My first morning at a "Smart" home

I am currently on my yearly trip to Canada to see my daughters and grandkids. My first stay is with my oldest daughter. The flight got in very late at night (in the wee hours of the morning, in fact), so there was no time to show me anything in their new home.

While this isn’t an str experience, I thought it might be interesting from a guest’s point of view for those hosts who have or think about getting a lot of “smart” features.

My daughter had told that in the morning, she and her husband had plans with friends and would be going out early, and not back til noon, and my 18 year old granddaughter had to go to work at 11. I slept until 11:15, as it had been a very long and exhausting travel day and I didn’t get to sleep until 3am.

On waking, alone in the house, I went to make a cup of coffee to find that they had a Jura coffee maker that I hadn’t a clue how to use. So I saw they had a French Press in the cupboard and went to boil a kettle of water, only to find out they had a convection stovetop which I also had no idea how to use. There was nothing intuitive about it- it said “locked” but there was no indication of how to unlock it. I looked through the cupboards for a conventional electric kettle, which they used to have in their old house, but there wasn’t one anywhere. My daughter was later getting home than she had planned, and as I have zero idea where a nearby coffee shop would be in her suburban neighborhood, I sat there for almost 2 hours, a headache coming on, unable to make a cup of coffee.

When my daughter got home, I told her I felt like I had been dropped on an alien planet where I would have to eat and drink cold or raw food forever because there was no possible way to figure out how to do something as simple as boil a pot of water. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

I realize that hosts who have these modern, smart home appliances and devices would leave instructions for using them, and that some guests would already be familiar with these things themselves, but honestly, even when my daughter showed me how to use them, it was far more complicated than I would ever want to have to deal with reading about in an str rental before being able to have a cup of coffee in the morning.


My dad used to love coming to visit just for my Jura coffee/espresso/cappachino maker. To the point I bought him one for a present. He would spend hours taking it apart to clean it and trying all the different drinks.

That said, there is no way I’m putting a $1000 coffee maker in a rental…


Well, after 3 mornings here, I now know how to use it, but it still flashes something new each day that it hasn’t the day before, that I have to ask about, and as the entire casing is sleek black, with no writing on it anywhere, I couldn’t even figure out where to add water when it said it needed it, nor how to remove the filter when it said it needed changing.

Not saying it’s not a cool unit, just that it certainly isn’t something I would ever want as a new learning curve if I was on vacation.

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But since you’ve said that you’ve never stayed at an Airbnb as a guest, you’re not exactly the target market.

And next time, it’s worth googling for coffee delivery. I bet you could’ve gotten delivery. I can’t imagine waiting that long for coffee.


I’ve only not stayed as a guest because I haven’t gone anywhere for several years that I didn’t have family or friends to stay with. It doesn’t mean I will never be an Airbnb guest in the future, nor that there aren’t guests exactly like me who would be frustrated to be faced with a home full of “smart” devices that they had zero experience using. Anyone can be a guest and be part of the target market.

And no, I couldn’t have ordered coffee. I have a Mexican phone number- that doesn’t work with Canadian delivery apps. You are being snotty and presumptuous because you like to call down anything I post.


Of course. But then again they wouldn’t pick out a listing with a bunch of smart devices. Or in your case, contemporary appliances. Nothing you described sounds like a smart device, just newer appliances (did you need an app or to talk to alexa to operate them?).

And this is what I meant. If you were a guest and you were picking out a place to stay, you probably wouldn’t pick out a place with a bunch of higher-end newer digital appliances. You would look at the pictures and see what the appliances look like. And then you would look at the amenities list and check to make sure that the place provides a french press.

There would be no reason for you to end up in a place with a convection oven or induction stovetop (I’m not sure which you meant) if you didn’t want those things. It’s not random. And I guarantee that hosts who provide actual smart devices are advertising them because some people like them and are willing to pay a lot more to stay in a place with them.

But because you haven’t been a guest, you either don’t have an understanding of how guests pick out airbnbs or you’re feigning that you don’t for effect. The beauty of airbnb is that there are so many different listings, that’s there’s always a choice. So it’s okay if you don’t like contemporary appliances or keypads or anything else because you don’t have to stay in a place with them. But hosts who do provide them are not concerned with people who don’t like them.


I’ve probably stayed in over 25 Airs in the last 7 years and I’ve never seen anything that complicated in a rental. When one can’t figure out how to add water without reading a manual, things have gone too far in my opinion.

Give me a drip filter, coffee, a cup and a kettle and that’s all I need. If I see they don’t have those and I’m driving I take them with and always bring my own coffee.


Juras cost between $1000 and $6000 so I doubt that we’ll run into many in STRs. I make mine Turkish style, no filter needed, so wouldn’t use it either.

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My husband once asked me if we’d rent out our house during our vacation. I said no way. I’ve lived here 20 years, and I’m still confused about light switches and TV remotes. Too much to explain.


i hate that smart ^&^%**


I know the feeling. There are reasons I don’t participate like I did in the past. Some people just make it not worth the effort.


Not being able to figure out someone else’s digital (albeit high-end) appliance doesn’t make it a smart ^&^%**. To me, it’s just part of the experience of traveling. I’ve used toilets that I didn’t understand (I think it was a toilet, :wink:).


I appreciate the spirit of what is being shared, here. I have absolutely been in the same position with regard to all sorts of appliances and I am a seasoned STR user who reads descriptions carefully. This post made me think, for a moment, about my place and what might be difficult for a guest to understand/operate, especially a guest that might not be from the U.S , or might be disabled. Now my conundrum: How to address these things without adding another page to my massive House Manual?? Maybe a separate “Appliance Manual”?

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Our guests have been known to break knobs off our conventional stove so now we have a little sign saying “push in and turn”. So anything new, smart or not, can get ignored or misused. We have a homeshare and find that our family and friends who stay appreciate our little signs/instructions just as much as guests. That said, the relatives whom we visit often don’t have the host perspective that we do. Enjoy your trip!


I am surprised that looking up the instructions on your smart phone is not your ‘go to’.

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QR codes to video or a short write up


@PitonView Yes! Yes! In my head I was just thinking, “I wish there was a way to have clickable instructions on everything.” Perfect!

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The thing is, I’m quite mechanically- minded, and wouldn’t just press buttons on something I wasn’t familiar with because I wouldn’t want to chance breaking it. But I couldn’t even see how to turn the stove top and coffee maker on, let alone use it.

I’m sure most hosts would leave instructions for things, but QR codes or not, my point was that I wouldn’t want to have to spend 15 minutes my first morning somewhere figuring out how to make a cup of coffee.

And unless a host was clear in the listing that the home relied on Alexis or whatever to run everything, it wouldn’t occur to me not to book a place because it listed an induction stovetop or some type of coffee maker I wasn’t familiar with, since I’m not accustomed to not being able to figure out how something works.

As it was just my daughter’s house, I thought it was pretty funny that I was at sea with making a cup of coffee, but if I had paid for a place to stay, I would have been irritated.

I also am of a mind that even if there are all these electronic- reliant devices, there should be some simple, manual alternatives. For instance, car windows should also have those old-style crank handles- I’ve had the window electronics go bad, so the window is either stuck open or closed. Either of which can be a big issue.


I’m pretty sure that there are photos showing the appliances in the home. The guest who decides on where to stay should take into consideration what is in the space. Guests do not read, but surely they have to ‘see’ (in most cases) to book…?

Seeing a photo of an induction stovetop wouldn’t give me any idea that it was something that I’d have to spend more than minute reading how to use.