Smart Locks For Hosts

in
Philadelphia, PA
Level 4
4,535 Views

Hi! 

 

I have been successfully hosting for two years now and one common issue I am faced with as a host is when guests lose or misplace my listing's keys. Have other hosts run into this problem? If so, what solutions have you come up with? One solution I came up with was using a smart lock on my listings door. The model that I ended up buying is called the August Smart Lock and August Keypad. Have other hosts utilized smart locks in their listings? What brand did you use? Do you like the smart lock you installed? I put together a couple of short videos that walk guests through how to use the smart lock with the AirBnB listing and also a pros and cons video if others are thinking about using this product. If you have any questions about my experience with the smart lock please let me know! 

 

Thanks!

 

Setting up and using the smart lock for guests:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aEtyR9atNKg 

 

August Smart Lock Pros:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1BYI2Y19mHE

 

August Smart Lock Cons:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4tHYtkV2XoU&t=47s

 

app instructions.jpg

 

25 Replies

Re: Smart Locks For Hosts

in
Traverse City, MI
Level 10

I looked into the different smart locks, and ended up going with the Kwikset 910. I like that it's a push-button and doesn't require an app.

 

I love new tech, but there were too many forseeable issues with an app-based lock. Does each person in the group need to download the app? What happens if someone has a "dumb" phone or the app isn't available for their platform? If the internet is down or they don't have international data plan? What if they lose their phone, or wanted to leave the house without it (I don't like taking mine when I go for a swim in the bay)?

 

I just set the door to a 4-digit code they know. Everyone can come and go without anything other than that code. The 910 has an expansion slot that makes it a smart lock, so I can see if the door was left unlocked and lock or unlock it remotely if someone is having issues getting in. It's not too delicate - stands up to rain and northern Michigan winters (some of the smart-locks didn't like extreme sub-zero temps). Works great.

Re: Smart Locks For Hosts

in
Wheat Ridge, CO
Level 6

I'm exactly like Allison. Except I installed the Kwikset 911. It's not a "smart" lock. It's just an electronic lock with a keypad. 

 

I message each guest the evening or morning before their arrival with their code. So far, out of 25 guests, nobody has had any trouble operating the lock without any instructions or explanation. 

 

Jamie

Re: Smart Locks For Hosts

in
Philadelphia, PA
Level 4

Can you set when the 4 digit code will become activated and when it will stop working? For instance, with the August smart lock I can set a guest's access so it becomes activated at my listings check in time and their access will expire at check out time so the guest can not lock/unlock the door outside of their stay window. 

Re: Smart Locks For Hosts

in
Wheat Ridge, CO
Level 6

I cannot set a time window on my Kwikset 911. It's not a smart lock. I do have to change the codes manually. But that's not an issue, as I'm here quite often.

Of course, there are plenty of other, similar locks which do allow that function.

 

I bought mine mainly because I was looking for an electronic lock. I didn't think having a smart lock was vital, and then I found this model on sale for about $40, so I bought it. So far I like it.

 

Jamie

Re: Smart Locks For Hosts

in
Philadelphia, PA
Level 4

Thanks Jaime! One feature I really like about my smart lock is the ability to set the window guests will have access. I found with a traditional key and lock box guests would arrive before check in or check out well past the check out time and I had no control over this as I was at work. With the August smart lock I feel more in control of people accessing my home now-definitely a huge plus!

Re: Smart Locks For Hosts

in
Wheat Ridge, CO
Level 6

I can see the usefulness in that.

 

But the way I do it is I only set the code once I'm ready for their arrival. That is, generally, when the rooms are clean, then I set the door code.

 

At that point it's inconsiderate, but not damaging in any way if the guests arrive early. I've had two guests arrive early. One arrived while I was still cleaning. He rang the doorbell. I let him know that check-in was still another hour and I didn't have his room ready.

 

The other group arrived way early, but I'd gotten their rooms ready and set the lock and then headed out to run some errands. I only learned they arrived early because they messaged me when they got here. I wasn't very happy that they showed up so early, but like I said, I already had the rooms cleaned and ready, so it wasn't too much of a big deal. Had the rooms not been ready, then the code would not have been set yet.

 

If I came across a good deal on a smart lock, I'd consider it, but right now I'm pretty happy with what I have.

 

In case of last-minute requests when I'm not home, I do have a second, default Airbnb guest code that I could give out. Outside of that, every guests gets a unique code.

 

Jamie

Re: Smart Locks For Hosts

in
Philadelphia, PA
Level 4

Hi Jaime,

Have you had any issues communicating the code to your international guests who may not have cell service? 

Re: Smart Locks For Hosts

in
Seattle, WA
Level 10

@Rc1 I recently installed August smart lock and purchased the connect too. The main reason behind it is because some guests have forgotten to lock my front door and this is clearly not safe. I want to make sure that my front door is locked at all times. I activated the auto lock feature to ensure that if anybody forgets to lock the door, it will be locked within 1min (or you can adjust the time). I also like the connect because it allows me to see/check whether my door is locked or not while I am away. I do not really introduce it to the guests because usually I have people stay for a short period of time and I don't really want to bother them with installing the app on their phone. I still give them a regular key as usual and leave the key box hanging on the knob, so they can do a self-check-in if I am not home. In my house rules, I stated that they will be charged the security deposit if they lose the key. Fortunately, all guests always return the key safely. 

