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Smart Home Tech Transforms Vacation Rentals


Many people are using technology to make their homes safer, more comfortable, and more energy-efficient. It’s time to bring automation to vacation rental homes.

“Smart homes in vacation rentals can be experienced in a way that not only matches what guests expect from hotels but exceeds it,” David Jacoby said. Jacoby is the president & co-founder of Hostfully, a complete, end-to-end property management platform that helps vacation rental property managers increase bookings and boost revenues.

“For example, mood lighting, mobile-ready guidebooks, and local recommendations at their fingertips are all amenities not traditionally found at most hotels,” Jacoby said.

Adding value to vacation home rentals

Adding smart home automation to vacation rental homes increases the value of the properties so owners and rental property managers can charge more. The investment can pay off as consumers are willing to pay more for the technologies and amenities.

“Automation reduces hassle, decreases time and therefore money spent,” Jessica Gillingham said. Gillingham is the founder and managing director of Abode PR, a specialist PR agency working with tech solutions in the short-term rental and hotel sectors.  She works with the Vacation Rental Management Association (VRMA), the number one organization that advocates on behalf of the vacation rental industry.

For example, smart locks mean that physical keys are no longer needed; smart thermostats like Nest and Ecobee and energy monitoring can save costs and energy, and can also alert owners to potential issues and breakdowns. Maintenance crews and cleaners can be monitored through housekeeping apps.

Additional automation tech includes smart shades that open and close easily and can save on wear and tear and WiFi that can be easily managed with a management device, such as StayFi.

Happy guests pay more

Industry data shows that 60 percent of guests are willing to pay more for a vacation rental with smart home features. Many consumers are used to having smart tech at home including Alexa, Google Home, and Siri, as well as smart thermostats and smart lightbulbs.

Guest benefits include a secure and smooth experience with direct-to-home check-in; entering the property with a pre-heated pool, pre-cooled home, and communication tools; and use of in-property voice tech.

“When staying in a property, guests are looking to have more and sometimes even better than what they are used to,” Gillingham said. “As vacation rentals capture a greater share of the lodging market, guests are increasingly looking to have branded ‘hotel-like’ experiences and smart tech is part of that experience.”

Jacoby also works with VRMA, and agrees, saying guests may be surprised by the tech and turn a good review into a stellar one based on the pleasant experience they have.

“These reviews let you charge more for your property, and increase repeat bookings —who oftentimes book directly with you to avoid channel commissions,” Jacoby said. “In all, consumers are willing to pay more, and it generates further repeat business through happy guests and better reviews.”

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