Keypads and Keys

Bed & Breakfast / Short Term Rental Host Forum

Help Support Bed & Breakfast / Short Term Rental Host Forum:

Arks

Well-known member
Joined
May 22, 2010
Messages
6,385
Reaction score
472
Since I live a 10 minute drive from my inn, I've always used self-check-in for my guests. I email them a door key pad code when they make the reservation, with instructions to find and enter their room when they arrive. The locks can be opened either with a key pad code or a real key. I've never wanted to give them a door key, because people lose keys, or forget and carry them home with them, or they could stop by a hardware store and have a duplicate key made, presenting a security problem. So the keypad system has worked beautifully for me for many years.

Last night I had the first low-level catastrophe. I got a notice from the keypad (it's wi-fi connected) that the last guests of the day had arrived and entered their room, so I took off and went swimming for an hour. When I got back to my cell phone, I had 5 messages from the last guests, first saying they had left to get supper and when they returned the keypad was "dead" and they couldn't get in. Then succeeding messages every 5 minutes, threatening to call the police to get them in (as if that would do any good) and finally threatening to break a window to get in to their precious "stuff."

I got the key to the door lock and headed out to save them. The man was nice about it, and was mainly interested in the technology of the locks. The woman was on the verge of being a ranting lunatic, repeatedly saying how awful I was for taking almost an hour to respond to their problem.

I found that the keypad batteries were fine, but one of the batteries had jiggled around enough to lose connection, so the keypad had no power. First time this has ever happened. Easy fix.

I ignored the crazy lady and lost no sleep over it, but I thought about how it would have been if, say, I'd driven out of town for a few hours. Since I can set and delete door codes remotely, I've even left town for days at a time and never had a situation come up I wouldn't handle via wi-fi. But I'd never had a lock "go dead" before. They system monitors the battery life remaining, so I always put in new batteries when they get down to 30% remaining life, and it has always worked fine.

So, anyway, here's what I've come up with. I've ordered a key lock box for each room. They let you set your own combination to open the box, so I can give each box a unique code. I'll still use the keypad locks as always, but if last night ever happens again, and I can't get there right away, I can give the guest the combination to the lock box outside their room and they can get a key to get in. Can anyone think of a better solution, short of hiring a 24 hour desk or maintenance person, which is not going to happen!

Key Lock Box.jpg
 

Anon Inn

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 26, 2011
Messages
1,292
Reaction score
122
if last night ever happens again, I can give the guest the combination to the lock box outside their room

Perfect low-tech reliable solution. I still use a manual lockbox, and yes, an old-fashioned key, for my hour-away unit. I encourage guests to leave one of the keys in the lockbox in case of lockout. They do. A couple have thanked me for the suggestion. :)
 

Generic

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 24, 2011
Messages
7,699
Reaction score
237
You are cool, calm and collected, because I might have been showing her the door just for verbally harassing me.

One of the lock types that we use has a backup system of a 9V battery. So we have one hidden :)
 

Arks

Well-known member
Joined
May 22, 2010
Messages
6,385
Reaction score
472
You are cool, calm and collected, because I might have been showing her the door just for verbally harassing me.
Oh, I quickly offered them a free refund if they wanted to move to the local Days Inn (only other choice). The crazy woman accepted the refund, but the husband said, "No, if I wanted Days Inn, I would have booked there." So I was stuck with them, because calling the police to evict them was too much trouble.

In the end, I got full payment and, so far, no negative review. "She" left a note in the room, saying, "Wonderful room but you need to work on your response time." I can live with that.
 

Generic

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 24, 2011
Messages
7,699
Reaction score
237
Oh, I quickly offered them a free refund if they wanted to move to the local Days Inn (only other choice). The crazy woman accepted the refund, but the husband said, "No, if I wanted Days Inn, I would have booked there." So I was stuck with them, because calling the police to evict them was too much trouble.

In the end, I got full payment and, so far, no negative review. "She" left a note in the room, saying, "Wonderful room but you need to work on your response time." I can live with that.

If she wanted you to be instant, she should have booked a room that said Néscafé on it.

I would point out that the costs of having someone on call all the time would be prohibitively expensive and of course, the clients would pay for it in the end... at $25 an hour.

We are usually very honest about it. We are out shopping for the B&B. We are about 25 minutes out. Do you want to wait for us, or do you want to arrange a time to meet us? Somehow being honest and blunt seems to work.

But at least on one occasion have told a guest that we obviously can't meet their expectation and that they are best off finding another place to stay. The look of shock of realizing that they have no place to stay and that I'm really ready to do it usually makes people swing back to realize that maybe they pushed a little too far. Sometimes Karen needs to know that there is a real limit... and they passed it.
 

JimBoone

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 18, 2014
Messages
1,164
Reaction score
216
We are usually very honest about it. We are out shopping for the B&B. We are about 25 minutes out. Do you want to wait for us, or do you want to arrange a time to meet us? Somehow being honest and blunt seems to work.
I agree, I do care about our guests, but I have a life and I can't be available 24/7. Either you stay at a large place with a fulltime staff that doesn't care about your needs, or you understand that I care and will try to meet your needs, but I do eat, sleep, go to doctors. A guest has to understand that I am a friend and not just a servant.
 
Top