Keep your properties safe and guests happy with vacation rental smart locks. Here are our picks for the five best locks on the market.
October 25, 2023
If you’re still using traditional locks on your vacation rentals, you’ve probably run into a frustrating scenario or two. For example, a guest arrives to their vacation rental and there’s no one there to hand them the key. That means they have to sit and wait after a long day of travel, leading to a bad first impression and a negative review.
Or worse, a guest loses their key and you have to come give them a spare late at night. If you’ve ever dealt with these types of situations (or want to prevent them in the future), smart locks are a reliable solution.
Smart locks provide a smoother check-in process, for both guests and vacation rental managers, while keeping your properties safe. This is important whether you have one or 100 properties, but becomes increasingly crucial as you scale your business.
In this article, we’ll explain why you should be using smart locks, what features to look out for when making your decision, and the five best smart locks for short-term rentals on the market.
What is a short-term rental smart lock?
Smart locks are a type of smart home technology for vacation rentals that simplify the arrival process for guests and make it easy for property managers to run their units remotely. Vacation rental smart locks allow guests or staff to access your units via an access code or mobile key by connecting to Bluetooth or WiFi.
Why you should install smart locks at your Airbnbs and short-term rentals
Smart locks aren’t just about convenience—they provide a smoother guest experience, help keep your properties safe, and clear manual tasks out of your day. Here are a few reasons why you should be using smart locks at your properties:
Better arrival experience: When guests get to your property, they want to access the unit ASAP. With smart locks, they don’t have to coordinate their arrival with one of your staff members or wait for someone to show up and give them a key, helping you get off on the right foot with your guests.
Enhanced security: Whether it’s a guest unintentionally forgetting to lock the front door, or in the worst case, making a copy of your key to access your unit in the future, traditional locks aren’t 100% safe. Smart locks, on the other hand, give you complete control over who’s accessing your properties and when.
Smoother operations: Because you don’t have to deploy staff to give guests their key at every check-in, you can operate with a smaller team or free up your employees’ time to focus on more important tasks. Additionally, using smart locks helps you facilitate the turnover process, as you can remotely share access codes with cleaners and maintenance workers.
But don’t just stop at switching your door locks out. If you want to get the most out of smart locks at your properties, you need to use complementary short-term rental software. For example, make sure your PMS connects to your smart locks so it assigns a code or mobile key to each guest.
Additionally, look into a vacation rental protection and guest communication system that helps you monitor your properties remotely and automatically shares access codes and keys with guests.
What to look for when choosing the perfect smart lock
Consider these features and characteristics when selecting your lock to ensure you choose the best solution for your units:
The installation process: You might be able to find smart locks that retrofit to your existing lock, so do your research on the type of locks you have currently.
Connectivity specs: Some devices may require your property to have a reliable WiFi connection to work, so keep that in mind if your unit is located in a remote, unconnected area.
Unique temporary access codes: You want your lock to create a unique code for each person who accesses the property, which is essential to keeping your units safe.
Integrations: Whatever lock you choose, you want to make sure it integrates with your PMS, guest messaging tools, and other home security systems and devices.
The 5 best smart locks for your short-term rental property
When you think about must-have vacation rental home amenities, smart locks may not be the first thing that comes to mind. However, they can have a big impact on both the guest and host experience, which is why they’re worth the investment.
Here are our top five picks for the best smart locks for short-term rentals to help you choose a solution that will give guests a more enjoyable stay and reduce your workload.
igloohome has a range of smart locks equipped with keypads and compatible with Bluetooth keys. The locks don’t need WiFi to work, and you can revoke access or view who’s accessed your properties remotely via the mobile app.
With igloohome locks, you can manually generate unique pin codes for different users. Or if you want to stay more hands-off, iglooconnect (which integrates with Minut, Airbnb, and other vacation rental software) automatically generates unique codes for each of your guests.
Which locks are available to you depends on where you operate, as availability varies by geographical region. Some of igloohome’s best vacation rental smart locks include:
Retrofit Lock (€179)that lets you transform your existing lock into a smart lock (not available in North America)
Deadbolt 2S ($209.99/€249) for a super slim lock that works with PIN codes, Bluetooth keys, and physical keys and comes with an auto-lock feature
Mortise 2 (€379.99)which you can sync with your Airbnb account and comes with four modes of access (not available in North America)
Nuki gives you automated access management with smart locks designed to fit the needs of short-term rental managers and Airbnb hosts. Installation is incredibly quick and simple, taking just 15 minutes, and you can connect your locks to your PMS or Minut to automatically share access codes.
