No matter how prepared you were, things don’t always go as planned. In the event of a major emergency, having a dedicated resolution plan in place may assist save time. Whether you have a smart lock or a traditional key, you should have a backup plan in place, and your visitors should be informed of what to do. However, in an emergency, things may not go as planned, so it’s essential to be prepared.
Your visitor should be told how to report any issues. They and Airbnb or the local authorities will need to know how to contact you. In your welcome guide, provide phone numbers, names, and email addresses (if applicable), and make sure your visitors have your contact information (and know the best way to reach you in an emergency). Depending on the scenario and the location, it’s important to let your guests know whether or not they should disclose Airbnb to the police. Not everyone who has a listing has permission or power to do so. Although most visitors are aware of this, you should be certain and strive to cover all bases in the event of an emergency.
- Guests tell you of the issue at the beginning of the emergency response process: It’s likely that you already have a practice of checking your messages frequently, so any issues should be apparent quickly. If checking messages often isn’t already second nature to you, establish reminders to do so regularly (ideally several times per day) so you can be available for whatever your visitors may want.
- Recognizing the requirements of your visitors: Because your visitors are on vacation and out of their element, it is your responsibility as a host to provide the understanding and assistance they need.
- Getting to the bottom of their problems as soon as possible: It’s never pleasant to be locked out or unable to get access to where you’re supposed to be, particularly in an emergency. Try to put yourself in your visitors’ position and answer their difficulties quickly as possible.
- Recognizing what occurred: It’s almost always a mistake or an accident. Nobody wants to find oneself in a precarious position. Try to be empathetic and see if you can develop a solution.
- Keeping future issues at bay: Make a record of what occurred and how it was addressed; this will aid in the prevention of similar issues. Consider all of the potential answers and what worked so that you may be better prepared.
- Compensation for the visitor, if necessary: If your guest’s rental has been disrupted, compensation may be required. The initial line of action should always be an apology, but it may take more to make up for any issues.
Potential Issues (and Solutions)
The Keys Aren’t in the Right Place
First, double-check that your visitor is searching for the keys in the correct location. If they’re not where they’re supposed to be, reply quickly and inform your visitors of where the backup key is kept. If you’ve utilized a service like Key Cafe, offer to buy them a drink as a gesture of goodwill. If at all feasible, keep a spare key at a neighbor’s residence.
The Door isn’t Going to Open
Tell your visitors ahead of time if you have a difficult door that requires a technique to open. Let them know whether the door will be double-locked or if more than one key will be required — make sure they’re aware of all the alternatives before they panic and call you. If it still doesn’t open, you have the option of attempting to resolve the issue yourself or contacting the authorities as a host.
The Keys Became Lodged in the Keyhole
If your visitor has attempted and failed to remove the key from the lock, the next step is to bring in the pros. Before resorting to more serious measures like smashing the door, consult a locksmith (ideally available 24 hours a day). Have a few numbers on hand if your emergency occurs at an inconvenient moment and no one is accessible.
The Visitors Were Shut Out
To begin, ask your visitor to find the backup key. If retrieving it isn’t feasible, send a duplicate of your key to the address to assist them in getting inside.
If this occurs often, it may be time to investigate a smart lock that uses a code rather than keys.
The Visitors Misplaced the Keys
If one of your visitors loses their keys, refer them to the backup key location. Have a copy of the key sent to your visitors if it doesn’t work. For this kind of circumstance, services like Uber are ideal. Make sure your visitors are informed of any ‘key replacement/lost fee.’ If this issue occurs again, a smart lock may be useful.
The Code isn’t Working
Most smart locks contain capabilities that enable the host to alter the code remotely, which should be the first line of defense. While you’re on the phone with your visitor, have them test the old code and replace it if it doesn’t work. Keep them on the line as they test the new one to ensure the issue is resolved.
When using smart locks, it’s essential to keep a physical key on hand as a backup in case your visitors aren’t tech-savvy. The majority of smart lock products come with one or two keys as usual.
The Lock Has Been Broken
If you have a smart lock that isn’t operating as it should, have your visitors utilize the extra key given until you can have the lock repaired. If your door has a normal key lock, though, it’s time to contact a locksmith. If your go-to person isn’t available, have the contact information for a few sites you may turn to.
If the problem will take some time to solve, it’s a good idea to compensate your visitors (along with an apology) for the inconvenience.
In the proper scenario, having a plan as a swift answer to crises may be life-saving. It’s always a good idea to have a backup plan and experiment with different strategies to see what works best for you and your visitors. Our section on ‘Building an Airbnb Key Exchange Strategy’ provides some helpful advice on laying out your goals and implementing backup plans.
Hopefully, you won’t find yourself in a scenario where you need to respond swiftly and comfort your visitors. If you find yourself in this situation, make a strategy and recall what helped you handle the issue. In addition to possibly avoiding it from occurring again, you may be more efficient in resolving other situations.