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Key Safety

Ensuring a safe and secure key handover process is crucial for short-term rentals.


Regardless of the method chosen, prioritise the security of both the property and the guest during the key handover process. Regularly assess the effectiveness of your chosen method and adjust as needed to enhance safety and convenience.


Here are several methods you can use to safely hand over keys to guests:


Keyless entry systems


Consider installing a keyless entry system that allows guests to access the property using a unique code or electronic key. This eliminates the need for physical keys and provides a secure and convenient solution.


Digital lock boxes


Use a secure digital lockbox with a code that can be provided to guests before check-in. This allows guests to retrieve the key independently upon arrival. Change the code for each new guest to enhance security.


Meet and greet


Arrange to meet guests in person for the key handover. This can be a convenient option if you or a property manager is available to welcome guests, provide instructions, and answer any questions.


Key exchange services


Utilise key exchange services that facilitate secure key handovers between hosts and guests. These services may involve a designated location or a third party responsible for the exchange.


Smart locks


Install smart locks that can be remotely controlled or programmed with temporary access codes. This allows you to grant access to guests for the duration of their stay and revoke access once they check out.


Hotel-style key cards


Use hotel-style key cards that can be programmed for the duration of a guest's stay. This option is convenient and provides an extra layer of security.


Mail or courier services


Mail the keys to the guest in advance, ensuring they receive them before their arrival. This method works well for guests who book well in advance, allowing time for shipping.


Local key drop-off points


Establish designated key drop-off points in secure and easily accessible locations. Guests can pick up the keys from these points upon arrival, and you can provide detailed instructions.


Key handover services


Engage the services of a professional key handover service. These services may involve a third-party representative who meets the guests, provides keys, and offers an introduction to the property.


Neighbourhood business partnerships


Partner with local businesses, such as cafes or shops, to act as key pick-up points. Ensure that these businesses are trustworthy and located conveniently for guests.


Concierge services


If available, offer concierge services where a dedicated staff member is responsible for greeting guests, providing keys, and helping during their stay.


Security deposit for physical keys


If providing physical keys, consider implementing a security deposit policy. Guests are more likely to take responsibility for the keys if there is a financial incentive to do so.


Guest registration process


Implement a secure guest registration process where guests provide identification information in advance. This can enhance the security of the key handover process.




Clearly communicate the key handover process to guests in advance. Provide detailed instructions, including any codes or access information, to avoid confusion.

Further reading:


HCH Directory – Key Safety

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