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The Airbnb Key Service Management Tips for Owners You Should Follow

Airbnb owners have a large level of responsibility and pressure to ensure that guests staying in their properties have a smooth and carefree stay. There is a lot of risk in the property sector, and vacation purpose rentals are their own category entirely. Everything needs to be secure and accounted for, and that includes the all-important key exchange process. With that in mind, this post has compiled some top advice for airbnb key service and more, for Airbnb owners.

Emphasizing the importance of secure key exchange and guest satisfaction
Top advice for Airbnb owners on key exchange and ensuring a smooth guest experience.

What is Airbnb?

Before we go any further, let’s dig into what Airbnb is. Airbnb, as explained here by UpperKey, is a property rental service. Property owners can rent out their property to potential guests. They can be present in the property in a B&B style arrangement, or they can leave the property vacant for the guest – though the regulations vary from country to country.

Airbnb guests demographic

Airbnb is popular across a wide demographic including business people, families, couples, and groups of friends because there is such a versatile range of properties and a global platform for it. It provides an authentic way of experiencing a country and provides a home-style residence option.

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How Does it Work for Owners?

Potential guests create an account on the Airbnb website. They can then browse through the listed properties for their chosen destination. All the listings provide plenty of details about the potential property, the host, the area, and more. There is an instant book option available for some hosts, but not all.

Check in confirmation

Some listings require a waiting time for confirmation. After the booking has been confirmed, the host (owner of the property) will get in touch about welcome arrangements, or the guest can contact them through the Airbnb profile.

Key Management Advice

One of the main concerns and challenges for Airbnb hosts is the safety of their property. It goes without saying that guests need access, but how do you go about providing the keys while maintaining the security of the building as well?

In-Person Key Handover

Key exchange

A popular option is for hosts to greet guests at the property at an agreed arrival time. Lots of owners approve of this method because it means keys are never unattended. Instead, key exchange is passed directly into the possession of the guest. It is also a way to make their presence felt and answer any questions for a more personal and nurturing stay experience. Don’t forget, hosts are rated on their hosting skills on the Airbnb platform, so an in-person meeting can only boost this score (if done right) as much as a little gift for guests. Good relationship with them is a key for succcess.

Importance of personal connection and positive guest experiences for Airbnb success
In-person key exchange offers a personal touch and boosts Airbnb host ratings.

Key holder or in-person check in? Slef check in is more and more popular


Peace of mind: In this line of business, there is an inevitable anxiety present around who exactly will be making themselves at home during the rental period. Therefore, meeting face to face to complete the Airbnb key exchange enables an opportunity for both parties to be put at ease.

Secure: It also ensures that the key doesn’t go amiss and that the intended recipient is the only one who gets it. Further to this, there is added reassurance that there are no access issues, and it saves having to store the key in a vulnerable location prior to checking in.

Personable: Being able to show your face and make introductions goes a long way toward a positive review. It also grants the guest some reassurance that you are close by to resolve any queries or problems.

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This option, while preferable to some, has some immediate drawbacks that spring to mind:

Late arrivals: If a guest arrives late because of travel delays or otherwise, the host is immediately inconvenienced. These delays can last hours, and the property may not be close by or close to amenities.

No shows: Similar to late arrivals, from time to time guests are a complete no show. This means they don’t turn up on the agreed date or at all for their holiday. Though hosts are protected in terms of money through the Airbnb agenda, their time is up to them to manage.

Language barriers: There are ways around language barriers, but they definitely make communication more difficult. This means conveying essential information to guests may be lost in translation, and even misinterpreted.

Inconvenient: Some guests only book in for one night, so key management for short-term rentals in this way becomes unrealistic. It would mean the host has to attend to the property on a daily basis, especially around work, and life commitments, and if the property is located far away, is just not a viable option.

The need for alternative solutions for hosts with busy schedules or properties located far away
Managing keys for short-term rentals can be challenging due to daily commitments and distance from the property.

Secure Box Option

Another viable option that many hosts tend to lean towards is the secure box option (key storage). This is a safe-style box (key holder) placed externally in a subtle location around the property. This box has a code that needs to be typed in, to unlock the key. The key is then stored inside. Some hosts prefer to add a double layer of encryption by adding the key inside a box inside the external box. This code is shared with guests who have fully paid and confirmed arrival details.

Smart Locks

Another great idea for quick key exchange and self check in, is to mount a professional smart locks to your apartment`s front door. You can find smart lock in every shop providing house equipments


Quick: The key exchange is managed between bookings through the guest following the instructions in the welcome exchange. The code is inputted and the key is left in the chosen secure box location. It is as easy as that, and there is no waiting around for either side to show up or a need for any communication at all. Make sure the instructions are crystal clear with no ambiguities, and everything should run smoothly.

Convenient: This method eliminates the need for any physical interaction, which is particularly useful if the property is located some distance away from where the host lives. The guest can do everything independently and the key presence can be confirmed by the cleaning staff or similar.

Secure: It is extremely difficult to open these types of secure boxes without a passcode. That means to break into one would take a lot of time, force, and planning.


Vulnerable: Though they are extremely secure, there is still a risk of being broken into. Thieves may observe the property and look for patterns and obtain the passcode, or they may break in using physical force and tools. Though this is rare, it can happen.

Impersonal: As we mentioned above, Airbnb hosts thrive on positive reviews. Without the in-person meeting, the whole experience may feel slightly impersonal – which suits some guests but not others!

Reception Options

If the property is in a larger complex such as an apartment building or similar, there could be an option to leave the key in a secure location at the reception desk. Not every apartment complex has a manned reception, but many do – especially abroad. This seems like the most convenient option for properties check in that fall into this category.


Reliable: Most places that have a security guard or that are managed, have somebody on duty 24/7. Which is great news for Airbnb owners wanting to opt into this method of key exchange as it means there will always be someone around, regardless of the required guest check-in time.

Secure: The key, when not in use, will be protected at all times by a manned station. It will be locked up and secure until it is needed and the handover will be legitimate and professional. Guests usually have to show identification documentation in these situations, to gain access.


Extra cost: There may be an extra cost associated with using these types of services. The person at the front desk will already have responsibilities in this role and although the apartment manager may allow for key management in the contract, there is likely to be an additional cost to consider.

Potential fees for utilizing front desk personnel or apartment managers
Using key management services may come with an additional cost.

Airbnb Specific Key Management Companies

Lastly, there is the option to outsource everything to UpperKey. These services will cost money, but they do have their perks and suit some hosts more than others. Everything from check-in to cleaning and maintenance to key management is taken care of.

Service that handles everything from check-in to cleaning, maintenance, and key management for Airbnb hosts
Outsourcing to UpperKey offers comprehensive services for Airbnb hosts.

Airbnb host third party service | Saving time with personal touch


Everything Taken Care Of: The price you pay is reflected in the service received. This is one of the most convenient and least time-consuming ways to run an Airbnb business and you can pick and choose which products to sign up for.


Costly: There is a premium cost for enlisting these services. A portion of your rental fee will be taken, so you have to factor that into the overall profit margin as it will be naturally depleted.


Airbnb hosts have a lot to think about and plan for. It is nowhere near as simple as buying a property and just renting it out. The security of the building needs to be considered on all fronts, and key management is a large part of this process. Guests need access to the key in line with their arrival times and lots of people opt for Airbnb because it allows a greater degree of flexibility. Overall, lockboxes are one of the more popular options. Though some hosts still prefer to handle everything in person.

Showcasing lockboxes as a popular option for providing flexible and secure access to guests
Key management is a crucial aspect of Airbnb hosting, with lockboxes being a popular choice for flexibility and security.

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