The following is purely my opinion, based on life experiences and commercial research for my business/es.
For short term “holiday let” style renting, I would keep the “user experience” as simple and obvious as you can.
The customers simply don’t have the time or inclination to learn how to use your property, and to be frank, they don’t care how much energy your property uses. (Not in a malicious sense, they just aren’t (emotionally) invested in your property)
(And you can believe this bit, if you did really did know how much energy your customers were wasting, you wouldn’t be able to sleep at night)
That said, there is an extremely good use case for being able to remotely control the heating / cooling and access.
You will have customers who can’t operate the simplest of systems and giving a customer a physical key is extremely risky in the long term. (I know this at my cost, which is why I had 3 X quick change door locks and 3 X 45 keys, a digital system would have been SO much easier.
To delete a single access code is totally painless, as is extending an access permission)
From a customer’s perspective, I would NEVER knowingly take on a short term rental property where the owner isn’t more than a quick drive away, because that tells me that the owner isn’t emotionally engaged with their property.
As a customer of a time limited service, if I find something that needs attention, I expect it to be resolved very quickly.
Long term rentals are a completely different scenario.
Before you decide on any kind of tech, you MUST address the following questions.
(These aren’t trick questions)
Are you trying to differentiate your rental property, to appeal to tech savvy tenants?
Will you be advertising the energy usage costs to prospective tenants as a positive reason for them to select your property.
Will your ROI increase as a result of adding the technology.
Will your property be equipped with properly profilable multiple heating / cooling zones? (That is the single biggest cost saving, I see one client saving >€3 per day, per zone. Which paid back their technology investment in less than 3 years)
And most importantly…
- Will YOU be available 24/7 to fully support the kit that you’re installing.
While a lot of higher quality building control kit is utterly robust, you will ALWAYS get phone calls or emails stating that “something isn’t working”.
<10% it’s something crazy with a broken wire, failed time update or flat battery in a sensor (which reminds me, DON’T INSTALL battery powered technology)
<10% it’ll be where sensor has been covered or is simply dirty
Most of the time, it’ll be user error.
Which is annoying in itself, but you’ll have to decipher what they’ve done, before you can resolve it.
Which is further complicated because…
“They did nothing” which is normally code for, “They are worried they’ll get charged for doing something silly”
My best advice for any kind of rental property is simply this.
"Spend at least an hour looking closely at your property at the end of EVERY short term rental. USE everything in the property that your customers use.
Every door, every button, every tap, shower, toilet, cupboard & service.
I assure you that it’s better for you to find an issue than your next customer.
90% of the time, everything will be perfect.
But every once in a while, you WILL discover the turd in the kettle. (In my case it was a kebab in kettle, my neighbour wasn’t so lucky with his guests.)
The same applies to long term rentals, there is nothing wrong with scheduling service calls to YOUR property, under the guise of “ensuring your property is up to the standard that your tenant originally contacted it in”
It might well be your tenant’s home, but it will always be your property / investment.
On the thorny subject of equipment stability, my father’s advice still stands…
“Don’t buy cheap S***”
As with anything in life…
“Preventative maintenance is your best friend”