Whether renting a home for additional income or managing multiple units as part of a larger business model, you know vacation rentals are a valuable asset. Additionally, the rise in vacation rental usage and thriving industry growth have pushed security to the No. 1 concern among owners and managers. To address these issues and fulfill a need in the industry, Party Squasher created a solution that’s both helpful to owners and less-intrusive for guests.
Party Squasher’s smart home device monitors the number of mobile devices in the home and notifies a manager if the number exceeds a pre-set number. Devices include cell/smartphones, laptops, tablets and certain cameras. The solution has become a must for anyone looking to protect their home against unwanted guests and parties, which can cost thousands in damages and repairs. Read to learn more about Party Squasher and how they prevent parties and enhance security.
Party Squasher Q&A: Amanda Mills, Director of Partnership Management, BlueFox.io
How did the idea for Party Squasher come about and how has the company grown since launch?
Party Squasher came out of a need – as there was previously not a way to monitor what was happening inside a home without cameras, which are illegal. As a tech person, I knew this pain point could be solved using technology, and we launched Party Squasher in September 2016.
We have attended various events focused around vacation rentals (VRMA, HomeAway, AirbnbOpen, iTrip Vacations Summit), and events have been our largest growth source. We are currently operating in seven countries (U.S., Canada, U.K., France, Australia, Greece, Mexico) and look to further expand in 2017.
What are the main goals for Party Squasher as it relates to vacation property management?
When we designed Party Squasher, we focused around the needs of vacation property managers who oversee multiple listings. That is why we made Party Squasher a plug-and-play solution. Property managers can focus on other matters, while Party Squasher monitors and triggers a text message alert if there is abnormal activity on one of their properties.
In your experience, has this become a ‘must’ for property owners and managers? Have you seen an increase in demand as more rent their homes?
Yes. We’ve found the combination of smart locks and Party Squasher not only help property managers keep an eye on occupancy levels and arrival/departure times, but it also shows their cities/communities that they are doing everything possible to detour and stop noisy, loud party behavior in short-term rentals.
Is there cost data available? For example: costs of repairs after a party vs. having Party Squasher and avoiding the hassle.
Clean-up costs range from $500 to $50,000. Depending on the damages and whether the party also causes loss of income, the after-math can be very costly. In my experience, it was a $2,000 bill for clean-up, but the emotional stress of having to calm down the owner, etc. was another significant cost! With that number in mind, a $149 spend for Party Squasher is a worthwhile investment for anyone in the vacation rental industry.
What’s been the most rewarding aspect of the business thus far?
Definitely the community. We live in a day-and-age where we are no longer as interactive as we used to be. By going to events like VRMA and other meetups, we’ve met fabulous property managers and short-term vacation owners who seek to improve efficiencies and keep their neighborhoods safe. Having a strong community gives us the boost and momentum to build and grow Party Squasher.
How Party Squasher Works
The Party Squasher device is about 2 inches by 2 inches and hooks up to an internet router. It then counts the mobile devices in the home – regardless of whether or not they are connected to the home’s Wi-Fi connection. The app pairs with the device and allows property managers to set a custom number of devices allowed in the home. For example, if you have a group of five coming, you can set the number to 10 to allow for two devices per person.
Now it’s time to relax. Party Squasher monitors this number and notifies managers via text if there’s a spike in the number of mobile devices within the detected range. The manager can then call the guest to find out more about the situation and squash a potential party.
Those with multiple properties can sync them all to the app and integrate multiple listing calendars from sites including Airbnb and HomeAway. This enables managers to have guests’ contact information readily available in case they need to check-in with them. Additionally, the app allows different phone numbers for different properties, so property management companies can streamline the process and contact the closest manager.