Succeeding in the vacation rental industry is not easy. With exceeded projections in the revenue that go over $29 billion in 2019, this is surely a promising market to dip into. However, competition is fierce. More importantly, your success in it depends greatly on how satisfied your customers are.
One of the key factors in your business’ success and customers’ satisfaction is management. How you manage your vacation rental can determine whether your business will remain strong, grow, or disappear behind its competition.
To simplify obligations and minimize mistakes, rental businesses can do one of two things – hire a third-party company for the management or use property management software. The first can be very costly, especially for small businesses. Thankfully, some great software options can help you streamline your operations and run a more efficient business.
What is Vacation Rental Software?
Vacation rental software is basically a property management system. You can use this system to centralize operational tasks, reservations, and contacts with potential or current guests. Rather than logging into various sites like Booking or Airbnb, you can use a single system to handle everything.
Any decent vacation rental software will include the following features:
· Calendar where you can see, change and integrate reservations from different channels
· CRM or Customer Relationship Management that allows you to manage reservations, as well as change prices, dates, and details
· Channel manager that allows you to synchronize the availability, rates, as well as the content published on listing sites
· Booking software with the option to enter reservations you received offline, such as the ones from guests who come directly to your property, call you on the phone or write an email
Knowing all this, you surely want to explore the options and pick the best software for your business. Thankfully, we’ve narrowed down the big list of options to 5 top-rated software choices for 2021.
Lodgify is currently one of the most popular property management systems available in the industry. Headquartered in Spain, the company has created a user-friendly, feature-rich system for vacation rentals to use.
The software has a multi-calendar that can work for more than one unit and allows for manual reservation input. On top of that, Lodgify has a renowned customer service team, as well as a robust library of blogs and resources.
The most unique feature it offers is its website builder. If you don’t already have a site for your rental or wish to change it, this tool has several well-designed templates with an integrated booking engine that make the process extremely simple. On your website, you can use the builder to drag and drop various things including widgets, videos, custom code, maps, and insert text.
Lodgify has a very popular PMS and numerous guest management features. Their PMS allows users to control automations and assign tasks. The channel manager integrates via two-way API with the top channels in the industry, allowing users to update all important information on both sides.
The system can integrate with the most popular online travel agencies in the industry, such as Airbnb, Vrbo / HomeAway, Booking.com, and Expedia. It connects to them via API connection. Thanks to this system, users can completely eliminate the occurrence of overbookings.
If you use other channels, you can synchronize reservations and availability by using an iCal connection. This allows Lodgify users to spread their reach and control over almost every known channel, which certainly makes this brand deserving of the top spot on our list. Thanks to this feature, you can connect with other channels like TripAdvisor.
In addition to its integration with OTAs , the system also connects you with Google Analytics, Mailchimp, Outswitch, PriceLabs, Stripe, Zapier, and many more.
For starters, you can get a 7-day free trial to test the waters with this system. Once you learn how it works and can witness its perks, you’ll be asked to pay an annual subscription based on the number of properties you have.
The pricing begins at only $11 per month for two-years plans. For owners or managers of several dozen properties, this is an ideal tool, too. You have to contact support if you have over 100 different properties to manage, but thanks to the simplified, yet highly versatile system, this is made possible for many customers around the globe.
Unlike many similar software products, Lodgify offers generous discounts for its most loyal buyers. If you purchase a two-year plan, you get up to 35% off the quote. For those who want to use this tool for one year, there’s still a whopping discount – up to 30% of the original price. The annual and two-year plans also come with a free domain.
If you ever change your mind and wish to upgrade, change your plan, or even unsubscribe, this company allows for simple, instant changes.
Hostfully is a rental management software that operates since 2018. The founders and employees of this tool are spread across the US, Canada, Poland, France, Argentina, and Vietnam. In 2018, the already existing brand acquired Orbirental, therefore expanding its features and offerings.
Today, Hostfully offers features such as their multi-calendar, booking engine, automated messaging, as well as channel management for different booking websites. Some of its unique features include:
· Filter by property type or location
· Place a hold on a property
· Set triggers for events for your guests
· Give case-by-case discounts
· Use smart messaging templates
Hostfully has a wide zone for integrations. It can integrate pricing and reservations, as well as prices with sites like Booking, Airbnb, Tripadvisor, Vrbo, myBookingPal, and Rentals United. To be more, it allows users to connect to various home automation solutions, dynamic tools for pricing, cleaning management systems, etc.
