Here are some things you should know before you rent your smart home or apartment on Airbnb. If you want to avoid unexpected costs and protect your personal data, you should go through this checklist. We created it when we marketed our apartment as smart home last month. We had 6 different guests and got very positive reviews.
1. Use a guest account on Amazon Echo
The voice control assistant can be the highlight of the smart home if it is connected to other smart devices and sensors in the home. It is also a feature that is easy to demo for the guests at their check-in.
At the moment of writing, the voice assistant that has the most integration with other smart devices is the Amazon Echo, so this was the interface to many of the devices in our home.
Step 1. To avoid any cases where your guests make expensive orders on Amazon on your account, the first thing to do is to create a new Amazon account. No credit card is needed for this.
Step 2. Open the Alexa app and sign in to the new account. Alexa is able to handle multiple profiles, so now you can say “Alexa, switch accounts”.
Step 3. In order to make sure that your guests won’t switch accounts back to your own Amazon account, sign out from the Alexa app. The only account logged in on your Echo will now be the guest account.
Step 4. Using the Smart Home section in the Alexa app, reconnect the lights or other smart devices.
Step 5. Finally, test that you can still voice-control your devices using the guest account.
2. Sign out from Apple TV
To protect your personal data and avoid unexpected costs, you will want to sign out from Apple TV.
Step 1. Go to Preferences and logout of iCloud, Home Sharing, iTunes and App Store.
Step 2. Go through the installed apps and check if you are logged in. Sign out of YouTube app for example if you don’t want your watch history and future recommendations to be influenced by your guests’ taste. For Netflix, you might want to sign out of your own account and maybe recommend your guests to create a 30-days trial account if they don’t have their own.
3. Set a passcode for the PlayStation
Your guests can enjoy the already installed PlayStation games by using a guest account. However, your PlayStation account and main purchasing account is by default not password protected, so it’s a good idea to enable this in order to avoid any unexpected costs.
Step 1. Go to Settings, then Login Settings, then choose Passcode Management.
Step 2. Set the passcode. From now on this passcode will be requested if someone tries to log in on this PlayStation in your account.
4. Pack up any unfinished electronics projects
If you are the kind of person who plays with DIY home automation, it’s likely that you have some wires hanging around somewhere in the home. Maybe some wires coming out of the fridge that power the fridge cam, or wires and sensors on the hinges of the front door that are needed in order to track when people come or leave from home, or maybe a homemade weather station sticking out of the window.
These things might impact the guest’s perception of cleanliness, one of the factors counting in the review of your place on Airbnb. So unless it looks like a finished project, or you have time to finish the project before the guests arrive, then it might be a good idea to pack it up and put it aside for a while. The good thing is that, when you think of putting it back you might come up with some new ideas for the project’s architecture and design.
5. Move all the extra gadgets or guest unfriendly object in the basement or loft
Things like robot vacuum cleaners won’t be needed when having Airbnb guests. If usually the robot would automatically run every work day and do a great job of cleaning the floor while you are away, it wouldn’t make much sense when having guests whose schedule is most likely undetermined.
If the robot is in sight and uses space, it’s better to deactivate the scheduled runs and move it in the basement or loft. Otherwise, if you have a large home or apartment and don’t think the robot (or robots) is positioned in a way that could possibly bother the guests, just deactivate the scheduled runs.
6. Stop any online orders that you can’t pick up
If you are an avid online shopper or have some automation for ordering supplies, you need to think about delivery estimates, who is going to pick up the delivery, and for how long does the post office keep an undelivered package before returning it to the sender.
If you are renting your home for more than 2 weeks, it might be a good idea to stop shopping online with a few weeks in advance, and to disable the automatic reordering such as the one provided by Amazon Dash button.
7. Turn off notifications
In addition to turning off the automatic orders, consider whether you have any automation in which you receive notifications that would not be relevant if you or your family are not home. These automations are like the modern version of a clock alarm. You wouldn’t want the alarm to go off for your guests at 6 AM, would you?
Some examples of automated notifications that might not be relevant could be: notifications based on door sensors to know when the kids come home, when the air quality reaches a certain level, or when a specific bus arrives in the nearby station. Of course, notifications from the smoke detector might still be relevant.
8. Create a tech guide
Some of your guests might be less tech savvy than you, so it’s a good idea to prepare a guide on how to use all the tech and entertainment in your home. If a voice assistant device is available, then make sure to provide example utterances for controlling the various devices, such as turning on the lights or the TV and changing the temperature in the rooms.
And while it’s easy to get into complicated details on usage of these devices, do not forget about the basics: leave a note with the Wifi password.
Given the amount of smart devices that one can buy nowadays it would be impossible to create a complete list of how to handle each. On the other hand, the checklist should give you some indication of things that can be done, and maybe be applied to similar devices.