6 solutions for handing keys to your Airbnb guests


How do I get my keys to my Airbnb guests?

It’s a question all hosts ask themselves once they have spent long enough doing Airbnb.

You might have made plans to go away for the weekend yourself, you might have been woken up at 3am by guests arriving late, or you might be renting out your holiday home in another city.

We’ve listed the six most popular solutions for handing over keys to Airbnb guests below, so you can decide which is the solution for you.

  1. Relying on a neighbour or friend

This is a pretty popular solution for new Airbnb hosts - after all, your neighbour is right there and it’s easy to have an informal arrangement with a bottle of wine or a small amount of cash every time they welcome your guests.

It does have downsides though. Your neighbour won’t want to answer the door at 3am any more than you will, so you can’t welcome guests 24/7 this way. Your neighbour will have their own plans a lot of the time, so they won’t always be available.

Overall, Relying on a neighbour is probably a solution best used just once or twice - your neighbour probably won’t give such a friendly welcome after they’ve handed the keys over for your 50th guest!

Airbnb guest checking themselves into their apartment

2. Relying on a cleaner

Consider this an upgrade over relying on your neighbour - your cleaner will already know their way around your flat, so will have no problems showing your guest around, and they’ll likely know how everything in their works too.

But like relying on a neighbour, this has some problems. Your cleaner is probably working to a tight schedule - and they won’t have time to wait around for guests arriving late. And it’s unlikely your cleaner will be there to welcome guests arriving really late at night. Like relying on a neighbour, relying on a cleaner is a solution that isn’t too reliable if you get regular bookings.

3. Using a greeter

This is a great solution for giving your guest a personal welcome. Greeters are friendly, professional and will help to give that personal touch that will make your guests’ stay really memorable.

Greeters are commonly used by property management companies running high-end apartments, and if you are running a luxury Airbnb your guests might expect them.

But greeters don’t come cheap - unless your listing is high-end, this solution is probably too expensive to be viable.

4. A lockbox

A lockbox is probably the cheapest solution for getting your keys to your guests. The payment is one-off, and you can get one for as little as £25. Using them is pretty self explanatory - most people have used them before. But they cost in other areas - they’re probably the least secure option on this list.

Leaving your key unattended in a lock box can make it an easy target for criminals - and for a police-approved badge, a lockbox only needs to be able to delay a break in by 60 seconds. Preventing guests from coming back and accessing your keys again means that the code also needs to be changed after every time it’s used - which isn’t ideal if you’re away on a long holiday yourself and you’ve got multiple bookings.

Airbnb home offering self check-in

Airbnb home offering self check-in

5. A smartlock

Smartlocks are a solution that provides a bit of extra peace of mind over lockboxes. They let you track the status of your keys, and they usually generate a new code after every use - so you won’t need to worry about a guest with an old code being able to access your keys. Most smartlocks come with an app that gives you notifications and lets you control access on the move.

Not everyone can use a smartlock though - unless you own the whole building, you can’t fit them to the front door of an apartment block. Smartlocks also have the highest up-front cost of any of the solutions on this list - so they’re not the best option if you’re on a budget. Your guests also don’t get the personal touch of someone welcoming your guests and handing your keys over.

6. A key exchange service

If you’re hosting in an urban area, a key exchange service like KeyNest is the best way to hand over keys.

Like with a smartlock, you can track the status of your keys online and receive notifications whenever your guest collects or drops off your keys - but without the hefty up-front cost.

Your guests can collect keys 24/7 at most KeyNest Stores, so you won’t have to worry about late check-ins. The shopkeeper at the store also welcomes your guests and answer any questions they have about your local area.

KeyNest is currently available in every major city in the UK, as well the USA and seven other countries across Europe.

We aim to fulfill all new store requests within two weeks - so if you need a KeyNest Store near you, let us know by filling out this request form.

KeyNest handing over keys to an Airbnb guest

KeyNest handing over keys to an Airbnb guest