Re: Smart Locks For Hosts

in
Philadelphia, PA
Level 4

@Farah1 you are very lucky you have not had issues with guets misplacing your keys! Have you thought about purchasing the August Keypad?

Re: Smart Locks For Hosts

in
Seattle, WA
Level 10

@Rc1 I am definitely grateful for that!

For the August keypad, probably not for now. I personally don't do any research on it yet, so I am not sure as for how it will be useful for me.

Re: Smart Locks For Hosts

in
London, United Kingdom
Level 1

Hi Rc

Do you have experience using the August Keypad with Airbnb?

I'm wanting to make sure I make the right decision on which smart lock to buy.

I let my flat out from time to time on Airbnb but don't want to rely on guests having data on their phones or them having a smartphone.

I would only look at using the August system if the Keypad system has solutions to work effectively and flexibily.

August Website doesn't provide answers to some of the questions I have. 

 

Ie.

- Does the Keypad work without Connect product and pay subscription or do I need that too?

- Does Airbnb Integration automate the issuance of unique codes to guests?

- What happens if WiFi goes down - does Keypad store codes such that they can get in during their stay

- How frequently does Keypad communicate with August/Airbnb/web?  Is it periodically or are new codes /actions pushed to the Keypad in real-time.  (sometimes guests book last mintute and I need to be able to let them in immediatly)

Re: Smart Locks For Hosts

in
SF, CA
Level 10

@Dean105 I have 3 August locks w keypads and Connect.

 

-Does the Keypad work without Connect product and pay subscription or do I need that too?

The keypad does not require Connect to work with your August Smart Lock.

There is no subscription required, or any ongoing costs associated with using the August system.

 

- Does Airbnb Integration automate the issuance of unique codes to guests?

If by "codes" you mean does it set up access to the lock automatically, then yes. However, if the user does NOT install the app, the automatic setup does NOT automatically set up the keypad for the guest (more on this later). August is aware of the issue and is even now working on adding automatic keypad codes for the guests.

 

- What happens if WiFi goes down - does Keypad store codes such that they can get in during their stay

Wifi is not required at all for the August Smart lock and keypad to work. The only use of the Wifi is to allow you to monitor and/or reprogram the lock from far away.

 

- How frequently does Keypad communicate with August/Airbnb/web?

I really don't know how the magic works, but it actually can work fully without any internet access at all.

If the guest uses the app, they can have access instantly, even if the August Smart Lock itself has no internet access. It is black magic indeed.

 

If you *do* have Wifi enabled with Connect, you can re-program the lock and keypad remotely and provide access instantly yourself using the app. You can even lock and unlock the door remotely, if you have Connect.

 

So about the keypad codes: Until August releases the promised "automatic keypad codes" update, you do have to add the keypad codes manually. What does get set up automatically is access to the lock via the app. And to add the keypad codes remotely you do need Connect.

 

 

 

Re: Smart Locks For Hosts

in
United States
Level 3

We have been using various smart locks for years at home and properties. Schlage and Yale are excellent ones, two of the ones we like the most:

 

Yale:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HS1O77G

 

Schlage:

https://www.amazon.com/Schlage-Connect-Touchscreen-Deadbolt-SmartThings/dp/B00AGK9KOG

 

Personally I prefer the Yale lock since it has better  battery life but very happy overall. The Schlage lock hsa a few more security features which we use in our house but for the rental property, we prefer the Yale lock which has all the features we need and it's very reliable (the Schlage battery needs to be changed once it hits 50% where as with the Yale we are safe all the way down to 20% through we try to change it sooner if possible).

 

As for managing the users, we have been using them with SmartThings to program them remotely using RBoy Apps.  

For years we have been using their lock code user management app which allowed us to manually program the users and set start / end dates so we could program this weeks/months ahead and forget about it. Come time and it would activate the user codes and then delete them when the stay was over.

 

Now we are using Rental Lock Automater (RLA) that automatically connects to the airbnb property calendar, schedules the users and even sends them a customized text message, we can't say enough good things about this app. Basically it's completely hands off user management for us. 

 

I just love how reliable and comprehensive this app is it's been competely bliss for us especially with peak season coming up. All you need is a SmartThings hub, a Yale, Schlage or Kwikset lock (I recommend Yale or Schlage) and a repeater ($15-$20) depending on how far the lock is from the hub and the RLA app.

 

They also have a low battery app to inform us when the lock battery needs to be changed (about once in 4-5 months). I mean that's pretty much it, just change the batteries and it does the rest!

 

The RLA is part of their commercial license apps. You can check them out at http://smartthings.rboyapps.com

Tags (2)

Re: Smart Locks For Hosts

in
Spokane, WA
Level 7

I use a kwikset model with the electronic keypad.   When I send the access code to the guest I tell them that the code will work the duration of their stay, starting at 4pm (the check in time) on their day of arrival.  Technically they could use the code immediately now as my unit isn't "smart" and time programmable.    For $80 it works just fine.   So far I have not had any early arrivals - as per the exterior camera.  When it comes time to replace it, I'll likely go for one that is programmable from afar.  I also store a spare key at the home  locked in a manual lockbox - just in case there is ever a problem with the keypad I can give the guest the lockbox code. 

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