Top 10 Must Haves for Easy Short Term Rental Management

admin 11/30/2016

Almost one year ago I purchased my first vacation rental property and since then I have discovered many things that make its management more efficient, autonomous, and economical. Some of these I discovered while visiting other rental properties and others I found online after searching for a product to fill a specific need.

Many of these products make the simple, repetitive tasks easier and others help to keep the property up and running. Without further adieu, here are my favorite gadgets and products including what they do, why you need them, and where you can buy them.

I’ll also include my feature wishlist in case the product developers ever happen to read this...

#1 - Kuna

  • This is a security camera that is cleverly hidden in a porch light
  • If you charge pet or extra guest fees you will find that guests sometimes forget to mention them. With Kuna, you can remind them and it will pay for itself. It’s very discreet so guest don’t feel “creeped out” and it allows you to speak with delivery men remotely.
  • Wishlist: It would be great if they had an integration with Wink and/or Apple Home
  • This is a plug-in noise sensor that sends you a text message when your guests are getting too loud.
  • Absolutely essential if you have neighbors. All of the guests renting my property are on vacation which usually means hanging out by the pool, music, drinks and socializing. I love and support these things….just not after quiet hours. Bottom-line: I’d rather the noise complaint come from my sensor than my neighbors or worse the police.
  • Wishlist: I would also love an integration with Wink smart home and/or Apple Home and an extreme weatherproof edition for outdoors (which apparently is already in the works!).


#3 - Amazon Dash Buttons

  • These are small plastic wifi-connected buttons that, when pressed, order your preset orders through your Amazon Prime account.
  • I have a cleaning guy, Chris, that comes in after each guest and I was constantly being notified that I needed to buy more toilet paper, paper towels, etc. That’s when I discovered these buttons that I have since taped inside of my supply storage cupboard doors. When I’m low on something Chris simply presses the button once and refills are shipped to the house in two days. If there are guests at the house they usually bring the box in and leave it by the door for Chris to put away during his next clean. It’s brilliant and no more trips to Sam’s Club for me!
  • Wishlist: We need more of these so that we can have them for everything. Currently unavailable for many things as it is relatively new but they are coming out with more and more every month. Ultimately I’d like them for towels, sheets, etc.

# 4 - Kwikset SmartKey Padlock

  • This is a padlock that you can re-key yourself.
  • I quickly learned that I would have to lock up all of my extra supplies if I wanted them to last and the only real storage I had available were some cupboards in the laundry room. I added padlocks to each of these (3), to my two fence gates, and also to my two outdoor storage sheds. Instead of fumbling with 7 keys I have one. My guests know that they have access to everything that isn’t locked.
  • Wishlist: A rust proof option would be nice because they do rust when outside in the rain.

#5 - Black Makeup washcloths

  • Black washcloths with “Makeup” embroidered on them.
  • This saves your white washcloths from constantly being stained. I leave these as well as makeup wipes out for each guest.
  • Can’t think of any new features for this one. They’re a simple solution!

#6 - Wink Smart Hub

  • A device that connects to your wifi and controls several other devices
  • Basically you can use this hub to remotely access and control many devices. You can also automate certain events according to information it gathers from these devices. I use it to notify me when my propane tanks are getting low and to remind my guests to keep the sliding glass door closed while the AC is running. I accomplished the latter using the Go Control security suite. I placed sensors on each door with the Siren/Strobe right next to it. I set it to automatically (Using something called a robot) turn on the red strobe lights if the door was left open for greater than one minute.
  • Wait for the 2nd generation, soon to be released
  • Wishlist: Broader integration and more functionality with robots.

#7 - Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt

    1. A wifi door lock that can be controlled remotely and accessed via 4-digit pin numbers.
    2. The old way of hiding keys or meeting to exchange the door key is out. With this lock you can grant access more efficiently and safely. There is no potential of your guest losing the key or making a spare copy of it. You can, from your phone, set a unique pin code for each guest. Some just set it to the last four of the guests phone number but I ask them their preference.
    3. Wishlist: Again integration with Wink would be amazing


#8 - Soap, Shampoo, and Conditioner dispenser

  • A mountable dispenser that you refill as needed
  • This seems to be the most economical way of providing your guests with the extra benefit of toiletries.
  • Several online but I linked to my preference

#9 - Nest Smart Thermostat

  • A thermostat that automatically adjusts itself to save you money.
  • You can control it remotely and set a specific range your guests can access. This keeps them from turning the AC down to 60 and keeping the doors open.
  • Wishlist: Rental mode as each family is different and the same set of tendencies can’t be used for every guest.


#10 - Spring Loaded Hinges

    1. These hinges make your door close automatically
    2. If you don’t have these already installed they are the simplest way to keep your properties doors closed while the AC or heat is running
    3. Downside: You have to measure the ones you already have and try to match them….which can be a pain.

Feel free to check out my property! There are so many tools in the toolbox for managers but hoping this is helpful to those looking to keep cost down, make things easier on you, and create a great guest experience.

This blog post was written by a guest blogger, Cody Davis.

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