From Airbnb door locks to wireless thermostats, technology is reducing the time and cost associated with Airbnb hosting. Here I reveal the most critical Airbnb gadgets to make your life easier as a rental property manager.
Airbnb Door Locks
You may not be able or willing to personally meet every guest at check-in. The alternative is to provide your guests with a means to access your property without you being present. You can do this using either a smart lock or a lock box.
When selecting a digital lock, you can either switch out the entire lock assembly or add hardware to your deadbolt. If you own your rental property, then replacing your current lock with a digital lock is your best option.
There are three things to keep in mind when purchasing a smart lock: ease of installation, remote access, and price.
If you don’t want to change the code for each guest and remote access is not a concern, then I recommend the Schlage lock.
For a more detailed review of smart lock options check out this review by a lock and technology specialist.
A simple alternative to a smart lock is the lock box. Realtors have been using them for decades. I prefer a lock box that has a shackle. This makes it easy to secure it to the door or to a nearby stairwell or gate. This Masterlock 5400D lock box is sturdy and is smaller than other models.
For maximum security and convenience, I install digital locks on external doors and hide a lock box with a spare key elsewhere on the property. I only use the lock box in a contingency situation.
You want to have at least two backups so your guests aren’t stranded outside your property waiting for you to let them in.
A revolutionary new technology that helps automate property maintenance is Nest. Acquired by Google, Nest is a digital thermostat that can be remotely controlled by your iPhone.
Energy costs throughout the year can add up. Especially if you cool your place for days at a time when no one is home. Nest has a motion sensor that activates your heating or cooling when someone arrives. This can result in significant savings throughout the year.
Airbnb guests expect high quality entertainment options. As an Airbnb host, you have an advantage over hotels. Most hotels offer outdated televisions with limited or overpriced movie options. Large LCD and LED televisions are getting cheaper every year. They are a great selling point for a short-term rental.
Buying a Smart TV reduces the devices in your home and help prevents the frustrating “how do I use turn this on” question. You have one remote control, one device, and one power button.
“Smart” means the TV is connected to the internet. It transforms your TV into a full service entertainment center. This includes streaming movies through Netflix, watching cable TV, or playing music through Pandora. The intuitive interface of a smart TV makes navigating between applications a breeze. It removes the need for guests to move in-between different component inputs and outputs and allows them to stream movies.
For price, ease of use, available apps, and overall quality I recommend LG products. Also I suggest you buy at least a 42″ screen for your main living space.
Cutting the Cord to Cable
Finding the right mix of streaming devices and antenna to replace your cable system might seem like a headache. Below I outline a simple way to cut the cable, keep the Internet, and save yourself at least $100 per month.
There are three items you need before cancelling you cable subscription.
1. A Streaming Device – (Smart TV, Roku, Apple TV)
If you own a television that is not “smart,” you need to add a steaming device to your set-up. When I travel around the world I’m always surprised by the number of hosts that only offer local cable. I’m usually stuck clicking through 100 channels to find the one station playing a 90’s american movie with subtitles. Invest the $50 in a streaming device!
In my opinion, the best streaming device on the market today is the Roku. Its simple interface and user friendly remote provides search functionality for programs between all of your apps. It also has a headphone jack so you needn’t subject your travel companions to your insomnia.
2. A Digital Antenna
If you are within 25 miles of civilization the Amazon digital antenna offers good value. I’ve purchased a dozen different antennae and this one has outperformed all others. I recommend splurging for the most powerful version which picks up signals from up to a 50 mile range. There’s nothing worse than trying to save $20, then realizing you only get 4 channels and they’re all pixelated.
Go to TV Fool to find out how far your home is from the local broadcasting transmitters. You can upgrade to an amplified directional antenna if you are more than 20 miles from the station transmitters or in a low lying unit. Grab this antenna if you have a weaker signal.
3. A Streaming Content Application
Most subscription services allow you to link up to five devices. This means that you can pay for services for your home TV and also have them linked at your rental properties. Some applications are getting more restrictive about watching the same show on two different devices, but for the most part they are not cracking down on linking multiple devices to a single account.
The Best Streaming Apps
Hulu – Provides most current network and cable TV programs that guests are used to watching at home.
Amazon Prime – Good for original series and classic movies. If you shop with Amazon Prime it’s a free add-on.
Netflix – Available in most countries, it’s the market leader for streaming apps.
Cutting the cord to cable can save you over $1,000 each year. Our research shows that less that 50% of Airbnb rentals around the world offer cable TV. This presents you with an excellent opportunity to join the digital revolution and offer your guests a superior entertainment experience!