It’s a hard line to walk; you want to provide the most up-to-date offerings in home entertainment, but you don’t want to overcomplicate it to the point where your guests have to study a handbook just to watch the news.
In general, basic cable is a safe option as it has the fewest issues associated with it. With basic cable, you can turn on the TV and be ready to go. The downside, however, is that you’ll have to run cables to each TV if the provider does not offer wireless receivers.
The ideal situation, though is Smart TVs. Many cable service providers offer smart TV apps so you don’t need an actual box. Here in Louisville, Spectrum has just that sort of app that allows users to watch live TV without a box. Similarly, Netflix, Hulu and Amazon have apps for Smart TVs so no external appliance is needed. You can let guests sign in to their own accounts, or have accounts set up on the TVs ready for them to use. At such a low price point (Netflix is $14 per month for four TVs and Hulu is $39.99 per month for two TVs and includes live TV), it could be a wise investment that sets your space in a league above the rest.
If a Smart TV isn’t an option, devices such as Apple TV and Roku boxes are fairly inexpensive and easy to use. Others though, such as Firesticks, can have a learning curve if the guest is totally unfamiliar with their operation. Whatever you select, though, be sure to create a step-by-step operation guide, laminate it and keep it with the remotes so it’s easily accessible. If you have a website or blog, you can also create a user guide and link to it with check-in instructions.
All in all, just remember that in the long run, the easier the better. It’s best if you can get to live TV in two clicks or less and if instructions are easily available. And when considering devices, keep in mind that external boxes like Apple TV can leave the property whereas Smart TV apps clearly cannot.
There’s perhaps no greater source of headaches than non-working Wi-Fi – and if you’re using Smart TV apps that require the internet, no internet means no Wi-Fi and no TV. Many guests are working remotely while at your property and for them, working internet is absolutely critical. In fact, Key Source Properties has seen guests leave properties early due to non-working internet.
To avoid this issue, keep in mind that single houses only need one provider, but if you own a larger property with six or more units, you may need a back-up provider. Additionally, if your space is large and the router is in a tricky spot, think about investing in a booster or amplifier. For example, Apple Airport Extreme can cover up to 8,000 square feet.
Furthermore, be sure to use the cable provider’s modem so if there is an issue, guests can troubleshoot over the phone and technicians can easily service – and hopefully repair – non-working modems when dispatched. You’ll also want to keep in mind that it may be wise to add security features to the router, as the homeowner is responsible for guests downloading or uploading illegal content.
Finally, keep all of this as simple as possible to access by making the network name and password easy and clear. We call ours Key Source Properties Guest for additional marketing, for instance. And should there ever be an issue, ensure that it is quickly resolved between stays so that you don’t have the same problem twice and gain a reputation for a disconnected property.
With so many guests coming and going, electronic locks are a wonderful convenience for all parties. If you do go this route – we recommend Schlage – be sure everything is properly installed and download the app to your phone so that you may remotely monitor the lock’s battery life. Most batteries last between half a year and a full year, and a dead battery can mean a monumental frustration for your guest.
Be sure too that when using electronic keypads that you include hotel-style or chain locks inside for guest privacy. Cleaners or maintenance people may accidentally enter the property using the code, and the guest doesn’t have the ability to keep them out. Moreover, if you do have locks on door knobs for extra security, a spare key on site is a must, as guests may easily get locked out.
In fact, having a physical backup on the property is always advised for a multitude of reasons. For example, if a guest cannot figure out the electronic lock or the battery is dead, having a spare will save you late-night trips to let them in. Having a spare is also the only way to guarantee that a guest is able to get in upon arrival, and we recommend having two lock boxes: one near the front door for the guests’ easy access and one in another area with a different code.
Regardless, just as with the television, be sure to include detailed instructions on how to get in with your check-in message. Assume your guest knows nothing of electronic locks and make the instructions as thorough and detailed as possible to ensure there are no issues.
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