Using the latest technologies and automating the check-in process is a perfect solution for homeowners who are too busy for a personal key hand-over. Whether you are unavailable, managing too many properties or your guests cannot make an agreed time, an automated check-in and check-out is an effective way to simplify the whole process.

In the following paragraphs you will learn about automated check-in options that are available to you as homeowner.

1. Key box

The key box is not the most recent idea on the market, but it has fulfilled its purpose for years. A key box with a combination lock is a little box in which you can store a key or a cardz. It can look like a safe and be fixed to the wall or look more like a tiny bicycle lock attached to a gate or hidden in the front yard. Furthermore, the purchase is simple: you can get a key box in almost every hardware store.

How does it work?
Put the key in the box and choose a combination of numbers. Then, make sure you address the following questions before check-in:

Where is the key box located?
How to use the key box?
What is the code?
What should guests do with the key after check-out?

Particularly useful: Many of the available key boxes allow you to reset the number combination for each guest over and over. This gives you the opportunity to undertake important security precautions.

Disadvantage: Key boxes can easily be broken or stolen.

2. Electronic Lock

Anyone who uses electronic locks no longer needs a conventional door lock or keys. Electronic locks are available either with number buttons or – in the more high-tech version – with a touch screen that displays a number field. The keypad locking system is built into the door and can be opened using a combination of numbers you specify. You will find a large selection of different models available at online shops for locks and security items.

How does it work?
Once installed, using the electronic lock is a walk in the park. If you specify a key combination, send your guests an email with the access code for the holiday accommodation before checking in and everything else will be done by itself.

Particularly useful: You can easily change the access code for the holiday accommodation for new guests without having to be on site. If a guest forgets the code, just send a short message and the guest has access again!

Disadvantage: For the installation of the lock, the door must be cut and, compared to a key box, this option is more expensive. But also consider the cost savings: there are no more lost keys and no more annoying lock replacements!

3. Smart Lock

A Smart Lock is an electromechanical lock that can be unlocked or locked by connecting to an authorized device. A digital code must be transmitted from an approved device (your smartphone, for instance) to the Smart Lock via a wireless interface for it to open (like Bluetooth, Z-Wave, radio, Wi-Fi, NFC or biometrics). Smart locks are therefore a perfect alternative for technology enthusiasts and they can either use them as a stand-alone locking system or install them over the door handle as an additional safety feature.

How does it work?
Your guest’s smartphone, which you have previously verified, can be used to send a wireless signal to open the door. In contrast to conventional wireless locks, a Smart Lock also monitors all accesses and can send notifications of problems to your devices. This function gives you precise control over which guests have access to your holiday accommodation and when they can enter the holiday home or house at check-in.

Particularly useful: The smartphone battery has given up, the mobile data connection is on strike and your guests therefore have no access to the accommodation? No problem! In this case, you as the homeowner can open the door remotely with just a few clicks.

Disadvantage: Your guests need a smartphone. In addition, one Smart Lock can only be attached to one door. For example, if you have a back door that needs to be secured, it is necessary to buy another Smart Lock.

4. Shared Box (Locker Box)

Renting a shared box is a lesser known, but quite practical way of handing over keys. A shared box is comparable to a small locker or safe that is rented by a private provider. Lockers can often be found in larger cities and as a homeowner you can rent one compartment per key to store yours in and keep it safe between check-out’s and check-in’s. It is particularly suitable for urban holiday homes with a high rate of short-term stays and weekend travellers. The compartments can be opened using an app, which will send the details of the key pick-up to your smartphone.

How does it work?
After renting one of the compartments, you can deposit your key there, which is kept safe until the next guest picks it up. With the help of the app you can assign a recipient to the key(i.e. your next guest) and you can track the handover process live with the app.

Particularly useful: A shared box can only be found in select, monitored locations, which makes it a secure way of key exchange.

Disadvantage: The shared box should not be too far away from the accommodation, as a further journey could deter guests.

No matter which option you choose, it’s worth considering an automated check-in to keep your guests happy and your reviews high!