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Intelligent Vacation Rentals: How to Upgrade Your Place

Anyone currently working in the vacation rental industry understands the importance of regularly upgrading a rental property. Saying that competition between rental properties is cutthroat is an understatement. If you don’t stay ahead of the game, you’ll quickly fall behind and eventually become obsolete. 

In other words, vacation rentals must evolve over time. This is especially true in areas with high rental volume, like renting in London, England or Toronto, Canada. One way to accomplish this property evolution is to focus on transforming your rental into a more intelligent space. 

This doesn’t necessarily mean that your home should have a mind of its own or the IQ of Albert Einstein. However, it is still possible to turn an ordinary home into a “smart home”.

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It’s All About the Devices

Keeping a high occupancy rate and boosting a rental income of rental units is not just about property location and including the proper amenities. Of course, rental homes offering up amenities like a hot tub, pool table, and a full-service kitchen have a high chance of renting. But true success comes when short term and long term rentals provide guests with all the right devices.

Provide Keyless Entry with a Smart Lock 

There’s nothing worse than showing up to a rental and see how beautiful it is in person, only to find that you can’t actually get inside. This happens more often than you’d think, mostly since guests don’t always know how to use key lockboxes properly. This isn’t the fault of the owner, but it does mean that a guest who has trouble entering the unit could leave a poor review.

This entire scenario can be avoided with the addition of a keyless entry feature for your rental property. This is exactly as it sounds – there is no need for a key to enter the property. For example, the Google Smart Lock can be accessed from a mobile device, and there is never any need for a key. 

Property owners and property management agents can set and change passcodes for guests from their mobile devices. A guest is then able to open the front door to the rental property with this passcode, which will also be done from a mobile device. This doesn’t just eliminate the need for a key (which means you’ll never have to worry about guests losing keys) but it also enhances property security

Offer a Smart Cooling and Heating System

Smart thermostats are all the rage when it comes to heating and cooling rental properties. One of the best examples of a smart thermostat is the Nest. Installing a Nest thermostat gives you and your guests more control over the rental’s climate, but that’s not even the best part. 

The main reason the Nest is labeled as “smart” is that it operates via a WiFi connection. As a property owner or manager, you’ll actually be able to have complete control of the thermostat, no matter where you are in the world. 

All of the best eco-friendly vacation rentals have made a point to install smart thermostats. They are much more efficient and use less energy, saving the environment and saving you money on your monthly energy bills. A few sources have confirmed that investing in a smart heating and cooling system saves an average of $150 USD per year on utility bills. 

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Smart Entertainment is a Must

One of the most common mistakes made by rental owners and managers is to slack on entertainment options within the property. Maybe you expect your guests to explore the area, partake in outdoorsy adventures, and hit up the most popular tourist attractions during their time in town. 

But who knows when a storm will hit, keeping your guests confined to the rental space. Or maybe a particular guest is traveling for business and prefers spending free time within the rental. There is really no way of knowing how your guests will spend their time, or if your guests will need in-rental entertainment or not. It is important that you provide it to them regardless.

An easy way to do this is to invest in a Smart TV with access to Netflix or Hulu. Purchasing a monthly subscription to cable TV isn’t as necessary these days with so many streaming sites available. 

Vacation rentals targetting Millennials should especially focus on providing smart entertainment options. Millennials have been raised in a day and age where entertainment rules all, and feelings of boredom can come on rather quickly. If your property caters to younger guests, you might also think about investing in smart speakers for the property as well. 

Additional Smart Devices to Include

Offering a rental property with an Alexa or Google Home device isn’t essential, but it certainly adds value. Forbes says that these “devices allow you to give voice commands that will let you turn the thermostat up or down, turn on the lights, lock a door, and much more.” They are even compatible with smart thermostats like the Nest. 

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Other Things to Consider with Intelligent Vacation Rentals

There are tons of benefits to investing in smart technology for your rental property, including:

  • Added security and easier guest transitions with smart locks
  • Reduced energy costs with smart thermostats
  • Higher property ratings from guests who value smart technology

However, there are a few things to think about before going all-in with these advanced innovations. The main concern associated with transforming an ordinary rental space into a smart home is the upfront cost. There is no denying that the initial cost of investing in intelligent technology like a smart TV, thermostat, and keyless lock can be lofty. 

You also need to remember that most of these devices need a WiFi connection to function properly. If your rental’s internet connection is spotty, that needs to be fixed. And not just for the purpose of smart technology investment, but also for your guests to have the best experience possible. 

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Smart Upgrading: Is it Worth It?

Even with the potentially high upfront cost, you need to keep in mind that a high ROI is likely, specifically from increased guest ratings and lower energy costs. Channel managers and listing sites are more likely to give properties with positive guest ratings and higher booking volume a higher ranking. All in all, it is entirely worth it to start making the investment into smart home upgrades. Intelligent vacation rentals are a good way to remain competitive. 

By Andrii Yalanskyi/Shutterstock

About the Author: Caitlin has been traveling and working as a freelance web developer, content writer, and SCUBA instructor since 2014. She is originally from Ohio but has recently lived in Central America, Southeast Asia, India, and Australia – loving life as a digital nomad. Other than writing about her travel experiences, her main passions are yoga, ocean conservation, and sustainable development.

Intelligent Vacation Rentals: How to Upgrade Your Place
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