Whether you are the owner who hosts full-time or a property manager hired to do the same, running a vacation rental business is a serious job. As rewarding as it can be, it requires a multitude of tasks to be taken care of, sometimes simultaneously, every day. From managing guest relations and communication to cleaning and maintenance, marketing, and reservations management, growing the business and revenue, the list can seem never ending. Vacation rental software such as a property management system can help hosts gain control over their vacation rental business, streamline processes, automate tasks, and focus on growth and revenue strategies rather than be bogged down by emails.
Why Property Managers Need Software to Manage Vacation Rentals
1. Save Time 2. Manage Multiple Platforms 3. Run Everything from a Single Interface 4. Connect with Other Applications 5. Decrease Human Error 6. Provide Better Service 7. Have Full Control of Your Business 8. Scale and Grow Your Business 9. Increase Revenue
Vacation rental software are primarily software that provide channel management and other property management services. A good property management system (PMS) will not include a channel management feature but automate a multitude of repetitive and time-consuming actions that may have otherwise forced you to hire an assistant. It will act as the central hub through which the different aspects of your vacation rental business are operated.
Many new hosts in particular are wary of property management software, feeling that the expense is likely to outweigh the benefits. But a good PMS not only eliminates the need to hire assistants to help with administrative tasks and deliver full and centralized control of the business but also provides a wide array of benefits. These include:
By automating routine tasks such as guest messaging and reviewing and providing a central inbox and dashboard from which to gain an overall outlook and control of your listings as well as data from third-party integrations, a PMS will save you a considerable amount of time that would otherwise be spent on administrative duties.
To grow in the competitive short term rental landscape of today it is paramount that you list on multiple booking channels. From the big players like Airbnb and Vrbo to smaller but still significant players like Flipkey as well as niche vacation rental booking websites, there are an array of booking platforms that can serve your vacation rental. There is also direct booking through your own vacation rental website. However, managing multiple listings, even of a single property, is extremely challenging. Reservations management in particular to prevent double booking is integral. A PMS will include a channel manager that allows you to manage all your listings with ease with bookings, communications, and data updated in real-time.
A well-designed PMS will provide an intuitive dashboard from which you can get an overall view of all your booking channels, calendars, messages, payments, etc and attend to the needful as and when you require. It will also have a fully functional and easy to use mobile app that you can use to control your short term rental business while on the go.
From noise monitoring and smart lock apps to insurance apps, pricing apps, and guest screening apps, a host’s toolkit can comprise a wide selection of apps. While these provide necessary automation, analysis, or communication services for hosting, it also leaves a host having to juggle a number of different portals in order to do so. Property management software can act as a central point of integration to your many apps, allowing you to access the services or data provided by the app through your PMS dashboard.
Businesses are run by humans. Therefore, all businesses will experience human error at some time. A PMS however will significantly reduce the risk of human error through automation, channel management, and other functionalities.
If you are too busy trying to stay on top of your administrative task, you will have no time to ensure you deliver excellent service to your guests. By streamlining processes, automating some tasks and optimizing others, a PMS gives you the time to make sure your guest is served well. Automated guest messaging and a unified inbox as well as seamless integrations of communication apps further allow you to ensure great service from start to finish.
By acting as the central point of access and action to all data, messaging, and tasks related to your short term rental business, a PMS provides hosts complete control of their business. Channel management, customer relations management, and easy integration of third-party apps are integral to this.
A good PMS helps a property manager elevate the professionalism of their business by optimizing administrative tasks, freeing up time for in-person tasks as well as strategic thinking and future planning. This in turn allows you to look further and expand your business. Because you can manage multiple listings and properties with a single PMS, investing in good vacation rental software can reap huge dividends by enabling you to grow, scale, and grow your business.
Managing multiple listings through your PMS is not the only means of growing revenue. By cutting costs, eliminating double booking, optimizing pricing, enabling exceptional customer service, analyzing data for further improvement, and growing your business, a good PMS enables revenue growth.
There are a number of factors to keep in mind when choosing the best PMS for managing your short term rental business. These include:
A difficult to use PMS will not only leave you frustrated but also less likely to utilize the full functionality of the system. A good PMS is intelligently designed to be user-friendly.
A PMS promises a full provision of services for managing your property so the range of features is an important factor. Important features to look out for are channel management, reservations management, unified inbox and guest communication, payment processing, booking engine, customer relations management, marketing, and reporting and analytics.
Apps make up a significant chunk of a host’s arsenal of tools. The seamless integration of the apps you use and hope to use into the PMS of your choice is necessary if you are to enjoy the full scope of benefits provided by the PMS.
Cost is a factor in most decisions. Consider not only the cost of the PMS vs the revenue you are bringing in but also factor in how it will change as your business grows and scales as per your plans. Some PMSs offer yearly subscriptions while others allow for monthly subscriptions. The pricing can also depend on the number of properties you are managing. Meanwhile some PMS charge per listing or even per booking. Others offer a fixed price per property. Choose what best suits the current state and future trajectory of your business.
Make sure you choose a PMS with a well-reviewed mobile app. This rids the property manager of being bidden to their desk. Instead, it allows them to respond on the go as well as get through other tasks knowing they can access the full complement of the PMS’ features on the smartphone in their purse.
Make sure the onboarding process is not too hard or tedious, does not take too long, and includes plenty of support from the provider. A difficult and challenging onboarding process can not only be difficult but also cause delays in when you can get up and running with the PMS you’ve paid for.
No matter how great the features and functionality of the PMS are, there will be times when things go wrong. If your PMS provider does not deliver excellent customer service however you will find yourself stuck, frustrated, and losing revenue as you struggle to get your issues attended to.
Always conduct your own research when trying to decide the best PMS for you. Case studies of hosts who have used the software as well as reviews of the software by current users on sites such as Capterra and Trustpilot can also provide unbiased insight. Another great way to gauge a system is to schedule a demo call so you can get a real view of the interface, features, and functionality.
Hostaway is a great PMS that allows you to work smarter rather than harder. It provides everything you need to automate your vacation rental management business in one place. A high-rated PMS, it includes a proprietary channel manager, a full suite of communication tools including an industry-leading unified inbox, automation tools, booking engine and website builder, analytics and reporting, and more. Hostaway is also home to the largest vacation rental marketplace with over 100 integrations of third-party services. Together with award-winning customer support and scalable solutions for growth, Hostaway is the best PMS for property managers at all levels.