How to Easily Exchange Keys with Your Renter


The key exchange is the first in-person contact your guest will have with you and your rental unit.  A smooth check-in can leave both of you with positive first impressions and will do wonders for how the rest of their trip will go.  Let someone in and let the adventure begin!

Make the key easy to access

I highly suggest you use a lockbox like this with a simple code that renters can enter and receive their key.  This is the simplest way to do a key exchange and comes in very handy when guests lose their keys.

Make yours stand out with a special colored tape/sticker on it since there may be many lock boxes in a multi-unit apartment complex.  Also, put it in an easy-to-find place that you can describe to your guest.  If renting out a house, make sure to keep it hidden from the general public since you do not want pesky neighbors trying to get into your home.

Don’t feel safe using a lock box?  You can leave it with a neighbor or work with a key exchange company.  This does put your guests experience at risk, so remind the ‘key-dropper-off-person’ that they need to have a high level of service.

Remote Airbnb Key Exchange

Want a slick high tech solution?  If you are able to change the locks on your rental unit, you can look into something like a digital lock set.  From your phone you can simply deliver temporary keys to guests, service crews, cleaners, and maintenance workers.

I recommend using RemoteLock.  Use code LearnAirbnb1 to receive $25 off any Internet connected lock from RemoteLock.  Their product directly integrates with the Airbnb system so you can easily track keys and avoid all check-in issues.

Guest hove hand-delivery

Another way to execute a key exchange would be to personally hand-deliver the key at the rental unit.  We know this can be time consuming, but it adds a level of service that most rentrepreneurs will not offer.  This interaction can also be used to put names to faces and answer any immediate questions your guests may have.

Have guests coming in via bus, train or plane?  Offer to pick them up at the airport and drop them off at your place with the key in hand.  This is suggested for guests that are staying for 7+ days.  Make sure you have a big enough car to fit all the guests and luggage too!  To verify, let them know what you will pick them up in and ask if they think they will be able to fit.

Make the key easy to return

Simply have them put it back where they found it.  You can have them return it to the lock box or with the neighbor that dropped it off.  You could personally pick it up, but sometimes guests are not accurate at measuring their exact check out time.  Delays happen and this can eat into your valuable time.  With the Kevo digital keys, the return is easy; the access will expire.

A no-brainer idea is to have the guests lock themselves out of your place if the locks allow for this, but we DO NOT recommend this because sometimes it can backfire.  What if they forget something small like a cellphone charger and need to get back in real quick?  (happens more than you would think)  This could cause a huge inconvenience for you and them.  Moreover, what if they left the charger in the unit and then left you a 4 star review just because they couldn’t get their $10 phone charger?  Granted you can mail the charger back to them, but you are able to avoid this situation.

A key exchange, as simple as it is, can have a huge impact on the stay of the guest.  If the first interaction goes poor, you are less willing to get any ‘breaks’ from them when other things go wrong.  A key exchange is something you can control, so make sure it goes smooth!

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