29 Replies Latest reply: Jun 24, 2019 5:17 PM by ohst8er RSS

    Technology Noise aware and cell phone count

    vramp New Member

      I'm looking for a link that I saw here some time ago.

       

      VRBO was promoting some technology device  that looked for extra guests. It did this by counting the number of cell phones in your VR. So if you booked for 2 guests yet this device saw 6 cell phones, it was likely you had extra guests.

       

      Does anyone know what I'm talking about?

       

      It was promoted along with Noise Aware.

       

      Thanks

       

      K

        • Re: Technology Noise aware and cell phone count
          ha-moderator-macy HomeAway Employee

          vramp

          I think this may be the link you are looking for https://noiseaware.io/property-managers

            • Re: Technology Noise aware and cell phone count
              vramp New Member

              No, that wasn't it.. I'm aware of the noise aware device.

               

              This was a different device promoted on the same VRBO page as the noise aware device.

               

              The device Im looking for was a device that detects number of guests in the home based on the number of cell phones pinging their counting device if you will.

                • Re: Technology Noise aware and cell phone count
                  twomoreyears Senior Contributor

                  vramp:  Party squasher:   https://www.partysquasher.com/

                   

                  I'm not sure that's exactly the one you are asking about, but it does what you asked.

                    • Re: Technology Noise aware and cell phone count
                      vramp New Member

                      Thank you, that was it.

                       

                      Partysquasher  , again at one time VRBO had a promo and link here on the site promoting it.

                       

                      Again Thank you.

                       

                      Now has anyone used one and do they work?

                        • Re: Technology Noise aware and cell phone count
                          scowol Active Contributor

                          If you use this type of monitoring just keep in mind that, before going on the offensive, many individuals have more than a single device (iPhone and iPad), and some are required to have a separate work cell phone, and thus carry two phones (or have a dual SIM phone, such as the iPhone 10, which will ping as two phones).  So if you have an expected number of guests, and it goes over by 1 or 2, it may not be cause for concern.

                          • Re: Re: Technology Noise aware and cell phone count
                            linky17 Active Contributor

                            Haven't used "Partysquasher."  Sorry.  But I am researching exterior cameras.

                             

                            Curious if you use cams and are looking to augment the visual/s with this device?  OR, if this device will be stand-alone -- and -- if so: what your rationale is?

                             

                            Thanks.

                              • Re: Re: Technology Noise aware and cell phone count
                                vramp New Member

                                Yes we use exterior surveillance devices.. and yes we know people may carry 2 mobile devices. But if we rent to 1 person and we have 5 or 20 devices, we might have an issue.

                                 

                                We're trying to avoid guests using our properties  for events.

                                  • Re: Technology Noise aware and cell phone count
                                    twobitrentals CommunityAmbassador

                                    vramp wrote:

                                     

                                    Yes we use exterior surveillance devices.. and yes we know people may carry 2 mobile devices. But if we rent to 1 person and we have 5 or 20 devices, we might have an issue.

                                     

                                    We're trying to avoid guests using our properties  for events.

                                    Once again over occupancy is the issue here and the lack of guests understanding of those limitations. Camera’s, listening devices for extra cell phones, If we could rely on guests to not ”assume” that additional guests would be acceptable this would never be an issue. As I stated in my own thread. all platforms should be pro-active in this area to eliminate our need for any of these things and to prevent more cities/counties banning VR’s.

                                      • Re: Technology Noise aware and cell phone count
                                        vramp New Member

                                        Yes having parties is one thing. But were finding many guests are using our VR for Events. Family reunions, birthday parties, Renting for the weekend and inviting 6 friends over (even for the day) to use our pool and amenities.

                                         

                                        We price the properties for 1, not its maximum occupancy of 8-12 depending on the property. We charge a minimal amount for extra guests above 1. But FL law mandates that we know who is staying in our VR/Hotels. We are licensed as a Hotel.. And yes we feel a solo should p;ay less than a family of 8, even if they are renting the same property.

