One of the benefits of living in an instant-gratification world is having the internet readily available at your fingertips for any application. Have you ever had a conversation with friends where the conversation leads to haphazardly discussing how much it would cost to plan a vacation together?
In today’s world, one of you will get out your phone and search for rentals and prices. Because a property owner or rental company has invested in vacation rental software or property management system, you can scour their website and peruse through their various listings.
Having a rental website or application that allows guests to easily navigate prices, availability, and information will increase your property’s chances of being rented. Vacation rental software is the key to this success.
Using vacation rental software will allow you to keep track of communication, reservations, and payments, but you need to know how to optimize these areas within the software.
These are the top five mistakes to avoid when choosing vacation rental software to manage your rental property.
1. Mobile UN-Friendly Website
With so many guests who use a cell phone to search vacation rentals, you need a mobile-friendly website or application to make it easy for users to navigate, make a reservation, or request additional information.
Do not overlook this simple yet significant feature. Your website or application should not only look good on a mobile device, but there should be features that users can take advantage of, such as making a reservation, submitting a payment, or sending a message.
2. Not Enough Pictures or Lack of Details
You can describe your rental property in words all day long, but if there are no pictures to back up the descriptions, your rental property can easily be overlooked. Reserving a vacation rental is an important decision that most people will carefully consider. This means they will want to see every room within the property, even if you feel like it may be insignificant.
Let’s use the laundry room as an example. You may not feel like this room is as important to showcase as the master bedroom or game room, but a family with small children who may need to wash clothes frequently will want to examine this room.
Don’t skimp out on pictures of your property, even if you feel the room you show is insignificant. If you have an allotted number of pictures you can upload within your vacation rental software, max that baby out!
Guests who are renting a house, cabin, or condominium unit will also want to know the property’s layout so they can plan accordingly. With a layout provided in the pictures or description, this is one less question your guest will need to ask and one less question you will have to answer.
Additionally, try to list as much information about provisions that will be included within the rental property. For example, if there are toiletries, cleaning supplies, and cooking utensils located on the property, you should include these details.
Your guest will not only feel like they are renting an exceptional property, but they can also plan their itinerary around these little things. What may seem like a small contribution can pay big dividends to your guests.
Lastly, with the digital era we are in, you should let your guests know if Wi-Fi is offered at the property.
3. Unclear Information or Lack of Instructions
Checking into a rental unit will require instructions for your renter to follow. These instructions should remain the same for each guest. Take advantage of automatic email communication that you can schedule to send your guests.
Your vacation rental software should include some form of automatic mailings or automated messaging system. This system can be set up to send confirmation emails, arrival instructions, and departure guidelines.
As soon as a guest books a reservation, they should receive a confirmation email. This is the guest’s first impression of your establishment, so it has to be a good one. Clear communication should continue throughout the arrival and departure process, and automatic emails containing this information is how to guarantee that you remember each guest’s reservation.
4. No Option for Guests to Submit Reviews
Word of mouth is important for any business type, but it is especially important for a business that specializes in selling a quality place to lay your head at night. Guests who have the option to read current reviews that reflect previous guest satisfaction have a higher probability of selecting your property to rent than a property with no reviews available.
If you have nothing to hide, you hide nothing, right? Allow and encourage your guests to submit reviews after their stay, and keep this feature highlighted on your website or mobile application.
A vacation rental mobile app allows your guests to leave their comments and suggestions on their guest experience so you can find ways to improve. A mobile app makes this process easier. When choosing a mobile app, consider the quality of the content and the ease of use.
5. No Modification of Pricing
While you can establish a nightly base rate when renting your property, you will not want to use this standard year-round. This is where you will want to utilize a pricing service within your vacation rental software.
Using a pricing service for your rental property will automatically consider the time of year, day of the week, and upcoming holidays when setting the nightly rental rate. When a guest chooses to view rates and availability for a specific period of time, the rate for their chosen time will be applied to their estimated total.
