Part of what makes short-term rentals an appealing alternative to hotels is the fact that there is no front desk. No one is monitoring your guests as they come and go, which creates a more private and intimate experience. But how will your guests get inside? A great key handoff process is crucial when it comes to managing a short-term rental. The check-in process is a component of the Airbnb rating your guest will leave after their stay. Your Airbnb guests will arrive eager to start their vacation and they won’t want a headache when it comes to getting inside and getting settled. However, you also need to make sure that the security and safety of your listing are maintained.
It’s really important that check-in goes smoothly for your guests so you’ll maintain 5-star reviews. We recommend using a self-check-in process so you don’t have to deal with the inconvenience of scheduling a time to meet your guest. While this may seem impersonal, we have found that guests prefer going directly to the property to check themselves in without having to meet a stranger after many hours of traveling.
We recommend sending an automated message on the day of check-in with all the information on how the check-in process works. Include details such as the property address & directions, the access instructions, and any house rules you want to remind them of. You can also add helpful tips such as Wi-Fi passwords and host contact info.
Smart locks are the best way for guests to check in easily, and they give hosts peace of mind. With a smart lock, hosts can generate a separate code for each reservation. That code can be customized to expire the day of check-out so the guest won’t be able to access the property after their stay is completed. With standard lockboxes or key safes, the code will have to be manually changed.
Even if you are using a smart lock, it’s a good idea to have a lock box with a backup key just in case the power should fail or the code doesn’t work. You can then tell the guest the location of the backup lock box and the code to access it. They can retrieve the key and use it to manually open the lock. If you’re using lock boxes as your main key handoff method, make sure you have a backup lock box anyway, in case the previous guest forgets to return the keys.
To make sure your guests feel safe, it’s a good idea to have a well-lit path to your listing’s entrance. This will make it easier for guests to check in when arriving at night. It is also better for liability purposes as guests will be unfamiliar with their surroundings and may be prone to tripping or falling.
You should have someone available to answer questions or respond to problems at all times, but especially during check-in. If the key handoff is not successful and the guest cannot check in or contact you, they might call Airbnb and cancel their booking. You’ll want to have a backup contact in case you are unavailable because of an emergency or unforeseen circumstances.
Originally from Connecticut, Kevin moved to Los Angeles in 2013 and worked his way up to becoming an editor on award-winning reality TV shows. Kevin owns 4 short term rentals in Southern California and founded AirHost Academy to help other hosts improve their business.
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