Digital Locks at your Vacation Rental

May 10, 2013


Tired of those renters that arrive in the middle of the night and having to get out of bed, get dressed, and driving over to your property to give them keys. If you haven’t heard by now, those days can be over for your rental. Digital locks will revolutionize how you check in your guests.

There is something to be said about meeting your guests personally but for many owners and property management companies, this is simply not possible for each and every renter.  Welcome the digital lock!  There are as many digital locks are there are different kinds of vacation rentals. All of these locks require batteries and typically should be replaced once a year.  I will outline three types of locks that we use and the pro and cons of each one below.
Kwikset Digital Lock

The Simplest Digital Locks

The simplest locks have one code that you can program into the door. This code is given to each renter arrives in your home. There are inherent risks with this type of lock. First, the code stays the same for each renter. Renters can revisit your home or give the code to other people. You never know exactly who or when someone has been in your home.  I am sure you can see the dangers with this lock.  This lock does have some great advantages though. We use these types of locks for our storage closets.  The codes for the locks on all the homes are usually the same so our cleaning crews only have to remember one code to get the supplies to clean the rental.

This is an example of the Kwikset lock we use for our rentals. This lock can be purchased at any home improvement store for about $100.



Resort Lock RL 2000A Much Smarter Lock

The next evolution of the digital lock lets you change the code for each renter. Better yet, the lock lets you generate different codes for everyone that needs access to your home.   You can also set time durations where the code will work. For example, our cleaning crews have a code that only works for them from the hours of 9 am to 4 pm everyday. If they need access to the home for any reason outside of those hours, we can issues a one time code for them. These locks can be set to automatically lock after they open so your home will never be unlocked.  Another great use is to give repair people access to the home during a certain time window. For example, the cable guy will be coming to work in the home between the hours of 12 and 4. It is easy enough to generate a code for them that will only let them in the home during those hours.  This type of lock is crucial for the owner that can’t visit the home for each check in. One great thing about the lock is that it will not let you back in the house after the check out time you decide upon. Imagine if you are an out of state of owner managing a property. You really don’t have any idea if a renter is staying at your home pass their check out time and date.  The real beauty of this lock is that you can download the data from the lock and see who and when someone has checked into your home. If you have a theft in the home and you know approximately when it happened, you can download the data from the lock to see if it was opened by someone that had a code to the home (i.e. Housekeeping).   Although we do meet each and every guest within 24 hours of their arrival, these locks have helped us mitigate many problems and headaches.

We use locks from Resort Lock specifically the RL 2000.  Another company that has a good reputation and similar locks is Kaba Locks. This locks are pricey at $300-400 each but well worth the investment if you have a busy rental.

Lockstate-DB500i-2The Smartest Lock

Recently, a few companies have developed what may be the smartest lock. These locks have all the features of the locks above but do much more. First off, these locks are WiFi enabled!  They connect to your home network and can be accessed with any device that has internet access. You can view if the lock is locked or unlocked and view who and when people have entered or left your home. They can send you text messages when people have checked in or checked out! You can even disable the lock from anywhere if you, heaven forbid, had to evict a renter.

These locks go one step further and can be used with other Wifi products such as thermostats and/or lights. They can be programmed to do any number of things. We use the thermostats, lights, and locks on some of our ultra high end homes. We program the lock to turn on the air conditioning and lights when someone checks into the home. We also make sure to turn off the lights and HVAC when they check out. This locks are simply amazing.

A company called Lockstate makes the Wifi Locks, thermostats, video cameras, and lamp modules that all interact with each other.

Add a digital lock to your vacation rental and sleep a little better. This will help you manage your time and your guests will love them.

We use this on all our properties. Feel free to ask us for more information on any of these locks.



About Greg

Greg is the owner of Pacific Coast Vacation Properties, a high end vacation rental management company located in San Diego, CA. He also owns a full service real estate brokerage company that helps owners buy vacation rental and commercial property. In his spare time, Greg volunteers for Habitat for Humanity and other charitable groups in San Diego.

View all posts by Greg

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