Feefo logo
Get a Quote Renew an existing policy

Smart Gadgets for Your Holiday Cottage

Reading Time: 7 minutes

An increasing number of holiday home owners are turning to smart devices and technology to improve their holiday letting businesses and deliver a better guest experience. The important thing to determine before investing in a smart device is whether you and your guests would benefit.

Smart devices can make your listing stand out on booking sites, some guests are willing to pay more for a property outfitted with home automation technology, plus they can help hosts become more sustainable.

If you want to incorporate smart gadgets into your holiday let, you don’t have to spend a fortune. Here are some of the most popular smart devices on the market.

Benefits of smart devices and automation

There are several benefits to transforming your holiday cottage with smart devices.

  • When comparing rentals, guests make a note of the desirable features and amenities of each property and are willing to pay more for smart home gadgets that enhance the holiday.
  • They can increase the value of a holiday let while simultaneously helping reduce costs and energy use.
  • They can simplify and streamline the overall management of a holiday home, allowing hosts to automate tasks and run their business remotely.
  • They improve property safety and security, therefore reducing the risk of insurance claims and increased maintenance.

Smart thermostat

Smart heating is particularly useful for holiday let owners who live a distance from their property. It allows you to control the temperature remotely from your smartphone, tablet, or laptop. For example, you can give guests a warm welcome by programming the heating to come on before their arrival. What’s more, some smart thermostats can determine when travellers are at home or out for the day and adjust the heating accordingly. Owners can also set restrictions regarding the temperature settings and set up text or email alerts in case of any big increases or decreases in temperature.

Smart thermostats not only help to save on energy usage, but they can also reduce bills as you can optimise the heating if your holiday home won’t be occupied for several days. Users can also monitor how much energy they are using each day, week, and month.

Another benefit is the ‘frost protection’ setting which turns on your heating to help stop your pipes from freezing when the temperature drops below a specified temperature. This is a requirement of most holiday home insurance policies for unoccupied holiday homes.

The two most popular choices are the Nest Thermostat and Hive.

Smart locks

Keyless entry into your holiday let is one of the most convenient upgrades you can add to your property. One of the biggest hassles of managing a holiday cottage is the logistics of getting the keys to guests – smart locks eliminate the need for meet and greets. They also remove the possibility of keys being stolen, copied, or lost. Smart locks also help to prevent guests from locking themselves out and leaving the front door unlocked as they generally lock automatically on closure.

With smart locks, you grant your guests access to your property using a unique code for the duration of their stay, facilitating a smoother arrival and departure process. You get alerts when guests check-in, unlock the door and check-out, so you don’t need to worry about anyone outstaying their welcome.

When it comes to maintenance or cleaners, you don’t have to be there to let someone in, just authorise them temporary access remotely.

Yale provides a range of smart locks using wireless technology or using a keypad. The smart locks can be unlocked via a smartphone, key tag or keypad.

SmartLock is an alternative product for holiday lets and Airbnb hosts.

Regardless of the type of lock you choose, should the technology go wrong you need a backup plan, ideally an option to open the lock manually or with a key. You should also ensure locks conform to fire safety laws.

Smoke and CO detector

A smart smoke detector can help catch fires early and notify you if your guests are smoking when they shouldn’t be. If possible, opt for a two-in-one carbon monoxide and smart smoke detector such as Nest Protect. It could save someone’s life and protect your property.

The Minut sensor will also alert you when cigarette smoke is detected indoors and provides you with a log of all smoking activity. This evidence is vital in the case of a dispute with a guest who claims they weren’t smoking and doesn’t want to pay your fine for breaking the house rules.

Video doorbell

Video doorbells have become increasingly popular as a way of monitoring security and preventing unauthorised guests. It notifies your smartphone when anyone is near it or presses the doorbell, you can then view the camera and speak to them.

Be sure to let the guests know in advance that there is a video doorbell installed.

Ring and Nest are popular products.

Indoor security cameras

Internal cameras (from Nest and Ring) are another option for holiday home owners who don’t let their property keep an eye on it while they’re away. Security cameras inside holiday lets should be avoided and Airbnb has announced that it is issuing a global ban on the use of indoor security cameras at its listings.

Water sensor

Escape of water claims are among the most common and costly of all home insurance claims. Considering that holiday homes go unoccupied for long periods, what may start as a small leak can quickly turn into an expensive disaster.

