Smart key exchange solutions
Born from the need to safely leave keys for collection by Airbnb guests at a mutually convenient location, KeyNest was founded by Marc Figueras and Florian Hoven in 2015. Realising the ever-expanding holiday rental market had no simple solution for round-the-clock, secure key exchange between owners and visitors, they devised the system that became KeyNest. From an informal “collect the keys at the local bar” strategy, an extensive network of key holding partners now exists across a dozen countries. Edward Bate, Head of Marketing at KeyNest explains, “We operate a network of 2800 partner locations (cafes, grocery stores etc.) where Airbnb hosts, estate agents and property managers can store keys so that they can later be collected by guests, cleaners or tenants”.
A radio frequency identification (RFID) keyfob that can only be read by KeyNest devices hangs from each bunch of keys. The mobile readers at the key holding partner location, each equipped with a Pod Group SIM card, scan the keyfobs, logging the keys in and out of the store. A unique one-time code shared between the property owner and their visitor matches the keys to their intended collector and a message is immediately sent to the property owner informing them that their keys have been collected or deposited. No data is stored in the key fob meaning that no one else can associate a set of keys with a particular property. In the event that an owner has not given the visitor complete information, operators at the key stores can get data from the KeyNest support team via the mobile scanning devices.
KeyNest currently operates in several European countries and in North America too. A rapidly growing and disperse market meant that whatever solution they deployed had to be scalable and work in a global setting. With key movements being logged every 45 seconds it was vital that their connectivity was not only global but reliable too. “We have thousands of key handovers a day, if there was a network-wide connection problem for even an hour, we’d have hundreds of guests unable to collect keys for their apartments”, said Edward Bate, adding, “Our operations team are on the ground supporting thousands of stores in a dozen countries, we need the same reliable connectivity to make sure that we can always keep in touch with each other.”
An ever expanding business needed a connectivity solution which wouldn’t hold it back, “We chose Pod because it’s available in so many markets”, explained Edward, “we use it in a dozen countries including Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the USA. Without Pod it would be very difficult to operate in so many countries and we’d have a lot less consistency across our markets”.
Scaling a business means extensive training too, so KeyNest appreciate that Pod’s solution is easy to grasp. “Because we’re rapidly expanding, we regularly recruit new staff. Pod being so easy to understand makes training new operations staff easier.”
With keys moving across their network 24/7 it was vital to KeyNest that their connectivity solution was dependable, as they explained, “We have thousands of key handovers a day, so we need to make sure that our devices always have a reliable internet connection and the guest can take away their keys and that the owner of the key receives a notification letting them know that the key has been collected or returned”. They chose Pod’s multi-network SIM for their European operations partnered with Pod’s Single Network Native solution for their North American business. Through its agreements with global network providers, Pod’s agnostic connectivity gives KeyNest the seamless service they need, something they value as they operate in so many countries. “It’s really helpful that we can use a SIM card in any of our markets and that they can use different networks – for example Orange in France and T-Mobile in the USA – we don’t need to order separate SIM cards for different countries, which is really helpful for remotely launching in new markets” said Edward Bate. Pod’s versatile and intuitive service is a great fit too, “Not only can we use Pod for both data and calls, we get an alert once 70% of a bundle’s data or minutes have been used, so we never run out” he added.
Operating a flat-rate policy on over 600 networks in 185 countries, Pod is the perfect partner for KeyNest’s ever growing business, while our 24/7 support service and reliable robust connectivity mean that KeyNest never leave anyone out in the cold, wherever they are, or whenever they arrive.