3 Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Vacation Rental Property Management Software

There’s no avoiding the fact that technology is everywhere.

Long gone are the days where you could run your property management business using a handwritten booking diary and a few Excel spreadsheets. In order to increase direct bookings, automate repetitive tasks to save time and take care of multiple properties on the go, vacation rental property managers need advanced software systems built specifically for them.

Whether you manage five vacation rentals or 500, ensuring you have an up-to-date website that’s optimized for online bookings, with a built-in reservation system and CRM tool is the key to unlocking your wider business goals.

Looking to save time? Vacation rental software can help. Want to automate your processes to scale up your business? Software is the answer.

We understand that there are many options available on the market nowadays. But, what exactly do you need to think about before deciding which vacation rental software is right for you? There are a few important questions all property managers should ask themselves.

1. How much does professional vacation rental software cost?

Before committing to any software package, it’s wise to add up the total costs you will incur, in order to understand whether it’s a viable solution for your business needs.

Typically, most vacation rental software services charge a base fee, which is paid for on a monthly or yearly basis. However, with some solutions, you may also need to clarify if there are any other fees or charges you will have to pay.

For instance:

  • Initial extra costs for subscription and set-up
  • An extra percentage or commission on each booking you take
  • Fees for software updates in the future
  • Fees for support.

Additionally, you should also consider whether the software you are choosing has a minimum contract length, or you could be penalized for early cancelation.

With Lodgify, your monthly subscription fee is the only cost you will incur. As well as a cancel anytime contract, there are no added extras charges, commissions, or set-up fees. There is even a 20% discount for annual subscribers, or 25% off for biennial members. Multi-property plans start from as little as $65 USD per month.

Plus, at Lodgify, every update we carry out is for free. Property managers have access to the latest software, with unlimited support included, without paying anything extra. We do this because it’s important to us that our product continues to meet property managers’ needs. Just as your business will develop and flourish with Lodgify’s software, our software will continue to develop to support your business in the best way possible.

Before handing over any form of payment details, you need to make sure the software has the right capabilities for your business. Let’s take a look at the essential components of a great vacation rental software.

2. What features are needed?

Above all, when making your decision about vacation rental software, you need to be able to trust that the solution is powerful enough to support your daily business needs, with the right features and functions to help streamline your processes.

Objective #1: More direct bookings

Your software should make your job of taking rental bookings easier. That’s why your vacation rental software should allow for:

  • Creating an optimized Airbnb-style website in multiple languages
  • Accepting online bookings and credit card payments via an advanced booking engine
  • A mobile-friendly design to attract more bookings from handheld devices
  • Easy editing 24/7 – you can edit and make changes to your website without asking anyone and without any delay
  • Search engine optimization (SEO) and social media integrations to help more guests land on your website and make a booking
  • Collecting reviews to encourage more guests to book.

Objective #2: Automate reservation and payment management

Managing all aspects of your reservation calendar and inquiries needs to be straightforward with your software. An optimized reservation system should:

  • Allow you to manage all reservations from one centralized calendar and inbox
  • Automatically generate quotes to convert inquiries into bookings
  • Enable automated payment collection
  • Help you to administer any cancellations with ease
  • Have a guest communication system in place, such as a built-in guest CRM with autoresponders, email templates and social media integrations to manage all inquiries and FAQs effectively and quickly
  • Facilitate on-the-go management to access your bookings, inquiries and inbox from wherever you are. For example, via Lodgify Mobile on your smartphone.

Objective #3: Hassle-free external channel management

An optimized software should have a channel manager that can:

  • Synchronize and integrate external listings on large OTAs such as Booking.com, Airbnb and HomeAway
  • Automatically ensure calendars and rates are up-to-date and consistent across all sites
  • Save you time updating listings manually
  • Integrate with other channels and channel managers if necessary.

Objective #4: Easy owner administration

When owners have access to their properties on your website, this can make property management a whole lot easier. While you are overseeing the day-to-day running of the properties, an owner management portal allows owners to update the specifics that you give them access to (such as own photos, descriptions, calendar and rates) – without having to go through you first.

Objective #5: All of your tools in one place

Running your property management business smoothly is the key to success. For that reason, it’s important to have a software that is integrated with many different third-party tools, such as yield management tools, marketing apps, accounting software etc.

3. What else characterizes a great vacation rental software for property managers?

Before committing fully to a solution, there are some other aspects you should evaluate in order to judge whether it will be a good match for your business needs.

Let’s take a look at what these characteristics are.

It’s product-driven

A great software never stops improving – that’s why you need a solution built by a world-class technical team who strive to create the best product using the latest technology. You need to be able to trust that the software will grow with your business and constantly improve and adapt to stay relevant and competitive in the market. You should be able to rely on them as your own personal IT department, so to speak.

It’s easy to use

Whether you’re creating a new website from scratch, or simply looking for a more modern and optimized system, ease of use is highly important. Don’t waste time stressing over the small things – one of the main reasons you want software in the first place is to save yourself hours of admin time!

It’s free to try

The software you choose should provide a free trial to learn about the product’s capabilities first-hand before paying. With Lodgify, you receive one week free, so you can really get to know the ins and outs of the software before making your decision.

It’s flexible

Property managers also like to know that the software is flexible once they’ve signed up. We understand that each vacation rental business is different and circumstances can change. Acquire more properties and need to switch plans later on? That’s fine by us! The software you choose needs to accommodate each property manager’s individual needs.

It has reliable customer support

If you have any trouble with creating your site or managing your inquiries, you’ll want to know you’re in good hands. Make sure you opt for a software provider with a renowned support team who will be there to help you with any queries, whether this is via telephone or use of their online knowledge base. Most importantly, ensure they speak the same language as you!

It has good user reviews

Think about it, who is best qualified to help you make your decision? Other property managers, of course! Read up on the different providers and get a feel for it through reviews on sites like Capterra to see what other PMs are saying about it.

It makes running your business enjoyable

Let’s face it, you’re going to be using this software very often (probably every day, if not more), so you need to make sure you like it. When you take all of the above factors into account, you’ll realize that the software solution you choose should make the running of your business more efficient, with features that function smoothly in an uncomplicated manner.

If you’re looking for a new vacation rental software that will achieve you more direct bookings while saving you time, download our free property manager’s guide to vacation rental software today:

Ready to take more direct bookings?

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