The “Key” to Vacation Rental Safety and Efficiency

I have had the pleasure of staying in several private vacation rental accommodations with my family over the past several years, and each stay had everything that family travelers love about vacation rentals—ample space, great family amenities and engaged hosts who helped make sure our vacations were great. 

During these stays, the property managers gave me access to the property by sending me a code to a lockbox or electronic lock.  The challenge with these systems is that the codes were not being changed.  Think about that for a second…that is the equivalent to giving any guest who has ever stayed with you, along with any employee or vendor who accessed the property, their own copy of a key, and never changing the lock.

Sounds scary.  Unfortunately, I had a scary thing happen once.  I arrived late to a multi-story home in the mountains.  I walked my wife and young daughters into the main level of the home, and they pulled together some dinner as I made several trips back and forth to bring our stuff in from the car.  Once everything was in the home, we quickly ate then loaded everything into the upstairs bedrooms.  Once unpacked, we changed into our swimsuits and headed down to the basement to take a family hot tub.  I led my family downstairs, and right as I hit the last step, I heard a sound to my left. I started to walk over to investigate, and I suddenly saw the outline of a person trying to hide behind a coffee table.  Several tense minutes later, the person was peacefully removed from the home and thankfully my family and I weren’t hurt.  I found out later that the intruder was a transient battling substance abuse issues and had been given a key by a staff member who thought the home was vacant.  We were safe, but things could have gone a lot different.

Safety is a key concern of the group that is helping to drive a surge in private accommodation travel—millennials. In fact, 60.9 percent of millennials traveling with children said that safety was a primary concern when considering vacation plans, while 51.7 percent of millennials without children voiced the same concern.

Outside of safety, think about the drag that physical keys and stagnant codes have on your operations.  What happens when a guest loses the key to your vacation rental? Are you on call, 24-hours a day, to provide a spare? Does guest check-in and check-out require guests to come to an office and staff to be waiting in the wings to handle these situations? Do vendors have to start running their clock as they come to your office to get a key before they can start their actual work?

If you’re really serious about running the tightest and safest ship possible—for yourself, your employees and your guests—you’ll replace all the keyed locks at your properties with a smart lock platform designed for property managers immediately. Guaranteed: The benefits of keyless entry will be nothing short of transformative for your vacation rental business. 

Sean Miller is president of PointCentral, a subsidiary of Alarm.com and the leader in smart home automation solutions for long-term and short-term rental properties. Outside of having a lifelong passion for technology, Mr. Miller has almost 10 years of professional experience with B2B and B2C IoT/home automation technology, having previously led global sales and business development for Wemo, Belkin’s home automation business unit, and launched Mobile Link, a cellular-based internet connectivity service for generators, at Generac Power Systems.

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