BY SOPHIE CHAGNON, host and founder of UTOP.ca
Owning and managing one or several Short-Term Rental properties locally or remotely still involves dedicating time and “human intervention,”. However a lot of products are available on the market and have proven to be helpful in running profitable STRs. Forget about the time when you needed to mail keys to your guests prior to their visit or wait for their payment in the mailbox!
Although it is not necessary to buy all these products, there are some that are worth the extra penny and made a difference in the way I personally run my STRs. If you don’t know what product to get or if the product would be a good buy, look them up. Many research and reviews are available on the web to guide you in finding the best options to suit your needs.
This product has proven to be very useful in helping manage properties from a distance. Anyone who needs to enter your residence at specific moments can access a virtual key through a mobile app. On the other hand, although it may attract a younger crowd it may not be the ideal solution. Older guests that are not familiar with technologies or worst, don’t even own a cell phone, would need another solution. That is why it’s always good to have a backup plan (ex. A key in a lock box) in case a problem occurs. //www.pcmag.com/article/344336/the–best–smart–locks
SMART DOORBELL CAMERA
A smart doorbell is internet-connected and notifies the homeowner via its smart phone app or others when a visitor is at its door. The host can also watch or talk to its guest via the doorbell’s built-in high-definition camera and microphone.
As a host, this tool can be useful to monitor the amount of occupants. For example, if extra guests are showing up or, if your guest checks in with a four-legged friend(s). //thewirecutter.com/reviews/best–smart–doorbell–camera/
If there is one thing that can really explode when you operate a short-term rental, it’s the energy costs! A smart thermostats, allows you to remotely shut off the AC when the property is vacant or set to the right temperature before your guests check in. The smart thermostats can also monitor temperature and humidity levels inside and outside your property, your guests’ comings and goings, and adjust the temperature accordingly. //www.techhive.com/article/3206565/best–smart–thermostat.html
WATER SENSOR OR WATER LEAK AND FREEZE DETECTOR
This product can literally save you from bad surprises that leads to thousands of dollars in repairs! The detector sends an alert if it’s sensing a water leak, sudden high humidity level, freezing or high temperatures. Sensors can be installed near the bathrooms, kitchen sinks, washer/dryer. You can even install a system that would automatically shut off the water main if a leak is detected.
They allow you to manage your lighting remotely. For example, turning on the light outside your home if you know your guest will be checking late or turn off the lights if they have forgotten to do so before checking out. As per the official definition “A smart bulb is an internet capable LED light bulb that allows lighting to be customized, scheduled and controlled remotely.” Implementing smart lighting in your STR can represent a costly investment upfront but these bulbs will last many years and energy costs will significantly drop.
SMART SMOKE/CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTORS
Be notified before it is too late! When the alarm goes off, your smart phone automatically receives an alert informing you that a problem has been detected whether it’s smoke or CO. With some versions you can even get details on the severity of the smoke and have the lights start flashing within the house.
The smart fire device can be useful to turn the siren off while you are frying your food instead of trying to hit the shut-off button with a broomstick! //www.tomsguide.com/us/best–smart–smoke–detectors,review–4472.html
There are a lot of different kinds of security systems out there, and it is not always easy to find the best one for your vacation home. If your not sure where to start, you can reading the following article. The author is highlights the best systems to protect your home away from home from vandalism, natural disasters and burglary. //www.safehome.org/security–systems/best/vacation–home/
NOISE LEVEL DETECTOR
Property owners in small communities or by a lake for example, would really benefit from installing a noise level detector. It can detect excessive noise and automatically notify owners via text message. It could help them avoid costly cities or HOA noise violations. Also could also give them ammunition to argue in case a neighbor falsely accuse the guests from making excessive noise.
The NoiseAware monitoring system is by far the most popular one in the STR community.
As a BONUS … why not get a SMART VACUUM!
It could help you clean between your turnovers and if you own a pet friendly property it would help get rid of the extra pet hair!
About the author: Sophie Chagnon is an avid traveler and a design and architecture enthusiast. She owns and manages short term rental properties and is a Premier Partner on VRBO. Sophie also helps owners and future owners in designing, renting and managing their vacation rental properties. She founded www.utop.ca and www.facebook.com/utop.ca where she blogs and comments (mainly in French) on various topics related to the vacation rental industry.