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New Technology Recommendations

We are currently considering to upgrade our AirBnB guest suite with some new gadgety technology. I was wondering if anyone had any feedback on the devices below:

  • a Marshall Bluetooth Speaker. We initially considered a Sonos One speaker (or the Ikea version of a Sonos) but since found out that it connects via WIFI and I believe you need an app. As a guest this is too cumbersome so we are opting for good ol’ bluetooth.

  • a tablet with a welcome message for guests and local recommendations. It would be a pretty barebones tablet that would allow for internet browsing, Neflix preloaded etc.

  • Digital radio for the kitchen. Seems a bit antiquated to have a kitchen radio these days but I have seen them retail for really good prices and I am starting to think that it might just be a neat addition to the kitchen.

  • Another funny idea we had was to get one of these retro Nintendos that plug into the TV. I am a 1980s kid and so are many of our guests so I think a retro Nintendo would be quite funny. Not sure, maybe that’s over the top.

Am I missing something? What do people recommend we add? We already have a smart TV and a fairly basic bluetooth speaker but I think it’s time to step it up. Many of our guests are WFH nomads, young academics, international guests quarantining etc. Any recommendations and tips would be much appreciated. Which of the options above should we prioritise?

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I have a TV soundbar that has bluetooth built-in. Guests used it a handful of times in 15 months. The TV soundbar function gets a lot more use. I definitely wouldn’t spend as much as those Marshall speakers cost, and I wouldn’t get anything portable that might get removed from the property.

Hard no. It’ll get broken, lost, stolen, reconfigured, etc.

My instinct says no, but I’m interested in what others think. It would be superfluous in my listing because there is no physical separation between the kitchen and the family room which has the TV and bluetooth soundbar.

We had a two cheap plug-and-play game systems that our kids didn’t use any more, so we put them in the listing. They were a hit with guests’ kids.

They were similar to these:

https://www.amazon.com/My-Arcade-Controller-Built-Retro-Electronic/dp/B078S7L8PP

If you get kids in your listing, then this is a yes given that the price is only $20-$30.

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If they want a speaker for their iPhone, they’ll bring it.

Unless you’ve got it locked down, which defeats the purpose of a use-anywhere Bluetooth speaker, it will just walk away.

I thought about a Commodore 64 running PacMan, but it took up too much space. :wink:

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If we were hosting now, I wouldn’t add any of those things. There’s too much risk that they’d get broken, set up incorrectly by guests (even if you’d set them up first), or stolen.

Not worth it, in my opinion.

As a guest, I wouldn’t expect or use any of those things. I think a Smart TV is enough.

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I have an old Bose clock radio with aux input and I just put a cable on it so guests can use it as a speaker for music on their device. I’ve been places with speakers and I do appreciate them when I want to listen to music. I also like clocks in rooms in addition to having my phone. In terms of things being broken or stolen I guess that could be said about anything we provide For example in my Airbnb I have a Roku adapter on the TV, a small desk lamp, a Keurig and the aforementioned Bose radio. I think a tablet would be particularly easy to walk off with. That said, an older tablet that’s just provided for your convenience isn’t worth that much.

I understand the urge to constantly be trying to upgrade or provide the best possible experience for guests, I just upgraded my mini fridge to a slightly larger one with a small separate freezer compartment. My thinking was that for longer stays such a thing would be handy since eating out at restaurants can be problematic. But I’m not sure I would add any of the things you’ve mentioned. One thing that’s not very expensive and potentially convenient is a device like Google Home or Amazon Echo.

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Whatever you add, think about adding any part of it that gets touched to your disinfecting routine. Some items might not take the constant cleaning well.

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I agree, they will bring a bluetooth speaker if they want. We had thought about adding exterior speakers around the pool area, but chose not too as I could see guests turning it way too loud and annoying our neighbors.

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@Brian_R170 @NordlingHouse @KKC @Christine_Shirtcliff @Michdes
Thank you all for your generous feedback and comments.

I would love to get a PacMan arcade type game. I’m not sure if it would get any more bookings but it definately adds a quirky touch. It would be a similar type of concept of getting the Nintendo Classic console but yes, I understand that for most hosts this seems like frivolous spending.

As for Google Home or Amazon Echo or anything similar, now there is something I would definately NOT get. I would be concerned about privacy, voice recordings, monitoring my movements or instances of “Alexa, please order a PS 5” and have all that money taken off from my credit card without me realising. No thanks. In the guest suite we have no ‘smart home’ (e.g. spyware) devices.

