Top 3 Safety and Security Tips for Airbnb Hosts

By Bernhard Mehl
March 22, 2018

Today, Airbnb is looked at as one of the premier, sole choices for traveling. Fueled by the sharing economy, Airbnb attracts guests with affordable, trustworthy lodging in convenient locations. But because of the Internet-enabled, peer-to-peer business model, stories like the Canadian couple that returned home to find their Airbnb rental trashed are becoming common, more and more so.

The rise of the sharing economy has allowed companies like Airbnb to rival and disrupt established markets: Airbnb averages 425,000 guests per night for a total of 155 million annual guest stays – nearly 22% more than Hilton Worldwide’s 127 million served in 2014.

This summer, along with record temperatures, there will undoubtedly be record travelers as well. Last summer, roughly 17 million guests stayed with Airbnb around the world – a number that has grown 353 times over five years.

To maximize on the potential to earn some extra cash as an Airbnb host, while also minimizing your chances of returning home to a theft or break-in, we’ve put together three safety and security tips for protecting yourself as an Airbnb host. As a bonus, we’ve also included a couple tips on how to attract the right guests for your Airbnb rental, as that plays a key role in keeping your home secure.

Kisi Airbnb Security System

1. Take Insurance Seriously

When you’re renting out your home, proper insurance coverage is extremely important to protect against wine spills on white walls or stolen Banksy paintings.

Although Airbnb has a Host Protection Insurance program that protects against liability claims up to $1 million, there are some instances in which you may not be covered by the program. This is particularly important if you are trying to make a serious business out of Airbnb; the proper insurance coverage is crucial to protect against damages not guaranteed by the company.

2. Implement Smart Security

In the nascent Internet of Things, more and more devices are getting connected, and security inevitably becomes an issue on everyone’s minds. Maintaining a smart home is only possible if you’ve implemented a secure – and smart – home access security system.

A smartphone access control system allows you to give your guests smartphone keys to your home instead of needing to give them physical keys that can easily be copied or lost. Smartphone keys can be sent to your guest with the click of a button, and as soon as their stay is up, you can revoke access just as easily no matter where you are in the world. This is an ideal security solutions for serious Airbnb hosts who want to control multiple properties with ease.

3.Protect Your Identity and Assets

While it is difficult to block out professional hackers and scammers, there’s a lot you can do to protect yourself against the wrong guest. Besides cyber-screening as a precaution, you can identify the material things you’d most want to protect – laptops, cameras, social security card – and make them tough targets by either installing a safe or by putting them in storage outside of your home.

Most of the time, merely the presence of security cameras will be enough to deter burglars. Also, if your Airbnb guest is renting your entire home or apartment, you should consider to hold or forward your mail to another trusted address during their stay – a simple security measure that’s as easy as going to your local post office.

Bonus Tips

4. Get Pricing Right

As people begin to power Airbnb as a means of business, competition is fierce. A 2014 Google Study revealed that most leisure travelers start planning for a trip undecided on brands; only 16% of people are absolutely certain about lodging choices. This means you, as an Airbnb host, have a huge opportunity – 84% of travelers – to market to. That’s why the right pricing is arguably the most important factor, especially from a visitor’s perspective.

Leveraging the power of supply and demand will be your most tactful approach to deciding the right price for your unit – by understanding this dynamic in the local market, you can make sure to stand out to your potential guest when your property is benchmarked against the rest in your neighborhood. Also, keep in mind that naming your price isn’t just a one-time thing; depending on timing and availability of competing hosts, constantly checking and updating the price is a necessary process in order to attract and retain your ideal guests.

5. Paint Your Portrait

Perhaps the most important tip: decide how you’d like to be viewed. This will determine the amount of effort you put into creating your profile, and ultimately qualify your experience as a host. Perfecting your profile includes more than just making sure your listing has a catchy title and that your photos are attractive. When you become a host, decide what you’d like to get out of it – do you want to be earning a few extra bucks with an extra room, or do you want to build a business that becomes a primary source of income? If you are looking to meet people from different cultures around the world, then put that in your description!

If you want to build a professional business, think about investing in professional photography and design to make your space as aesthetically robust as possible. In an era of collaborative consumption, 7 out of 10 Americans seek online opinions before making a purchase. So, make sure to encourage guests to write you a review after their stay – that means a lot in this economy!

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Phone-based systems are not just a small-business solution. CEO of Kisi, Bernhard Mehl, comments: “If you see the average of three doors connected then that might seem low but, in reality, one door relates to around 50 employees—so those are locations with about 150 people on average, including satellite offices. That’s quite significant.”

Mobile Access Control Adoption by Industry

Kisi examined which industries are investing the most in mobile access control technology. To do so, the average size of mobile access control installation projects by industry were measured. Commercial real estate topped the list with 23.5 doors running mobile access per facility. Education management came in last with 1.0 door running mobile access per facility. 

Physical Security Statistics: Mobile Access by Industry


The number of shooting incidents at K-12 schools, according to the CHDS, reached an all-time high at 97 incidents in 2018—compared to 44 in 2017. Cloud-based access control companies, like Kisi, offer a lockdown feature for active shooter situations or emergencies, making it an effective protective layer for places that are targeted, such as religious institutions, which come in near the top of the list with 4.0 doors running mobile access per facility. 

Based on industry size, it makes sense that commercial real estate tops the list, with 23.5 doors running mobile access per facility. Cloud-based access control enables these larger organizations to scale more seamlessly and allows large organizations, like telecommunications, to deploy the most manageable IT solutions available, eliminating the need to create and manage a business’s own IT infrastructure over time.

“Commercial real estate is, of course, the driver of mobile adoption since they have the largest buildings,” Mehl adds. “The key here is to show that mobile-first technologies are not a risk but an innovation that brings positive ROI and allows agencies to reposition their buildings as forward-thinking establishments.”

The scalabelilty and ease of use in onboarding an organization allows many different types of industries and businesses of different sizes to adapt a cloud-based access control system, either using keycard or mobile credentials for access. 


Mobile Access Control by State

Looking specifically at the United States, Kisi analyzed in which states companies are investing the most into upgrading to smartphone-enabled access systems. Of the currently installed base of access control readers, around 20 percent will be mobile capable by 2022, according to a recent IHS report. Cloud-based systems, like Kisi, are future-proof—allowing over-the-air updates in real time and unlimited scalability for users.


“Mobile unlock technology makes you think of the major tech hubs like New York, San Francisco or Los Angeles,” Mehl adds. “Looking at which states have the largest projects, it’s surprising and refreshing that those are not the typical ‘tech cities, and yet that’s where access control technology really makes an impact.” The fact that the largest projects are seen in states outside of the typical tech startup landscape is evidence that mobile access control is highly applicable across industry sectors.


For further questions about this study, reach out to Kait Hobson (kait@getkisi.com)

Bernhard Mehl

Bernhard is the co-founder and CEO of Kisi. His philosophy, "security is awesome," is contagious among tech-enabled companies.

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