If you’re an Airbnb host or short-term rental manager with properties on listings sites such as VRBO or Homeaway, then you’ll know that handing over the keys to your guests, for instance using lockboxes, can be an operational nightmare.

You’ve either got to pay someone to hang around to hand them over in person—which is time-consuming and expensive and an annoying issue if the guests arrive early or are delayed—or you’ve got to have the keys hidden in some rickety, insecure lockbox; or stashed somewhere equally unsafe (flower pot, anyone?).

And even if the guests do manage to get the keys, none of these are good long-term solutions. 

Lockboxes don’t change access codes with each new guest or user (presenting a security risk) and physical keys can be easily lost, copied, stolen, or locked inside the space. Exhausting, right?

That’s where smart locks come in, solving all of these problems in one move. Offering digital keyless entry for rental properties, the best ones use keycodes, without relying on smartphones. 

They enable check-in and check-out at any time of the day or night (so there’s no problem if your guest is delayed or wants to leave early) and can be remotely changed so that only people with the most up-to-date keycode can gain access.

Smart locks offer connectivity to other elements of your guest’s stay, such as the heat or lighting in their room; the automated emails you might send about check-in, check-out, digital guidebooks, or customer service; and they connect to your existing PMS so you, the host, can manage your entire short-term property portfolio at a glance.

And in our post-pandemic world, as the hospitality industry starts to reopen, guests are also looking to pay more for Covid-safe solutions, and smart locks enable contactless check-in with no needless in-person interactions.

Smart locks are just that: smart, and they’re the future of hosting.

That’s why in this post, we’ll cover: 

✔ What all hosts need to look for in an Airbnb smart lock.

✔ How to set up, and manage your smart locks using a property automation system.

✔ The best smart locks currently on the market and how they compare.

✔ How to choose the best smart lock for your Airbnb hosting business.


Connect your operations

Want to integrate your smart lock directly with your PMS?



What to look for in a smart lock for Airbnb

Looking for a smart lock designed for Airbnb hosts sounds simple, but a quick search will reveal an overwhelming number of smart locks out there, not all of which are ideal for short-term rental hosts.

Many are designed either for casual, domestic use or, conversely, for massive, repeated commercial use, and there are a huge array of different designs and features.

If you haven’t used a smart lock system before, it can be confusing and daunting to know what each option does, and which will be best for your business and guests. 

That’s why we recommend focusing mainly on the following criteria when choosing a smart lock.


Security

Consider whether the lock enables you to have different codes for different people, and change said codes remotely. 

Giving different people different codes means you always know who has been in and out—your guests, versus housekeeping staff, for example—and being able to change codes remotely means you can grant or revoke access depending on stays, and rental and home security needs.

Some locks even allow you to time different codes, so you can automatically enable housekeeping or maintenance staff to enter only at set times, or when guests have definitely left. Being able to change codes remotely offers real peace of mind, not only to guests but also to you as a host.

As Danielle Dirks, founder of Detroit-based short-term rental space CozyHaus, says:


“Operto adds an unbeatable layer of security to ensure physical keys don’t walk off, check-ins and check-outs can be easily viewed and logged, and front door codes can be updated or deleted if and when needed. It provides guests the peace of mind in knowing that their door code is unique to them and that people can’t just waltz in.”

Danielle Dirks

CozyHaus Owner


Ease of use

Consider how the smart lock is used, and what will suit the majority of your guests. Many locks boast that they can be used only with a smartphone, but consider if this will work for your business.

Some guests may be traveling from abroad and won’t be able to get a phone signal when they arrive; others might struggle to connect to the internet, or your location may be very remote and not have a signal at all. 

Smartphone entry also relies on the guest having a smartphone, and that phone having enough battery to be used at all times. 

Locks that rely on phones may also require your guests to download a separate Android or iOS smartphone app before use, adding an extra barrier to entry, more hassle, more data needed, and another mobile app on your guests’ probably-already-full phone.

To avoid these problems, we recommend smart locks that use keycodes as a good option.

This means that you can send your guests a 4-digit code in advance before they check in, so they can get in even if their phone is dead on arrival, or the app hasn’t been downloaded.



The interior of a CozyHaus space, which uses smart locks to boost security

Credit: Cozyhaus.co


Remote access

You might also consider whether you can control the smart lock access without being on the premises in person.

