Using Technology To Avoid Nightmare Guests

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In this podcast, Minut's VP of Marketing, Richard Coleman, introduces their innovative technology for rental properties. Minut's discreet sensor monitors noise levels, temperature, humidity, and detects smoking. Hosts receive notifications via the app or email if noise exceeds set thresholds, enabling quick responses. 

The technology promotes privacy by processing data locally. Integration with smart thermostats helps hosts save on energy costs. Minut aims to improve short-term rentals for hosts, guests, and communities. To learn more, visit

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[00:00:00] Liam: Have you as a host ever had a problem where somebody's even smoked on your property or they've caused lots of noise, had parties? These are the type of things that as hosts we're always worried about. You never want that nightmare guest. And today we've got a very special guest who's going to talk about a technology, which is going to help to prevent that and give you more control whether or not it's a direct booking or through an OTA.

[00:00:24] This is just a very cool piece of tech that you need to know about. So if this is your first time here, you're listening to the boosted podcast. This is the podcast that gives hosts, the tools, the tactics, the training, and most importantly, the confidence to go out there and get more direct bookends. My name is Liam Carolan.

[00:00:38] And today we've got Richard Coleman, who is the VP of marketing from Minut. And, uh, it's an amazing piece of technology that if you've not heard of, then you're going to enjoy the next sort of 20, 30 minutes. So welcome along Richard. Thank you for joining me today on the podcast. So Richard, can you give yourself a, um, an introduction and also introduce, uh, what Minut is?

[00:01:01] The elevator pitch.

What is Minute?

[00:01:03] Richard: Absolutely. Um, so, uh, as you said, my name is Rich. Um, I've been at Minut for about five years now. Um, and I've seen the company grow, um, quite substantially in that time. Um, and not just in the size of the company, but also in the types of customers we have, and the customers we have. Um, around the world with now over a hundred countries, um, we have hosts using Minut, um, and essentially what, what Minut is, is Minut gives you, um, insights into your property.

[00:01:28] So it lets you know, the noise levels in decibels in the property, the temperature, the humidity, um, and if someone is smoking in the property. So all the things you worry about guests doing. Um, so if that's them throwing a party and disturbing the neighbours, um, you set a threshold and that can be different for the day and the night.

[00:01:44] And we notify you if that goes above that level. And we can also contact the guests on your behalf. Um, if they smoke in the property, our sensor can detect tobacco smoke, and once again let you know and also mention to guests to make sure they quiet down. We do occupancy as well, um, so we can see how many people are in the property, so if it's supposed to be booked for two people and 15 turn up, um, then we also know that.

[00:02:05] Um, um. So yeah, basically we have in-room data that allows hosts to know that the guests are adhering to the house rules, um, and not disrupting neighbours or

[00:02:15] Liam: the wider community. As a host, what do I need to do and how many of these devices do I need to have, um, you know, to protect my home?

[00:02:25] Richard: It depends on on the type of home you have on what you're concerned with.

[00:02:30] Most of the hosts that we talk to are concerned with noise because if there's a lot of noise, it often is the precursor to a party. And it's the thing that can disrupt the neighbours most and likely end up a in a neighbour complaint. And then you potentially lose the listing. So if noise is the real concern.

[00:02:47] Typically, we say you only need one of these devices. So you pay per home per year, you pay the subscription fee for the year, um, you get the device and then you put it in a common area such as a living room. Um, if you have a five-bedroom villa, In Spain. Um, and you're worried about smoking and noise. Um, and our new sensor is also fully weatherproof so you can install it inside the property or outside.

[00:03:10] Um, it depends on your concerns and the size of the property, but the majority of our users have one and it goes in the common space. Um, and some users might have two or three if they have a larger property or are concerned about both indoor and outdoor noise.

How would the host know?

[00:03:23] Liam: How would the host know there's noise going on?

[00:03:26] What is the, uh, what does that look like to them? So, um,

[00:03:29] Richard: we have both a mobile app and a desktop app. So if you want someone, um, looking at that, they can see, um, a noise graph over time and it will show you the decibel level. So we don't report anything. You can't listen to any conversations, but purely all you see is a graph that shows the decibel level, um, historically.

[00:03:47] Um, and you can set a threshold that you're happy with, and that can be different during the day and the night. So during the day, you might say, look, it's, it's okay if people are up to 90 decibels. Um, And then at night, I want them to be below the threshold of 70. Um, and then you have a noise timeline.

[00:04:03] So what you can say is, if it's above that threshold for five minutes, I want to get receive a notification in the form of a push notification to the app, um, and an email to either myself or someone in my team. If it continues being noisy for another five minutes. I want to automate a text message or an email to the guest to tell them that, hey guys, look, you've been noisy for 10 minutes.

[00:04:23] Um, we want you to quiet down. Um, you also have the option, um, to get the device to flash and sound. Um, so the device itself will start flashing to alert the guests that something isn't quite right. Um, or we have an auto call feature where you can type a message and that message will be, um, auto read, um, to them via a phone call.

[00:04:41] The data shows that in 94% of cases. When it is loud for five minutes, the first text message just saying like, Hey guys, just a reminder. The house rules are after 10 p. m. You need to be below X, X level, um, a 95% of the case that that's enough to get them to quiet down. And it's often the case that they reply and say, sorry, kind of forgot or we watch your film and didn't realize and it's fine and it's only that 5% of the time where it might be an issue.

[00:05:06] And one of the things we try to do to counteract that is, in the UK we have a guard service. Um, so it's a service called Guard Assist. And if it's three in the morning, um, and people are being noisy, and they get the text message and the phone call and they don't quiet down, we can send a trained guard to the property who will knock on the door and then report back to you.

