Technology is at the forefront of everything we do. Whether that’s paying for a purchase in the supermarket, connecting with a loved one on the other side of the world or simply kicking back to watch a new Netflix series, there is no denying the major role that technology plays in our daily lives.
Unsurprisingly, the world of vacation rentals is no different. Not only do travelers already use a combination of apps and tech tools to plan and book their trips, but they’re also beginning to expect technological solutions as part of the package.
In fact, digital welcome books are becoming increasingly commonplace in vacation rental homes. Delving even deeper, research shows that two-thirds are already using channel managers for their businesses.
Besides software use for booking management, owners and managers are also revealing a growing trend for on-site technology adoption. For instance, just under one-quarter have already installed a keyless entry system at their properties and one-fifth have a connected thermostat.
An increasing number of vacation rental owners are turning to home automation and smart home technology to upgrade their businesses. And it’s no surprise, given the long list of benefits it can bring. Let’s take a look at some of the most notable smart home technologies and the benefits of automation for your vacation rental.
Benefits of smart home technologies and automation
There are a wide number of benefits to modernizing your vacation rental with smart home devices. As well as improving property safety and security, home automation and intelligent features can also make for a more comfortable and convenient stay for guests. In addition, smart appliances can boost the value of a rental property while simultaneously helping reduce costs and impact on the environment.
Many smart home devices can even simplify processes and optimize the overall management of a vacation rental, allowing hosts to run their businesses remotely.
Adding smart home gadgets to your property can be extremely beneficial for all parties. Hosts can enjoy streamlined turnover, reduced bills and energy use, as well as simplified control of the property remotely. For guests, on the other hand, smart tools can add instant luxury and a high-tech feel to the vacation, alongside increased security and convenience.
Enhance property safety and security
In a study conducted at the end of 2018, 75% of participants stated that safety was the driving force behind their home automation technology purchases.
As well as helping guests to feel safe and secure during their stay, home security systems can also improve property security (and peace of mind for hosts) during vacancies. With smart locks, hosts can usually generate a random key code for a limited time which corresponds to each guest’s stay. This type of technology, therefore, removes the worry that guests may potentially make copies of keys or lock themselves out.
Additionally, smart smoke alarms and water sensors can further reinforce guest and property safety. Not only can they notify the property owner if anything out of the ordinary happens, they can also help them to eliminate potential issues before they have a chance to arise.
Improve daily processes
If you manage your vacation rental remotely, home automation will take a lot of hassle out of hosting. Late check-in? You’ll have it under control. Early check-out? Not a problem!
Access to these features makes the process run a lot smoother for both you and your guests – no matter whether they are coming or leaving. Research even shows that more than 61% of renters are likely to pick an apartment specifically because it has electronic access.
Having automated check-in systems in place such as smart locks or lockboxes also means that if you ever have to call for maintenance or repairs, you won’t have to worry about letting service providers into your unit.
Boost comfort and convenience
Travelers who opt to stay in vacation rentals are ultimately looking for the kind of “home comforts” they’d find in their own houses. So if you can provide them with that, plus more – you’ll be on your way to providing a great guest experience unlike no other.
Intelligent home features such as smart lighting systems and smart thermostats will give your property the edge when it comes to your competition. These luxurious touches will allow guests to control lighting and heating at the touch of a button. You can even give them a warm (or cool) welcome by programming certain lights to come on or regulating the house temperature in advance of their arrival.
Save money and help the environment
At present, around 39% of the energy consumed by the average home goes to heating and cooling. Research shows that smart thermostats can save customers around 10-15% on their monthly energy bill, home automation is a great way to help cut down your vacation rental bills (and energy use!).
These days, smart thermostats allow homeowners (or renters) to control indoor temperatures remotely. You can easily define high and low settings, and set up text or email alerts in case of any big increases or decreases. Replacing regular bulbs with LEDs and using smart lighting solutions also help to cut energy costs. LEDs use less than a quarter of the energy of a traditional lightbulb, and smart lighting can extend their life even longer.
You can also invest in smart plugs which can help to regulate other, everyday appliances in your vacation rental (such as toasters, coffee machines, electric heaters and so on). Vacation guests might not always have the environment at the top of their list of priorities, but as an owner, you can do your bit by checking your smart home apps to ensure everything is switched off correctly when they vacate your property.
While an investment in itself, automating your vacation rental home will also add a ton of extra value when it comes to bookings. As guests compare destinations across the market, they’ll likely make a note of the desirable features and amenities of each property. If your home is fully – or even partially – automated, you’ll be able to up the price tag a little bit. On average, millennial renters would pay about a fifth more for these types of smart home features.
Be sure to outline the benefits of your home automation services in your property descriptions, paying particular attention to how convenient and comfortable they will make their stay.
Most Popular Smart Home Gadgets for Vacation Rentals
Many guests staying at vacation rentals choose to do so for the “home away from home” factor. That said, it’s still essential that the property is in good working order and that everyday operations such as check-in and communication are on point.
So what are the most useful gadgets to have in your vacation rental? We’ve come up with six smart vacation rental technologies that will revolutionize your business:
Keyless entry to your property by way of a smart lock is one of the most convenient upgrades you can add to your vacation rental. No matter the type of lock in question, a keyless entry system is a much safer option for short-term rental properties. In fact, over 70% of guests say they prefer having a smart lock in their vacation rental than traditional lock keys, in fear of losing them.
