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?
Hi @Dev I have been using Phillips hue lights in the halls in my house, including the entry hall thhhe guests use. Hey are controlled by motion sensors that you can set for length of time the lights stay on after someone walks by. You can also dim the lights, or just set them to function at 50%, etc. I love these lights. I used to have to leave the hall lights on for guests and then go downstairs at midnight to turn them off. No more. I also use a motion sensor light on my front porch. These have worked very well, and I am very pleased with the setup. The Hue lights are also easy to set up. I do not have them in the guest space, but they could be put in there as well, if necessary.
Great topic @Dev! :)
I find all of the 'smart' technology available now, really fascinating. Although, I think you can easily get hooked! hehe It is amazing how many things you can get tell you about your home these days.
That's a good idea to have motion sensitive lights @Kate, I always find it a little more welcoming turning up at a house when there are lights on.
A family member of mine recently got an Alexia, it is not something that I thought I would need around the home, but I have to say the voice control on it is really responsive even if you are listening to load music.
I often think, usually when I am at the supermarket, that I would like an app connected to my fridge to tell me what content is in there and the sell by dates, so I know whether to buy more or not.
How do you find having a NEST thermostat, do you think you are more conscious of the energy you use?
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Thanks and apologies for the late response. I second your thought about a "smart" refrigerator. We all go through the hassle of making a grocery list and shopping for it.
The NEST thermostats have been very useful as you can remotely monitor the temperature. I can turn off AC/heater when the guests checks out. I see a cost advantage for installing one in Airbnbs as guests are often occupied exploring the city then turning off lights or AC when they leave.
I have seen a few demo videos of Alexia and it looks very promising. Its integration with Amazon is commendable and in-line with the company's vision of ordering stuff before humans realize. I will have to think through about integrating with my Airbnb. Last thing I want is guests ordering a bunch of things from Amazon and I get billed for it :)
Great idea about the motion sensor lights. I never thought about it but after your recommendation, will definately look into it. Is it easy to install. I believe it would be a costly affair to change all the lights in the house to motion sensor bulbs.
From a guest perpective, I would love the experience :)
@Dev It is very easy to install, and while the bulbs may be more expensive, you will easily save on electricity. I used to have to leave all the hall light on for hours, in case the guests returned. I did not want them coming into a dark entry hall. Now, no problem. The lights come on when they enter, and stay on for the programmed amount of time, and shut themselves off. It works well for me.
I use a programable lock - each guest has a unique 4 digit code. I rent a private room in my home, so I'm here to add/remove codes. Works very very well and frees me from being on site, 24/7.
I wish I could trust a roomba to do a good job, but alas, I don't. So I still vaccuum the space. Which since I have mostly one night stays, is darn near every day. I just don't see how a curved thing will get the corners like I expect them to be done.
Guests love my smart TV - even the boomers. Though I did have one older guest complain about no cable. The listing says no cable, so yeah...
I have an Amazon Echo Dot in the room. Most guests love it. Though a couple have had issuess.... (see SNL skit for Alexa Silver). Some of my more paranoid guests have unplugged both the Echo and the smart TV... just in case someone was spying on them. :o) I put a couple of the room items (a lamp and a fan) on smart outlets - but the outlets have proven to be less reliable (app issues, so hoping they will improve the app and I can reinstall them) and so I've taken them out of the room.
I'm looking for a smart thermostat that will work with my unique fireplace heater. Fortunately, most of my guests have not abused the utilities, and we don't have Air Con in this part of the world.
Wow!! you have done a tried to play with many technology products. Impressive and commendable!! Can you install a smart lock on a bedroom door? I live in a condo and we are advised not to make any changes to the main entrance. However, I would definately like to try smart locks insde the condo on bedroom doors.
I am just starting down the smart home journey. I purchased the Ecobee3 I have two airbnb units in my home and the temperature is controlled by the upstairs unit, I find I am running back and forth between my home and the unit to adjust the temperature for the bsmt guests, its nice to be able to do it from home. I went with the Ecobee 3 because there are sensors you can purchase and place through out your home to know the temperature in any given room, it also lets you know if the unit is occupied based on motion.
I had a lockbox but that was jammed within a few weeks so I went with a keypad lock, I might upgrade to the smart lock, and I will be installing cameras shortly. I am in Canada so not sure if it is the same in the US but I signed up for the Best Buy Geek Squad 1 year membership, the special right now is 15% off for the full year on all smart products for your home. It also gives you half price installation for your devices, just by buying and installing the thermostat I have gotten back 50% of the cost of the yearly membership back already.
@Dev: I use the Schlage Sense smartlock. I added Apple TV and can now access it through the wifi anytime through my iPhone. I give each guest a 4 digit code (the last 4 digits of their phone number listed on Airbnb) that works for the days they will be there. Then I just delete the code once they leave through my iPhone. I like that I can see when they arrived too. This helps me to reach out to them to make sure everything went well getting in and if they have any questions/concerns. It is really convenient not just for me but for guests who have commented on how great it is.
I also use a Sensi remote thermostat. It also runs through the wifi. So I can turn on AC or heat shortly before/after a guest or my family are due to arrive/depart saving money and the environment. I usually check what temp the guests set it for once maybe twice during their stays.
I really like the convenience and security these technologies have provided me. I continue to look at others that might also provide benefits. I am hoping to soon have time to look into sliding glass door sensors. My places are at the beach and so many people turn down the AC and then must leave the sliders open resulting in emails from the thermostat saying it struggling to lower the humidy and/or temp. Pretty sure open slider doors is the reason so would like to verify my suspicions through sensors. If anyone has more info on these type of sensors I would appreciate knowing more!
Hope this info was helpful.
I have a digital door lock (locks automatically when it closes). I can program different entry codes but decided to go the old fashioned way and provide a "key fob" to my guest for entry to the apartment. (We have an access code we can give to guests in case no one is home to open the door AND the guest forgot to take their key with them but have never needed to use it yet!) Guests need a separate code to enter the building anyway, and so we didn't want guests to have to manage 2 totally different 6~8 digit entry codes in case they were numerically challenged like me haha~ ( I ALWAYS mix up the 2 codes -_-;;;;;; )
My apartment was built recently so not fully but "kinda" smart :-)
All the units are equipped with basic a security system (sensors near windows and a peep hole camera to monitor who comes to the door) and remote-control of lighting and room temperatures (thru an app on my phone - we can also shut off the gas and electricity remotely, if necesssary and track/check electricity and gas usage in real time.) I can also activate the security system remotely as well (but have to be there in person to de-activate.)
I actually don't have a TV and this is clearly mentioned several times in my listing. And Henry has been dropping hints about a roomba.... I honestly don't think we need it though (Henry is into anything electronics LOL!)
Thanks for the reply.
What do use the sensors near windows for? This is the first time I am hearing about it.
Tracking gas and electricity in real time - I live in Toronto, Canada and we can track gas and electricity (called HYDRO, really!) but we cannot shut it off. So do you shut the electricity off between guests' stays?
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!".