Being a vacation rental owner is rewarding, for sure, but you can also quickly get swamped with everyday tasks such as check-ins and check-outs, guest relations, cleaning, and marketing. Before long, most hosts will find themselves googling “best vacation rental management software” in search of management tools to streamline their operations.
This is very common among hosts! Most vacation rental owners end up going this route and for good reason. The benefits of vacation rental management software by far outweigh the costs, provided you find the right solution for your specific needs.
Luckily, as the vacation rental industry continues to skyrocket, you now have many different options to choose from. Finding the right property management software for your vacation rental business depends on several factors, including the number of rental properties you own and the specific tasks that take up most of your time, among others.
So, let’s take a deep dive into the advantages of property management software and how to choose the right option to make your life easier and put the joy back into your business.
Vacation rental management software is designed to help short-term rental owners manage their businesses through a variety of features, including the automation of many routine tasks through a property management system (PMS) and the ability to manage all their listings and bookings on the same centralized platform via a channel manager and a synchronized calendar.
Why do you need vacation rental software?
There are many property management software benefits, and we’ll take a look at them one by one, but overall it allows you to lift your head above the nitty-gritty tasks to focus on strategic business decisions. The software will streamline the management of your rental or multiple rentals, saving you money and optimizing processes, leading to better decisions, higher occupancy, and a stronger, healthier bottom line.
Main benefits of vacation rental management software
The first, and one of the most appreciated benefits of a property management software solution, is that you’re able to automate some of the most time-consuming and repetitive tasks, to shave hours off your workday.
For example, autoresponders that send pre-prepped responses to inquiry emails or other communications typically form part of guest management and don’t necessarily need a customized reply.
Now, all of these types of messages can be taken off your hands. Not only do you stop wasting time copying and pasting old messages into new ones, but you reduce the chances of silly mistakes slipping in.
Scheduled payments are another feature offered by some property management software tools that will make payment collection easy by automatically charging your guests’ residual balance after their booking.
More effective channel management
Most property owners list their rentals on different listing sites or online travel agencies (OTAs) to get the maximum exposure.
On top of these channels, most vacation rental hosts soon realize building their own website will help them generate direct online bookings and cut down on commission charges.
The more channels you have, the more tricky it gets to stay up to date with your listings, reservations and calendars across all channels. This could quickly get messy and you could end up with double bookings and unanswered queries from customers.
A good vacation rental management software solution will put an end to these hassles through the total and seamless integration of booking channels to ensure all your bookings are in one place and can be managed from one dashboard or interface.
In this way, you always have a bird’s eye view of bookings and inquiries across all your channels, and if the software includes a synchronized calendar, you won’t have to worry about double bookings as your bookings will always be up to date.
Better customer service
Offering the ultimate guest experience is only possible if you can stay on top of all guest communications. How can you exceed your guests’ expectations if you miss their requests or don’t respond on time?
When choosing the right software for your short-term rental business, make sure it includes a unified inbox feature. This feature seamlessly integrates emails and online travel agency (OTA) guest messages in one inbox.
Not only can you see all the messages submitted through these platforms, as well as emails from your own direct bookings website, but you can also respond to each of them from the same place, using email, SMS or WhatsApp.
More control with your own vacation rental website
Not all short-term rental management software comes with a website builder. This feature, which you should absolutely not miss out on, allows you to build your own fully functional website so you can get access to direct bookings and cut down on commission, allowing you to boost your income.
Watch out for tools that outsource website building to a third party, as this option can cost you a fortune in the long run.
Even more important, you need to be able to access the content management system (CMS) yourself to allow you to make updates to your website without needing the help of a website developer every time.
Look for software that will allow you to build a site quickly and easily without the need for tech support. This could involve ready-to-use and optimized templates, but you should still have the ability to customize the colors, fonts, logos, photos and content whenever you want and without paying anything extra!
Customizing a website is great but the most important feature is the booking engine. Your website should have a fully integrated booking system so you can take instant bookings with online payments. Just be sure that your site is SSL certified, so you and your guests can be confident that the credit card details are submitted securely.
If you want to grow your business and own or manage more properties, investing in a good vacation rental software tool becomes a no-brainer. Scaling means more mundane tasks every day and hiring more employees to help with the management process.
However, with the right software, the business can easily be scaled to include more work orders across several properties, without compromising on customer support and the overall guest experience.
Higher revenue and faster growth
Who doesn’t want to generate more income with their vacation rental business? Through the use of vacation rental software, you’ll soon see a difference in the bottom line, as you cut back on costs and generate more bookings and higher occupancy rates through more effective management.
An efficient software rental tool will also include an automatic pricing feature, usually offered through integrations with recognized revenue management software, which helps to reduce lost income during quieter seasons. It also prevents you from leaving money on the table when demand is high.
Through software, you should be able to access business data that can be analyzed to help you gain insights and inform your decision-making to ensure faster growth of your vacation rental business.
How to choose the right short-term rental software for your business?
We can safely say that there are only advantages and no disadvantages to using vacation rental software as a host; however choosing the wrong one can be costly.
Do your homework and carefully go through all the features you think you’ll need by looking again at the benefits we’ve listed above. Don’t be forced into a decision and make sure you’re comparing apples with apples.
We’ve listed some of the most important features above, including a user-friendly website builder to help you set up your own site, price management, channel management tools, a unified inbox and automation features.
What goes without saying, is the need for outstanding customer support in your software provider. Find a company with a track record of excellent customer service, that will help you onboard your new software without making you pay or feel guilty.
Als make sure you have access to a free trial or demo, before you sign on the dotted line.
How much does vacation rental software cost?
Before committing to one software or another, find out if you will have to pay any commissions on the bookings you make via your website. Some systems will take a small percentage of your income alongside the monthly tariff, adding a hefty price tag to each payment.
Frequently asked questions
Still have doubts about whether vacation rental software is right for you? Check out some of the frequently asked questions and our response below to put your mind at ease.
How easy is it to set up?
You want to be 100% sure that you don’t need to be a tech genius (unless of course, you are one) and that setting up your own site and operating the software will be easy. As mentioned above, be sure onboarding and ongoing support are included in the deal.
What happens if you cancel?
With some software providers, you’re tied into a contract for a certain amount of time; therefore canceling or changing it can incur a large fee. For this reason, it’s a great idea to become familiar with the software cancelation policy in advance – just in case it becomes necessary.
What are the other users’ opinions of the software?
It is always a good idea to check out other customers’ reviews on sites such as Capterra or Trustpilot about the software you plan to buy when making up your mind.
Why Lodgify is the right vacation rental software for you
Finding the right software solution for your needs will be the end of most of your management problems and will take your business to the next level.
Lodgify ticks all the boxes mentioned above by offering all the key features you need to grow your business. We now also offer many of these features without any upfront investment to vacation rental owners who are just starting out and not yet sure which software features they need.