How This Singapore Start-up is Making Airbnb Rental More Convenient
igloohome uses smart locks and lockboxes to grant access to visitors remotely
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images
The co-founders of Singapore’s igloohome started the company after experiencing the inconvenience of physical key exchanges with their Airbnb guests, especially when they wanted to check into their rental homes at odd hours. The igloohome team believed smart locks and lockboxes could eliminate these issues and enhance the experience of both hosts and guests.
Cherry Lim, a marketing and communications executive from igloohome, says their smart locks and lockboxes allow property owners to grant access to visitors remotely, via time-sensitive PIN codes or Bluetooth keys.
Unlike other smart locks, those from Igloohome work offline and do not require guests to download an app. “Our unique PIN code system uses technology similar to the banking token’s OTP (one-time password),” she says.
Since igloohome is now a partner of Airbnb, the generation of PIN codes can be synced with a host’s calendar. Once a reservation is confirmed, igloohome automatically sends the guest a PIN code to enter the host’s property, which is then deactivated upon check-out.
One simply needs to install the igloohome app and sign up. Use the app to navigate the lock’s functionalities, including accessing and changing the master PIN, creating a one-time access, scheduled PIN, or a Bluetooth key.
While igloohome was first started with Airbnb guests and hosts in mind, the team soon found that managing access is a problem faced by many homeowners. They have since developed multiple products to cater to different market segments — digital lock Deadbolt and premium smart lock Mortise for homeowners, and smart lockbox Keybox for Airbnb hosts.
Educating the market
Lim says that after the United States, their second biggest market is Asia Pacific. To promote their products in Southeast Asia, where companies may not be as familiar to smart locks and lockboxes, igloohome educates this market by sharing scenarios that they can identify with, such as lockout situations or having family members come by their homes when they are not around.
“We also highlight the partnerships that we have with major platforms such as Airbnb to clearly demonstrate the value-add our locks bring (e.g. integration of Airbnb calendar with igloohome access),” says Lim, adding that they also tap into local tech media to test out their locks in order to provide objective reviews.
Lim explains operating in so many unique markets, including Southeast Asia, has been the company’s greatest challenge. Lock standards and infrastructure vary from country to country, so igloohome frequently works with master distributors who have local knowledge that can help their brand grow.
After raising a USD$4 million Series A funding round, igloohome plans to grow their team in their main markets, grow their product line to cater to the needs of different regions, and strike partnerships with more property developers, especially in Southeast Asia.