I appreciate all the comments about bluetooth speakers. We have a small set in there that cost us around $50 and a lot of our guests use it frequently. You can use it in the bathroom, kitchen garden etc. We’ve never had any issue of people turning it up too loud, partially because it doesn’t get that loud anyways. But I like the fact that guests make themselves comfortable and enjoy some music. If we were to upgrade to a Marshall Bluetooth speaker, it would be a portable one that takes a 12 hour charge and can be taken into the various spaces.

As for the comments about theft, the same is true for any other object we leave in the guest suite. We have rare art books in the flat that I am sure are worth quite a bit of money. In my view it doesn;t make sense to not upgrade because of theft concerns when the flat is already full of stuff that has value (kitchen items, expensive bed linen, towels, books, games etc.). If I was really concerned about theft, the guest suite would be so empty that it wouldn’t make a very nice stay. I think one of the reasons why people generally leave the place in such a good shape when they check out is because of the level of trust we put in them as guest. In return, they respect the space and the belongings in it.

Thanks for your feedback everyone.

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There are ways around all that but I won’t waste your time since you aren’t interested. But I definitely love mine and could see plenty of uses for one for a host who is interested.

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In the case of rare books, I’d be more worried about damage due to broken pipes, or about a fire. But no way would I leave rare books where folks that have no idea of what they are or how to handle them would be. I love mine too much for that.

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I love the sound from my old Bose radio/cd player. I attached a blue tooth dongle to the aux input so I can play prime music, Apple Music & Pandora from my iPhone or tablet thru those nice Bose speakers

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Sadly enough we have books inside a credenza and I fully expected some of them to walk away—I mean if I start a book I have to finish it—but no one reads anymore…

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If a radio doesn’t have an aux input, you can always use a bluetooth to FM transmitter. I had one in my previous vehicle that plugged into the lighter socket, and also had a USB socket for phone power.

Or you can get a battery powered FM transmitter that plugs into the phone’s headphone jack.

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I do not like the portable speakers as they take them outdoors which is disturbing to the neighbors. Speakers should remain inside.

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So true, I am at a STR at the beach right now and I brought my speaker with me. I like to stream the news, although it is so bad right now.

RR

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I have a Smart thermostat (Ecobee Lite with sensors), remotely manage porch light via smart switch (Kasa app), keyless entry- buying a Schlage WiFi to replace current keyless one that i have.

I’d say no to all the fancy gadgets, except a bluetooth speaker. I have a portable bluetooth speaker in my tiny house for guests. I put a sticker on it that says, “please don’t remove from tiny house,” that way people won’t be tempted to take it to the beach or forget to take it out of their car when checking out – so far, so good. I also don’t offer cable TV, but I have Apple TV that they can login to their Netflix or other streaming if they want. After 4+ years of short-term renting, I’ve noticed that most people don’t spend their vacation time watching TV, they would rather be out checking out the sights.

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I take your point but in my three years og hosting I experienced a hige rise in WFHers as well as people who are in mandatory self-isolation or quarantine in the last few months. The demand on functioning technology has increased quite a lot.

Jeez, all we giv’em is WiFi and a 32" not terribly smart telly that mostly has Spanish channels.

Next up on the technology scale is the fridge…

No complaints though :smile:

JF

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I always found it enjoyable to imagine what my guests might like and then making it a reality. I always balanced it with cost/investment to me. So -

I happened to have a netbook and left it in my property in plain site with clear instructions on how to use it. I noticed it getting used once (I live upstairs, guest was outside on patio one morning using it). Other than that, it never got moved from it’s spot. Glad I didn’t pay for something and repurposed instead.

I have Amazon Echos anyway - we use the space when it’s not rented (it’s the bottom floor of our house). We have the echos on a separate network and have any features that would feel risky turned off. If people wanted, they could connect via bluetooth but I didn’t bother offering that info because anything that can potentially fail means it can feel like a frustrating experience. We did indicate they can ask her to play music and we heard guests giving her instructions - often repeating them (and then I removed those instructions because it was leading to a poor customer experience - if someone happens to know how to use her, they will).

I have a bunch of board games, adult coloring book, puzzles - once in a great while someone uses these. It’s very, very rare.

What made the most difference for my guests was that instead of a guide book (which very few read) I printed out and laminated instructions for how to use the TV, laundry, fireplace and shower, and labeled the light switches. I made them as attractive and visible without being an eyesore. We have recliners in the couch but it’s not obvious so I made a little sign. All the things that we get used to using are new to someone else. Guests don’t like bothering me and I feel terrible when they have to for things like that. It made a big difference in my experience and theirs.

Enjoy!

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