Automate your short term rental and self-manage remotely with 5+ easy to install technologies.
Show notes here:
Self-managing your vacation rental is a lot easier when you use technology. Vacation rental tech does not have to be scary and you can implement some basics to automate your vacation rental business. Here are some technologies we will discuss in this episode:
- Smart thermostats you can program remotely to save energy, money, and make the guest experience better
- Pool and spa remote automation to save money on trips and your utility bill
- Testing your remote technology to double check it works for reliability
- Noise monitoring to deter and control parties from your airbnb guests
- Surveillance cameras and doorbell cameras
- Smart lighting
- Tech that alerts you when an airbnb guest smokes in your vacation rental
Key message: Explore the technologies that are available and select those that make the most sense for you and your situation as a remote owner. It should both support your business model and level up your guest experience.
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Listen to the podcast episode…
Welcome to the Vacation Home Help podcast. The only podcast dedicated to helping vacation rental owners self-manage their properties. Your host delivers short and sweet episodes with actionable advice, tips, and strategies to level up your hosting skills, whether you are a complete beginner or been in the vacation home rental business for a while. You are in the right place to get the tools you need to succeed. Here are your hosts, John Candelario and Tim Casey.
Tim Casey (00:34):
John, when I decided to self-manage our vacation rental, I spent a lot of time investigating and reading about the various types of technologies that I could install to help make the experience for the guest better and to help the economic model for the owner. It might be good to talk to our listeners today about some useful technology that’s out there. It’s pretty straightforward. We all want to start with that digital keypad that we can program remotely so that the guests can get into your house seamlessly. That’s an easy one to think about, but there’s some other technology out there that can really support both the owner and the guest. Why don’t we walk through a few of those.
Tim Casey (01:28):
One is thermostats. Why do I like thermostats that I can program remotely? Well, when a guest isn’t in the home I can turn the air conditioning warmer so I’m not paying for the utility, but the day of check in I can turn it cooler so they’re checking into a nice, cool home. That’s an easy one to think about.
Tim Casey (01:51):
But also if you’ve got a pool and a spa, being able to turn those things on remotely is a lot of value for both the owner and the guest. As an owner, I don’t want to run the heater if there’s not a guest in the house. But if there’s a guest checking in, I want to turn on the spa and the pool before the guest checks in so the pool has plenty of time to get nice and warm if it’s in the wintertime or the fall. There’s technologies out there like that can support both the guest experience and the owner’s economic model. What comes to your mind, John?
John Candelario (02:29):
Well, first I’m going to touch on the point you just made because it’s so important with the gas prices where they are today. Imagine paying someone in traffic to run to your house to mess with the pool heater, that’s crazy. It costs a lot of money. It’s the same with anything that needs to be managed. If you had to drive all the way to your home to change a thermostat just because you don’t want it running at full speed when someone checks out, it costs you time and time is money. It also costs you gas.
John Candelario (02:58):
So doing remote technology for anything that works is super important but also making sure that remote technology actually works. Because if you’re setting the code on your lock or your thermostat, and you’re thinking it’s working and it’s not, that’s not good. If you do any remote technology, just make sure you’ve tested it once, twice and three times to make sure that it’s working.
John Candelario (03:22):
Other technology, there’s noise devices now. Because on the news, everyone’s throwing these wild parties. And I think you have one at your home, Tim, but it lets you know noise levels. I don’t want to mention any brands because there’s several, but having some noise device in your home helps a ton because any loud noise that’s beyond what’s normal indicates that there could be a party or something happening. So knowing what’s going on that can help you prevent a disaster.
John Candelario (03:53):
There’s other technology like the doorbells, the cameras. Cameras are so important because they can help you identify when a guest is locked out or if someone’s at the house that’s not supposed to be there or when your cleaner showed up. So tech can help you run your rental without having to drive over to your property all of the time.
John Candelario (04:15):
There’s other technology aside from cameras, aside from all of that. There’s smart lights. I’ve seen people do some pretty cool things with smart lighting. They turn on their lights when the guests come in so that the guests aren’t in the dark when they come in the house and they’re able to turn them off if the guests leave the lights on. This saves you tons of money on your electric bill. And we all know utility bills can be outrageous, especially when you’re running a pool heater. You can think of it as twofold, a convenience and a big way to save money, having some good tech in your home.
Tim Casey (04:44):
Yeah, the noise monitoring one, John, that you brought up is a good one. I do have that installed at the house. When I first had it installed, I wasn’t exactly sure how I was going to use it. What do I mean? Well, so let’s say that you get an alert that there’s noise going on. How do I control that? I’m a thousand miles away? What do I do? What I’ve learned is the guests are very responsive if you communicate with them in a respectful and timely manner. All I do now is I reach out via text message saying, “Hey, just FYI, I’ve gotten an alert that the noise level’s a bit too high. I want to be respectful of all of our neighbors. Can you help me out?” And 10 times out of 10 so far, the guest has been great about responding to that. It does help, not only with your property but also with the community at large.
Tim Casey (05:36):
And most recently I’ve installed the new technology to detect smoking. To your point, I’m not going to name the company name, but if there’s any type of smoking going on in the home I now get an alert and I’m able to communicate with that guest, because we all know what the cleaning bill can look like if you’re trying to clean up a home and get rid of the odor from someone who’s been smoking in your home.
Tim Casey (06:00):
I guess the key message to other listeners, other owners out there is explore the technologies that are available. There’s a lot that’s available to you as an owner and select those that make the most sense for you and your situation. For me, I’m a thousand miles away from the property. I want to have as much monitoring as I can to support the guest experience. Every owner’s going to have a different situation. Select the technology that’s most useful for you, that can support you and your economic model, but also the guest experience.
John Candelario (06:32):
The coolest thing is this doesn’t cost a ton of money to set up. Sometimes we get intimidated thinking of all this technology being expensive, especially for your first time host. But now with so many choices, you can get a good setup. Like for example, camera doorbell, you get them for a $100. NoiseAware, I wasn’t supposed to mention the company name, but stuff like that is pretty affordable. And you can basically have all of this for under a couple of thousand dollars, getting it set up?
Tim Casey (07:04):
You really can. If you’re a brand new owner who’s doing this for the first time, it can be a bit intimidating thinking about all the things that can go wrong and all the things you have to do as an owner. Key message here is there’s lots of technology out there that can support you. Spend the time, investigate it a bit, reach out to us. We’re happy to share more experiences with you, but there’s technologies out there to demystify this and to make it not as complex as you think it might be. It’s more straightforward. Just use your resources and capitalize on the technology that’s out there, that makes do it yourself very, very possible.
John Candelario (07:42):
Yep. And Tim who doesn’t like to save both time and money. So this is a great step to take if you’re new to doing this, or if you’ve been doing this for a while and you just want to improve how you run your rental using technology, doesn’t have to be scary. It doesn’t have to take a lot of work and it’s going to make you have so much peace of mind just knowing that you could check on these things from your phone. It’s super cool and it’s really effective, and you’ll see how easy it becomes to manage business when you have some of this technology in your home.
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