As a homeowner who operates an Airbnb, you want to make sure your home and property stay safe while your guests enjoy a comfortable visit. It can be challenging to balance security and homey hospitality. We’ve put together a comprehensive guide to help you keep your guests and property secure while keeping everything accessible, inviting, and in compliance with Airbnb policies.
Using physical keys comes with a variety of cost and security risks. Keys easily get lost, damaged, or even copied! Did you know you don’t have to provide proof of ownership or permission to have a key copied at most home improvement stores? It only takes a few minutes for one unscrupulous guest to copy your house key so he can return after checkout to help himself to whatever he fancies.
It’s also difficult to track down keys that guests forgot to return or enforce checkout times, especially if you are out of town or don’t live at the Airbnb property.
Smart locks are the perfect balance of convenience and security. Simply provide guests with a code that can be easily changed with your smartphone. Some locks even allow you to provide temporary access codes that begin and end at specified dates and times.
Smart locks also allow you to give cleaners, handymen, and other maintenance people access to the Airbnb at appropriate times. This makes your job easier and frees up time in your busy schedule.
For just a few hundred dollars, smart locks are a wise investment for any Airbnb owner. They fit standard doors and are very easy to install. Not only will they improve overall security, these locks allow your guests to come and go easily.
Video doorbells are a convenient way to keep track of who is coming in and out of your Airbnb. Video doorbells allow you to review the activity of the day and are an easy way to make sure your guests aren’t sneaking in more visitors than they registered. If you have a no-pet policy a video doorbell will also help make sure nobody sneaks Fido in under your nose.
Smart doorbells are also a nice backup to smart locks. If your guest forgets the code or their phone is dead, all they need to do is ring the doorbell! The two-way audio and one-way video communication will allow you to confirm their identity and unlock the door remotely for your guests.
Using audio, video, or photo surveillance in your Airbnb property is allowed as long as you follow Airbnb’s rules and guidelines and abide by all state regulations. Airbnb strictly forbids installing cameras or surveillance devices in private areas like bedrooms and bathrooms, as does the Commonwealth of Virginia.
It is illegal in Virginia to record people’s conversations without their prior consent. It’s a good idea to invest in “silent security cameras” that do not have audio capabilities to make sure you are in compliance with all the home security rules and regulations for both Airbnb and Virginia.
All types of surveillance devices in or around the Airbnb property must be disclosed in the “House Rules” or guest information, even if the devices are not turned on. Hosts must also let guests know if any devices are actively recording. Even decibel monitors and baby monitors must be disclosed to guests for their privacy and safety.
As long as you are abiding by the Airbnb policies you shouldn’t be shy about your security system or cameras. For many guests, security systems in the Airbnb are a perk! People traveling alone or visiting unfamiliar areas may feel safer knowing you take their safety seriously. If done properly, listing home security and surveillance systems as an amenity could be an asset to flaunt, not a detractor from your listing.
Restricting Access To Certain Areas
Perhaps you want to restrict access to certain parts of your Airbnb property. It’s a good idea to keep private living quarters off limits to your guests and you might want to keep guests out of certain drawers, cabinets, or other spaces as well. Even Airbnb security guidelines encourage hosts to lock up their valuables and private spaces they don’t want guests to access.
A smart lock is the most secure and convenient method of locking entire rooms or sections of the house. Keeping drawers, cabinets, or other smaller areas locked is a little trickier. Installing small locks and entry sensors on these areas will alert you if anyone tries to open or tamper with them.
Also consider installing entry sensors on all windows and outside doors so you will know if a guest accidentally leaves a window or door open after they check out.
If you would like to add an additional layer of security around certain parts of your property, motion detectors will alert you if guests start to wander where they aren’t welcome. As long as the detectors don’t begin recording or transmit audio, video, or photos they are within Airbnb’s policies.
Be sure to include information about the “off-limits” areas and any motion or entry sensors in your guest information and “House Rules”. That way guests will know to avoid the locked areas and are aware of the sensors.
Smart Home Tech
It’s often the little things that make a big difference. Smart home technology adds extra comfort features for your guests, gives you peace of mind, and can even save you money!
Switching to a smart thermostat eliminates the need to stop by your rental property to make sure the heat or air conditioning is at the right temperature. With a swipe of your finger on a smart phone you’ll be able to set the temperature remotely so your rental is ready for guests’ arrival and make sure everything is back to normal after they leave. Smart thermostats are an easy investment that will save you money in heat and electric bills.
Installing smart lights in your Airbnb is more for your convenience than your guests. Use your smartphone to make sure that cozy lights are turned on to welcome arriving guests. Then make sure everything is turned off after your guests leave without having to pay an extra visit to your Airbnb property. Smart light bulbs continue to work as normal lights for your guests but help you save time and money.
Balancing security and comfort in an Airbnb is very possible. Guests appreciate the convenience that security and smart home devices offer and hosts value the added safety as well as the time and money savings.