For the average homeowner, smart devices are a novelty or added luxury. For vacation rental owners, smart devices can be a necessary solution to recurring property management hassles.

There are many benefits to using smart home devices in your short-term rental units. Smart home devices give you the ability to closely monitor and efficiently maintain certain home elements and quickly problem solve for guests without actually having to be at your properties. A well-maintained smart home set-up can secure guest access, lower energy costs, and provide valuable insights and control over your properties.

The bigger your business grows, the more difficult it becomes to keep tabs on all your properties and devices. That’s where the ease of automation comes in. Automation can organize your properties’ different devices into one cohesive, centralized system. That means you can spend less time making manual adjustments.

So what’s the catch?

Most smart devices and corresponding automation solutions on the market are designed with an individual consumer or one home in mind. Having implemented various devices and solutions in our units during the past 4 years, we now know the solutions that work best and which ones fall short in terms of wide-scale automation. Here’s our overview of the different solutions we’ve tested:

  • August Home App: The August Home App is intended to give homeowners control of their front door from their smartphone. Remote smart lock access with August isn’t so simple as it seems. You actually need three pieces of hardware—a lock, a Wi-Fi hub, and a keypad. While August does directly integrate with Airbnb, property managers have no way to integrate reservation data from other booking channels. They also do not offer any integrations with property management systems.

  • Nest App: Users are restricted to only 3 homes per account. Once you pass that threshold, you have to start opening up totally different Nest accounts. Constantly logging in and out of accounts to control different property groupings isn't something short-term rental managers with a portfolio of hundreds of units can afford. Even if you stay within a singular account, you will still find yourself needing to switch between all your listed homes. There is no way to see an aggregated list of devices from multiple homes.

  • Apple HomeKit/Amazon Alexa/Google Assistant: These ecosystems are simply in too early of a development phase to be considered as credible property management tools capable of working across various locations. They will have to continue catching up to other offerings in terms of usability and product compatibility.

  • Ecobee Consumer App: Users can only connect 16 thermostats before needing to create another account. While they do offer a SmartBuildings app intended for property managers implementing devices across multiple locations, that still leaves you juggling the other apps that control other device categories such as locks and lighting.

  • Samsung SmartThings: The SmartThings ecosystem gives homeowners the ability to remotely control, monitor, and secure their homes. At the center of the ecosystem is the SmartThings Hub that connects to a network of various smart devices. The entire ecosystem can be managed and controlled from the free SmartThings app. Within the app, you are able to program your home according to personal preferences. However, the platform caps at 10 the number of locations you can put into a single account. In addition, labeling many devices across locations doesn’t work very well at scale. The SmartThings app lacks an aggregated interface that would make troubleshooting a breeze.

As a short-term property manager, you shouldn’t have to feel limited in how you can automate and scale your business easily, efficiently and remotely. When choosing smart devices and automation solutions to improve the ease of management, consider these factors:

  • Are there any limits on device functionality?
  • Are all properties and devices easily accessible from one central point?
  • Will this actually serve to save my business time and money?

While it may be possible to piece together a clumsy unreliable patchwork of consumer-focused solutions to work for your business, Rabbu is your hassle-free answer to fully automated short-term rentals. Our platform is tied into popular booking channels and property management systems, meaning you can count on comprehensive, event-triggered automation that responds to live guest interactions. Our services are flexible and diverse, as we are able to offer all users unlimited device connections and modern automation features. With our newly developed software, property managers like you can easily access an aggregated dashboard to watch devices and reservation data work together to make guests happy.

Don’t get trapped in a web of difficult to manage consumer-focused smart home solutions. They’ll cost you time, money and eventually customers.

Book a demo to learn more about Rabbu