbnb self-check-in

Airbnb Self-Check-In: No More Waiting for Your Guests’ Arrival

Providing your Airbnb guests with a great experience from start to finish is essential, so first of all, you should ensure a smooth check-in process. The best solution is to offer them self-check-in when guests can access your property using a key lockbox, smart lock, or keypad. Let’s see how to set up the self-check-in process.

Tools for Airbnb Hosts

Tools for Airbnb Hosts: Best Apps to Save Time and Boost Performance

As an Airbnb host, you juggle many responsibilities even if you have only one rental property. Luckily, you don’t need to do everything manually. Let’s look at top tools for Airbnb hosts that can save you time, boost your business efficiency, and give you more freedom to focus on growing your business.

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