There once was a time when the Airbnb hosting experience was simply providing a couch or bed to crash on and nothing further.
Well…maybe a Poptart and water bottle for breakfast…but that was considered premium service back in 2008.
But as technology improved, so did the guest experience on Airbnb.
Now with continued advances in technology, forward-thinking hosts may also see an increase in income.
In a recent study commissioned by August Home, they found that 60% of guests would actually pay more for a vacation rental home with a smart home feature.
So how can you incorporate this new data into becoming a more profitable host that provides an experience that guests prefer?
That’s easy…provide the guests with the smart home technologies they value most.
In this study, they actually asked guests how appealing each type of technology was in a rental property so the work is already done for you.
But first, let’s dive deeper into the study and define what these technologies are.
After that, we will explore which ones will help you deliver the best guest experience.
What is Smart Home Technology?
You hear the word ‘smart’ thrown around a lot, so we should put some clear parameters about what this study and the participants understand it as.
In this study, smart home technologies were defined to include:
- smart TVs,
- smart home security systems,
- touchscreen appliances,
- app-controlled smart locks,
- app-controlled streaming media/movies/music,
- video-enabled doorbell cameras,
- app-controlled thermostats,
- internet-connected indoor/outdoor cameras, and
- app-controlled smart lighting systems
That’s a pretty long list, and some of them you probably recognize or may already have.
If so, then great…you’re on the right track!
Now if you don’t have ANY of those technologies in your rental space, you may want to consider incorporating them into your property over time.
Your competition will be adding them, so to keep up you should too.
Which Should You Buy?
As an Airbnb host (aka business operator), you need to make the most of your time and money investments. You need to approach matters in a methodical way.
With hospitality work like Airbnb hosting, you need to understand you are working with two types of capital: financial and emotional.
Most of us know how to earn great financial returns, but true success in hosting is when you can earn a lot of emotional equity with your guests.
Now one way to earn emotional capital from your guests is to provide the smart home technologies that your guests will find most valuable and appealing.
And to seed the growth of that emotional capital, make sure you explicitly state in your listing which particular smart technologies you offer in the rental space.
In the study, they found that 82% of Guests say they are more likely to complete their reservations when smart home technology is listed as available.
Make a simple header that says “Smart Home Technologies” in your description and list the ones you have. Simple as that!
In the report from August Home they included a chart of smart home technologies and how they ranked in perceived appeal. The hosts are in red and the guests are in grey
So you have full context of the question:
- Guests were asked: Specifically, how appealing are each of these types of home technology to have in the property you rent?
- Hosts were asked: Specifically, how appealing do you think these types of smart home technology are to rental guests?
Right away you can see that with some technologies like smart TVs on the far left, hosts and guests have a near equal understanding of perceived value.
You will also notice with technologies like app-controlled lights on the far right, hosts are overestimating their appeal to guests; thus an investment in that technology may not be a wise decision.
Let’s look at the three smart home technologies with the highest perceived appeal to the Guest as voted on by the guests.
Those are: smart TVs, video-enabled doorbell cameras, and smart home security systems.
Simply put, smart TVs are flat screens that are connected to the Internet and used for entertainment purposes.
I’m sure that many of you are already providing a smart tv, but also make sure that you are providing:
- One of more of the following streaming services…Netflix, HBO Go, Hulu, Amazon Prime, etc.
- A 10ft+ HDMI cable for guests to connect their laptops or game consoles.
These small upgrades will make your TV much more valuable to guests.
Video-enabled Doorbell Camera
Always knowing who is accessing your space is important in keeping your property and your guests safe.
With an August Doorbell Cam you can be alerted every time someone rings the doorbell and you can even see and talk to the person at the door to find out the nature of their visit.
This can help you identify unreported extra guests, chat with delivery people, and even know the exact time your guest arrived at the door.
Smart Home Security Systems
All guests have fears and one of the most common is not knowing if they are safe in this new space they’re staying in.
A quick way to stand out among the many spaces on Airbnb and to put these potential guest fears at ease is to show off in your Airbnb listing that you have a smart home security system.
Guests will understand that you take safety seriously and this may be the amenity that converts that potential guest into a paying guest.
It will also give you peace of mind because you can monitor your rental space 24/7 from anywhere that has an Internet connection.
The Next Smart Step
I highly suggest you review this entire study because it’s great to now have data to rationalize the investments you’re making into your rental properties.
In the report there are many powerful insights including what situations guests find most worrisome and why business travelers use vacation rentals.
Here an infographic with the key findings. Click image to expand or right click and select “open image in a new window”.
Download the full Short-term Rentals: Smarter Hosting with Smart Home Technology report by visiting this page.
Leave a comment below and let us know which smart home technologies you have in your rental and which you are considering adding in the future.