Smart Home Components for Vacation Rentals
In the competitive vacation rental industry, a smart home system can really make your property stand out among the rest. In this article, we will be learning about a variety of smart home components and how they fit into a great smart vacation rental. These upgrades will not only enhance your guests’ experience, but they will also improve life for the owner of the property as well.
One of the biggest issues with owning any rental property is the fact that you’re not there if something goes wrong. A small leak, for example, could go undetected for weeks or even months, and end up costing thousands of dollars’ worth of damage. Leak sensors integrated into your smart home could end up preventing leaks like these from turning into major damage events. Several wireless leak sensors are available on the market, most use either Z-Wave or Zigbee technology, and can therefore interface easily with Z-Wave and ZigBee smart home hubs, such as SmartThings or Hubitat.
Dome Leak Sensors, for example, are easy to install, have a long-lasting battery, notify the user when the battery gets low, and have a local tone that annunciates if water is detected by the sensor. The sensor is located on the bottom of the puck-like main unit, an optional extender can be installed on the sensor unit which can then be installed in tight spaces where the main unit couldn’t fit. Leak events are sent to your smart home hub and can trigger email, text, and/or push notifications to your phone. You could even pair the leak sensors with a smart valve, by creating an automation which will close the main water supply to the home in the event a leak is detected.
Another issue with being away from your property is that people may notice that the rental is vacant. A security system can be a great deterrent, but another solution is to make the home appear occupied. This can be done by installing smart lighting and blinds, which will turn on and off – or open and close – based on certain conditions like time of day. For example, lights could turn on everyday 30 minutes prior to sunset, and then turn-off around 10 PM. Of course, you would want to add an option that you or your guests could disable this feature when the home is occupied to avoid being left in the dark. Smart lights can also provide your guests with a convenient way of keeping the lights on and make the rental work for their lifestyle. Adding motion or open/close sensors adds capability to turn lights on and off automatically, great for areas like bathrooms, entries, or closets. Using scenes allows for grouping any number of light switches into a single command, so your guests don’t need to search for several switches to turn on all the lights in the room they are occupying. You could combine your smart lighting with a digital voice assistant, such as Alexa or Google Home; then guests could simply say what they want the home to do. In cases where guests that aren’t comfortable having a digital voice assistant around, these devices can be unplugged; your guests can still interact with the smart home system via their smart phones, installed switches, or smart home remote(s) in the home.
Smart door locks are another great addition to a vacation rental smart home system. A lot of vacation rentals already have keypad door locks on the front door which make it simple for guests to access the home; they don’t even need to pick up a key, just email or text them the code. Smart door locks take this technology further, by adding them to your smart home system, owners and guests can get notifications when the door is locked/unlocked, lock or unlock the door remotely from their phones, and receive low battery notifications when it’s time for a change. Owners can also easily change lock codes from their smart home dashboard, so when guests check out or in, there is no need to visit the rental for access control. Owners can also add multiple codes to provide access for housekeepers, contractors, and maintainers. These locks can still be locked/unlocked using a traditional key, some smart locks even let you fit an existing key to the lock. One thing to note with these locks is they do use wireless communications, which while secure, could be broken into given enough effort; however, remember no lock is perfect, criminals can break into traditional locks just as easily. Having a security system installed in the home can provided added peace of mind for the rental’s owner.
Adding a smart thermostat allow owners the flexibility set the home to the proper temperature when guests check in/out. When a guest leaves the owner can set the thermostat to a temperature that saves energy while the home is unoccupied. Just prior to arriving, the thermostat can be set so your guests arrive to a home at a comfortable temperature. Additionally, smart thermostats can be automated to adjust based on the weather forecast outside or could easily be adjusted remotely when the guests are away and want to arrive to a certain temperature. Pairing smart vents with the smart thermostat allows guests to customize their temperature by directing conditioned air only to the rooms that need it. These also will work with voice assistants so in addition to smart phone control, guests can simply say what temperature they want, and the smart home will adjust the thermostat accordingly.
Finally, to really set off the smart vacation rental experience for guests, a multimedia hub can bring a rental’s entertainment system to guests’ fingertips. The Logitech universal remote system has been around for years. They now offer a hub, called Harmony, that will interface with your smart home system as well. The hub will act like a remote control for most home multimedia components, such as televisions, surround sound systems, DVD players, and even video game systems. There is no longer a need for guests to learn complicated instructions to use the rental’s home entertainment system, they can control multiple devices simultaneously with a single command. It is also possible to combine multimedia commands with light control to create an automation that will dim the lights and turn on the TV and DVD player for a movie, or light up the whole house and play your favorite radio station for a “party” scene. Adding voice control can allow guests to do things like skip a song, or change a station, without even getting out of the pool or hot tub.
Adding a little smart to your vacation rental may take a little investment, but when considering all the capability a smart home can provide it becomes one that can pay for itself in a relatively short time. IOn Technologies can create customized smart home solutions like this for just about any type of home, including vacation rentals. If you are interested in turning your home or rental into a smart home, and are in the Jacksonville area, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call: (904) 894-1562.