                                         

                                        When 2 people rent our units and then hold an event or invites all their kids/grand-kids over for the afternoon to swim and shower in our VR, we end up taking on the uncompensated huge liability of those extra guests on our property. We need to monetize this

                                          • Re: Technology Noise aware and cell phone count
                                            margaret CommunityAmbassador

                                            Setting your rates for 1 guest when your the maximum occupancy is 8-12 then charging more for extra guests may be backfiring. Most people looking at a property large enough for 8-12 are planning to have more than 1  person staying. Charging extra for additional guests often leads to guest paying the lowest rate possible then sneaking in the extra guest. In your case, where there is an additional charge for each guest over 1, I am not at all surprised you are dealing with this problem. Whether 1 guest or 12 guests stay they have the use of the entire property. I would charge the same rate whether there is one guest or max occupancy. I would be willing to bet this would resolve your problem.

                                            • Re: Technology Noise aware and cell phone count
                                              twobitrentals CommunityAmbassador

                                              I Used to charge the same amount no matter if 2 or 6(my max), but decided that was unfair to the many senior couples who stay in my home. Others have pointed out that they have the use of the whole house, but the wear and tear for two people is far less than that of a group of 6. There are other factors that go into my decision and frankly I usually attract more senior couples who are more respectful than some others. I know others have complained about snowbirds, but I just don’t have that issue.

                                               

                                              P.S. A pool is a main attraction for many to invite family/friends over. Sorry you are dealing with this.

                                                • Re: Technology Noise aware and cell phone count
                                                  margaret CommunityAmbassador

                                                  I may offer a discount when it is just a couple depending on the length of stay, time of year and whether or not they will be having visitors during their stay. I understand why some owners choose to structure their rates to charge more depending on the number of guest staying but I believe it encourages guest to lie about the number of guests staying. I often see post about this problem across multiple owner forums. More often than not it is due to the guest trying to avoid paying for extra guest. Both you and vramp are posting about this issue and both of you charge more for additional guests. We all have to manage pur VR the way we see fit so I am just offering my opinion. I very rarely have any issue with over occupancy, I don't remember the last time it came up. Although, I am far from my properties  my neighbors are very observant and let me know if there are any problems. If my guest were to go over my max I would be getting a phone call from one or more of my neighbors.

                                                  • Re: Technology Noise aware and cell phone count
                                                    vramp New Member

                                                    Were in SW Florida in Cape Coral , mainly. And ALL our properties have pools and are on a Gulf access canal..

                                                     

                                                    Were at market rate in the season (Jan-March)  and Motel 6 rates in the summer. Surprising or not , we have more problems in the summer when were at basement bottom price models.. Just to keep our cleaning and maintenance staff working .

                                                     

                                                    But I still stand by that 1 person should get a better deal than 8. And BTW our extra PP fee is 20 per night

                                                      • Re: Technology Noise aware and cell phone count
                                                        margaret CommunityAmbassador

                                                        I am not surprised that you have more problems when the rates are lowest, this appears to be very common. Perhaps you could try raising the summer rates a little to see if that helps or start your base rate to accommodate 4 or 6 then charge more over that number of guests. I don't disagree that one is less work than 8 or 12 but it is always such a headache to have to worry about guest trying to break the rules.

                                                    • Re: Technology Noise aware and cell phone count
                                                      thaxterlane Premier Contributor

                                                      A higher minimum night stay should be a consideration in seeking a solution to your issues.

                                                       

                                                      Making a property available for weekends is inviting guests - especially local guests within a reasonable driving distance of your property - to invite family, friends, hold parties, etc to entertain themselves . . .

                                                       

                                                      Larger properties must be aware of this potential and set policies proactively.  Guests with small homes will rent large homes for the express purpose of entertaining.  And, a weekend rental is very attractive for these purposes.

                                                       

                                                      I have a four night minimum off season and a seven night minimum (Saturday turnover is traditional in my locale) in our peak season.

                                                       

                                                      I also set my rates on the high end for a four night stay to prevent guests from renting four nights and ditching two nights to create their party weekend.

                                                       

                                                      It works.  Inquiries for two or three night stays are rare.  But, I'll acknowledge, it's a trade off.

                                                       

                                                      Two and three night rentals are risky, especially on weekends.

