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Getting the keys to your guests - Key management

key handover

If you do not live close to your holiday cottage as is the case for many then getting the keys to the person who is renting your property can be a bit of a headache.  You need a reliable method of making sure the keys get to the holidaymaker and back to you after the rental.

There are a number of solutions for key exchange even if you live many miles away from your holiday cottage.  Please remember to only give the holiday maker the keys once they have paid in full for the rental. 

It’s well worth leaving a spare set of keys with a local contact you trust in case something goes wrong and the renter does not get the keys in time.

Here are some of the options for key exchange that you may want to consider

Posting the keys to the cottage in the post

This can work very well as long as it’s done carefully, make sure you have plenty of sets of keys in case they get lost in the post or you don’t get them back.  Also people will be slower in returning the keys once their holiday is over so you are likely to have to send out keys to the next renter before you have the previous set back.

A key deposit may be a good idea to help encourage keys to be returned. A self-addressed postage paid envelope is always a good idea as it will help prevent delays.

Send keys by registered or recorded delivery in good time

A local contact to hold the keys

If you know people you trust in the area who you can leave the keys with that’s a really safe way of getting the keys handed over. Ideally they will be on hand to be able to meet your guests to give them a key.  Some local cottage marketing companies offer this service at a fee.  If not a local news agent or shop keeper may be able to help you.

If your contact is unavailable you will need a back-up plan to hand over the keys.

Using a key safe

You could attach a key safe with a combination lock to the outside of your property and leave the keys in there.  Make sure it’s securely attached to a good wall, easy to find with instructions but not easy to see without.  You can then provide them with the code to retrieve the keys and replace them at the end of the holiday.

Some key safes have a programmable combination so you could change the combination for each visitor when you clean the property or have it cleaned.

You can purchase a key safe for around £20 from here

Using a property management company

Property management companies will tend to handle all parts of the changeover process.  This will include holding and key management as well as meeting the customer. 

When choosing a company make sure you use a company you can rely on.