The locks are fitted on the inside of your unit’s door and you can manage them remotely thanks to a built-in WiFi functionality. Nuki’s power pack battery holds charge for up to six months, and you can charge it by connecting it to a power source via a USB-C cable.
Nuki offers a range of lock solutions, but the company recommends its Smart Lock 3.0 Pro (€279) for vacation rentals. With this lock, you can monitor access via the Nuki app, automatically share digital keys with guests, and remotely provide access with the Auto Unlock feature.
August smart locks let you offer self check-in to your guests while protecting your properties. You can install them over your existing deadbolt in just minutes, letting you offer your guests access via a secure virtual key.
August Home integrates with Airbnb and automatically generates a unique entry key for each booking, which gets sent to your guest before check-in. Guests use the August app to access their mobile key, or if you install a keypad, you can send them a unique PIN code. Plus, you can manually grant remote access to allow cleaners or maintenance staff to access your properties.
August offers a few different types of smart locks, but for its vacation rental clients, the company recommends the August Smarter Hosting Bundle ($259.9) or Smarter Hosting Bundle-Pro ($289.99). This includes the Smart Lock (or Smart Lock Pro), August Connect WiFi Bridge, and August Smart Keypad.
Yale is one of the best-known smart lock producers on the market, and the company has a number of smart locks that work great for vacation rentals. That’s because Yale Assure locks connect to Airbnb, automating code generation and guest messaging all within the Airbnb platform.
Like the other locks on this list, you can also remotely grant access to cleaning crews or maintenance staff and manually create recurring access codes. This all happens on the Yale Access App, where you can also view historical access activity. Best of all, installation takes just minutes, as you can easily replace your existing deadbolt with Yale’s locks.
These are the lock options Yale recommends for short-term rental hosts and property managers:
Yale Assure Lock 2 Keypad with Wi-Fi ($239.99), a push button keypad with the option of a physical key
Yale Assure Lock 2 Touchscreen with Wi-Fi ($259.99), a touchscreen keypad with the option of a physical key
Yale Assure Lock 2 Key-Free Touchscreen with Wi-Fi ($259.99), a completely keyless option that lets you create unique passcodes
Schlage is another trusted home automation company that creates reliable smart locks that you can control remotely. Schlage Encode™ locks connect with the Schlage Home app, which allows you to lock and unlock your door from anywhere, as well as set unique permanent, temporary, or recurring access codes. Alternatively, you can share virtual keys with your guests via the app.
Schlage locks have built-in WiFi, connecting to your home’s network, and you can view lock status remotely so you can rest assured your unit is locked when vacant. Plus, Schlage Encode™ locks connect with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, meaning your Airbnb guests can enjoy the convenience of locking the doors from the sofa.
Because these locks connect with the Schlage Home smartphone app, Schlage recommends any of its Encode™ devices for short-term rentals (prices vary depending on retailer). This includes the Schlage Encode™ Smart WiFi Deadbolt and the Schlage Encode Plus™ Smart WiFi Deadbolt, the latter of which even works with Apple home keys.
Connect your locks to an all-in-one vacation rental security solution for smoother, safer operations
All the devices we’ve covered in this article are reliable locking systems that can give you greater peace of mind while providing more convenience for guests. To ensure you pick the lock that will best fit your needs, ask yourself the following questions when making your decision:
Can this lock be fitted over my existing lock?
Does this lock need connection to a WiFi network to work or does it work offline?
Can I manage and monitor access remotely?
Does this lock integrate with my existing systems and software?
On top of investing in smart locks, we recommend using an all-in-one short-term rental protection device like the privacy-safe Minut sensor. Minut integrates with igloohome and Nuki smart locks, meaning it automatically sends guests their access information.
The device also comes with other home protection features like noise and occupancy monitoring, cigarette smoke detection, temperature and humidity tracking, and a security alarm, so you can have real-time visibility across your portfolio and keep your guests and properties safe.