As well as the security issues we already covered above, this feature means there’s no need to pay someone (or waste time yourself) to hang around waiting for guests. You can also offer guests peace of mind, as the lock can be activated even if they arrive unexpectedly early, or get delayed while traveling.

As Shane Fuhrman, from Operto partner hotel The Wyman in Colorado, says: “Keys are antiquated. They create unnecessary friction. 

“I don't want to stress a guest out and say that if you arrive after 10 pm, you're going to have a less good experience than our guests that arrive earlier, or not even get to your room at all.”



Integration with your property management system

If you’re an Airbnb renter with big ambitions, and you want your short-term rental property business to grow, it’s good to consider if your smart lock of choice will integrate with your property management system (PMS). 

As you manage more guests and properties, you may choose to use a PMS to coordinate your calendar, guest communication, maintenance/housekeeping, and distributing your listings across multiple OTAs.

There are now many PMS platforms that are designed for smaller, more agile businesses. Gone are the days when using a PMS was only for giant chains. Simple but powerful PMS platforms that can be used with your existing smart home devices are enabling hosts of smaller businesses to play big.


Connecting your PMS to your smart lock means you can automate the entire process, and see what’s happening with your property with ease, via a single platform. 


Smart locks are central to connecting your entire PMS and allow you to upgrade your business from casual to competitive while keeping track of who’s going in and out, where, and when.


Connect your operations

Want to integrate your smart lock directly with your PMS?


Operto integrates with a wide range of PMSs and smart devices

Credit: Operto.com/integrations


6 Best Smart Locks For Airbnb in 2021

While there is a huge range of smart locks on the market right now, these are our top choices for locks that work especially well for Airbnb hosts, and which are robust enough to scale with your business as it grows.

The majority of them connect with property automation software such as Operto (which also integrates with your PMS), so you can automate guest access and manage device operations quickly, remotely, digitally, and easily via a single platform.


FYI: This list is our pick of the best smart locks out there, but they’re not presented in any particular order or ranking. We recommend that you look at the needs of your business first and foremost, consider the above criteria, and only then choose the lock that’s right for you.


Operto website screenshot showing a smart lock and Operto Connect portal on a phone

Credit: Operto.com


Operto: The key to connecting your smart locks

Operto works with you as a partner and offers a wide range of integrations because we know that going smart is the key to unlocking (puns intended!) these must-have benefits for your business.

We can get you set up with all of the locks below at 0% financing, along with all of the powerful software needed to fully automate your Airbnb space or short-term rental.

The Operto ConnectTM platform integrates with your PMS, online listing sites, and smart devices—including the locks below, plus thermostats, and AC—and enables you (or your managers) to monitor access, maintenance, and activity of your spaces remotely.

Guests can use the in-browser portal (no need to download an app) to unlock their door, or simply key in a four-digital code on a keypad; and use the same page to control energy use, heat, or AC.

Operto integrates with all of the locks on this list, enabling you to do far more than just open and close doors, and instead ensure a super-connected, contactless, and seamless operation.

We’re confident that any one of the following locks, when connected with Operto, will be a great choice for you and your business.

The Yale Assure Lock SL

Credit: Yalehome.com


Yale Assure Lock Series

From one of the world’s most trusted and recognizable lock brands comes the Yale Assure Series, offering a wide range of designs and styles of smart locks with keypads, including door levers, different colors, and sizes. Many connect to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth and have backup options such as physical keys, or 9V battery power sources. 

Integrates with Operto. Creates unique entry codes and enables permanent, scheduled, or temporary access remotely. Simple and sleek, and easy to install on existing doors with a normal screwdriver (options for North American deadbolt and lever locks). Good for smaller “smart home” spaces.


A Yale nexTouch lock opening a door into a living room

Credit: YaleCommercial.com


Yale nexTouch Series

The Yale nexTouch Series is specially designed to match both the security demands of high-traffic commercial properties; and the tactile, easy-to-use, stylish designs required for smaller hospitality spaces too. It is also weatherproof for outdoor use, which is a must if your rental door leads to the outside.

