We increasingly use VRBO to find rental houses when we go on vacation. The key transfer process seems to be the most awkward. Either the owner or their representative has to meet you (a hassle for them) or they have an old style mechanical lockbox where a fixed combination opens the box and gives you the key.
All of this strikes me as both a hassle and tremendously insecure. Most folks do not change their lockbox combinations very often, so I could probably go back to most of them today and get back in the house. Also, since the owners tend to leave only one key, and my wife and I prefer to have two or three for us and the kids, we tend to go immediately to the local hardware store to make copies.
It would make a lot more sense to have an electronic combination lock whose combination changes automatically, over the Internet, with each rental. I figured developing such a thing would be pretty easy and the first step I would take would be to try to cut a co-branding deal with VRBO, AirBNB, etc. You can imagine something like "VRBO Secure" where a home owner would buy the lock via VRBO and would then get a little icon on their listing.
Unfortunately, as is usual with my product brainstorms, someone is already there. But no one yet seems to have cut a co-branding deal with VRBO or airBNB. Seems like that would be a win-win for both the lock company and the rental agency.go.