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Airbnb Hosts Get Efficient With Smart Locks

Guests use an app to gain secure access so hosts can go out about their lives.


Legal and ethical battles aside, lots of people are finding great success in listing their available spaces on Airbnb. And one of the most frustrating parts for hosts—the key handoff—is getting easier with automation.

This part can be a challenge. Guests don’t always arrive at the expected time, and the host may not want to drop everything to meet their guests, particularly if they arrive late at night or during work hours. How about hiding a key somewhere close to the door? Any malcontent knows to check under the mat or that one fake Skymall rock.

August, a company that makes smart home entry products, recently published a case study in which Airbnb hosts used their battery-powered Bluetooth enabled smart locks to let their guests in. “It’s a retrofit, so there’s no need for a new lock,” said August's Tejash Unadkat at the recent Internet of Things Summit in San Francisco. The smart lock can be installed in the deadbolt in 10 minutes in most cases. The company also offers keypads (for service providers or users without smartphones) as well doorbell cameras.

The product allows hosts to provide keyless access to guests once they have the August app. The app links the Airbnb and August accounts, and guests receive an electronic key for the dates of their stay. The host gets notification when the guest “checks in” and out (but guests aren’t tracked between check-in and check-out, in line with Airbnb’s privacy policy).

Now hosts save time, and guests don’t have to wait upon arrival. Hosts can find out in real-time when guests have checked out to immediately begin cleaning services and preparations for the next guest.

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