Managing Your Vacation Rental Technology and Internet of Things

Technology Advances for Your Home

Written by Elizabeth Weedon
Technology Advances for Your Home
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Whether you have a rustic cottage or a modern, beachfront estate, providing some technological amenities can improve your guests’ experience in your home. They also enable you to manage your rental remotely, enhance its security, and improve your enjoyment of your home as well.

Here are some ideas for you to consider:

Security/alarm/surveillance system

Installing a modern security system offers both you and your guests protection and peace of mind. Your home is protected whenever it is empty (especially in the off season). Or while it’s rented, you can keep an eye on things to make sure your guests are complying with your maximum guest and parking requirements. There are even noise level monitors like Noiseaware so that you are notified electronically before getting a call from the local police or your neighbors. And your guests can enjoy the security while they’re staying in your home. Hard-wired security systems are fairly expensive and hard to install in existing structures. There are wireless enabled devices, however, that you or a handyman can install.

Keep in mind that there are laws about placement of cameras inside a home, and we strongly advise against it. Also, be sure to notify your guests prior to their arrival about any cameras or possibly invasive security or surveillance that you use. In fact, this information should be included in the lease so that you have their signature proving the information has been disclosed to them. Anyone renting a vacation home has certain expectations of privacy that must be respected. We have heard about contentious situations in which vacationers were not adequately informed prior to their arrival and were quite upset.

Keyless Door Locks

Leaving a key under the door mat is a thing of the past, as is mailing keys to your guests. More and more owners are installing keyless door locks. There are several kinds, but the most common one is a door lock that opens with a pin code. The pin code can be easily changed so that each rental party will have their own code. You could have a separate one for your turnover cleaning staff or maintenance person.

Additional features allow for you to be notified when the keypad is used. This can be useful for identifying when turnover staff and new guests arrive and depart. If cleaners don’t arrive on time, you would know early to be able to take quick action. If cleaners finish early, you could notify guests immediately that they may now enter (it’s is a nice perk to provide early check-in). Also, your guests do not have to share a key amongst them, making it easier for individuals to come-and-go while they’re at your home.

Installation is generally done by a locksmith (unless you’re incredibly handy), and the best keyless door locks are wireless and controlled from your cell phone.

Remote climate control of your home

Set your heat and AC on a thermostat remotely from your cell phone. This allows your guests to arrive at a home that’s comfortably climate controlled. It also allows you to control the range so that they don’t set your AC at 60 degrees!

Strong Internet/WiFI

Regardless of whether your guests are enjoying a relaxed vacation in your home or working remotely from there, they want and need to be connected. And with video conferencing and sharing, gaming, and streaming, speeds need to be at least in the mid-range, not the lowest.

Streaming Services

Just offering cable TV may not be enough these days. If you provide smart TVs or other streaming devices, your guests can even access their own accounts to stream what they like.

To use a streaming service, you need either a smart TV or a streaming device that connects to a standard TV. Smart TVs have the ability to connect to the internet and provide access to streaming apps like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+. A streaming device (e.g., Roku, Amazon Fire Stick, Google Chromecast) provides a standard TV with access to the Internet and therefore the same Apps options. Streaming devices can be purchased for under $20, making it easy to provide additional services without having to upgrade your TV.

Once you have a smart TV, you can also consider cutting the cord with your cable service if you find it cheaper. In order to provide access to live news, sports and other channels, you will need a streaming service such as Hulu, YouTube TV, or Sling TV. Pricing typically is cheaper than cable, but the gap has been narrowed recently, and ultimately it depends on the cable package and terms you currently have.

As usually happens, many of these technologies have actually come down in price and are fairly affordable. With a minimum of effort and expense, you can really improve your guests’ experience in your home and better monitor and manage your rentals, too.

About the author

Elizabeth Weedon

Elizabeth Weedon - Although I’ve worked for WeNeedaVacation.com since 2008, I’ve been a loyal homeowner on the site since early 1998, just a few months after the website was launched by the Talmadges. I grew up summering on the Vineyard and have managed my family's rental home there since the mid-1980’s. I’m passionately devoted to the Vineyard – and to WeNeedaVacation.com, which I credit with enabling me to hold onto the special property that has been in our family since the 1920’s. An enthusiastic member of the WNAV.com Homeowner Support Team, I am particularly involved with our new listers, providing assistance with the sign-up process and advice about how to create the most effective listing to ensure their booking success with us. And, with owner Joan Talmadge, I am also responsible for editing and writing much of the content on our website, our monthly newsletters, and the blog posts. Email Elizabeth

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