Smart water sensors can detect leaks from a burst pipe or a leaking washing machine pipe for example, and alert the property owner who can act quickly and prevent further damage and costly repairs. https://leakbot.io/ is one product that is used by leading insurers.

Noise detector

Noisey and unruly guests are a nuisance to neighbours, but there are devices such as Minut available that monitor noise levels and provide alerts that enable you to take quick action before the situation gets out of hand. They are also useful to detect loud sounds and alarms going off in your holiday cottage.

You will have to disclose to guests that the device is installed to monitor the decibel level only (to detect parties) and does not record conversations.

Smart lighting

With smart lighting, you can remotely turn the lights on for guests, so they arrive at your holiday home that is warmly lit and welcoming. Likewise, you can turn off the lights if guests forget when they leave. Philips Hue is a popular product that can manage the brightness and timing of your lights remotely with an app or with an assistant like Amazon Alexa or Google Home.

Smart lighting also helps to cut energy costs as LEDs use less than a quarter of the energy of a traditional light bulb. It’s also a good security feature to have some lights on in the evening to make it look like someone is home when properties are unoccupied.

Smart sensor

Smart sensors can be fitted to your windows or doors, so you can be notified if someone has left a window open. Likewise, motion sensors alert you to any movement in your holiday home, useful if you want to keep tabs on your housekeeper or unauthorised access when your property is empty. Hive provides both products.

Smart plug

Every holiday let owner is used to guests who leave appliances on when they leave or have a moment of panic trying to remember if they turned the iron off! Smart plugs are a plug that enables you to monitor and control appliances in your holiday home, for example, turn on a de-humidifier or lamps off.

Also, to help deter burglars when the property is unoccupied you can set the lights to switch on and off to give the appearance that somebody is home.

Smart speaker

Essentially, smart speakers respond to your voice, whether that’s checking the forecast, answering questions or playing music. There are two products that dominate the market – The Amazon Echo and Google Home.

The Amazon Echo or “Alexa” as it’s commonly referred to, can also be used to control smart home devices like lights, thermostats, and door locks. You can even customise it to provide essential information and answer the most frequently asked questions from guests staying in your holiday home. For example, what is the Wi-Fi password or where is the nearest supermarket? Visit Virtual Concierge.

Google Home is the alternative to the Echo. It also allows you to play music, control smart home devices, your Chromecast TV and ask questions.

If your aim is to control smart home devices, then the Echo appears to be more efficient. If you want answers to questions, then Google Home would be the choice. It will come down to what you want to do with your smart speaker.

Most guests will connect to these with their phones or smart devices simply to stream music. However, as an actual speaker, the quality isn’t very good. If you are looking for a quality smart speaker, then opt for a Sonos One.

Smart TV

It might sound obvious, but a smart TV is a valuable amenity that guests are sure to appreciate. Add an HDMI and/or USB cable so they can connect their own devices and stream their favourite shows. You could also provide access to streaming services, such as Amazon, Netflix, Apple TV and so on.

WiFi booster

Fast internet access on holiday is essential and will encourage poor reviews if the connection quality is bad. If your WiFi signal isn’t very strong you should use WiFi boosters that increase the signal strength in the popular areas where guests gather in your holiday cottage.

Wireless charger

Your guests will arrive with multiple devices that will need charging. They will appreciate a wireless charging pad that’s large enough to charge several devices at the same time and a charging deck with multiple ports. It’s a modern way to charge devices without several cables.

Digital guestbook

Physical welcome books that include information about your holiday rental and local attractions in your area are dated. Switching to an interactive digital guestbook that guests can view on their mobile phone or laptop will save you money on printing every time you update it.

To summarise

In the competitive world of holiday letting, you should always look for ways to rise above your competition and give your property the edge. Smart home gadgets not only provide value to your guests but allow you to run your holiday let more efficiently, save money, and monitor the safety of your property remotely. Of course, there are downsides. The cost for instance, and if the internet went down some devices might not function. Also, detailed instructions should be provided to ensure everything is easy for guests to operate regardless of age or technical knowledge. However, the small up-front investment can be well worth it.

What smart devices do you use in your holiday let? Let us know in the comments.

Write a Comment



See how much you could save!

Click here to start your quote