August can now generate smart entry codes for Airbnb guests
August Lock is getting into the homesharing industry, making the process of checking in an Airbnb guest a bit easier.
Airbnb has done what it can over the past few months to make checking in plain and simple. For example, the company built out a new tool that lets hosts spell out check-in instructions within the app, all in a simple flow, to make sure guests have all the info they need at their fingertips.
But that hasn’t solved the biggest problem of all: the key.
For one, people don’t often have a lot of interest in meeting strangers, especially when they’re fresh off a plane or road trip. Secondly, it’s annoying to block out that time (sometimes getting off work) to go hand off a key to an Airbnb guest. And then there’s the matter of getting keys copied or re-tooling your smart lock to temporarily offer a stranger access.
That’s where August comes in to play.
August now let’s Airbnb and Homeaway hosts link their accounts to August. When a guest books at their home, August will generate a smart code that lasts for the duration of the stay and no longer, letting the guest easily check-in and come and go without the host having to babysit the process.
Guests will receive their pin code and instructions via email.
Hosts simply need an August Smart Lock and Smart Keypad to start letting technology do the heavy lifting. And, in fact, August is running a deal right now for 25 percent off the Smarter Hosting Bundle, which includes an August Smart Lock, August Connect Wi-Fi Bridge and August Smart Keypad.
This, coupled with other startup services like Handy, should make becoming an Airbnb host as simple as tapping a few buttons.
Vacation rental management service Guesty raises .75M
As the vacation rental sector heats up — with Airbnb making even more moves to expand its portfolio of services to include multiple tiers of rentals — there’s going to be more and more of a need for people who manage a large number of properties.
Guesty is one service that aims to do that, and today a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission notes that it’s raised $19.75 million in a new Series B round of financing. While Airbnb may be the dominant home vacation rental service, there are others like VRBO, and managing those properties across multiple different platforms could require handling all of that information in something more analog like an Excel sheet. It’s a kind of CRM tool for property management, ranging from tracking guest check-ins to the amount of revenue a property owner. Guesty also helps property owners by providing tools to manage operations beyond just the tracking.
Airbnb earlier this year started rolling out more tiers of home categories that are geared toward different kinds of travelers. That included high-end tiers called Airbnb Plus and Beyond by Airbnb. While these new categories potentially offer a more granular set of choices for consumers, it might make managing those properties a little more difficult — especially if it’s across multiple different services like Airbnb and VRBO, or even more analog channels. Tools like Guesty can help owners of multiple different properties (that might span multiple tiers) turn those homes into an actual business.
There are also plenty of platforms that are looking for additional services for people managing multiple properties on vacation rental sites. There are startups like Beyond Pricing, which look to help property managers figure out how to best price their homes. Airbnb has its own pricing algorithms, but there’s clear demand for tools that cross multiple platforms. Guesty was party of Y Combinator’s winter 2014 class, and raised $3 million in May last year.
While Airbnb continues to try to expand into new categories and offer home owners a way to rent out their homes — or for owners of multiple properties to run a side business — it’s not the only approach to vacation rentals. One startup, Selina, is looking to convert existing properties into kinds of campuses that cater to different tiers of travelers, ranging from travelers looking to stay in a hostel to ones that are willing to pay for their own rooms. Selina earlier this month said it raised $95 million. Selina is more of a hotel-ish model as it expands from geography to geography, but it also shows that there’s demand for an experience that can cater to a wide variety of guests.
The Tapplock One is a fingerprint padlock with solid smarts
Apple’s Touch ID was a step change in convenience for securing its mobile devices, and now that same level of convenience is available in a padlock. The Tapplock One is now shipping, and features a fingerprint sensor for unlocking, as well as a companion app with a Bluetooth unlock backup. The Tapplock One began its […]