While it’s great to greet guests with a personal welcome, for many busy vacation rental owners, in-person check-ins aren’t always a possibility. Particularly for those who live far from their property or manage multiple listings.
Luckily, technology advances in recent years have made managing properties from afar a much smoother and more secure process.
A WiFi door lock is one of the main tools that owners can use to facilitate remote property management. With a smart lock like this, you (or your guests, housekeepers and so on) can open your door using a smartphone, or in some cases, a fingerprint.
How Do Smart Locks Work?
In general, smart locks use a WiFi or Bluetooth connection to a smartphone to open. A WiFi door lock is designed to perform locking and unlocking operations when it receives these instructions from an authorized device, such as a mobile phone.
For vacation rental businesses, smart locks can speed up turnover time. This is because property owners can grant guests access to the property with a virtual key sent by email or SMS.
Once the guest is within Bluetooth range or connects to the property WiFi, the lock activates and allows them to easily open the door. Hosts can grant guests access for the duration of their stay, or even set up a one-time virtual key for service professionals.
Questions to Ask About Smart Locks
With many options on the market, it can be overwhelming to take the plunge and switch to a smart WiFi door lock. We’ve come up with some considerations to keep in mind.
How smart is it?
What kind of connection does it have? Is it only Bluetooth or does it have a WiFi signal? Does it work in conjunction with other home automation technology? Will it link up to your alarm system or video cameras?
What integrations does it offer?
Alexa, Google Home and Nest are a few of the most popular home assistant tools – does the lock integrate with them? If not, can you purchase an add-on that will?
Retrofit or replace?
Depending on the type of smart lock you choose, it will either work with your existing door handle and you will need to install the locking hardware on the inside of your door, or you can replace the existing built-in lock altogether. This is particularly important to know if your vacation rental property boasts elegant or expensive door hardware that you don’t want to replace.
What’s the secondary access method?
All smart locks require at least one backup entry method, typically a manual lock with a key. However, sometimes, digital or electronic locks will be in place.
Is there a power backup?
Digital WiFi or Bluetooth locks work with electricity. Fortunately, many modern locks come with a 9V emergency battery backup which will be enough power to open your door.
Top 4 WiFi Door Locks for Vacation Rentals
There are countless choices for smart locks, so we’ve done some research on the most popular ones for vacation rental homes.
August Smart Lock Pro + Connect
This smart lock from August allows you to lock and unlock your front door from anywhere. It works with both WiFi and Bluetooth, and you can even program it to automatically unlock when you arrive and lock when you leave. The sleek design allows you to keep your existing hardware and keys and comes with very easy installation directions.
Schlage Encode™ Smart WiFi Deadbolt
The Schlage Encode™ WiFi lock connects to your home from anywhere. You can pair the lock with the Schlage Home app or the Key by Amazon app so you can grant access to guests and define custom access codes.
Nest x Yale Lock
Combining 177 years of Yale’s experience making the world’s strongest locks with new smart home technology, the Nest x Yale Lock is secure, convenient and connected. Simple installation means it can replace an existing deadbolt in minutes. Other notable features include one-touch locking and low battery alerts.
Kwikset Obsidian Smart Lock
A stylish take on door hardware, the Kwikset Obsidian Smart Lock eliminates traditional keyways for total key-free access and unparalleled security. This sleek smart lock comes in both non-connected and Home Connect versions, with the latter allowing you access to superior wireless encryption and an extended wireless range.
What to take away
Sure, smart locks add convenience, but first and foremost, they are a security device for your rental home. As well as this, they are a great way to automate the check-in process and they bring numerous other advantages to make hosting light work.
While some of your guests may not be tech-savvy, providing a simple explanation in your welcome instructions and a link to download any software (such as an app if necessary) will make for a frictionless experience.
Finally, by enabling the auto relock feature on your WiFi smart lock device, you can have total peace of mind that guests won’t leave your property without correctly and properly locking the front door.