Airbnb strangers treating homes with disrespect
Airbnbs are popping up like mushrooms after the rain. On the south east corner there are almost 10,000 people who have put up their investment to strangers. But many newbie hosts may be in for surprise when the electricity bill drops into their letter box.
There is a new device set to become an accommodation operators best friend, that detects when people leave the room, turning off the air con, saving them thousands.
Sharyn Watson, director of Gold Coast-based electrical contractor Watmar, said Aircon Off was created because of the rising power costs that impacts many in the tourist industry. “Many on holiday are more cavalier with how they use power. Because they are not paying the bill, people leave the doors open with the air con on or go out for the day, leaving the air con cooling an empty room,” she said.
“It is all part of being on holiday, indulging in activities that you would not do at home because there are consequences – a higher than usual electricity bill.
“You only need to go onto Airbnb’s community forum to see the volume of comments about increasing power costs.”
Maria Hobbs, from Maria Hobbs Real Estate, said she manages an Airbnb and finds people can be very disrespectful of other people’s property. “I’ve seen the most unlikely people gladly cranking up the air conditioning, complain it’s not warm enough, cold enough and then go out leaving it on, leave windows open with it on,” she said.
“There is a sense of entitlement that comes with paying for a high-end rental for some reason. Treat nothing with respect and when it gets broken, the guest expects you to drop everything to fix it and then demand a refund.”
Most people, when at home are frugal with their air con and power use – making sure the doors are closed and the temp is running at an optimal level. Spare a thought for Airbnb, hotels and motels where the owner cannot control whether the unit is on or off or the doors are open or closed.
Nicky Wood, owns an Airbnb 2-bedroom unit in Palm Beach “As an owner, it would give me peace of mind having a sensor on an appliance like an air con unit. That way I don’t have rely on leaving instructions for my guests,” she said.
“As a local, I am used to the weather but a guest from another country can find our summers really hot. They tend to leave the air con on even when they are out.”
Sharyn agrees. “People go on holidays, check in, turn the air con onto 16, morning and night, leaving it there for the three days they’re away, snuggled up under the doona when it is 35 degrees outside, even though they know it is just chewing up power,” Sharyn said.
“The Aircon Off sensor monitors a room to see if it’s being used. If it’s not occupied for a pre-determined time and if the air conditioning is running, Aircon Off will automatically switch it off or if preferred to put it into economy mode.
“This will save hosts thousands of dollars a year, slicing up to 50 percent off their power bill.”
“Our personal experiences within the holiday rental industry have shown that up to 80 percent of air conditioning provided to clients was wasted on keeping empty rooms cool or hot.
“A typical (2.5kw input KW/h) lounge room A/C split system currently costs up to 50c per hour to run. If it is running 70 hours a week that’s $160.00 per month.”
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