I don’t think there’s a product that I’ve been more interested in adding to my Airbnb arsenal than a WiFi enabled smart lock. The key hand-off process has always been the low-point of my Airbnb experience as a host and guest. My first time traveling on Airbnb the host had me go to a cafe in Vancouver and use Key Cafe to retrieve the key. Although a “cool” concept, it would have been a lot nicer if I could have gone straight to the Airbnb without having to make additional stops in a huge city.
More recently while traveling to Miami, my Airbnb host told me to call a friend of his 30 to 60 minutes before I would be arriving at the house. He said she would meet me there to let me in the home. She didn’t pick up the phone when I called… Luckily she texted me back a short time after to let me know she was running behind. We waited patiently with our suitcases on the front porch in the balmy Miami sun. There was a keypad lock box on the front door but the owner of the home refused to give us the combination. Although the house was beautiful, we were a bit frustrated that the check-in process was so uncoordinated. We finally made it into the house after an hour of waiting outside.
Unfortunately I can’t say that my key hand-off process as a host is any more professional. No, I’ve never left a guest stranded in the sun or rain, but I am a bit embarrassed telling a guest that the key will be “under the mat”. I’ve hosted many first-time Airbnb travelers and I can only imagine the uncertainty that they must feel when they pull up to my house at night, make their way to the front door and lift up the welcome mat in hope that there’s a key waiting for them underneath.
My second property uses a traditional keypad lock box. Although a step up from leaving the key under a potted plant, it does raise some security issues. We don’t change the combination after every guest, and more often than not, the guests forget to scramble the keypad after using the lock box. Not to mention we’ve had numerous guests forget to leave the key upon check-out.
All of these issues could be fixed using a smart lock, which is why I’m so excited to announce that we recently purchased and installed a WiFi deadbolt from RemoteLock for our Airbnb property. Although we haven’t had a chance to fully test the product, I would like to share my initial thoughts on why I chose this particular smart lock after extensively researching other electronic door locks. I will also briefly detail the smart lock installation process.
The WiFi lock that I purchased was the 5i-A WiFi deadbolt from RemoteLock. Our door had a non-locking handle and a traditional deadbolt. The 5i-A WiFi deadbolt simply replaces the traditional deadbolt.
I had been contemplating purchasing a smart lock from RemoteLock for quite some time, as their products integrate directly with Airbnb’s hosting software. It links to your hosting account and automatically generates guest codes when a traveler books your listing. These codes can only be used during the duration of their trip and expire upon checkout. This means that I never have to worry about generating new codes, reusing old codes, messaging the guest their code or terminating a code. RemoteLock’s software manages everything for you through their app.
The app also sends you an alert any time someone uses their code to enter the property. This feature is particularly beneficial for hosts who want to make sure their guests have arrived and were able to check-in to the property without any issues. You can also monitor codes that have been generated for service companies (property managers, cleaners, etc.).
What I really like about the 5i-A WiFi deadbolt is that you can still use a key to lock or unlock the door. This gives you a backup option in case the batteries die and the keypad stops working. It is also convenient for when you’re hosting a guest that is not technologically savvy and prefers to use a key.
I also like that LockState, RemoteLock’s parent company, is a worldwide partner of Airbnb. They are a part of Airbnb’s Host Assist program and are a participant in the Airbnb Open. Although there are several other lock companies that produce smart locks, RemoteLock is directly partnered with Airbnb. I feel more confident knowing that the two companies are working together to produce a product specifically for Airbnb hosts and travelers.
Installing the lock should have been a breeze. Key phrase… should have been. Unfortunately I’m someone who likes to figure things out on my own so I spent approximately 30 minutes piecing the lock together like a puzzle. After getting a bit frustrated a light bulb went off in my head reminding me that the lock came with instructions!
Removing the old deadbolt took less than 5 minutes. The only tool you need is a screw driver. When you remove the old screws it pretty much just falls out of the door.
Installing the RemoteLock 5i-A WiFi deadbolt, using their instructions, took about 15 minutes. I accidentally installed the latch in the locked position instead of the unlocked position (you can see this in the video) so I had to take the entire thing apart and reinstall it. My advice to you… Follow the instructions and pay attention to what you’re doing. Mind blowing advice, right?
After you install the lock you’ll need to pair it with your WiFi router. This takes an additional 5 to 10 minutes depending on how good you are at following directions. RemoteLock provides you with detailed instructions on how to pair it with your router and connect it to your Airbnb account. If you don’t want to do this right away you can also use the default codes to lock and unlock the door. This information is also in the instruction manual.
Like I said in the beginning of this article, we haven’t had a chance to test out the Airbnb integration side of the RemoteLock 5i-A WiFi deadbolt. We have simply been using the manually generated codes to operate the lock. This has been a lot of fun in a dorky, adult kind of way.
We will be conducting an in-depth review of the lock after we’ve had some time to use it as hosts and also get feedback from our guests. I can say this with certainty, RemoteLock products give you greater sense of security and control over your Airbnb listing. Your guests will also perceive your rental to be more professional and are very likely to give you a 5-star review for the check-in process.
RemoteLock is offering $25 off the purchase of a smart lock to Airbnb Guide readers. This discount can be used on the RemoteLock 5i, 6i and forthcoming 7i models. Simply enter the discount code AirbnbGuide25 during checkout to receive $25 off your smart lock purchase. Click here to visit the RemoteLock website.