Home Smart Home: Hitting the Mark with Modern Design in Hot Springs
Hot Springs residents Jasen and Kristen Shamlin sort of stumbled into the vacation rental business. The Arkansas natives moved to Hot Springs 11 years ago to enjoy lake living and start a family, but after completing renovations on their home, they discovered a savvy business opportunity.
After dabbling in renting out their personal Lake Hamilton home while on vacation, Jasen and Kristen discovered its unique amenities were a big hit with guests. LED lighting, smart home technology and, of course, the prime Central Avenue location on Lake Hamilton left guests wanting more. Demand for their unique style and tech-y add-ons was growing.
“This made us realize the lucrative business aspects of the vacay rental business,” Jasen says. “We partnered with longtime friends Nathan and Melissa Darby to purchase our first 100% nightly rental property. The success of that property motivated Kristen and I to acquire another lake rental property to renovate, which reached completion and became available to rent in July 2020.”
The Shamlins, and their two daughters Laken and Raylen, now have three popular rental properties on Lake Hamilton. In addition to owning and operating Omni Tech Solutions (a company specializing in smart home technology), Jasen manages their rental properties, and oversees remodels and maintenance. Kristen, who is also a local pharmacist-in-charge, assists during the remodels, does design and maintains the financials. Each house is meticulously renovated and incorporates custom add-ons not typical in the Hot Springs’ rental market.
“We try to create a unique experience for our guests,” Jasen says. “I personally meet [guests] upon check-in to welcome them and give a tutorial of the smart home features."
The properties are designed to create the ideal outdoor entertainment space with TVs, outdoor kitchen, outdoor fireplace, hot tub, integrated sounds system, LED lighting and lake views.
“Our properties are all conveniently located close to Hot Springs attractions, all while being able to sleep multiple families comfortably with five bedrooms,” he says.
The smart lake homes' four private king or queen bedrooms (with extra bunk room) make these properties popular with multi-family groups and wedding parties from all over.
“Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas and Oklahoma are by far our top four most common states we see our guests come from,” Jasen says, “but we have seen people come from as far as Guatemala, California and Nebraska.”
The COVID-19 pandemic created a surge in travel to drivable destinations across the U.S. Hot Springs, in particular, is experiencing this side effect from the pandemic. The lake town’s central location in the country, its three beautiful lakes and its long list of attractions certainly help.
“When quarantine was mandated in the early months, and travel was prohibited, the majority of our bookings were canceled,” Jasen says. “But as soon as traveling was allowed again, we found that the summer months were as busy, if not busier than before.
"There has also been an increase during the “off-season” (September through February) due to people foregoing their vacations out of the country, or to largely populated destinations, to stay around family or within driving distance.”
Their smart homes are popular, pandemic or not, and it’s evident from their highly-rated rental listings that there’s more to the success than simply Hot Springs’ tourism boom.
“Our guests seem to compliment our outdoor living spaces the most,” Jasen says. “They love our modern yet comfortable feel...it's all about creating an experience that you can’t get at home.”