Solving The Frustration Of Accommodation Managers Worst Nightmare: Keys


Let’s solve one of the most time consuming headaches faced by accommodation managers:

keyless-lock-accommodation-managers
The cost of lost keys, rekeying locks, and guest lock outs, duplicate keys floating around – cupboards full. Tagged with colourful plastic. What about guests, vendors, cleaners or maintenance people wanting access to your accommodation at odd times? And you have to stop everything, get in your car to open. What a waste.
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I am sure you can recall many horror stories.
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I remember the guest who phone on Sunday and said they are an hour from Cape Town. We planned a braai after the key delivery. Thirty minutes later we were off to meeting and give them the key. An hour later they said they had to go past friends and will meet us within 30 mins. “Just wait!”, she saidSeriously. You have just stuffed my Sunday. It was already stuffed you just killed it.

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Or the plumber who came to fix a leaking toilet of a place we manage. We went to the gym and planned to meet him on our way back as we pass this short-term rental home. He was on time. And we had to hang, around scratching our noses, while he checked and realised he needed a part and will have to come back tomorrow. Tomorrow again!

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By the way: While typing away Elmarie walked around searching and saying, “Jill’s arriving and I cannot find the key.” Ha ha.

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You have heard this one where the guest, who paid all their money, but now have a sister who wants to view the property. I have no problem with the request. But it’s tied to a physical key that needs a body to carry it at an inconvenient time.

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And what do accommodation managers or their staff do?

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They drive up and down up and down. For a key! How behind the times are we? Our newspaper, money, letters, and more are delivered electronically but keys? They are physical limitations needing a body. Why?

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In addition to the manager’s frustration, owners get billed each time their accommodation manager or staff visit their home. Or the manager includes these costs into his fixed fee. Joke. Whatever you call it owners are paying for in efficiencies related to keys tied to bodies.

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Today I want your advice.  You can help me in designing the best alternatives to physical keys.

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I am going to share the benefits of a keyless remote unlock system used by most progressive accommodation managers and DIY short-term rental owners. After the benefits I want to ask your opinion on various options I am considering. Would this interest you? I will also share the results with you.

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Before I get to the benefits let me explain how a Keyless lock works:

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As the manager you get a black-box with software and a special lock. This software talks to the lock through various means. Some communicates to the locks via WiFi, GSM, or only a code. Let me explain.

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  • Your guest will arrive on Friday and leave next Friday.
  • You set these dates in your software while you sit in your offices – hours away from the accommodation you are managing.
  • It generates a secure code.
  • You send this code to your guest via sms, snail mail, fax, email or you call him.
  • This code gives him access to your home for these days/times and expires at the date/time you set. Cool. It even keeps a log of entry and exit. Some fancy locks even grab a photo of the person at the door and send it to you while they wait for you to send them a code.
  • Either the clever code is deciphered by the lock and opens up or a message is sent via from the lock via WiFi that sends the code to allow access. All of this is immediate.
You can create codes for anyone. Some may expire others may be valid for longer.

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Do you think this can solve the frustrations we have with physical keys?

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Benefits Of Keyless Remote Lock For Accommodation Managers:

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  1. The keyless lock expires upon check out time acts as a preventative to guests overstaying their welcome.
  2. It ensures us that we will have the proper amount of time to clean the property for the next arrival!
  3. Renters appreciate the fact that there is no key involved.
  4. Headaches and cost of lost keys, rekeying locks, and guest lockouts are one less worry for yourself and staff.
  5. You can even do it on the go from your smart phone!
  6. Saving money on fees as the accommodation management company reduces call outs – meet and greets, and other.
  7. This accommodation owner had this to say: “We received a call from our neighbour that water was running off one of our home’s roof top deck and it wasn’t raining. I called the plumber immediately. He was in the area and told me he would be there in 5 minutes. When I told him I wasn’t in town he asked me how he was going to be able to get in. I told him I would text him a code and all he had to do was punch it into the keypad. I used my smart phone and generated a temporary code and texted it to him immediately. He was able to stop the leak quickly and help us avoid what could have been a costly issue. What was even more interesting is that apparently the plumber had left some tools in the house, knowing we were out-of-town he just decided to go by the house the next morning to pick them up. When he arrived he was surprised to find out he couldn’t get in, so had to call me for another code”.
  8. She called me on my cell phone to let me know she was at our place 2 days early, had no place to stay, and was hoping that I could meet her to let her in early. I was 250 ks away in the middle of a home center store! I went to your website on my Smartphone, generated a new code for the early arrival, and was able to text it to her within 10 minutes. She got in early and I went back to my shopping. How great is that?
Cool. Just plain simple and very clever. Why have we not thought about this sooner?

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But You Object?

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But before I continue. I can just hear your objections: “What about meeting and greeting my guests? I will lose that personal touch”. 
 
These are valid. Very valid. And many others will agree with you. But they quickly came to realise that they can design their keyless practice around their own business.
You may want to meet guests but how often do you want to meet your plumber or the cleaning lady?

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Today many accommodation managers use keyless locks to allow flexible and uncomplicated access to guests without meeting them to transfer keys. Instead they visit the renter at a time after arrival. Now they can kiss and smile at each other at the convenience of both parties.

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You may say: “Now they can steal my stuff as there’s no supervision!” Yes. I hear you. Any accommodation manager worth his salt will have trustworthy staff and maintenance people she employs. If they want to steal they can steal today. Even your guests can steal if they are inclined too.

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TJ Mahony from Flipkey.com said, The value of property management is much deeper than the process of key exchange. It’s about making sure both parties – guests and owners – have a seamless and comfortable experience. It’s a juggling act of coördination, hospitality, and presence.

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And I agree. If you want time you can design your juggling act in such away that your hospitality improves and your being present at any and all time does not feel like rope around your next tied to rock going down to the bottom of the ocean.

Let’s design the best alternative from the two choices I have found

Have a look at this simple questionnaire and share your best guess. As I said I am asking to decide between two very different concepts. I also don’t want to bias the results by discussing the pros and cons of each system :

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Thank you for taking part. For reading. If you enjoyed the read and the idea why not leave a comment, share it and send your accommodation managers to come and read.



 


December 7, 2013

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