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Industry Perspectives

Smart home technology for your short-term rental

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Smart home tech is on the rise, with COVID-19 accelerating the adoption of automation and contactless technology. Sean Miller, President of PointCentral, shares his expert advice on how short-term rentals can best invest in it

The pandemic has shone a light on the cleaning, hygiene and safety processes operating in short-term rentals. Guest expectations have changed after a year of travel restrictions, and travellers are making choices based on prioritising health and safety. 

Property managers have responded by implementing a variety of extra checks as well as adopting smart tech at their properties. These changes are essential if the short-term rental industry wants to further professionalise and give travellers the confidence they need to book again, particularly as guests start staying longer to combine working, living and relaxing. 

Elevated guest needs 

When a guest enters a property, they expect to find a clean, safe and well-maintained space. Recently, those pre-stay expectations have increased to include innovations like contactless entry and other smart tech additions – which many guests will pay extra for. 

For property managers of all sizes, getting on board with smart home tech is about servicing consumer demand and providing a great guest experience. According to a 2020 PhocusWright report, 46% of Property Managers have already integrated some type of smart technology into their properties. 

Teching up – the benefits

For guests, smart home tech can enhance their overall stay. It can be the differentiator between an average experience and an exceptional one. Tech can also play an important role in improving the safety of properties and reassuring guests as travel restarts. Whether it's through operational checks facilitated by connected platforms that enable monitored cleaning visits, or eliminating physical touch points such as light switches. 

There are also multiple benefits for property managers if they add the appropriate solutions to their portfolio. For example, using tech to streamline operations brings an increased level of efficiency. Savings of up to 23% on heating and cooling are achievable, while keyless entries can reduce staffing costs. Layer on top of this the asset protection benefits of tech – in terms of HVAC overuse, water damage and protecting rentals during the off season – and the advantages of smart tech become both economically and operationally necessary. 

Tech wishlist

Whether you're looking to build your smart home tech stack from scratch or bolt onto an existing stack, here are the features I believe are worth the investment.

Must haves:

  • Smart, keyless front door locks: Direct-to-home check-ins save time and money, improve safety and give guests the contactless experience they want, especially now. 
  • Operational tech platforms: Regulate and monitor property cleaning and maintenance to ensure the highest guest standards.
  • Connected thermostats: Save money on heating and cooling while delighting guests on arrival as they walk into a comfortable unit. 

Nice to haves:

  • Voice assistant: These can provide a concierge-like experience, providing guests with curated and customised information. 
  • Lighting control: As well as being an energy efficient solution, smart lighting enables you to automate your lights or control them remotely, eliminating the need for wall switches. 
  • Noise monitors: Whether your market has strict regulations or not, getting noise alerts always helps community relations.
  • Monitored life safety: Protect your property and guests from burglary, smoke and CO2 threats.
  • Water sensors: Catch a leaky water heater before it adds an indoor swimming pool to the home.

Take note:

  • Data privacy: Make sure the provider of the devices won’t sell or monetise data.
  • Data security: Make sure your tech partner has good data security policies like SOC-2 Type II compliance (an auditing procedure).
  • Longevity: Choose a tech partner that offers services, like installation and support, and has the financial backing to be a long-term partner.

Smart tech and consumer confidence

As travel picks up again, it’s crucial that property managers reassure guests their stays will be safe and secure. Smart home tech solutions can help promote a sense of confidence for travellers, giving them the peace of mind to book. 

Reviewing and renewing your tech is a good place to start for property managers of all sizes if they want to meet heightened guest demands and increased operating standards while becoming more efficient in the process.

 

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health safety
Reassuring guests with health and safety measures

Discover other ways you can put guests at ease and boost their confidence. 

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Takeaway
  • Smart home technology is on the rise, underpinned by an enhanced need for health and safety
  • Implementing smart tech can ease the concerns of travellers, who are now more aware of high-touch areas like light switches 
  • Along with promoting traveller confidence, investing in smart tech offers multiple benefits for property managers such as saving costs on heating and cooling
  • From smart locks to voice assistants, there are many solutions that can meet heightened guest demands while increasing operating standards