Getting Keys to the Guest (Checkin/Checkout)...How do you do it?

I am struggling with this one. What is the best way to do it? What is your process?

Keys are a big pain, @cityhost. Guests were always walking off with them rather than returning them to the hook. I got them all back, but after way too much back and forth.
I got rid of keys a year or so ago for a keypad. Code is changed for every guest. It’s been brilliant.
If you have to do keys, and you cannot hand them over in person, you can use a lockbox or a key café. I have seen both, as a guest, and they were fine. A recent host of mine put them in the listing mailbox. You want to be a countryhost rather than a cityhost to do that, I think.

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Thank you! Great ideas here. Yes it would be keys but for a building in the city. Would anyone pay for a centralized lockbox service, like automated? The key cafe sounds interesting as well. I will research this more. Please more stories and suggestions guys.

I second the smart lock, and get it with remote access for yourself.


We have a keypad, but ours is not “smart”, we have to manually enter the codes but we live next door and it’s easy enough for us to do. A keypad lock, smart or not, is a necessity IMO, because waiting around for guests, etc., gets old really quickly.

Do not ever put keys in your mailbox.
I’m a locksmith and if I had $1 for every rekey Ive been to that the customer has left keys in the mailbox I would be retired.

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Oh my gosh it gets old!! Truly. What is IMO? I was hoping to run this remotely more often than I am. But I hear you guys. Smart lock, keypad if possible. Any other processes or quick fixes I’m listening. Thx so far guys.

IMO = In my opinion. We still try to greet our guests in person whenever possible, but the keypad has given us so much freedom in case we’re unable to. It also gives our guests freedom to stop for a meal if they’re on a road trip for instance without having to keep updating us with changes to their arrival time.

I refuse to “run remote”. When I show them the Cabana, I point out the key in the lock and remind them at the end of their stay to put the key back in the lock. In 3 years have only had one guest accidentally drive off with the key. But she risked missing her flight to drive back and return them to us.

We also use a keypad. It is wonderful. While we program a 4-digit number only we and the housekeeper know. For the guests we used the last 4 digits of the phone number used to make the reservation. I send welcome letter 2 weeks in advance, indicating their 4-digit number, which for them is super-easy to remember.

smart locks and self check in are the way to go.