When Javier Garrido first came on board to manage a handful of vacation rentals for a local Key West developer in 2016, his noise-mitigation needs were minimal, and local: Appease one concerned neighbor, and comply with city requirements for beachfront homes. But as Key West Vacation Homes grew, so did Garrido’s need for a way to keep operations centralized, while tapping into lucrative new markets far, far away from the south Florida archipelago.
Key West Vacation Homes started with NoiseAware for those early, simple needs. And the company has stayed with NoiseAware for the long haul. Here’s why.
As a property manager in Key West’s burgeoning luxury vacation-home market, Garrido saw abundant opportunity—with the right strategy in place. As he explains, “In Key West, you have to have a transient license to rent by the night, otherwise the minimum is 28 days.” The property developer he’d connected with had a couple of transient licenses, along with “some homes that were just sitting there,” not maximizing their revenue potential, whether they were vacant, or long-term rentals. The developer also had a commercial property on the water. Garrido recounts that they started, slowly, to acquire more transient licenses, and to convert the commercial property into 10 condos with dockage.
But, soon, Garrido ran headlong into several roadblocks. As Key West Vacation Homes expanded its portfolio, “We had a situation, where, in one of the developments, we did not own all the units. There was one single unit that was owner-occupied for half the year, and the owner would tend to complain,” and that complaining became an increasingly problematic situation for short-term guests and Garrido, alike.
On top of that, “When we were going to acquire and transfer licenses to another development, Key Cove Landings, the city required us to have noise sensors in those units,” Garrido says.
Also, Key West Vacation Homes had plans to expand beyond Key West—way beyond Key West. Into markets as far away as Georgia and Southern California. But to do so, it needed a way to maintain peace, quiet and property protection across its luxury property portfolio, from one centralized hub.
Then there were the occasions where guests, in Key West to have a good time in a gorgeous seaside setting, were actually making too much noise.
“But it really isn’t the noise that’s the issue. The bigger issue is that they’re up to no good. If noise is going on, what else is going on?”
–Javier Garrido, Key West Vacation Homes
Garrido first encountered NoiseAware at an industry conference. And while he was intrigued by the idea of noise monitoring technology, he wasn’t totally convinced that he needed it for his high-end Key West properties. Until that aforementioned complaining neighbor became a significant obstacle in his management operations.
Defense Against Unfair Noise Complaints
To address that situation, Garrido says he decided to give NoiseAware a try. He installed a sensor, set his noise thresholds, and waited to see what happened. Eventually, “She called and complained again. I explained to her that I was looking at our noise sensor data, and our guests were within the noise level of acceptable decibels,” he says. “And she never called me again.”
Outdoor Noise Issues, Fixed
With the vacation-rental company’s luxurious Key Cove Landings properties, the city’s noise-monitoring requirement turned out to be a major advantage. Key West Vacation Homes installed NoiseAware’s weatherproof, tamper-proof outdoor sensors—the only sensors of their kind in the short-term-rental industry—in those homes. “It worked out. And it’s still working out. Noise typically leads to other things that are…inappropriate,” Garrido says. “And with guests at those properties predominantly being in the pools and outside, that’s where the issues can arise, especially when you start talking about other guests’ enjoyment.”
Late-Night Noise Resolved Quickly
Garrido adds that Key West Vacation Homes has recently started using Breezeway—an operations automation platform that includes a guest communications feature—integrated with Esacpia, the company’s property management software platform, to enable NoiseAware’s AutoResolve guest messaging feature.
With AutoResolve, Key West Vacation Homes guests receive a text notification when their noise level exceeds set thresholds during “quiet hours.” In most cases, guests quiet down after that first message. But if they don’t, they receive a second, more urgent message. In the very rare case where two messages don’t do the trick, Garrido’s team gets notified, and can intervene.
“I don’t like being woken up at whatever time of night to address an issue, and noise complaints aren’t necessarily during the daytime. They’re late at night. When you have the AutoResolve component, you don’t have to worry about it until the third strike. You know it’s already escalated and been vetted. I think that’s really taken NoiseAware to the next level. It’s a no-brainer in this industry.”
-Javier Garrido, Key West Vacation Homes
First and foremost, “We want to be good stewards and good neighbors,” Garrido says. “Vacation rentals get a stigma.” And with post-pandemic demand and a pent up desire to relax and revel on vacation, that stigma has only increased, he adds. With NoiseAware, “We can be proactive, at the very least, and show, ‘We’re circumventing these issues.’”
As Key West Vacation Homes expands its short-term-rental operations into Savannah, Ga., San Diego and other popular vacation destinations, the company is finding even greater benefit in NoiseAware protection and prevention. For example, Garrido notes that in one of the markets his company is expanding into, “There’s concern about neighbors. It’s a development that didn’t previously have vacation rentals. We’re pitching the idea that NoiseAware has good sensors, they’re nationally known, they have AutoResolve.” He adds: “It gives [those neighbors] peace of mind.”
When it comes right down to it, having NoiseAware protection “is just part of doing business,” Garrido says. “The revenue more than outweighs any argument against putting in sensors. It’s very beneficial. It’s very useful.”