First off, it allows guests to enter and leave the property without having to think about the logistics of who needs the key and when. Secondly, for those systems which use a key code, a unique number can be generated for each incoming guest or group ahead of check-in, facilitating a smoother arrival and departure process. Intelligent locks also help to prevent accidental incidences of travelers leaving the front door unlocked as they generally lock automatically on closure.
Finally, it’s impossible for guests to lose the key or make a physical copy – guests and hosts alike can rest assured that no previous renters will show up on the property long after checkout.
As a vacation rental owner, energy consumption is difficult to monitor. In the height of summer, your guests may leave the air-conditioning on full-blast when they go out. Whereas mid-winter, it’s a similar story but with heating instead. Smart thermostats can help reduce this risk using temperature automation – owners can set restrictions regarding the temperature settings and even control them remotely.
What’s more, some of these devices can also determine when travelers are at home or out for the day and adjust the air or heating accordingly. Smart thermostats not only help to save on energy usage, but they can also reduce bills for owners and managers by optimizing the temperature.
Connected smart light systems are a perk for both hosts and guests at a vacation rental. For guests, they can give a luxury high-tech feel to the home – while they continue to work as traditional lights always have. For hosts, however, there are two main benefits of intelligent lighting systems.
Firstly, you can check that lights aren’t left switched on after guests vacate your property – and control them from the app if so. As well as this, in the low season (or when the property is not rented), you can set rules for the lights to switch on and off to give the appearance that somebody is home. This can help deter burglars or other uninvited visitors from peering into your property.
According to a report by NPR and Edison Research, 1 in 5 Americans now uses a smart speaker such as Amazon Alexa or Google Home. This is a number which has grown by 78% in just one year! Turning your Amazon or Google product into a virtual assistant can be a great addition to a vacation rental home, as it can act as your guests’ very own personal concierge.
You can easily program a number of different requests and pieces of information that guests can trigger with voice activation. This is especially useful for hosts who have automated check-in processes, as the device can still go over important safety information or perform a walk-through of the property. This type of device can truly enhance the overall guest experience.
Video doorbells have become increasingly popular over the past few years, with companies such as Ring and Nest making a name for themselves in the market.
This latest invention is a doorbell with the camera installed that automatically notifies your smartphone when anyone is near it. It then connects you live to the camera. No matter where you are, you’ll be able to see the whole time who is at your front door, and even speak to them!
Some hosts are prone to guests having additional visitors without informing them. This causes a lot of inconveniences: the property may not be suitable for a certain number of people, neighbors may complain of excessive noise, or hosts have an additional guest fee that visitors are avoiding. A video doorbell will solve all these challenges, as you can see exactly who enters and leaves your vacation rental property.
If you manage your vacation rental remotely, you can now personally greet your guests and give them a warm welcome. Be sure to let the guests know in advance that there is a video doorbell installed to avoid any frights and surprises!
Robot Vacuum Cleaner
Robot vacuum cleaners work on their own. No more need for manual labor! They clean the entire room and also go from room to room, sucking up dust and picking up all sorts of dirt. They even work underneath furniture such as sofas and kitchen counters. What’s more, is that these new types of cleaners are not limited to a type of floor and work on wooden floors, carpeted, tiles, laminated, etc.
When guests are on vacation they want to relax and not worry about cleaning the property they are staying in. Of course, floors get dirty quickly so this latest invention will clean it up in no time. This smart home gadget will certainly wow your guests.
Another plus: cleaning after each guest turnover will be a much faster process. It also means you can focus your cleaning efforts on other things, or have more time leftover.
Artificial intelligence in property management
When we talk about smart technologies for vacation rentals, we can’t leave artificial intelligence out of the conversation. Most smart technologies rely on some level of artificial intelligence. Smart homes make running a vacation rental business smoother, but what about applying these new technologies to property management? There are plenty of property management artificial intelligence tools that will make your business run a bit smoother.
Artificial intelligence for guest screening
Guest screening can be a tedious affair. Skimming through guest profiles and finding the right fit for your property can be rather time-consuming. Thankfully using artificial intelligence technologies to approve guests makes it much easier for you.
These technologies can analyze favorable guest behavior and search through potential guests’ track records. Build in an extra layer of security by booking guests that have been verified and vetted on third-party sites like Superhog.
Artificial intelligence for utilities
Property management maintenance tasks not only take up a fair amount of time but there’s also a lot of moving pieces, meaning room for error. When you automate and apply artificial intelligence to your maintenance tasks you reduce your administrative time, costs, and human mistakes.
There are many smart technologies that monitor and control the utilities in your vacation rental. Using a smart thermostat, for example, gives the exact amount of energy usage in the home. You can use this knowledge to scale back utilities or plan for what the estimated cost will be at the end of the month.
Artificial intelligence with chatbots
A lot of a property manager’s day consists of guest communications. What if you could reduce some of this time by implementing artificial intelligence? Most questions that guests will ask (check-out time, linens, and visitor’s policy) could easily be answered with the use of a chatbot.
Chatbots rely on artificial intelligence to come up with “smart” responses that adequately address your guests’ questions. By adding a chatbot to your website, you can save lots of time while still thoroughly helping your guests.
We’ve only skimmed the surface for the number of smart technologies and home automation you can add to your vacation rental. Implementing just a few of these modern gadgets to your property can help you to save money and time, as well as increase security, comfort and your rental’s worth. Download the full smart home technologies list below to scale your business and show guests just how cutting-edge your home really is!