Vacation Rental Products

Leveraging Smart Home Technology for Airbnb Success

Incorporating smart home technology in your short-term rental is no longer considered an interesting or unique perk for tech-savvy guests. It’s part of a practical business strategy that delivers both offensive and defensive operational benefits. Here's how integrating smart tech devices into your Airbnb can simultaneously protect your investment and maximum guest enjoyment.

By The Turno Team

Last updated: November 15, 2023

Why Smart Home Technology Matters for Airbnb Hosts

As a host, you’re not only providing a space; you’re crafting and promising a level of guest experience. Prospective guests are increasingly seeking smart home rentals that offer similar technologies to what they’re accustomed to in their daily lives. By investing in a combination of guest-facing as well as behind-the-scenes smart home devices for your Airbnb, you can deliver a comfortable guest stay, reduce management hassles, and safeguard your property. Here’s why your short-term rental should be a smart home: 

  • Enhanced Guest Experience: Today’s travelers expect up-to-date amenities and conveniences. Adding smart home devices to your Airbnb property provides a modern experience that leads to happier guests and improved reviews. 
  • Operational Efficiency: Smart technology helps streamline your hosting and business processes. They save time and reduce costs by enabling effective remote property management and real-time problem-solving.
  • Safety and Security: Hosts and guests alike are prioritizing safety and security, driving an increased adoption of smart technologies across the vacation rental industry. Investments in smart home devices not only protect your property but boost your guest’s comfort and trust as well.

Top Smart Home Devices for Airbnb Hosts

Smart home devices benefit your business by adding a winning combination of security, luxury, and convenience. Let’s take a look at eight smart home technologies every host should consider for their rental properties:

1. Smart Locks and Keyless Entry for Hassle-free Guest Check-in and Property Maintenance

Adopting smart lock technology isn’t just an upgrade—it’s a game-changer. 

Smart locks and keyless entry systems allow you to optimize operations and refine guest experiences, making your Airbnb business easier to manage from anywhere. 

Traditional keys, although functional, have serious pitfalls. Coordinating key handoffs can create inconvenient hassles for both you and your guests. Also, keys can easily be lost, misplaced, or even duplicated. This introduces unnecessary security concerns for all parties. Smart locks offer a logical and cost-effective solution. 

Guests appreciate the ease of accessing your property without needing physical keys. Temporary codes sync with booking dates to ensure guests can only access the property during their reserved time. Once their stay concludes, these codes automatically deactivate, minimizing lingering security threats. Plus, keyless entry systems are great solutions for offering temporary, trackable property access to cleaning and other maintenance people who service your home. 

Keyless entry systems provide both ease of access and peace of mind, helping ensure the ongoing protection of your guests and property.

smart home thermostat on wall

2. Smart Thermostats for Optimal Guest Comfort and Operational Efficiency

The days are gone when guests have to wrestle with unfamiliar thermostats to achieve a comfortable environment, turning hard-to-read dials up and down without precision. A smart thermostat in your Airbnb means guests no longer need to decipher complex dials or navigate dated interfaces. Modern thermostats are generally intuitive and user-friendly, enabling personalized comfort. To be safe, it’s still good practice to leave a brief guide or instructions to ensure that every guest can easily use your smart thermostat. 

Smart thermostat technology not only improves guest experience but also contributes to energy and cost savings. These smart home devices help you regulate a consistent temperature inside the home from anywhere, particularly when your property is vacant. Over time, the tangible savings you experience on your heating and cooling bills can offset the upfront technology investment. 

3. Smart Lighting Technology for Guest Safety and Energy Optimization 

Lighting plays an important role in setting the mood and ambiance of a space. It’s also a smart business investment that rental property owners may overlook. 

In the context of an Airbnb, lighting directly influences whether guests feel like they’re in a cold, unwelcoming place or a warm, inviting getaway. By incorporating smart lighting, you can customize lighting options that craft a memorable atmosphere. For example, lights that dim slowly as the evening continues can add a special touch to a guest’s stay.

In addition, smart lighting tech helps improve energy efficiency and lower electricity costs. Devices such as motion sensor lights in common areas help ensure that rooms and outdoor spaces only light up fully when occupied, preventing unnecessary energy consumption. For guests, motion sensors and voice-activated lighting provide a convenient touch that eliminates the need to search for switches in an unfamiliar environment. For hosts, remote access smart lights ensure non-occupied properties are appropriately lit (or not) in between bookings. 

smart home technology with a security camera on the outside of a property

4. Surveillance Technology for Smart Airbnb Home Security 

Surveillance and security systems are vital components to guest and property protection. With the right surveillance equipment to monitor your property and shared spaces, you can deter threats and safeguard guest privacy as well as their belongings. Furthermore, in the unfortunate event of disputes or damages, surveillance records can provide invaluable clarity and aid in resolution. 

Striking a balance between security and privacy can seem daunting to property owners who are considering smart home devices for their rentals. Transparency and respect are the cornerstones of integrating any type of surveillance into rental properties. For example, cameras placed inside private living areas not only breach guest trust but also run afoul of the stated policies of Airbnb, Vrbo, and others. Thus, disclosing the use of cameras and other surveillance technology in the property listing and onsite literature demonstrates both responsibility and respect for guest privacy. 

