KeyNest has expanded its key handover service into North America [Credit: KeyNest]

KeyNest expands key handover service to North America

US / Canada: Sharing economy startup KeyNest has announced the expansion of its key exchange service into the United States and Canada.

The move will allow Airbnb hosts in over thirty major cities across North America to share keys with guests and cleaners without meeting them in person.

KeyNest partners with local independent businesses, where hosts can drop off their keys. The keys are then tagged, stored securely and can be collected by third parties, saving hosts time, effort and money.

Hosts have traditionally welcomed guests in person, but KeyNest allows hosts to provide property access even if guests are running late or the host is out of town.

KeyNest already has over 2,000 stores in ten countries across Europe and Australia, covering cities such as London, Paris, Madrid, Barcelona and Rome. The new expansion will see stores being added in New York, Toronto, Los Angeles, Miami, Vancouver, Chicago and Montreal, amongst other cities, allowing one third of the USA and Canada’s Airbnb hosts to share keys with their guests remotely.

In recent years, vacation rentals have been through a massive boom, with the value of short-term rental stays predicted to reach over $130 billion by 2022 – a significant increase on the 2017 figure of $82.9 billion. The USA alone has 660,000 listings on Airbnb, which is almost ten per cent of the global total of seven million.

The vacation rental industry has also seen interest from traditional hotel brands such as Marriott and AccorHotels.

The benefits of the vacation rental boom are shared with local businesses thanks to partner stores seeing increased footfall from tourists and receiving a commission for every key collection. Typical partner locations include cafes, grocery stores, hotels and baggage storage facilities at train stations.

KeyNest co-founder Marc Figueras said: “As Airbnb hosts ourselves, we know how difficult it can be to deal with something as simple sounding as handing over the keys to a guest. Guests are often late for check-in due to delayed flights and hosts have to change plans in order to give them the keys.

“Using KeyNest hands flexibility back to both the host and the guest, provides an emergency access option, and puts back into the local economy by including stores in the vacation rental boom,” he added.

Oliver Harrison, former private equity consultant at CIL Management Consultants, has now been appointed to head the North American division in a role that will see him grow KeyNest’s network of property managers and partner locations.

Harrison said: “North America is Airbnb’s largest market but much of the ecosystem of services surrounding short-lets remains underdeveloped. We’re very excited to bring an easy way to share keys to so many people for the first time.”

For more information, visit the KeyNest website here.

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