As an owner or vacation rental manager of a property, you understand how many elements go into managing a rental. From cradle to grave, you are responsible for providing the renter with a successful rental process; this includes confirming the reservation, answering questions during the guests’ stay, and processing payment.
Even the simplest reservation needs the appropriate amount of attention. With numerous inquiries, properties, and advertisements, you will need a way to organize the frequent interaction between you and your guests.
This is where vacation rental software comes in. Vacation rental software will categorize and organize each area of the rental process for streamlined efficiency. There are so many areas involved in renting a property, so you will need an application that will organize those areas.
Have you ever booked a vacation rental and received a confirmation email, only to be contacted by the owner or property manager that your rental was accidentally double-booked?
“You had one job” may be the G-rated version of what you’re thinking upon learning, you will need to change your vacation dates or your vacation rental selection.
So, how does this happen? How does a property manager or owner book the same rental, for the same time, for two separate renters? Chances are the owner, or property manager is not utilizing vacation rental software to organize their rental service, and the result is a double booking.
One of the biggest rewards of investing in vacation rental software is utilizing the software’s reservation services. Having an unorganized calendar of reservations, cancellations, and availability can be detrimental to managing your rental.
Word of mouth spreads fast, and you do not want to be the company or owner who is notorious for overbooking.
If managing reservations is not your priority, the vacation rental software you choose should have a reservation element within it that you can utilize. Even if you feel you have your reservations organized, using vacation rental software that includes a reservation system will guarantee you never face the nightmare of double-booking.
Advertising and Website Software
Most rental properties are viewed, chosen, and booked online. This means you will need a quality website to showcase your property’s features, provide applicable information about the property, and supply an easy reservation system.
If your vacation rental software includes advertising or website design, you will be able to customize your property’s website directly within the software application.
This is a benefit for both you and the renter. You will be able to design a website catered to providing necessary information and a simple booking system to interested renters.
Many consumers enjoy planning their vacation online, and a website showing availability, amenities, and property information will rent your property quicker than a website that is not user-friendly.
After all, the easier it is for a renter to make a reservation, the more money goes into your pocket!
Another advertising feature that the vacation rental software may offer is scheduling automatic social media posts.
Another benefit of vacation rental software is the accounting features. Vacation rental software should include some type of accounting application. (If it doesn’t, you should find one that does!)
Accounting software will allow you to configure payments online. As an owner or property manager, you understand that there is more to the total rental amount of a property than just the per night rental rate.
There are local and state taxes that need to be collected, and you may need to include other fees, such as cleaning fees or a security deposit.
Vacation rental software with an accounting feature will allow you to collect payment for your rental property, as well as keep track of your budget.
Try to find vacation rental software that you can also access on-the-go. This is important because your renter may have an emergency within your property that requires your prompt response.
You had much rather be notified of a water leak as it happens through an application notification, rather than when you arrive at the office and check your voicemail or email the next morning. You may be notified from the mobile app through an automatic email forwarding system or through the customer’s use of the mobile application as well.
In addition to communication, it is convenient to use mobile apps to assign specific tasks to your property for those times you are not in front of your computer. Having the option to schedule housekeeping, process payments, or update your website through a mobile app will allow you to manage your property from virtually anywhere.
Automatic Communication Software
With property rental, there are certain times in the process where you will tell each guest the same thing.
For example, if a guest has just finished booking the rental, they will need to receive a confirmation email. You should not have to monitor your email 24/7 to know when to compose a confirmation email. Instead, create an auto-response confirmation email within your vacation rental software to automatically send when a reservation is made.
Another example of reiterating guest communication is sending instructions for your guest to follow upon arrival or departure. Again, you should not have to wait until 24 hours before your guest arrives to type out a list of instructions for the guest to follow when they arrive.
This same concept applies to departure instructions. Instead, use your vacation rental software to schedule automatic correspondence sent to your guests 24 hours before arrival and departure.
Automated messaging allows a vacation rental business to communicate with their customers while improving the guest experience.
Good vacation rental software should also have some form of financial reporting feature a rental property manager or vacation rental owners can utilize. Having access to this kind of information is a good way to stick to a budget and stay on top of certain fees, including cleaning and other maintenance fees.
When looking for vacation rental software, you want to make sure it provides great customer support. Property management software for short term rentals should be able to provide adequate support through different channels.
You also want to find the best value for your money. The cheaper property management system may not be the best as it will most likely lack features and functionality. Compare prices across the industry to see where the standard is, even better when the software solution comes with a free trial or money-back guarantee.
One final element to consider when choosing vacation rental software is giving your guests the option to leave a review describing their guest experience.
Guest reviews, or the lack thereof, can make or break your reputation. A guest may be more likely to make a reservation on your property based on customer reviews than a property with no reviews available.
Try to choose vacation rental software with a feature that allows travelers to leave reviews or feedback on your property and vacation rental management.
Choosing the Best Vacation Rental Software
Here are a few more things to keep in mind when hunting down the best vacation rental management software for your vacation rental property.
Identify Your Needs and Goals
You always want to find a software solution that meets the requirements of your short term rental business. What may work for one host may not necessarily work for the next. List your pain points, and then look for vacation rental software to address each issue you are facing.
A few more points to consider when doing this is seeing if the vacation rental software is cloud-based, intuitive, and affordable. The software solution you choose should make your job easier and more efficient.
Identify the Features You Want
Now make a list of the different features you want your vacation rental software to have. Use your needs and goals list to help make this list. Compare features and prices for each software company you are considering. Inquire about any additional costs there may be, including set-up fees, cancellation fees, and support charges. Hidden fees can add up quickly if you aren’t careful.
Some of the more essential features you may want include:
- Website builder
- Booking engine
- Reservation system
- Channel manager
- Social media integration
Request a Demo
Many vacation rental software companies do offer a free demo if you request one ahead of purchasing that software. The demo will show you the main features and how you can use them. It allows you to become more familiar with their particular software.
What Are the Deployment Options for Vacation Rental Software?
Typically, there are three different deployment options for vacation rental software. These deployment options include cloud or web-based, mobile, and installed. Cloud-based and mobile vacation rental software is good because it allows you to access the information you need whenever you need it.
Getting Vacation Rental Software Free
To find the best solution, make sure to jot down all your needs and search for alternatives that may provide you with vacation rental software free rather than paid.
IGMS is a top-rated vacation rental software that can help put your short-term rental business on auto-pilot, and it offers a free 14-day trial.
Tokeet gives you all the tools and resources you need to grow your business and offers features such as channel management, rental automation, and owner management. You can take advantage of this vacation rental software free with the trial.
With VRScheduler, you can stay on track. With our free 14-day trial, you have free one-on-one onboarding Zoom, one-on-one training Zoom, and free support. You can also receive two months free with an annual plan.
The Bottom Line
You should use vacation rental software to manage your rental property, and the software should include many useful features.
Guests who can schedule a reservation and receive timely communication will be more likely to become returning customers through these conveniences; all you had to do was invest in vacation rental software to make this happen!