Managing Your Airbnb Keys – Tips 1 to 5
Airbnb has been an increasingly popular way to rent out spare rooms and homes to guests over the recent few years. When renting your home on Airbnb there are numerous considerations and factors to plan for. To help you with your Airbnb planning, this article aims to provide some ideas to better manage your Airbnb keys. We have split the contents of this article over two posts, each covering 5 tips each- stay tuned for the next part.
Tip #1: Spare Keys, Spare Garage Remotes, Spare Key Fobs and Swipe Passes.
As per the old adage, three things are inevitable: taxes, old age and losing keys. I’m sure everyone would lose a key (or a set of keys) at least once in their lifetime. Your Airbnb guests are no different – they are only human (hopefully!). There is always a possibility that your Airbnb guests will lose your keys, misplace keys or lock themselves out of your home or apartment with the keys inside. Most experienced Airbnb hosts will have prepared at least one set of spare keys readily available. A well prepared host may expect that their guests may call or text them when they have locked themselves out of the property. Even if you can’t get the key to them straight away when contacted, you should assure your guests that you do have a spare set that you’ll be able to provide them as soon as you can.
Remember that when you organise your spare keys have copies of your all your keys, these include:
- Physical keys (normal mechanical door locks or deadbolts)
- Digital keys (RFID key fobs, swipe passes or access cards)
- Garage remotes (if you are also renting one out)
Tip #2: Label Your Keys
It is very rare to only have one key that opens all locks. More often, we own a plethora of keys of different sizes and shapes that open different locks. Our ability to differentiate and remember the use of the key is usually based on shape, colour or key chain. However, when you have multiple key chains and keys with the same design, it becomes increasingly more difficult to identify between them. The real complication arises when you rent your home out to Airbnb guests, as it’s less likely that others can memorise which key goes where. As such, we recommend that you label your keys accordingly, using one or two words at most to describe the location. For example, “Front door”, “Main entrance”, “Garage”, “Side gate”, “Storage cage”, etc. There are a few ways to label your keys:
- Permanent Marker – Directly write the label onto the key itself
- Sticker – Write on sticker (sticky dot or label) and stick onto the key (ensure the sticker has a good adhesive)
- Dymo (label maker) – using a label maker, create a label to stick onto the key
- Key tag – Attach a label onto each key, you can opt for the more conventional plastic label tag or a more rustic paper & string approach
- Engraving – Professional engraving the label directly onto your keys
Besides labelling normal physical keys, remember to label your digital RFID key tags or key cards too!
Tip #3: Use Only Quality Keys
We find that hosts typically hold onto the original key and provide their guests with the the spares or duplicates. This means, poorly cut or copied spare keys may be problematic for guests. For physical keys (mechanical locks) you should make sure you use a professional reliable key cutting service that uses a good quality key blank. Ask for advice from your key cutter and ask for the best quality (or recommended) blank key to cut from. For RFID keys our recommendation is to use key fobs over key cards as it is easier to attach them onto your key chain for ease of access. Quality RFID cards and fobs should be shock-proof, water-proof, light-weight and durable. For peace of mind, obtain your high-quality key fobs and card copies through Copycat Keys (https://www.copycatkeys.com.au/shop/). Good quality (durable) key rings are also important.
Tip #4: Maintain Your Keys
To ensure longevity and performance of your keys, you should occasionally perform some basic maintenance for keys. Why? For the same reasons why need to maintain/service your car; keep your bathroom & kitchen clean; maintain the length of your lawn; wash your clothes, etc. Thus, begs the question- how do you maintain your keys?
- For physical (mechanical lock) keys, keep them dry, remove any grease or foreign objects that stick to them. Remember keys and locks work together, so the locks require maintenance too. Occasionally use graphite powder on the key as a ‘dry’ lubricant to improve the life of your lock and keep the moving parts in the lock lucubrated. We normally buy our graphite powder from the hardware store Bunnings.
- Between each set of guests, give your keys are a simple wipe-down warm soapy water. Alcohol swabs are effective to remove grease and grime. Handing sticky, discoloured or damaged keys to your guests can be an off-putting experience which may detract from an otherwise pleasant stay.
Tip #5: The personal touch – hand delivered keys
The key exchange is the first in-person contact your guest will have with you. This event is the perfect opportunity to generate a memorable first impression. A smooth check-in sets the scene for the remainder of your guests’ stay at your home.
- An easy way to establish initial rapport with your guests is to personally hand-deliver the keys to your home as part of the welcome. We understand that this may not be possible in all instances due to your availability and timing of guest arrival.
- Greeting your guests adds a level of service that some Airbnb hosts will not offer.
- Your guests can connect better with you when they can put a face to your name.
- This allows for ease and comfort for them to ask questions regarding their stay
- You may have labelled your keys appropriately, but also take the time to show your guests which key goes where. Yes, they can read the labels, but they’ll appreciate your efforts!