Vacation Rental Security: 7 ways to protect your STR portfolio

A 7-step help guide for short-term rental property managers on how to improve security across their property portfolio
Minut News
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February 20, 2024
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Vacation Rental Security: 7 ways to protect your STR portfolio

They say prevention is better than a cure, and that’s 100% true when it comes to short-term rental security, and is why implementing automated tech security systems in all your rentals can be so important for your business growth.

Harnessing technology solutions to monitor noise, occupancy, cigarette smoke, access, and alarm systems not only mitigates risk, but improves your ability to communicate with guests and can be a compelling selling point for homeowners, too.

Not only that—as you’ll see across the seven core insights into vacation rental security below, consolidated technology for STR protection increases your visibility, reduces your manual tasks, and makes your operations more scalable.

1. Noise and occupancy monitoring

Noise and occupancy monitors are a highly effective, privacy-safe way to prevent unauthorized parties, minimize the risk of damage, keep your neighbors happy, and preserve your reputation and brand.

There’s no need to hire someone to keep watch 24/7, or risk upsetting guests with intrusive security cameras. Devices like Minut don’t record, listen in, film, take photos, or broadcast.


  • Noise monitoring: Detects if decibels have been over a certain level for a prolonged period (for example, if loud music has been playing for five minutes or more). It even works outdoors!
  • Occupancy monitoring: Determines how many wireless devices are in the home with Crowd Detect (e.g. if your two-person home suddenly has 10 phones in it, that could be a sign of a party or disturbance).

If the device finds something amiss, Minut’s Guest Connect system sends a polite message reminding guests of the rules, solving 94% of problem cases within 15 minutes.

Minut dashboard showing noise monitoring and other features
Minut automates STR protection with noise monitoring, occupancy monitoring, and other features, including automated guest messaging.

Minut even has extra services—CallAssist and GuardAssist—where advisors trained in conflict resolution can call or visit your short-term vacation home for you if the worst happens and you’re unable or unwilling to step in.

And, once it’s set up, Minut does all this with automation, with no extra work for you, and no privacy infringement for guests. This is a highly scalable solution for your STR business—so you can add multiple units to your portfolio without increasing your workload or putting a strain on your processes.

2. Cigarette smoke detection

Cigarette smoke can be extremely costly to your business as it increases the cleaning time of a turnover, can necessitate the hire of specialist equipment, and can even cause you to cancel a stay.

Minut’s feature for cigarette detection identifies cigarette smoke particles in your property, and uses AI to tell the difference between other types of smoke and unauthorized smoking. This means it won’t automate a response if guests accidentally burn toast, but it will send an alert if someone smokes.

Adding a smoking detection device like Minut to your existing fire alarm and carbon monoxide detector setup ensures even better safety, security, and peace of mind for you and your guests.

Minut sensor and cigarette smoke
The Minut sensor identifies cigarette smoke and automates an alert and message to guests.

3. Smart locks and access management

Protecting access to your property is essential to ensuring security at your rentals. 

But keys can be lost, stolen, or copied. Having someone around to hand over keys physically means you need to be available to meet every guest (or hire extra staff to do it) with potential problems if guests are delayed. And even lockboxes can be unreliable, stolen, or broken.

Short-term rental smart locks and automated access management solve these issues instantly. When using Minut, guests are automatically sent their personal entry code in advance via smartphone message, so they can let themselves in at any time via keyless entry—no assistance required. 

Only people with the code can enter, and the number changes automatically with each new guest, so there’s no chance of a guest being able to return after checking out. 

You can also revoke access at any time if there’s a problem, view a historical log of access, and see the live status of your units without compromising the privacy of your guests.

Vacation rental smart lock for increased security
Minut integrates with your smart locks to automate the sharing of unique access credentials with your guests.

4. Automated guest screening

Keys or not, preventing problems starts before guests even arrive. The best way to stop problems before they show up? Screen your guests using automated STR software.

This goes beyond checking guests’ Airbnb profiles or verification badges. AI-powered technology can gather information on a guest using publicly available databases to see if they have had previous brushes with the law or appear on any criminal registers in a non-intrusive manner without adding friction to the booking or check-in process.

They can also detect if the guest may be using a stolen credit card or if there is a risk of fraud. You can then double-check with the guest (for example, there may be a benign reason that their credit card got flagged). If guests are evasive, you can cancel before they check in, reducing the risk of problems during or following their stay. 

A guest who intends to follow the house rules should have no problem with extra security verifications and will appreciate the added security measures.

5. STR insurance, deposits, and waivers

Insurance policies for short-term rental hosts are specifically designed to cater for your needs, and are essential for managers looking to protect their vacation rental properties and business from damage or litigation. 

They can also add an extra layer of safety, security and peace of mind for you and guests. Some hosts choose to have a comprehensive property management insurance package to fall back on, while others use a short-term rental security deposit system to mitigate the consequences in case of damage or injury.

The type of policy that works for you will vary, but asking guests for a deposit or damage waiver upfront may introduce friction to their experience—they may forget to pay, or resent being asked to pay more on top of the rental expense—so you may wish to include any extra insurance costs in the overall price.

Whichever option you choose, make sure you communicate the policy clearly to guests before and during their stay, so everyone understands the process if damage occurs.

6. Vacation rental house rules

Speaking of communication, ensuring your guests know and agree to your vacation rental house rules improves the chances that they’ll stick to them, and security won’t be an issue during their stay.

This means being open and upfront about your rules and policies right from the start. Feature your rules on your listings, remind guests of them at the booking stage, and send them again in the confirmation email and pre-arrival reminder message. 

You don’t need to be rude or strict; your rules can be written in a friendly but clear way, calmly laying out your requirements and what happens if a rule is broken (for example, you charge an extra fee for deep-cleaning in case someone smokes.) 

If your guests get too loud or break something, you can lean back on your clearly stated policies, and no one can claim they didn’t know the rules. This protects you, and sets guest expectations, reducing the risk of damage or complaints.

7. Vacant vacation rental measures and smart home tech

Rental property security isn’t only a concern when guests are inside; in fact, many security issues are most apparent when your rental property is vacant between bookings.

That’s when installing extra smart home technology for vacation rentals becomes crucial. For example, as well as its hazard detection features, Minut includes motion detection, security alarm, and window break detection to alert you to a possible break-in.

Minut will also send you an alert if it hears and recognizes another alarm—for example, a CO2 alert or another fire alarm sound. This means you can keep eyes and ears open throughout your properties, even if you are miles away, no one’s home, and your cleaning or maintenance staff aren’t present.

Protecting your short-term rentals: Let tech work for you

Stepping up security in your short-term rentals isn’t only about mitigating risk; it’s an opportunity to consolidate and streamline your management process.

From noise and occupancy monitoring to cigarette smoke detectors, smart lock access, guest screening, automated insurance, deposits, and smart tech designed for vacant properties, you can benefit from hands-off solutions for increased portfolio visibility, guest communication, and problem resolution.

Minut standalone device is discreet and low-maintenance (its battery lasts for up to one year) and can handle all this and more (for example, it also lets you know if someone tries to tamper with it.) 

No more stress, worry about angry neighbors, damaged properties, unruly guests, or break-ins. Minut offers an all-in-one, automated security system that keeps your vacation rental portfolio safe, whether you have two properties or 200.