Mindy Woodall is a writer focusing on smart devices and home security. She’s written about how automation technology can improve our daily lives for five years.
If you’re not familiar with smart home devices, prepare to be amazed. A bevy of home automation tools and products have hit the market in the past few years, and turning your vacation rental into a total smart home has never been easier (or more affordable).
Smart home devices improve your guests’ rental experience and help you keep an eye on your property all at once. Here are the top five things you’ll need to set up your vacation rental as a smart home and start attracting more tech-loving guests.
1. Get a smart lock
Smart locks let you ditch keys entirely and lock/unlock your door using either a keycode or your phone.
With a smart lock, you can give your guests unique codes that are set to work for a specific period of time.
For example, you can send your guests a code that works only from 3:00 pm on March 18 to 11:00 am on March 24th—no more antiquated key boxes or rushing to hand over keys in person. Your guests also don’t have to worry about locking themselves out or losing their keys.
Some of the most popular smart locks:
2. Get a smart speaker (also called a voice assistant)
According to a Smart Audio Report produced by NPR and Edison Research, one in six Americans owns a smart speaker of some kind. Your potential guests are likely already familiar with these devices and use them in their own homes, so having voice control available in your vacation rental will help them feel welcome during their stay.
There are many different models of smart speakers, but all of them contain a “voice assistant,” also known as a “smart assistant.” The most popular voice assistants are Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant—and, of course, you’ll get the occasional Siri enthusiast.
Smart speakers make it easy for your guests to control other smart devices in your vacation rental, like smart lights and window shades. They also let guests play music and check the weather and news without lifting a finger or getting off the couch.
Some of the most popular smart speakers:
3. Choose a hub
Smart speakers often function as hubs to tie your other smart home devices together. If your lights and locks work with your chosen smart speaker, then great! But if you want to go beyond voice commands—and add in home security features like sensors—then you might want to get a smart home hub.
Smart home hubs let smart home devices from different brands work together and talk to each other. They also let you control all your devices from a single app. So if your guests leave but forget to lock the door, you can get an alert and lock the door from your phone.
Some of the most popular smart home hubs:
4. Install some smart lights
Smart lights are super easy to install—just replace your regular bulbs with smart bulbs. They’re also convenient and homey for owners and guests alike.
For guests, smart lights let them control the lights in your main rooms with just their voice. They can just ask Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant to turn the living room lights on without having to search for a switch or figure out which button goes with which lights.
This way, guests can also fine-tune lighting conditions to their preferences, which will help them create just the atmosphere they’re looking for during their stay at your rental.
For you, the property manager, smart lights will let you set schedules for your lights or turn them on and off from your phone—which are especially great for welcoming guests or even warding off potential intruders between visits.
Some of the most popular smart lights:
5. Create rules with the IFTTT app
Once you have all of your smart devices installed, you can use a service called IFTTT (If This, Then That) to create “rules” or routines for your property.
True to its name, IFTTT lets you create if-this-then-that scenarios. For example, using the app, you can make it so that if your outdoor security cameras detect motion, then your house’s lights will turn on and the front door will lock.
The possibilities with IFTTT are basically endless. Just make sure whatever smart home devices you install integrate with the IFTTT app.
Smart home devices offer plenty of opportunities to make your vacation property more appealing to guests and let you have more control over what goes on around your