I am starting this thread to see if as Hosts, you have been able to automate your Airbnb hosting with the use of new technology. Following are the gadgets that I have tried with success and failures:
1. Traditional Lockbox - Provide a self-checkin option to guests to check in anytime. Yet, to try the smart lockbox.
When the guests leave, they do not close the lockbox
If the lockbox aren't smart, then you run the risk of guests sharing the lock-box code with locals and some one might have illegal access to your property.
2. Camera at the entrance of the unit
This has been working great for us as it keeps away "guests" who like to party or disrespect the house rules.
3. Remotely controlled thermostat
I have installed a NEST thermostat in the units so that I can control the temperature remotely. I have seen many cases when the guests would go all out on Air Con but forget to close the windows.
4. Smart TV
Although this may seem obvious, it is important due to the different age bands of guests I cater to. Millenials prefer to stream Netflix or Youtube while a lot of folks prefer traditional cable.
5. Roomba Vacuum for cleaning
I took the plunge to buy a high-end robo vacuum to assist me while cleaning. I was able to save about 30% of my cleaning time with this. However, I noticed that the cleaning was not very thorough and the Roomba would leave behind debris or hair. It is an useful assistant if the stays are 1/2 days as the place may not be very dirty.
Tools that I am planning to try:
1. Alexia or Google home
2. Blue tooth controlled lights
Have you tried any of the above gadgets or in the process of trying?
The sensors near windows are only activated when I set the home security system as "House Empty (no one at home)" so that any movement near the windows (burglar trying to get in thru the window) will activate the alarm. It came with the house so I don't remember any details - we've only set it once when we were away on a 3 week trip. Most of the time we use the "basic" level security - which is easier to turn on and off on a daily basis. Plus, we are on the 14th floor so we aren't that worried about people trying to get in thru our windows.
Our listing is a private guest room in our house so we need gas and electricity too LOL!
Till now, we've used it during winter and summer to track what we use - to keep our utility bills down. Also when we are away for a few days, we turn the lights in the room and living room on and off, like as if someone is there, or turn up the heating a couple hours before we get home so it's warm and toasty for us. We moved in last October so we're still getting the hang of the different functions.
For gas and electricity, (my understanding is) it's a redundant system with both a manual and an automated(?) shut-off valve or button of some sort. So if both have to be open or on for use and shutting of either will work. The apartment is a new build so it has a lot of fancy functions - I think I only know about 1/3 of them and actually use even less :-)
We have a Schlage electronic smart lock on the front door. It has worked very well for us. We assign a unique code to each tenant, get a reminder to delete it after they leave, and are able to lock/unlock the door remotely if they forget to lock it when they check out. No issues at all with it.
We also have a Ecobee 3 thermostat. It works fine and allows us to monitor the house humidity and temperature. When a guest checks out we remotely turn it up to save a few bucks, an hour or so before a tenant arrives we can turn the ac down and they can adjust it as needed. It sends out warnings if there is a problem with the ac unit. It also allows me to download all the data recorded every 5 minutes so I am able to look where we may improve the efficiency. We are in Florida andthe largest electrical use is the ac so we like to keep an eye on it.
We have smart tv's. One is great and the other one (a different model) is terrible and not user friendly at all. If the tenant is not very good with switching inputs, changing componants then they struggle, even after I put a very good remote in place. I will be switching out the tv with a more user friendly one. Overall smart tv's are great as I believe most use Netflix, or Amazon Prime.
I am looking at installing a Nest smoke/CO detector. This will give us notification in the event of a related problem, which I like as we live a distance away.
I'd recommend Roomba 770 or 880 robotic vacuum for a more thorough clean. These two clean better than the previous generation models due to the new motor and better sensing capabilities.
Purchasing Arlo Pro for outdoor monitoring and sprinkler controller is a wonderful decision. In addition, smart thermostat will save some money and time too!
@George I read a story about the "roomba" vacuum that convinced me not to get one. The story was about a woman who had a show poodle. The owner had a Roomba going on "autopilot" while she was out of the house. Well her poodle did a "poopy" on the tile floor and then the Roomba kicked in to "autopilot". The Roomba proceeded to smear dog poop over the entire house. It was at this very moment I decided, "No Roomba for YOU!".
I am looking at various options for a Smart Thermostat, and just learnig about the technology. I need help!
I am confused as to how the thermostat would help with the situation of guests leaving the A/C on and the windows open?
Also, the remote thermostats that the Ecobee systems offer: Is that simply a feature for keeping the house more comfortable or will it save me money? How would it help reduce energy usage?
One device to do both tell you the windows are open and the AC/heater is on is probably not a thing. You can put sensors on the windows and then have the smart thermostat and then use something like ITTT programming to sent you an aleart or even turn off the AC if it detects that the windows/doors are open. I personally have just started down this road and started with the doors.
Lock- Kēvo which you can send eKey to guest days before arrival or use a key fob. I have a love hate relationship with this system. Not all guests are technology wise and this can cause frustrations. The key fob comes in handy at this time. The lock app occasionally needs you to close and open it to get it to work, so I have to educate people on the system at check in.
Doorbell - Ring doorbell I love because I can view when people are having trouble with getting in the Airbnb. I also have a record of when they come and go from the home. I have the hallway chime to go with it.
Internet hub- Wink. We soon realized when we started with a few Alexias and other Smart Home products that our router/ modem from our provider wasn’t going to cut it. We purchased Wink, Eero, Aaris surfboard. This is when we could start adding more smart items without our WiFi slowing down. You also get a dedicate WiFi for guests.
Lightify for smart lights. When guests are
out in the evening I leave the dinning room light on with a robot setting to turn the lights off at 11:30pm.
Our next purchase is a couple of Nest.
1. We have a Schlage Smart Lock as well. One to enter the property and one to enter our casita, both programmed with the same code which we rotate with each guest. Keys and fabs get lost, get taken, etc., and it's one less thing the guest has to worry about. Plus, this way, if we cannot be around for the guests' arrival, they can still access the proprty.
2. We too have a Sensi. We clearly state in our Houe Manual not to turn the AC down past a certain setting. We can randomly check this during our guests' stay. We've had people open up the sliding doors when it's 100deg out and not turn off the AC. It happens whether intentional or not.
3. We also purchased Smart TVs for both the bedroom and livingroom with access to Netflix and Prime Video. We always have people forgetting to log out so that is something we remind them of in our checkout procedures and then check when turning the space.
4. Cameras are not pointed at our casita but monitor the main house and entries to the property so the guests know we can tell who comes and goes (and we also live on property). Great deterrant. Just note that this needs to be disclosed in your listing.
One thing to note is the more technology you have the more there is that can go wrong. It's great when it works but when it doesn't it can be inconvenient and expensive.