On April 1 of this year, one year after we completed our Control4 Certified Showroom home, we decided to list our smart home experience center on AirB&B for several reasons:
- With the Covid-19 pandemic striking almost the same month we finished our smart home experience center, we found ourselves with a great showroom home that no one was allowed to visit in the Spring of 2020. By last summer we were able to do some virtual tours for clients and vendors, and then we gradually added a few small group client visits. On average, however, the showroom was being utilized less than 10 percent of the time. We needed to find a way to get a better return on our investment.
- On a personal level I have had very good experiences with AirB&B over the years — both as a host and a guest — so I thought the AirB&B platform would be a good place to see if we would have any interest in using the home for short term one-or-two-week stays. We could still use the smart home as a showroom between those stays, or just block off periods of time when we wanted to use the showroom for client and partner tours.
- Listing the home on AirB&B to new clients that have never used the Control4 touchscreen, keypad, and universal remote technologies, as well as our smart home kitchen and bath technologies, would be a good test of how well we designed and integrated these systems. We wanted to know if we would need to field a number of troubleshooting calls during our client’s stay, as well as how they liked (or disliked) the smart home technologies in the home.
Also by Gordon van Zuiden: The Holy Grail of Our Industry
After 100 days, here is what we have found out:
- The home has been booked almost 95 percent of the time since April 1. The tag line, “Experience the Future of Smart Home Living,” has attracted enough clients to make it one of the most requested AirB&B stays in our town of Los Gatos, CA.
- Every review, from both younger clients and older clients, has been extremely positive about their living experience in our smart home. Here is an excerpt of what one reviewer said: “If you’re looking to take a step into the future of smart home technology, all the while maintaining the coziness of a family member’s guest home, then look no further than cyberManor’s Smart Home Experience Center! The accommodation is a luxurious-yet-cozy smart home that features a fully integrated system that allows you to control everything from lighting, shades, and even music from panels mounted on the walls. With all of the amazing features, the house itself became the main attraction of our entire trip! In addition to the amazing technology, the house is also a beautifully designed yet warm space. We really enjoyed cooking while listening to music in the kitchen and eating breakfast in the lovely rooftop garden. This high-tech paradise is an amazing find that I can’t recommend highly enough.”
- We conducted a short survey at the end of each client’s stay to find out which of the smart home technologies they enjoyed the most, and the unanimous number one answer was the master bedroom theater experience with the LG Ultrashort Projector/Apple TV/Screen Innovations (SI) motorized 90-inch short-throw projection screen. This combination of products provided a “now you see it, now you don’t” theater experience enabled simply by turning the Control4 universal remote Watch button on or off. When turned off, the SI screen disappears into a cedar lined ceiling vault and the LG projector blends into a custom-made Salamander cabinet, thereby visually opening up the loft style master bedroom to the living room below.
The most satisfying result for cyberManor is that our client experiences have validated the enjoyment people receive from living in a well-designed and integrated smart home. These are clients that were not required to read a user manual on how to work all of the home’s technologies (motorized shades, centralized lighting, smart fans, heated flooring, whole house audio, home theater, smart thermostat, smart front door station, and smart kitchen and bath products) and yet they all found the end-user controls for all of the home’s technology to be intuitive and reliable. This is the ultimate goal that we strive to achieve for each of our residential clients, and it’s rewarding for us to read the AirB&B feedback that the technology we installed in our Smart Home Experience Center is frequently the highlight of our clients’ stays.
Also by Gordon van Zuiden: Technology Solutions for Healthy Living at Home