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Smart Locks vs Keypads vs Keys for Airbnb and VRBO Rentals: An In-Depth Analysis

In the evolving landscape of short-term rentals, the choice between smart locks, keypads, and traditional keys is pivotal. This guide delves into the pros and cons of each, steering clear of outdated technologies like keys, and embracing modern solutions that cater to the needs of Airbnb and VRBO hosts and their guests. 


Smart Locks: The Future of Rental Security 



  • Integration with Platforms: Smart locks like the August Smart Lock Pro offer seamless integration with Airbnb, automatically issuing invites to guests for app access during their stay. 

  • Enhanced Security: Unique entry codes for each guest eliminate the risk of unauthorized access post-stay. 

  • Convenience: Features like auto-lock and remote access enhance guest convenience and reduce key loss incidents.


  • Reliance on Wi-Fi: Smart locks depend on Wi-Fi, which can be problematic in connectivity dead zones. 

  • App Glitches: Inconsistencies in app performance may lead to guest inconvenience. 

  • Bulkiness and Installation Issues: Some models like the August Smart Lock are bulky and may require lock alignment adjustments. 


Keypads: Balancing Tradition and Technology 



  • Ease of Use: Keypads such as the Schlage Z-Wave Connect offer simple, app-free access using a 4-digit code, ideal for guests not keen on downloading apps. 

  • Affordability: Typically, more affordable than high-end smart locks. 

Durability: Often more resilient to weather and wear. 


  • No Airbnb Integration: Manually updating codes for each reservation can be time-consuming. 

  • Limited Features: Lack the advanced features of smart locks, such as remote access and usage tracking. 


Traditional Keys: The Outdated Option 



  • Simplicity: Familiar and straightforward to use. 

  • No Dependence on Technology: Unaffected by digital malfunctions or power outages. 


  • Security Risks: Risk of key duplication and unauthorized re-entry by past guests. 

  • Inconvenience: Managing physical keys is cumbersome, especially for hosts managing multiple properties. 

  • Limited Control: No option for remote management or access tracking. 


The transition from traditional keys to smart locks and keypads is a leap towards modernization in the Airbnb and VRBO rental market. While smart locks offer the best in technology and convenience, their reliance on Wi-Fi and app performance can be a drawback. Keypads strike a middle ground, offering ease without the complexities of smart tech. Ultimately, the choice depends on the specific needs of your rental property, your guests' preferences, and your budget. 

For Airbnb and VRBO hosts, evolving with technology and opting for smart locks or keypads not only enhances guest experience but also streamlines the management process, propelling your rental business into the future.

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