Hi all. Since this part of the forum is also for sharing ideas of how to use it for Vacation Rentals thought I'd share something that I've started using.
First my situation and setup:
I have a VR that is 300+ miles from me in a outlying neighborhood of a tourist destination that is seasonal. I chose to automate my property because I wanted more control than I would handing it over completely to a property management company. I use VRBO and AirBnb to make bookings.
I currently have:
Kwikset keypad door handles and deadbolts
Trane Thermostat for the house forced air heat system
Stelpro Thermostat for an out building that is used for Housekeeping supplies and owners closet. Stelpro because its heated by electric baseboard.
GE dimmer and on/off switches
First Alert combo smoke/co2 detectors
Plug in devices: "Day or Night", "House Modes", "Weather Underground", "GCal3 Sensor"
Foscam Security Camera
Aeon Energy Meter
Thermostat for in floor radiant heat. PLEASE!!!! (Don't think there is such a zwave device yet)
So I use the devices as you would expect. It started with needing a way to get the guests access without having to actually meet anyone. That's how I started on the Z-wave Vera odyssey I'm on. So setting pin codes that the guests decide in advance was a great feature. The rest just happened as I thought more and more about information I wanted to gather.
However, I just installed the Gcal3 plugin and I wanted to describe how I currently am using it. Maybe someone has information that I don't know about and can make my use even more efficient or maybe my use of it might inspire. I don't know. Just passing it on.
I have different light sequences that depend on if there is a guest in the house or not. I have board walk lights that I don't want on when nobody is there as there is no need. I also have exterior lights that I'd rather be brighter when there is someone there and dimmed when not. And indoor lights that would come on when it's vacant as opposed to when occupied. I have these set to HOME and AWAY on my UI. So normally I have to keep up on when someone is coming in and on check in day I need to set the system to HOME so that the right scenes play out and then on their check out day I need to go in and set the system to AWAY and that sets the house in economy mode. I thought it might be interesting to see if I could automate this process a bit so I don't have to babysit it.
Currently my vacation rental property has it's own google account and I have a google calendar for it. I have the VRBO and AirBnb calendars synced with the VR calendar. The cool thing about the gcal3 plug in is that events entered into google calendar can then be used to trigger scenes or devices in the Vera system. Now, unfortunately it only works with the google calendar and not the vrbo or airbnb calendars so there is a step involved but for me the benefit outweighs the step process.
After I got the plug in up and running I created some triggers in it. Such as "IN" would trigger the "HOME MODE plugin" device to set the Vera system to HOME. "OUT" would trigger the "HOME MODE plugin" to set the system to AWAY. Etc. I also set the gcal3 plug in with a few other things like "HEAT HOME" which would tell the house thermostat to put the heat on to 68 F. And "HEAT AWAY" to set it to 55 F.
After I got those triggers set in the gcal3 plug in I then went over to my google calendar and on the day any future guest was due to check in I'd create a calendar event called "IN" and you can either leave it as all day or can actually select a time and it will trigger the vera at that time. I then go on to their check out day and create an event called "OUT". "TURNOVER" for same day c/o and c/i etc. (because the system wouldn't need to change in that instance). "OUT" also will make sure all the doors are locked. (Just in case housekeeping forgot)
What then happens is the gcal3 plugin is synced with my google calendar and anytime there is an event called "IN" it triggers the system to HOME mode. You get the idea. With the "HEAT HOME" trigger what I did there is because the house is not as busy in the winter and so I have gaps in stays I want the house to get warmed up the day before they arrive and then the temp to go down the day after they leave (In case Housekeeping forgets to set it on check out). So on my google calendar I just go into the day before they arrive and create an entry called "HEAT HOME" and set a time for the event and then I don't have to worry about making sure I remember to go into the system the day before a check in and set the temp up so the house feels warm and cozy when they arrive. The idea here being that when I enter that reservation into VRBO, at that same time I set some controls on my google calendar and then I no longer have to remember to do it.
I still keep control over the door codes as they tend to give me those 2 weeks in advance and so that is already set before their arrival. But I have in the past forgotten to delete their codes after they leave and then they pile up. I can set the system to send me an sms or email when the "OUT" is triggered and thus reminding me that I need to go in and delete the previous guests door code.
Anway, that's my latest attempt to maximize automation on a remote vacation rental.