Authorizing guests to get through building security

The building we live in has watchmen at the entrance. These people don’t work for us, but know who we are. There aren’t that many people in this building.

The watchmen change occasionally. They’re paid very badly, so it’s understandable. A new arrival highlighted a latent issue which I’ve mostly successfully managed to ignore till now, but that potentially is a problem.

The watchmen have different shifts. If a guest (or guests) arrive while a specific watchman is there, he’ll know that that person is a guest. However, a different watchman, on a different shift won’t know this. I’m actually not sure how the watchmen have been communicating with each other about this. But the new guy has stopped two different guests, once each. Both times he called up, and fortunately I was there both times, and told him to let the guest through. But obviously, it’s not guaranteed that I can be there all the time. And of course I could not criticize the watchman - he was just doing his job.

I was wondering what the best way to resolve this was. The only thing that occurred to me was to have identity cards, and give them to the guests to carry. This seems like a bit of an overkill, but at least if the guest (or guests) don’t have the ID card with them, they can’t blame me I don’t get in.

I cannot be the only Airbnb host with this issue. What do others do? And even if you don’t have the setup, thoughts are welcome, of course.

Can you leave a sheet of paper (at the watchmen station) with names of all of your guests - that way they can refer to the list?

If that isn’t feasible I think giving them a lamenated card that say’s “Faheem’s guest” is a good idea. As long as there wouldn’t be any way for guests to exploit this, such as having their local Indian friends re-create the cards to gain access to the compound.

Why does this feel like overkill? It seems like a very reasonable way to manage the guest’s experience. My guests all get a card with their entrance code on it. I use Avery business cards, I print them up by the sheet with a line, and when they arrive, their code is handwritten for them to slip in their wallet. I also let them borrow metro cards and those have all been returned, with $5 remaining.

Hi @cabinhost,

That’s a possible approach, yes. I hadn’t thought of that.

That’s unlikely to be an issue. And the compound itself is far from secure. Not that we’re happy about it - but we can’t control it. We settle for restricting access into the building. That’s more feasible. There are not that many people within the building.

Thanks for the thoughts.

I was going to suggest ID cards before I got to that part of your post. I’ve been in hotels (vegas maybe?) where you have to show your room key before you can go up to your room. Give one to the guards so they know what to look out for

Well that’s good. I wasn’t sure since like you say “this is India.” - Lol!

Oh, and just to be clear, most guests are foreigners, anyway. Mostly from North America and Europe, as one might expect. With a scattering of people from places like Australia and South Africa. Lots of people from the UK, for some reason. Relatively few Indians. And I treat locals with suspicion, and generally don’t rent them to them without explanation. I do get sporadic requests from couples, who (reading between the lines) are looking for somewhere to be alone. Though I think they could do so more cheaply.

Anyway, access to the compound is not really a privileged thing. And if people started copying the ID to get into the building, which is quite unlikely, I think we’d notice fairly quickly. Actually, I’ll make a point of telling the watchmen that at most there will two guests at the same time, and they’ll usually come and go together, because I only give out one key.

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I actually give out a room key, so I suppose I could tell the guards to ask them for that. But an ID card is easy to personalise, and therefore more obvious and unmistakable. Plus, I can give a couple two ID cards. I don’t want to give out two sets of keys.

If your situation, I would give the guests some form of ID, but also tip your building security guys. You say they are badly paid, so I am sure would welcome this.

I appreciate they change, but a small tip wouldn’t break the bank.

Would a combination of the ideas above work? I like the suggestion of leaving a list of forthcoming guests with the security people. Then guests would only have to show their regular ID (driving licence, passport etc) to the guards. Would that work?

For Indian food, @faheem, it’s for the food. :slight_smile:

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Put a coloured fob on the key ring that’s unique then advise the security what to look for, better than ID cards which I as a guest would probably have trouble finding in my bag.