There are three plans in total that you get access to:
· $79 per month for up to 4 properties
· $189 per month for up to 19 properties
· $375+ per month for up to 20 properties (depends on the number of listings you have)
Keep in mind that, if you sign an annual contract with the company, you get a small discount. Even without it, most customers opt for at least an annual plan because of the excessive ‘’implementation fee’’ paid with your first monthly purchase. Hostfully charges a one-time $400 implementation fee unless you pay for the whole year upfront.
Beds24 is a popular, all-in-one management solution for vacation rentals. It offers standard functionality such as channel manager and multi-calendar, as well as some unique features. This is a cost-effective, flexible choice used for properties of different sizes.
If you subscribe to use this tool, you can expect all of the standard features such as an easy-to-use channel manager and a multi-calendar. In addition to this, the site has a booking engine that allows you to take full control of all operations related to your vacation rental.
Support is not as available as with the other options mentioned in this list and it isn’t very highly rated. Even so, Beds24 allows for a lot of customization. You can use it to add restrictions, rules related to pricing, fees, policies, etc. This minimizes the need to speak to a support representative (but does not eliminate it).
Right now, Beds24 can be integrated into Airbnb, Tripadvisor, Agoda, Booking, Vrbo, and Expedia. It also has an iCal import and export and integrates with various products like Mailchimp, PayPal, and Stripe.
You can use Beds24 for 14 days during their free trial and then subscribe for monthly use. This is a very cheap software choice with options that begin at only $10 per month for a single property. If you have more units and properties and want to link to more channels, this will cost you about $1 for each addition.
Despite being considerably cheaper than many, Beds24 charges an extra fee for almost everything that usually comes free with other software. If you want to make use of all of their features, or at least most of them, you’ll have to pay a much higher price once you calculate all the extra fees. For example, you have small fees for a channel manager, every single link you add, extra log-ins, and more. With most of the remaining tools, these are included in the monthly or yearly plans.
iGMS is now one of the oldest software products for vacation rentals. It supports over 100,000 different listings and boasts a versatile property management system. Some of its features are a bit outdated, but the company keeps up with the trends by adding new options and designs for its customers.
The company’s old name was AirGMS. Since the beginning, this brand has expanded its options and introduced many new features for users.
iGMS has common features such as a multi-calendar and booking management system. But, it also has some more unique, simple-to-use features like:
· automated messaging
· direct connection configuration
· calling management
iGMS has limited options in terms of software integration with third-party sites. You can use this tool to integrate rates, reservations, and availability with two sites: Vrbo and Airbnb. It can also be integrated with other tools like Keycafe and Stripe, but that’s all.
Once the 14-day free trial passes, the company will offer you a choice between two plans. The first is a fixed cost plan based on bookings, where you are asked to pay around $1 per booking. The latter is a monthly or a yearly subscription where you don’t have fees for bookings. The professional plan costs $100 per month for up to 5 properties or $360 per month for up to 20 listings with an annual subscription.
OwnerRez or Owner Reservations is a company that is ”built by owners, for owners”. They are highly transparent and provide simple, yet slightly limited solutions. This tool has a clear and user-friendly interface and a popular support service.
Despite being a bit more limited than the remaining tools in this list, Owner Rez has a decent selection of features. They have a guest database, multi-calendar, and automated message responders and templates. On top of this, the company offers damage protection and various travel insurance products. Still, their integration options are fairly limited.
OwnerRez offers integrations with:
· Pricing software like PriceLabs and PerfectPrice
· Keyless entry systems like RemoteLock
· Channels like Airbnb and Booking
· Guest communication tools like Wishbox
Once the 14-day free trial passes, OwnerRez will charge you a monthly fee based on add-ons and the number of listings. Without using add-ons, you’ll be asked to pay a monthly fee between $28.99 and $131.99. Paid add-ons include channel management, QuickBooks integration, and website hosting.
Opt for a Vacation Software As Soon As Possible!
If you have managed your business on your own or are just starting, you might wonder – how can such tools help you?
The answer is – this can be life-changing for you as a manager or owner! Just think about the many things that you need to do in a short time. You need to handle several accounts, respond to questions and inquiries, handle the maintenance of the property, keep track of all reservations, oversee housekeeping, manage the employees, and more. This list is never-ending!