                                                       

                                                      Owners can take some proactive actions to prevent unwanted activities - before tech monitoring identifies issues and a guest(s) is ensconced in your home - including setting of higher minimum stays, rate adjustments to discourage weekend/short stays, and thorough screening and interviewing of guests.

                                                       

                                                      Good luck sorting this out, it's not easy.

                                                        • Re: Technology Noise aware and cell phone count
                                                          vramp New Member

                                                          Yes a higher minimum night would help ease many issues. But it would also drastically hurt our revenue.

                                                           

                                                          At the end of the day this is about monetizing . If it it sin't making money, were loosing. And if were losing, we are'nt staying in the game. Were not a non profit. Were not in the STR industry for a tax right off. Were in the industry to make money.

                                                           

                                                           

                                                          We are registered as a hotel. I personally think all STR owners need to remember this is your buisness. Make as much hay as you can, while you can.

                                                            • Re: Technology Noise aware and cell phone count
                                                              thaxterlane Premier Contributor

                                                              My property is my second home and safeguarding it for family enjoyment, as well as reducing the potential for abuse and the attendant costs and inconvenience of unanticipated/additional maintenance, upkeep, repair, and replacement of furnishings and house systems is important to us.

                                                               

                                                              Different properties,  different goals, different policies . . .

                                                               

                                                              I am not in the "industry", and I have taken a balanced approach to producing revenue while I safeguard my property.

                                                               

                                                              Having a goal of making as much as you can, while you can, is not my mindset.

                                                               

                                                              Again, good luck sorting out these issues to meet your goals.

                                                                • Re: Technology Noise aware and cell phone count
                                                                  vramp New Member

                                                                  Different properties,  different goals, different policies . . .




                                                                  I agree!!..

                                                                   

                                                                   

                                                                  My reply came off "bad "after reading it that everyone goals should be the same. And I absolutely don't believe that.

                                                                   

                                                                  For us its income. We are in Real Estate  sales, this is what we do. Our VR's are just one more channel to put food on the table.

                                            • Re: Technology Noise aware and cell phone count
                                              ashevillelookout Senior Contributor

                                              I, like Margaret, rent my homes as a whole house, not per number of guests.  I have found that if a couple rents the larger home (sleeps 8) they are going to have company during their visit, even though only two persons are listed in the RA as “overnight” guests.  I used to rent by the number of guests, but found that people lie to get the couples rate, and then jam the house full.  Rent the whole house at a competitive rate — especially if your guests are inviting others over because you have a pool.

                                               

                                              My RA contains language stating very specifically how many guests may be in residence (list by name on the RA) and how many guests may be visiting for dinner, I.e., 8 staying and 4 more for dinner for a total of 12.  My home can accommodate that number (septic system load).  If you offer the whole house at a rate that will pay for the additional wear and tear and utility use, then over occupancy may become a non-issue.  That scheme may not always work, but at least you are being compensated.

                                               

                                              If you don’t wish to change your marketing, consider doing what a friend of mine did.  She charges an Event Fee, and she has done it both prior to the guest arrival (they told her they want a party) or retroactively when her cameras and nosy neighbor show that a party occurred.  Her event fee explanation/pricing is in her RA, and the guest has to initial it and agree to provide payment upon demand.   She does not advertise on Vrbo that the house is a ’party’ rental; but when the guest gets and reads the RA, they are made aware that they may be on the hook for a substantial fee.

                                              • Re: Technology Noise aware and cell phone count
                                                astraglam Contributor

                                                1. I use party squasher at all of my properties and happy with it. For my purposes. Which is to be aware of the party. You can never get the exact count so it will not work for yours. It picks up neighbors, some guests have more than one device. I set it up to alert me at a fairly high number of guests that is beyond all device count. It also came in handy in an unexpected way. A group of guests claimed they ended up not staying at my place and wanted partial refund and I was able to prove that they were with the device

                                                 

                                                2. Charging per quest is a pain, it creates unnecessary friction and an invitation for guests to lie. I charge based on what I want to make and consider the most frequent head count that I get. As for usage- a small family might allow their kids to jump on the couches and cook up a storm in the kitchen using every item there is and a huge group might stay out all day and only get home to crash for the night barely using any amenities.