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Smart Locks For Vacation Rentals

Smart Locks for Vacation Rentals

Smart locks for vacation rentals are key for peace of mind.  A couple of decades ago, vacation rentals were largely mom and pop operations.  People reached out to prospective renters through real estate agents or the classifieds, or through mailing lists. 


The Internet changed the rules of the game. Increasingly, people are planning their own vacations, relying on online resources for options in accommodations. 


With many travellers looking to spend their vacation living like locals, the vacation rental industry has grown tremendously.  Globally, the market is  over $170 billion.  


How does this impact a vacation rental owner?  Given a wealth of choices, the amenities and services they offer renters decide how their property fares in this very competitive market.  Among the many factors that vacationers carefully consider are security and convenience. 


Back in the day, physical keys were turned over for guests to gain access to the property. While this has some merit because host and guest get to interact, the system is a bit of an inconvenience, too.  This is especially true if there is some delay or if the keys somehow get lost. 


While seemingly a simple matter, how easy (or difficult) it is for a guest to access the rental and get settled may impact how positive (or negative) their review of a property might be. And in the vacation rental market, guest reviews are often deal breakers.


Nowadays, smart locks offer the convenience, and more importantly, the security that guests look for in their choice of vacation rentals.

Advantage of Using Smart Locks for Vacation Rentals

If you have been using ordinary locks and key boxes up to this point, why switch to smart locks? They are certainly an added expense.


Here are the 2 major reasons why this type of lock can be practical for vacation rental owners:

Better Security

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At any given time, a smart lock system lets you know who accessed your rental and when it was accessed.  It allows you to set up specific key codes for users and flags you when they access your vacation rental.


With physical keys, the risk of them getting into the wrong hands is high.  They can be lost, stolen, or duplicated.  Lost keys are not only an inconvenience, but unscrupulous persons can use them to get into your property. 


You certainly would not like this to happen while your property is unattended. However, having your home burglarized while there are guests checked in is a security nightmare.



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Installing smart locks for vacation rentals offers convenience for both the owner and the guests.


For Guests

As we’ve already mentioned, the ease by which guests access a vacation rental can make it a positive initial experience for them.  A smart lock system allows for self check-in as soon as they are on premises.  


They can arrive at any time, at their convenience, and without having to arrange for the owner or staff to be there.  Likewise, they need not deal with finding the lockbox or stopping in at a designated meeting place to get the keys.  


In addition, if there is a large group, a single key code is all that is needed for all of them to gain access to the rental. Often, for this kind of situation with a traditional lock set-up, keys need to be shared if there is not enough for everyone. 


For Owners:

Installing a smart lock system allows the owner to control who can access the house and when. 


During peak season, same day changes can make it hectic for the owner. The time to strip and change the linens, clean the rooms, dispose of garbage and other tasks to get it ready for occupancy for the next guests is short. 


With a smart lock system, it is possible to set the code to time block your guests. Departing guests may be issued a special check out code to use when they leave the property. This alerts the owner of the exact time they leave so the cleaning crew can come in immediately after.


Arriving guests, on the other hand, get to check in at the appointed time only and this gives time for the cleaning crew to finish up their tasks.


Smart locks also mean that there is less stress over guests losing keys or even duplicating them. Key codes can be changed as soon as they’ve checked out. While the cost of installation may be an investment, it is economical in the long as the cost for replacing locks each time keys are lost is eliminated.

Smart Locks for Vacation Rentals - What Features to Look For

To find out what lock to install for your vacation rental, here are the factors to consider:


Ease of Installation

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Ideally, the smart lock should not be complicated to install. Generally, a smart lock deadbolt is easier to install than a smart lock handle. It’s also more cost effective. It should fit into the existing deadbolt hole without much modification. 


Lock Durability

Durability and safety of locks has 3 gradings - grade 3 being the least durable, and Grade 1 being the best. 


For a vacation rental, a Grade 2 lock is recommended. The lock should be constructed from solid, quality material. For vacation rentals that are in high demand, a Grade 1 lock is highly recommended.   



Another important consideration in choosing a smart lock is its compatibility with a number of smart devices including smart lights, Alexa, or the alarm system. This ensures that the electronic lock system is able to send relevant notifications back to the property owner. 


A lock that supports either Z-wave or Zigbee technology is the best choice.


Smart locks are designed so they can be remotely controlled from a laptop or desktop computer, or via a smartphone when onsite. To enjoy this feature, look for a system that supports WiFi and Bluetooth.  


Finally, the smart lock you choose should be easy to program from your mobile device.


Override Ability

Going electronic does not mean doing away with a physical key. You want a system that allows you to still open doors in case the batteries die or if the lock malfunctions. The key override for the deadbolt you install should match the keyway of your vacation rental.


We do not recommend smart locks that do not have a mechanical override function.


Push Button and Touch Screen

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When shopping around for a smart lock for your vacation rental, look for one with a touchscreen that allows for easy operation:


  • Should have a backlit screen to make it visible both at night and in bright daylight conditions


  • Should be resistant to smudges and fingerprints that leave clear traces of what keycodes were used to open the lock. This prevents pin code theft. 