Installing a reliable security system – while also providing upfront, transparent disclosure – offers you several benefits. Surveillance technology protects your property, shows that you are a reliable and professional host, establishes clear stay expectations, and builds trust between you and your guests.

5. Water Leak Detectors for Safeguarding Rental Properties 

Hosting an Airbnb can be a rewarding experience…it can also bring unpredictable challenges. One such unexpected setback is water damage, which can prove both costly and time-consuming for hosts. 

The good news is you can protect your property from potentially devastating water damage. Install water leak detectors and receive real-time alerts about possible water leaks. Strategically place detectors in high-risk areas, like beneath sinks or close to appliances. These smart home devices for your Airbnb give you the ability to discover and address water issues quickly. Fast action not only prevents minor leaks from escalating into major damages but saves you from costly repairs that keep your property off-market and halt your revenue generation.

The advantages of water leak detectors extend beyond property protection. Guests see these types of preventative property investments as a sign that you value providing a high-quality, safe place to stay.

smoke detector inside home

6. Smart Smoke and CO Detectors for Lifesaving, Real-time Alerts

The primary role of an Airbnb host is to provide a comfortable space that prioritizes guest safety. Smart smoke and CO detectors deliver immediate, real-time notifications in the event of elevated smoke or carbon monoxide levels. These smart home devices for your Airbnb can be lifesaving. 

Guests, generally unfamiliar with your property, rely on the important safety measures that you take in preparing your rental home to be occupied by other people. The presence of intelligent smoke, fire, carbon dioxide, radon (if applicable to your area), and other detectors provides reassurance to your guests that your home is well cared for and duly protected in the event of an emergency. 

Don’t forget! Regularly test all detectors to make sure backup batteries, notification systems, and other alerts are running properly. Also, keeping a log of testing dates plus a few backup batteries onsite further demonstrates your commitment to guest safety. 

7. Noise Monitoring Devices for Positive Guest and Neighbor Experiences   

Ensuring a pleasant environment in and around your property plays an important role in both achieving five-star reviews from guests and maintaining a friendly, positive rapport with your neighbors. Noise monitoring devices are smart gadgets that proactively detect and alert you to noise disturbances occurring in the indoor and outdoor common areas of your property. They can be implemented without compromising guest privacy, just be sure their use is pre-disclosed to potential guests. 

Furthermore, noise monitoring devices significantly reduce the risk of guests holding unauthorized parties or neighbors calling in noise complaints to your local police department or HOA. Installing smart technology like noise monitoring devices to ensure a peaceful environment for both your guests and neighbors not only enhances your guest stay experience but also demonstrates a proactive commitment to being a good short-term rental neighbor.  

8. Voice Assistant Devices for Guest Convenience

Voice assistants, like Amazon’s Alexa or Google Assistant, have become commonplace in modern homes around the world. Having these smart devices at your property can fundamentally change the guest experience, almost like providing a 24/7 interactive concierge. Voice assistants can perform various tasks such as playing music, setting alarms, and answering questions about local restaurants and nearby attractions. This personalized and on-demand information resource provides guests with a curated, one-of-a-kind travel experience.

While local weather updates are helpful, the real magic of virtual assistant devices lies in the potential for integration with other smart tech installed throughout the property. Guests can control the lights and temperature, for example, or turn up the volume of the Smart TV from across the room. This elevated level of luxury and convenience can set your vacation rental apart.

Remember that guest privacy is still an unequivocal necessity, and it’s a host’s responsibility to ensure the voice assistant’s recording features are disabled. By thoughtfully adding useful voice assistants to your rental, you can position your property at the forefront of tech-driven hospitality.

Things to Consider Before Diving In

Smart technology devices improve your hosting business while also providing your guests with comfort, convenience, and automation. From intuitive climate control to personalized security features, smart home rentals redefine the guest experience, ensuring modern and stress-free stays. 

While the benefits of smart technologies are numerous, keep these considerations in mind when evaluating and installing smart devices for your Airbnb:

  • Privacy Concerns: Always prioritize guest privacy. Do not install security cameras or other surveillance recording devices in or around private spaces and be sure to clearly disclose their use to all guests.  
  • Tech-savviness: Technology does differ from device to device, and not all guests may be familiar with the particular smart tech you choose. Provide simple “how-to” guides or FAQs for each device in a guest guidebook to alleviate potential confusion.
  • Budget: Smart tech investment requires smart budgeting. Start small if you’re new. As you see returns in the form of improved operational efficiencies and positive guest reviews, you can reinvest in more advanced smart home technology.

Stand Out with Smart Technology for Your Airbnb 

Successful hosting is not just about keeping up, it’s about standing out. By implementing a thoughtful approach to smart home technology in your rental, you can enhance guest experience, optimize operations, improve property efficiency, lower utility costs, and safeguard the security of both your property and your guests. In the competitive market of vacation rentals, investments in smart home devices can make the difference between an average review and a five-star rating.

The Turno Team Avatar
The Turno Team , The Turno Team researches and publishes articles designed to provide short-term rental Hosts, Property Managers, and Airbnb Cleaners with insightful, useful resources. Articles written by the Turno Team cover a wide range of STR interests, from the latest industry data and best practices to real-world, practical advice on running efficient, revenue-generating vacation rental businesses in an ever-changing market. Here at Turno, we’re always looking for original ideas and hot new topics. Have something you’re curious to learn more about? Interested in authoring a guest blog? Drop us a line at [email protected].