This feature allows guests to compare prices during different days of the week or months of the year and allows you to yield the biggest return when renting your property.
This is also known as dynamic pricing. It is referred to as surge pricing, demand pricing, or time-based pricing. Dynamic pricing is a pricing strategy a business uses to set flexible prices based on current market demands. So, your prices will be lower during off-peak times and slightly higher during peak times.
Choosing Your Vacation Rental Software
Now that you are aware of a handful of mistakes to avoid when choosing vacation rental software let’s look at a few tips on choosing the best for your needs.
Step One: Compare Prices
While this isn’t the most important thing to consider when choosing vacation rental software, it is still a consideration that should take priority. If you have a budget in mind already, then great!
You know what you want to pay, which means you have probably already narrowed down your choices. When considering your budget and comparing costs, be sure to consider ALL the costs associated with the software solution you are considering.
Many vacation rental software solutions charge monthly or yearly fees depending on the subscription type you choose. Other added costs are lumped in there, including subscription or set-up charges, booking commission, software update fees, and support service charges.
Step Two: Compare Features
Now you will look at the features you want to have. Make sure the software solution you choose has all the functionality you want and that your business demands. The software should make your job easier, not harder. Keep this in mind.
Some of the more notable features to consider include:
- Website builder
- Online booking system and payment processing
- Reservation system
- Channel management
- Accounting software
- Direct bookings
- Automated messaging
Step Three: Compare Other Benefits
Now it is time to compare the vacation rental software you are considering to other benefits that are offered. Every software solution is different, so try to find one that offers additional advantages over the next.
Is there a free trial? You can sometimes try out vacation rental software free for a specific amount of time with a free trial. This is one of the more basic extras that is typically provided, so you can try out the software for 14 days and decide if it would be a good fit for your vacation rental business.
Trying out the vacation rental software free for 14 days also allows you to try out different functions and features to decide if it is something you truly need.
Is it easy to use? You want your vacation rental software solution to be easy to use as well. Can you make all the changes you want easily without spending hours learning how the software works?
Is there any flexibility? Finally, the rental management software you choose for your vacation rental business should offer you a fair amount of flexibility. Hence, as your business grows and changes, your website and software can adapt accordingly.
Other Tips to Keep In Mind
When launching your online vacation rental company, it can be quite challenging to manage multiple properties at once without the right rental management software on your side. However, that is only the tip of the iceberg, so to speak.
Here are a few more tips to keep in mind as you grow your vacation rental business:
Diversify Your Marketing Reach
You can make a big mistake by not employing a continuous marketing strategy and focusing on only one platform or booking engine. Diversify your approach instead to get your booking out to more people. The more people you reach, the more likely you can fill your booking calendar.
To do this, start with a rental booking engine like Airbnb and Vrbo. For more exposure, use multiple booking sites. To attract attention, be sure to use high-quality photos and include all information on whatever vacation rental channel you choose.
The guest experience and reviews will help determine if there will be repeat rentals for your short term rental. Did you know that it costs more to reach new renters than it does to find repeat renters?
Establish a strong sense of value and make a good first impression to improve their overall guest experience. If they are satisfied, they are more likely to seek out your vacation rental again in the future.
Guest communication is also an important factor for a rental property owner to consider along the way.
Hire a Vacation Rental Property Manager
Besides having the right vacation rental management software, it also never hurts to have a property manager on your side to help you manage multiple properties. A full-service property manager can effectively maximize revenue and reduce your workload as the vacation rental owner.
Vacation rental property managers can also keep up with important guest communication, learn how to use the vacation rental management system, avoid any double booking, and help maintain the vacation rental website and mobile app.
Vacation rental software is only as good as you allow it to be. You can use vacation rental software yet make costly mistakes for your renting your property. Avoid these common mistakes when choosing vacation rental software. Knowing how to maximize even the smallest of contributions in your vacation rental software has the potential to yield big rewards in the vacation rental industry.