Dublin key-holding service opens doors to Airbnb clients

KeyBuddy.ie founder also to launch website to connect local guides with tourists

KeyBuddy.ie is a key collection service that works with a network of restaurants and pubs around Dublin city.

KeyBuddy.ie is a key collection service that works with a network of restaurants and pubs around Dublin city.


A new Dublin-based business is aiming to make life easier for Airbnb hosts in the city, providing them with a secure, convenient place to store property keys while also providing extra foot traffic for local businesses.

KeyBuddy.ie is a key collection service that works with a network of restaurants and pubs around Dublin city. The businesses are provided with a number of small lock boxes, which are about the size of a box of cigarettes, that are secured with a combination code. Guests can be given the code by their hosts, and given details of where the keys can be collected. It eliminates fees for late check-in for guests and makes it easier for hosts to arrange handing over keys.

Pubs and restaurants can benefit from additional footfall, with an average of 30 potential customers a month coming through the door as a result of hosting the boxes.

“It’s had a great response from Airbnb hosts and property managers,” said founder John Maher. Most of the businesses are open from noon until midnight, giving travellers flexibility about when they pick up the keys.

“About 80 per cent of communication between you and the guest is about the meet and greet,” Mr Maher said, citing potential stumbling blocks such as delays in travelling and difficulty in identifying the hosts.


Mr Maher, who previously worked for Google, came up with the idea after becoming a host with Airbnb, renting out a property in Ringsend, and subsequently starting bmyguest.ie.

Bmyguest, which he founded two years ago, offers property owners and landlords within a short radius of Dublin city centre a guaranteed rental income above market price on condition the management team is permitted to sublet the property on Airbnb.


The former Google executive is in the process of setting up a third related business, Trips2Connect, that will allow people to set themselves up as local guides on a topic of their choice – from local history, nightlife and outdoor activities to craft beer or local fishing spots.

The company will vet all applications, but the platform is intended to be self-regulating, similar to Airbnb, where tourists will be able to rate their experience with each local guide.

“If you walk around all the tourist offices today in Dublin, you see standard brochures from tour companies. They put you on a bus and send you to the Cliffs of Moher, Newgrange, etc, but there’s nothing out there at the moment, in Ireland at least, that will connect you to a local who is passionate about a particular subject.”

Guides will set their own prices per person per hour, taking into account the market.

The service is not yet up and running, with Mr Maher estimating that it will be fully launched in time for spring. However, the site is taking registrations for interested guides.

“Like anything in the shared economy, it’s open to anyone who feels they could benefit from it,” he said. That would, in theory, include guides who are currently working for tour companies.

“At the end of the day it will be the traveller who decides,” he said.