Sustaining a vacation rental business in the best possible way has proven to be property managers’ top priority right now. Dealing with new travel restrictions, last-minute bookings while still living up to guests’ expectations is no easy task. But how can property managers offer a great holiday experience in an increasingly contactless world? And how can state-of-the-art technologies help hosts secure and maintain properties from a distance?
More than anything else, smart home devices – in addition to good facilities and attention to detail – offer a great opportunity to make properties appear comfortable, convenient, and modern. As a property manager, it’s best to rely on a good mix of a few devices that your guests will gain the most benefit from, and make it easier to manage your accommodation.
“The importance of using smart technologies in short-term rental properties was also highlighted by a survey we conducted with hosts in October 2020. More than 73% of the respondents pointed out that it’s important for them to be a modern and smart host. 50% of the respondents supported this statement in that they already use smart thermostats in their holiday apartment, and approximately 44% use smart lighting,”
Christoph Lückl, Head of B2B, Nuki
Every year, new innovative technologies arrive on the market. Some of them also bring great advantages to the short-term rental industry. By integrating these state-of-the-art technologies into your own short-term rental business, you can manage your properties remotely, thereby outsourcing your work. This leads to more efficiency, meaning you can spend your time either managing even more properties or finding new ways to offer your guests the best possible experience:
Every guest’s stay starts with check-in. Offering a contactless self-check-in is becoming more and more popular, especially in these times. What’s more, it offers you and your guests major advantages: Guests have the opportunity to check in whenever they want. This means you don’t have to wait for them to hand over the keys – which is especially convenient if they arrive late or don’t specify an exact arrival time.
Digital door locks – also known as smart locks – are a secure and reliable way of granting your guests access to the booked accommodation without you having to be there in person to hand over the keys. With a smart lock, you can send your guests the digital keys to their accommodation even a few days before they arrive. With these individual access permissions, each guest has access to the property for the corresponding booking period. Of course, you can also assign permanent access permissions so your cleaning or service staff have access to the accommodation.
In addition to offering contactless 24/7 self-check-in, smart locks, such as those from Nuki, offer many more advantages:
- no more lost keys
- no time-consuming key handovers
- no need to hire third parties for key handovers
- no need to worry about unexpected changes to your guests’ arrival time
- no spare keys required for cleaners and service partners
Not only that, but in a post-COVID-19 world, smart locks will be a great way for property owners to save time and money. It gives you the flexibility to decide between welcoming your guest in person or managing the key handover digitally.
Besides automated check-ins, you can install home automation systems that let you monitor and control the temperature, moisture, noise, etc. of your accommodation.
Smart noise sensors
An increasing number of incidents concerning noise pollution and so-called “party house problems” are being reported lately. This problem has been occurring more frequently since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, as people book properties to hold parties because bars and nightclubs are closed in many countries. Smart noise sensors, such as those from Minut, permanently measure noise levels and send a notification when the set threshold is exceeded. Integrating these sensors keep your neighbours and guests happy, without compromising privacy.
“Recently, we’ve seen more and more property managers reach out to us about problems with noise and illegal parties. They’ve told us countless stories about irreversible damage, listings being permanently removed from booking platforms, and even city-wide STR bans. With Minut, property managers can monitor noise levels in their properties, allowing them to act quickly at the first sign of disturbance. This way, they can host responsibly, providing a better experience for hosts, guests, and neighbours alike.” Nils Mattisson, Minut CEO & co-founder.
Smart, networked smoke detectors not only trigger an alarm on-site but also send an alert to your smartphone This makes you and your guests feel safer and helps you to save money. Another great opportunity is for example installing smart water sensors at sensitive points, such as underneath a washing machine. This can be especially useful if your property is in an area prone to flooding. The water sensors detect moisture and can switch off connected devices (if equipped accordingly) or even turn off the stop-cock. If you wish they can also send notifications to your smartphone and sound the alarm in the house. If you live far away from your rental property, it’s not easy to check it immediately to make sure it’s in dry conditions. Smart water sensors can help you with that easily.
If you want your guests to feel comfortable in your accommodation, then you have to make sure the place is kept at a pleasant temperature. A smart thermostat can make things a lot easier for you as a host since it allows you to control the air conditioning or heating system with your smartphone. Perhaps the most popular device of this kind is the thermostat of tado°. Not only is it easy to use but it will also help to save money.
Christian Deilmann Co-founder and CPO at tado°
“Smart thermostats like those from tado° use real-time data and intelligent algorithms to adjust the heating efficiently. Using location-based control, the heating is turned down when each occupant has left the house and reheated in time before the first one comes home. tado° takes into account the weather forecast, open windows and learns the thermal properties of your building to save even more energy. Moreover, our Care & Protect app feature can also detect boiler issues before they materialise into real problems and provide self-fix instructions to save users time, hassle, and money. For the consumer, these productivity gains will seamlessly work in the background for maximised comfort and savings at home, while the environment will be the biggest winner of all.”
Smart Light systems
Smart lighting devices, such as from Philips, can give an added luxurious, or high-tech feel to the property that your guests will enjoy. Smart lights can dim, change colours to suit the mood of a holiday, and some can even play music. Some also change the brightness according to the time of day.
As a property manager, smart lights give you several benefits: you can control them remotely via wireless. If you have had issues in the past with guests forgetting to turn off lights when they check out, this can give you added peace-of-mind and help you to save money. Besides, you can turn on the lights when your property is not booked to make it look like someone is there and prevent it from thieves or burglars.
Smart video doorbells, such as those from Ring or Nest, automatically notify your smartphone when anyone is near your front door. It then connects you live to the camera. No matter where you are, you’ll be able to see who is at your door and even speak to them. This also means that you can give them a warm welcome without even being there in person. Just be sure to let your guests know in advance that there is a video doorbell installed to avoid any frights or surprises.
Property automation platform
Property automation platforms offer an all-in-one solution that unites all your smart devices into one platform, such as those from Operto. You can use these platforms to manage guest entries, property monitoring (e.g. noise levels), smart thermostats, digital access solutions, and much more – all in one centralised place and all automated by once connected to your reservations.
“Today’s short-term rentals managers are embracing smart technology to offer their guests a wonderful, contactless stay while making operations smooth and profitable. When used the right way – with exceptional devices and smart automation – technology is truly a win-win”, Steve Davis, CEO, Operto.
Today’s smart home market offers you endless possibilities for managing your business from a distance and operating your vacation rental even more efficiently. Besides that, it offers more convenience, safety, and security to you as well as to your guests. Technology is becoming an increasingly large part of everyone’s lives. Travelers come to your vacation property to get away from their everyday lives and see something new, but they also want your property to be a comfortable and smart “home away from home”. Show your guests that you’re there to take care of them and set your short-term rental business apart from the others. –>Smart home devices can make your guests’ stay more enjoyable but also make your life as a property manager a lot easier.