Other Considerations

Depending on your needs, you may also factor in the number of pin codes a smart lock can accommodate when narrowing down your choices. 


Smart locks are an additional expense. Therefore, as a vacation rental owner, the smart lock you ultimately choose for your property should be within a reasonable budget.

Our Recommendations

Here below are several recommendations for locks for vacation rentals.  However if you give us a call, describe what you are looking for,  we can make a recommendation specifically to fit your needs.

Yale Real Living YRD226-ZW

Security Touchscreen Deadbolt with Bluetooth Connectivity, Supports Z-wave Technology.



  • Bluetooth connectivity


  • Supports Z-wave


  • Keyable to either Schlage or Kwikset


  • Grade 2 rating


  • Alerts when battery is low



  • Durable because of its Grade 2 lock rating


  • Large ergonomically designed touch screen with backlight 


  • Able to send pre-programmed alerts to smartphones


  • Allows for viewing of access history


  • Supports up to 25 user codes that expands to 250 when on Z-wave network


  • Able to integrate into more than 50 automation systems for remote control including alarm systems and HVAC systems


  • Works with common keyways used for vacation rentals making overriding the system easy when needed



  • Primarily designed for private homes, not vacation rentals. It does not allow you to add or change user codes offsite. Using bluetooth, one needs to be in the vicinity to make changes. 


  • To adapt the system for vacation rental use, digital keys can be issued to renters. While this is good because keys can be set to work within a given time period to coincide with the renter’s stay in the home, it is also an added ongoing expense.


Kwikset 916 SmartCode Touchscreen with Z-wave

We also recommend this easy to install smart lock system with sleek metal design.



  • SecureScreen Technology. This is an extra security feature designed to prevent pin code theft. With this patented technology, a user keys in two random numbers before entering the actual code. 


  • Z-wave automation system. This allows the lock to be controlled remotely. It has a drawback, however.  It requires a 3rd party smart home controller that is purchased separately from the smart lock set.


  • One touch locking


  • Auto-relocking feature. The smart lock can be set to re-lock itself after 30 seconds. This offers extra security from doors left unintentionally left unlocked.


  • SmartKey with extra security features (anti-bump and anti-pick technology)



  • Easy, self-installation


  • Can communicate with other smart features such as thermostat, security, lighting, and entertainment


  • Operates on four AA batteries


  • A backup keyway allowing for entry with a remote, touchscreen keypad, or key


  • Has a master code option allowing the host complete control over the system



  • Can take extra time to unlock if someone accidently uses a wrong code


  • The anti-smudge feature requires pushing two random numbers before entering the code, however this feature can be turned off


August Smart Lock Pro 

This is the best smart lock for AirBnB properties. 



  • It’s an add-on unit to existing deadbolts


  • Works with Siri, Google Assistant or Alexa


  • DoorSense and auto lock


  • Bluetooth connectivity


  • Integrated into the AirBnB flow


  • Compatible with any smartphone 



  • Installation is fast because it’s an add-on unit


  • It is fully integrated into the AirBnB system which means custom access codes to AirBnB units are activated and subsequently expire based on booking dates. No need to issue out codes to renters yourself as the system will already do this for you.  


  • Locks and unlocks with voice commands making it convenient to use


  • Its compatibility with smartphones mean that lock can be operated and monitored remotely


  • DoorSense is a feature which senses if a door is securely locked or not. Your door can be set to auto lock the door if left unsecure.



  • Renters need to download the August Smart Lock app in order to access the smart lock.


  • The system does not come with an external touch screen or keypad as part of the standard package.  An August Pin Pad needs to be purchased separately.


  • While quick to install, it entails more than just replacing a deadbolt. For this, you need to engage the services of a local locksmith.


Schlage Connect Touchscreen

This is the best physically built lock in this list - it being rated a Grade 1 lock. Constructed from top grade and sturdy materials, it offers the highest degree of security.



  • Supports Z-wave and Zigbee technology that makes it easy to remotely control the locking or unlocking of the door through a smartphone or via the internet


  • Fingerprint-resistant touchscreen


  • Tamper alerts


  • Ansi Grade 1 rating


  • Built in alarm technology



  • Can create up to 30 unique pin codes generated using the Z-wave platform or directly from the lock


  • Can be locked or unlocked remotely via web or smartphone due to the integration of the Z-wave technology


  • Has a vacation mode allowing you to disable all codes without the need to revoke the access codes. Entry is then possible only by key.



  • You must manually change the code for each guest


  • The full range of features is only available while pairing with Nexia Bridge, an extra expense


  • Touchscreen is less responsive than we would like

Best Locks for Vacation Rentals - We Can Help

Still undecided on what smart lock will work best for your vacation rental? Dick’s Lock and Safe can help. We carry a wide variety of smart locks to fit your particular needs and budget.  


Call us today for a free onsite property review and estimate at (714) 528-3984.

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