Owning a vacation rental is a great way to make extra money. However, running the property remotely can be a hassle. There are numerous small details that can really be troublesome. Things like checking guests in, checking them out, and making sure they have a key to get into the unit, can all be overwhelming. You may want to be there to greet every guest, but that is not always possible. Life happens to everyone, and you cannot control a flight delay or other unforeseen event.
Rather than have headaches or stress about the situation, you need a system in place to handle the check-in and check-out processes. It will make things much easier for you and your guests. If an automated vacation rental check-in system sounds perfect, there here are a few things to think about to make the switch over seamless.
1. Install A Lockbox
A lockbox is a no-frills option that is a great solution for your check-in needs. Regardless of what time of day your guests arrive, they can use the lockbox. If you have an emergency or something that requires your immediate attention, at least the guests can check in when they arrive. There is nothing worse than a guest waiting for the owner to arrive with the keys. These little boxes can be found at any hardware store or online. They are very inexpensive. Simply place the keys inside and set a combination.
The guests will need to be notified of the lockbox before they arrive. Send them an email or text that states the following information:
- The location of the lock box
- How to use it
- The combination
- The check-in and check-out procedure
Please be advised that most modern boxes allow you to change the combination as often as you like. This will ease your worries about a previous guest remembering the code and getting into your property. It is wise to change it after each guest departs.
2. Electronic locks
If you want to streamline your vacation rental check-in process, an electronic lock may be the answer. These code locks, replace the deadbolt on the property’s door. Guests simply enter a code on the keypad to gain access. Just as the lockbox, these code locks can be changed or have multiple codes programmed. Each guest can be given a unique code. Keep in mind that these locks are more expensive than a lockbox, but if a guest should lose a key, there is no need to drive to the property or call a locksmith. One after-hours call to a locksmith could more than pay for this box.
3. Smart lock
With the high-tech society that we live in, you may feel that electronic locks and lockboxes are a bit old-fashioned. You may, however, be interested in something a bit more advanced. Smart locks, replace the need for code locks. An electronic system allows a person access to the property when they receive a wireless signal. The person must have a smartphone with Bluetooth capabilities to use this service, so it will not work for all guests.
A smart lock will allow you to manage your property with ease. You can authorize who comes in at any time. You can remotely grant access to workers and guests whenever you need to. You can replace the handle and bolt together like they do in a code lock, or it can be installed on the property’s handle. While there are many advantages to using these locks, there are also some disadvantages. Again, some people will not have a smartphone, but since more than 72 percent of Americans have smartphones, it should not be a big deal. Also, if a guest runs out of battery, loses their phone, or has some other malfunction, the system will not work. Thankfully, the door can be opened using a traditional key.
These locks can only be installed on one door of the property. If there is a locked gate at the front entry, it would require multiple smart lock systems to gain access to two entries.
4. Safe Key Drop
Key drops are not as popular as the previously mentioned locks. However, they are gaining a lot of attention with those who own vacation rentals. The demand is great. Vacation rental owners and managers, partner up with local business to provide a safe place to store keys. Local restaurants, gift shops, and cafes, graciously handle taking care of the key storage. Business owners see this as a win-win situation. Not only does it help the vacation property owner with their guests, but it brings more people into their business. More people means more sales.
5. HIRE A Property Management
Some vacation homeowners prefer to automate their process by hiring service providers who handle all the aspects of management. When there is a maintenance issue or other problem, they handle those issues too. The cost is a bit more for this type of arrangement, but to those who live out of town, it is worth every penny.
With all of these modern-day conveniences comes the loss of the personal greeting. Some vacation rental owners prefer their customers to be greeted with a smile. The best way to achieve this goal is to have someone take care of it. A property manager can handle the administration of the property as well as making sure that each check-in and checkout goes smoothly. Even if there is a delay in your guests’ arrival time, it is not a big deal.
Having someone else handle the automated check-in can save you a great deal of time. Guests will still have the “human” aspect when they stay at your property.
Any of these options will work great, but it is about finding the one that works best for you. Once you decide the option you want, then you can implement the changes. You will be amazed how easy your new method works. In fact, most say they don’t know how they ever managed before.