Research: Smarter Hosting With Smart Home Tech

Short-term renting is a burgeoning business and global growth is projected to hit $51 billion by 2020*. Today August Home Inc released the results of a new study, Short-term Rentals: Smarter Hosting with Smart Home Technology. The study provides new insight into the growing appeal of short-term rentals and how smart technology plays an important role in delivering an experience that rivals that of hotels.

Guests state that Hosts provide a superior rental experience to hotels (78%) making short-term rentals a more compelling alternative. And smart tech is making it even better, both vacation guests (80%) and business travelers (92%) report they are more likely to complete their rental reservation if the property has smart home technology. In fact, 60% of Guests indicate they would pay more for a vacation rental with a smart home feature. Further, Hosts and Guests also believe smart home technology, such as smart locks (Hosts 85%; Guests 77%) and doorbell cameras (Hosts 85%; Guests 74%), will be a part of all rentals in the future.

Smart Technology Eases Worries, Improves Security

Despite the positive outlook on short-term rentals, there are worries in this new paradigm related to key exchange. Guests are concerned with losing property keys (75%). Hosts also expressed concern over Guests losing property keys (61%), an issue that a smart lock would alleviate.

Smart lock technology also provides peace of mind for Hosts. Forty-five percent of Hosts cite that their rental property is more secure with a smart lock. And, Hosts say the ability to remotely confirm Guests have locked the door when they check out would make the rental experience less stressful (39%). Hosts also appreciate being able to see, speak and grant access to someone at the door remotely (35%), which offers greater flexibility for Hosts who are managing their properties from a distance.

“The short-term rental market continues to grow, fueled by tech innovation,” said Kathy Sanders, CMO of August Home. “The simple addition of a Smart Lock and a Doorbell Cam helps new Hosts get into the hosting business. Now they can greet Guests and manage their property from anywhere. And for Hosts that have already adopted smart technology, they are able to deliver an even more enjoyable, hassle-free rental experience, whether their Guests are on vacation or in town for business.”

Growing Appeal of Short-term Rentals for Business Travelers

Today, short-term rentals are primarily used by vacationers (75%), but their use for business travel is on the rise (23%). The top reason vacationers choose short-term rentals over hotels is that they feel more at home with all the necessary amenities (39%); 22% of business travelers agree. Overall, Guests (77%) believe that short-term rental Hosts will do anything to provide the best experience, whereas only 53% say the same for hotels.

Smart Home Technology Highly Desired

Smart home technology is universally appealing to Guests in a short-term rental (90%). Guests are interested in a variety of smart home technology including smart TVs (93%), smart home security systems (91%), video-enabled doorbell cameras (87%), app-controlled smart locks (86%) and streaming media (movies and music) (86%).

Smart Locks and Doorbell Cameras Key to a Positive Stay

The benefits of smart locks and doorbell cameras as a feature of a short-term rental are clear. Hosts (88%) and Guests (77%) agree that smart locks are safer than a traditional key, and 70% of Guests prefer having a smart lock at the property to avoid worrying about losing the keys. Hosts and Guests (90%) agree that doorbell cameras provide peace of mind by allowing them to see who is at the door from anywhere.

Additional benefits of smart locks and doorbell cameras from the study include:

  • Guests indicate that not needing to worry about being locked out (53%), not having to coordinate with Hosts when arriving or departing the property (48%), providing an easier system for checking-in and checking-out (46%) and the ability to remotely confirm they have locked the door when they leave the rental (45%) would make the rental experience less stressful. Clearly, smart locks can help Guests enjoy a carefree, key-free stay.
  • For Hosts, stress-relievers include not having to worry about Guests forgetting to lock the door (66%), and no more hiding keys where someone besides the Guest might find them (34%). Accordingly, 45% say one of the most beneficial aspects of smart locks is that their rental properties would be more secure.

About the Short-term Rentals: Smarter Hosting with Smart Home Technology

The data referenced in this report comes from a study commissioned by August Home and produced by research firm Edelman Intelligence. The study was conducted as an online survey among a total of 701 U.S. consumers who classify as short-term rental Hosts (property owners and have rented their property on a short-term basis in the last year) and Guests (have rented and stayed at a property they found on a vacation/short-term rental site within the last 2 years). The data set is demographically balanced to represent age, gender and income. Data was collected in May 24- June 1, 2016.

For more information on the research results, see the infographic and research highlights.

*New Short-term Rental Category Captures Growth of Sharing Economy, Euromonitor International, May 2016