[00:05:24] Um, so that's the service we're offering in the UK at the minute. Um, and we'll eventually, obviously plan to spread wider. Um, but I think that's, that's, as you point out, it's a key thing is when you have people in your property, You go to bed thinking, am I going to be woken up at three in the morning by my neighbour saying that a party or a rave is going on next door?

[00:05:41] And, um, what we're trying to do is kind of give hosts peace of mind that like, you can worry about the bigger picture stuff and we'll worry about, about the, uh, the daily logistics and the dealing with the guests.

[00:05:51] Liam: One of the things you mentioned there was house rules and house rules are just so important.

What does a host need to say?

[00:05:56] What does, what does a host need to tell their guests about your device and where would you recommend them? When do you recommend they tell their guests about the device? So we have

[00:06:07] Richard: some material on our website. We have a few blurbs you can put in your listings. Um, so we recommend everyone make it obvious they have this device.

[00:06:15] Um, and we have some collateral that you can use to kind of inform guests about not just what the device does, but how it does it. And so um, we use a type of technology called edge processing. So when you have a Google or an Alexa What it does is it records what you say, it sends it back to Google or Amazon.

[00:06:31] It's analysed there and then the answer is sent back to the device. All of our processing is done on the device itself. Nothing is sent back to us. So we aren't able to listen to the conversations. We're not able to like, no one could hack the device and listen into the room. So I think it's really important to be as upfront as possible.

[00:06:47] We don't want this to be hidden or, or, or kept secret. We think it's important. You tell the guests, um, and you tell the guests that one of the things we focus on most is privacy. Like the last thing we want is, is there to be, um, any scandals or things about, about our products or the industry. And so.

[00:07:04] Privacy focus has always been kind of top of mind for us. Um, we never wanted to include a camera and we never will. Um, we only record decibel levels, not actual soundbites. Um, so yeah, so there's material we have on our, on our website and we, um, we even have a page for guests that you can point them to on our website that kind of informs them about the product and why it's a good thing.

[00:07:22] Um, and, and one of the things we always focus on is, we want our product to be beneficial. For the guests, the hosts, and the community, um, and it's not just about the hosts. We want the guests to have a nicer experience because the host can monitor the humidity and temperature levels within the property to make sure it's a comfortable environment.

[00:07:41] Um, we want the host to feel safe and confident in hosting so they do it more often, and we want the community to see that this host is using our product to ensure the guests, um, aren't hurting the community itself. So, um, So yeah, we, we provide a lot of collateral, um, and it's very important to us that we kind of, we make short-term rentals work for everyone involved in the process.

How does it track?

[00:08:03] Liam: How does it track the, temperature and is there anything we can do if we see that the humidity and the temperature is, is high? I'm, I'm looking at it from a cost-saving point of view as a host, but you mentioned as well, it can then be comfortable for your guests. So, um, I guess this is for places outside of rainy England, is

[00:08:21] Richard: that correct?

[00:08:23] Kind of, I think, um, When I, when I joined Minut five years ago, the temperature feature was always kind of a bit of an edge case. People liked it and they said, like, it's nice to know that, like, the guests are comfortable and the, the, the team doing kind of the changeover of setting it to a nice ambient temperature.

[00:08:37] So when guests sign up, it's not cold or boiling. Um, and over the last couple of years, as you mentioned, that's, that's changed quite drastically. And I think, Not just in the UK, but across Europe, kind of less than the U S at the minute, the cost of energy has gone so high that people are now wondering how can I use this data to, to, to reduce my energy bills?

[00:08:56] Um, and one of the things we've, we've been pushing in the last year is we've done an integration with Tado, who make smart thermostats and smart AC controllers. And so at the minute, you can use Minute, um, connected to your PMS. And what we can do is turn off the air conditioning or the heating. in between guest stays.

[00:09:13] So if you have one guest booked Monday to Wednesday and then another one booked Friday to Monday, we can turn the heating or air conditioning off between those two guests so that if the first guest leaves the air conditioning running, it's not running for two days whilst the property is empty. Um, and that's becoming something people ask us.

[00:09:28] More and more about, and we're getting more requests now for integrating with other types of smart heating controls, um, that kind of anything else, because it's kind of top of mind. And I think people also nowadays are looking for more like return on investment. And so the noise monitoring is kind of an obvious one where if you can.

[00:09:47] Friend parties, you save money, um, and the cigarette smoke is another obvious one where you might have to have a professional cleaner going and get the smell out. Um, but the energy bill ones is what is one that's resonating with people at the Minut. Um, and that's something that we're putting a lot of focus on, um, in the years to come.

[00:10:02] Liam: Thank you so much for your time, uh, this evening as we record this. Um, I hope plenty of people go and check out Minut uh, Minut's old habits die hard. Minute off the back of this. So it's Minut. com and, uh, the notes will also reflect that. You'd be able to see, uh, you know, the website. It's a very easy one.

[00:10:21] Thank you for listening. And, uh, if you think that anybody else could get some, you know, sort of good information from this or, or be inspired by this, please do share, please do like it and, uh, thanks very much for, for tuning in. We know there are lots of places you can put your attention. Thank you for putting it with Boostly.

[00:10:36] That's it from us. Bye for now. Having a blast. Gonna get it

[00:10:40] Richard: on the Bruce Lee podcast. Bruce Lee. Let Bruce Lee 'cause it's so hard on the tea loose leaf. Looking up those rhymes. Don't write it, just do it loosely.