We are all living through a technological explosion. Almost every facet of our lives is being upgraded by Internet-enabled devices and gadgets. We all carry in our pockets more computing power than put a man on the moon. With all that power, shouldn’t some of it go toward modernizing our vacation rental?
There are now a panoply of devices and gadgets that, when installed in a unit, can help hosts protect their property and the people in it with more efficiency and convenience than ever before.
Below is a compilation of the most useful devices and gadgets that will upgrade one’s vacation rental to the cutting-edge standards of the 21st century.
Elite rental owners do not send their guests on a wild goose chance to find the key to the front door. Excitingly, those little steel and brass keys we’ve been using to open doors for hundreds of years have finally gotten a facelift.
Companies like August or Schlage have broken the mold and created state-of-the-art, digital key lock systems that, for a rental owner, are worth their weight in gold. Installation on your door takes only a few minutes. After that, a number of headache-inducing scenarios instantly vanish.
When a new customer books your rental, you program a brand new 4-digit code into your electronic door lock. Before they arrive, you send them the new code through AirBnB or however you’ve agreed to communicate. When they arrive, all they need to do is type in their personal code, and they’re in. Once their stay is over, you can program the door with a totally different code.
The best part is there is no physical key. You’ll never again have to devise the logistics of getting the key to a customer via personal hand off, leaving it in a convenient store key safe, or under a welcome mat.
Keys can be lost, either by you or by your renters. Keys can be bent or broken. They can also be copied without your knowledge, causing a major security problem. Replacing keys are annoying and cost money, and replacing locks, even more so. Smart locks make all these problems go away.
Standard model smart locks run from $150 and go up from there. But never having to deal with keys again can be a priceless investment when you’re a serious vacation rental owner.
Keys aren’t the only age-old appliance receiving technological upgrades. Smart lighting a room or an entire house requires only installing smart light bulbs and then downloading the app that controls them.
The capabilities on smart lights are amazing. They can be automatically respond day and night. They can be programmed to dim a certain amount at a particular time. They can change colors. Some even have a warming or cooling effect. They can be linked to a stand-alone motion detector or security camera. They can even be set to a theft-deterrent mode where they turn on and off at random intervals to mimic someone being home.
As a vacation rental owner, smart lights can impress your renters and save money at the same time. First, program your smart lights to be illuminated in a fun, welcoming way around the time of their arrival. Have a pre-set funky color scheme, or a soothing level of dim on the inside, when they first walk in. Then program all unnecessary lights to turn off at night and other times when they won’t need to be on, like when you know your guests will be out and about.
The magic here is you no longer cede control of your electricity bill to your renters. The control you’ve programmed into your system can save hundreds of hours of lighting over the course of a summer, equalling money right back in your pocket where it belongs.
Smart bulbs themselves are more expensive than traditional ones, but they are easy to install and are compatible with all sorts of other appliances including Amazon Echo and Google Home.
Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors:
You owe it to yourself and to your renters to make sure everyone is safe and protected with well-functioning smoke detectors in every room they’re needed. AirBnB is so serious about having these in rentals, the company is giving away 36,000 detector units for free. Not only do these help save lives, and help everyone avoid liabilities, but AirBnB elevates listings on their website that have installed detector units.
If you cannot get one for free, buy them, install them properly, and then make it known on your listing that your rental is fully protected. A bump in listing rank with AirBnB will catch more eyes and grab more customers. By the end of a busy vacation season, these units will more than pay for themselves.
Detectors help avert the kind of disasters that ruin vacations and lives. Since they’re widely available, from Home Depot and Amazon for between $10 – $40, these should definitely be made a priority.
Smart Thermostats: These sleek gizmos are magic for the same reasons smart lights can save you money, you don’t cede control of your heating/cooling bill to strangers while you’re not around.
Smart thermostats are exceedingly smart. They know when you’re home and when you’re gone. They know when you’re awake and when you’re asleep. The ones that save their owners the most money are the ones that aren’t adjusted much at all, and rather left to do the adjusting by themselves. This is because they’re designed specifically to lean toward energy conservation. Studies show they typically save their owners more than 20% on energy bills.
Smart thermostats protect owners from guests setting a temperature and leaving, or forgetting to turn the thermostat off after they’ve vacated a rental. These new-aged devices are less effective against aggressive temperature controllers, but the savings from your more laid-back guests should offset the abuse from your most impetuous.
You can move toward saving additional money by consulting the calculator that come with many smart thermostats. You can set a custom energy limit per month and compare it to the average output in your region. These allow you save on your energy bill whether you want to be involved in monitoring your heating and cooling output, or to just let it work.
Outdoor Security Cameras
The truth is, you may never know exactly who is staying in your rental while it’s rented. And it may not matter, unless you happen to charge a per-person occupancy free or have a no-pet policy. An outdoor camera can keep you apprised of who is coming in and out, if a party is being thrown, or if your renters have decided to make off with some of your accoutrement.
Like each of these devices, it’s the Internet that allows cameras to provide security when you’re not home. You’ll most likely want to have your camera connected a motion sensor. Each time motion is detected, a photo is snapped and that photo is emailed to you. No matter where you are on earth, as long as you have an Internet connection, you can check your email and examine a picture of exactly who is outside your rental unit. If something is amiss, go ahead and contact your friendliest neighbor to either investigate or call someone with actual authority.
You can get a single security camera for $30, or a multi-camera maximum security system for hundreds more. Do not forget that any video or audio equipment attached to your unit must be listed in the description, and these devices should avoid sensitive areas like bathrooms and bedrooms.
These are only a few technological innovations that can make your life as a rental unit host easier. There are many more, including ones that provide unbridled luxury, entertainment, and comfort to your guests. The message here is to let increasingly affordable technology boost you to an elite status of rental host.
(CTA) Keep Up with the Top Vacation Rental Market Trends
Beyond having the right devices and gadgets, it’s also important to keep up with what is popular and trending among other top vacation rental hosts. That’s why we’ve spoken from vacation rental owners across the world, to understand the key trends and best practices that are making hosts’ lives easier and driving more bookings. In our latest Vacation Rental Market Survey, we’ve collected insights from vacation rental owners and managers (like you!) to understand what channels you are on, and most importantly, the ones that are helping you drive the most revenue. To get all of these insights, check out the full vacation rental market study.