November 24, 2015

Vacation Home Automation 101: How to Make More & Save Time

Here at, we want all of your questions about vacation homes and rentals to be answered.

With high demand for more information on home automation for short-term rentals, we brought in the experts at Parakeet to discuss the Internet of Things and the many ways it can help you make more.

Here is what the guys at Parakeet had to say on how home automation can save you time and make you money on your Airbnb or vacation home:

Whether you’re managing an entire fleet of homes or just renting out your apartment on Airbnb, managing vacation rentals can be a lot of unexpected work. Of course there’s the basics of keeping your listings updated, scheduling visits, and answering questions from guests, but it’s easy to overlook the other little tasks and expenses that come along with vacation rentals.

This is where home automation can save you a lot of time and money.

Home automation is made possible by the “Internet of Things,” which is a way to describe physical objects that are electronic, with sensors, software, and network connectivity (like WiFi, Bluetooth, RFID, or NFC technologies).

Basically, they’re smart. Walt Mossberg, a tech journalist, explained it well:

“The broad idea behind these buzzwords is that a whole constellation of inanimate objects is being designed with built-in wireless connectivity, so that they can be monitored, controlled and linked over the Internet via a mobile app.”

There are many different types of objects that are connected to IoT. It’s often used in people’s homes, but it’s also used in healthcare, agriculture, transportation, and many other industries.

For now, it’s somewhat of a niche technology, but it’s slowly becoming integrated into our lives. Soon it will be everywhere.

As this technology progresses, being able to program parts of your house to automate their behavior and to check in on and manage your property from anywhere will soon be common practice. Not to mention, every day new products come out to help create the ultimate self-managed home.

The Internet of Things is in the very beginning stages, and just scratches the surface of what will eventually be possible. But there are already a ton of products that can be useful for anyone managing vacation rentals.

Here are a few ways that home automation can make your life way easier:

Keyless Entry

Meeting your guests to hand off the keys every time they arrive can become cumbersome pretty quickly. And we all know it’s not safe to leave a key under a rock in the front yard where anyone can find it. Keyless entry solves that problem. By hooking your locks up to the internet, you can manage renters’ access to your property from anywhere.

For example, there’s an app that allows you to control your front door and give your guests access, so you can avoid the whole key drop off situation. When they leave, you remove their access, so your property is safe and secure.

One example is Parakeet. Guests are emailed a key code that they can use while they are renting out the place, and once they leave, the code will be disabled. It’s really that simple. The increased security (it’s even safer than handing out keys) and time savings will allow you to focus on more important tasks like increasing bookings and revenue. .

Remote Thermostats

People tend to be forgetful, and guests will often forget to turn off the air conditioning or heat when they leave. If you don’t stop by for a few days, the unnecessary heat or AC adds up quickly, and that’s not good for the electric bill.

Perhaps the most well known smart thermostat is Nest. Being able to easily and remotely monitor the temperature in their homes has saved people a lot of money. Not to mention, it’s cool.

They also have a smart smoke detector, which, if you’ve ever busted an eardrum trying to turn one off, is just fantastic. No more frantically ripping the smoke detector off the ceiling as it blares inches from your head.

Both Nest products are easy to setup, easy to use, and can save you a ton of money and stress.

The Nest products are the most famous, but there are many other options out there with other features, so that you can find the one that’s right for you.

Monitor Energy Usage

Thermostats and smoke detectors aren’t the only utilities you can monitor. Neurio is one product that tracks your overall energy usage for your property. It monitors energy usage, predicts your bill, and even provides tips on how to save energy, giving you one less thing to worry about.

Control Appliances, Lights, & Electronics

We’ve all had that moment of “Oh no, did I leave the oven on?” Or anxiety about whether your guests turned off all the appliances when they left. Or maybe a guest left all the lights and the TV on, costing you money.

One of the great things about home automation and connectivity is that we can put these annoying little problems behind us. Pull out your phone, turn off the oven, and presto. Problem solved.

Avoid Disasters

When managing rentals from afar, there’s no way of knowing if there’s a problem with the house. There are some great products out there that help make sure your property is safe and in one piece—they are even able to predict certain issues so that you can fix the problem before it begins.

From flood and carbon monoxide monitoring to motion sensors to easy-to-set-up security cameras, these products offer valuable peace of mind that everything is going well.

Secure Your Property

Traditional home security systems can be a huge pain. Smart security systems are a huge step up. Easily control your system from your phone. Products like Canary offer a variety of features like motion detectors that send you notifications, video and audio recordings, air, temperature, and humidity monitoring, and even night vision.

When you’re managing a property from afar, it’s hard to know how secure the property is—and it’s difficult to secure it in the first place.

Connected security systems are especially helpful when there are no guests staying there and the place is empty. It’s always useful to know what’s going on and to be sure that your property is safe.


This is just scratching the surface of what the Internet of Things can do for you. Almost every part of your home can be hooked up to the internet, and the possibilities are endless, allowing you to save money, save time, and get some peace of mind from anywhere you happen to be in the world.

Embrace the change.

Have you automated your home already? Let us know in the comments!

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of rented.

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