Integrates with Operto. Offers 500 unique keycodes. Connects to Wi-Fi. Installs on existing doors. Can be installed with an extra deadbolt lock for even more security. Range of designs. Follows North American lock standards.


A Yale Linus Smart Door Lock on a white door

Credit: YaleHome.co.uk


Yale Linus

Also from Yale, the Linus Smart Door Lock is a sleek, modern lock that is fully remote-controlled. Not only that, but its DoorSense™ technology lets you know when your door is closed or left ajar, for added security. Smartphone app or keypad access.

Specifically built to retrofit the wide variety of lock types available across Europe.

Integrates with Operto. Connects to Wi-Fi. Award-winning design (Red Dot 2020 Winner at the Product Design Awards in the Security System and Smart Products categories). Installs discreetly on existing doors, with no smart features visible from the outside, except an optional, inconspicuous wireless keypad.


A Yale Keyless Connected lock on a red door

Credit: YaleHome.co.uk


Yale Keyless Connected

Yet another great option from Yale, the Keyless Connected series is a solid, modern smart lock available in four distinct colors (polished brass, satin nickel, chrome, and black), which is perfect if design and style are important for your Airbnb rental. 

Beyond looks, the Keyless Connected smart lock allows remote access and has a touchscreen keypad. You can set up access via a range of options, including a PIN code. Users can be added or removed easily.

Integrates with Operto. A range of access options. Built-in tamper alarm. Suitable for wooden doors with night latches, primarily found in the United Kingdom.


Three August Smart Locks in black, grey and silver finishes

Credit: August.com


August Smart Lock

One of the most well-known players in the market, the August Smart Lock (and its big sister, the August Smart Lock Pro) offers secure, keyless entry for small and growing businesses alike. Compact enough to look at ease into a domestic-style setting, but robust enough to manage high-traffic rental use, the lock offers full Wi-Fi connection and remote access, smart home integrations, and can also be paired with a keypad.

It allows you to manage access from anywhere, and send (and revoke) secure “keys” to multiple people, at multiple times. You can set up recurring access (say, for cleaners) or limited access (for one-time guests).

Integrates with Operto. Remote access. Connects to Wi-Fi. Has DoorSense™ technology so you can check if your door is locked. Install in minutes on North American deadbolts.


A photo visualization showing how the Nuki Smart Lock fits on a regular door

Credit: Nuki.io


Nuki Smart Lock

Another well-designed, discreet smart lock that retrofits onto existing doors in Europe and provides a serious level of security, using encryption technology seen in online banking, and which is verified by independent institutes such as AV-TEST. 

It enables access permissions to be managed remotely with ease and can offer continuous monitoring, so you know who is going in and out when necessary. 

Integrates with Operto. Remote access. Connects to Wi-Fi. Can be fitted with a keypad that requires a secure, 6-digit user code.


The Igloohome Mortise Lock installed on an open white door

Credit: Igloohome.co


Igloohome Smart Locks

Igloohome provides a suite of high-end smart locks that combine the security of existing deadbolts with the ease of use of keypads—but the real magic lock feature of Igloohome is that its locks work without Wi-Fi - perfect if your vacation rental is off-grid or remote.

Igloohome’s algoPIN™ technology enables you to quickly generate access passcodes on the go that are usable even offline and can be active permanently or for only a set amount of time. 

Integrates with Operto. Remote access. Syncs with Bluetooth. Comes in multiple versions, including padlocks and lockboxes.


So which Airbnb integrated smart lock is right for you?

It depends on you and your business, but while the Yale Assure Series offers a simple, classic option for North America; Yale Linus offers award-winning design, tailored to Europe and Igloohome offers unmatched security even without Wi-Fi. And Operto integrates with every single one.

We work with our clients as partners, helping you each step of the way to switch to rental or home automation, make the switch to smart systems as painless as possible, and maximize your locks’ power, no matter which you pick.

We know that finding a trustworthy, secure, and easy-to-use smart lock that works for you and your guests can be daunting, especially if you haven’t used a smart lock platform before.

But if you’re looking to modernize your systems, make managing your business digitally a breeze, and satisfy your Airbnb guests with a seamless, secure, and easy experience from check-in to check-out, you won’t go far wrong with one of these great options.


Connect your operations

Want to integrate your smart lock directly with your PMS?


en_USEnglish