Property Managers’ Guide to Vacation Rental Software

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Property Managers Guide to Vacation Rental Software

If you are a vacation property owner or a property manager, then vacation rental accounting software is always going to be beneficial to have, especially when it comes to increasing vacation rental revenue. It allows you to easily manage a number of things for any vacation rental business, including managing leads, collecting feedback, and finding ways to increase your revenue.

What Is Vacation Rental Software?

If you are looking for a way to streamline your business processes and vacation rental management operations, then vacation rental software is definitely something to consider to do just that. With this kind of software, you can drive more bookings and allow your rental business to run much more smoothly.

Vacation rental software simply centralizes your reservations and operational tasks for all of your vacation rentals. Instead of managing everything separately, it lets you do everything in just one easy to manage and access spot.

Vacation Rental Software Features

When it comes to vacation rental property management, the devil is in the details — and there are a million details to attend to. Keeping track of bookings, housekeeping, guest communications, marketing, owner statements, and more for multiple properties can get complicated quickly. Luckily, many of these details can be automated to both save time and reduce errors. Here are some of the main functions that vacation rental software can offer.

Accounting

The accounting feature of vacation rental software helps keep track of financial flow, including income and expenses, and generate financial reports. This is essential for understanding the financial status of your business as well as tax compliance. Trust accounting refers to managing funds collected for someone else, such as owner clients, and may be included in software with more advanced capabilities.

Calendar

The calendar feature helps sync various calendars from websites, marketing channels, or other sources to keep track of bookings and vacancies, and events such as maintenance or cleanings. Maintaining a single calendar helps avoid double booking or other errors.

Channel Management

The channel manager offers a way to distribute listings on several different channels, including online travel agencies (OTAs) such as Airbnb, Vrbo, Booking.com, etc., and manage them from one place. This keeps information consistent across all channels and simplifies management.

Dynamic Pricing

Dynamic pricing uses technology to automatically adjust rates based on supply and demand to maximize occupancy and revenue.

Housekeeping Management

Housekeeping management helps organize cleaning tasks, including scheduling, managing staff, and quality assurance. While some vacation rental software programs include their own housekeeping modules, most integrate with specialty software such as VRScheduler for more comprehensive operational management.

ical Calendar Export Links

iCal calendar export links allow syncing of calendar information from various sources— such as various listing websites — by sending information using the iCal computer file format. This allows managers to view all the calendar information on one interface. Some vacation rental software allows managers to sync with other calendar sources via API (Application Programming Interface, which allows programs to talk to each other). In this case, syncing via individual iCal links may not be possible or necessary.

Insurance Services

Insurance services allow managers to obtain property insurance and/or offer guests travel insurance and low-cost insurance waivers as an alternative to refundable security deposits.

Maintenance Work Order

The maintenance work order functionality can help manage work orders for staff or vendors’ maintenance tasks, including scheduling, communication, and progress tracking.

Owner statement functionality helps generate financial statements for the owners whose properties you manage, including revenues, expenses, and more.

Reservation Management

Reservation management is an essential function of vacation rental property management software, helping handle all the tasks related to reservations, from inquiries to bookings, deposits, payments, guest communications, and more. Various software programs offer different levels of reservation features and support.

Website Building

A website builder enables you to create your own website to facilitate direct bookings. Programs offer various levels of support, from templates that you can use to build a site yourself to complete customization.

Payment Collection

Some software can automate payment collection using invoices. It can even refund payments if needed. The way you collect guest payments is incredibly important. You also want to have a way to share all your payment terms with guests as well.

Many vacation rentals will take prepayments before arriving, so you want to have the right billing method in place. When finding the right vacation rental software, see if payments are processed in the booking engine, guest login, or the reservation section.

Guest Communication

We have already touched upon guest communication above, but it is a topic of increasing importance, especially when it comes to holiday rentals. For better guest communication, your software should offer a unified inbox and messaging apps.

Website and Booking Engine

If direct bookings are important to you as a vacation rental owner, you want to look into how your website and bookings are together. Are you able to control your website’s meta titles and tags? How does the map search in the booking engine work? How is the guest experience on the mobile app? Figure out what percentage of your bookings you want to be online direct bookings, and then spend some time checking out the points we have just mentioned.

Vacation Rental Software Programs

This guide offers a look at the different vacation rental software options that managers have to choose from to make their jobs easier and more efficient.

VRScheduler

VRScheduler integrates with all of these programs via API connections to complement their features with seamless scheduling. While these programs are grouped here by target property management sizes, many of them can be useful for property managers of all sizes.

Great for property managers with 5 to 50+ properties.

BookingSync

BookingSync
BookingSync touts its simple, single management platform and extensible ecosystem that can be customized with third-party apps. BookingSync Pro is designed for managers with more than 20 properties, while smaller managers can use another BookingSync product called Smily. BookingSync received 4.6 out of 5 stars on Capterra with 49 reviews.

Positive comments include, “The biggest winner is the ability to customize our own website as we see fit.” Still, some reviewers have issues with customer service: “Their support is very slow to respond, and it sometimes takes days! to resolve issues.” BookingSync Pro starts at $338 per month. They do not currently offer a free version, and they do not offer any kind of free trial. Setup fees start at 690 EUR for a monthly subscription and are billed per property.

 Features:

  • Calendar
  • Channel management
  • iCal Calendar export links
  • Owner statements
  • Reservation management
  • Website building

Checkfront

Checkfront
Checkfront is a booking platform that can be used by many different types of businesses, including short-term rentals. The company touts customization as well as upselling/cross-selling features. It has a Capterra rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars with 252 reviews. Reviewers call Checkfront “extremely versatile” but also say that the “mobile app is not as user friendly as we would like.” Checkfront’s fees, based on volume, support, and number of accounts, start at $49 per month. They do currently offer a free trial if you are interested.

Features:

  • Calendar
  • Dynamic pricing
  • iCal Calendar export links
  • Owner statements
  • Reservation management

Guesty

Guesty
Guesty presents its vacation rental software as an “end-to-end solution” for simplifying complex operations, using integrations with online travel agencies as well as third-party solutions. Guesty has a Capterra rating of 4.6 stars out of 5 with 140 reviews.

Guesty is also featured in the Top 20 Hospitality Property Management Software (2020) and the Top 20 Vacation Rental Software for 2020 based on user reviews.

Reviewers call it a “powerful resource” for vacation rental management companies and appreciate the multi-calendar function but wish that it were “possible to set up automated message without customer support.” Guesty raised $35 million in Series C funding in spring 2019. Pricing starts at 3% per booking, plus onboarding costs. You can also request a free demo of this vacation rental software.

Features:

  • Calendar
  • Channel management
  • Dynamic pricing
  • Housekeeping management
  • Maintenance work orders
  • Owner statements
  • Reservation management

HostAway 

Hostaway
Hostaway focuses on helping short-term rental property managers boost income and growth with an “all-in-one” solution. It has a Capterra rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars with 76 reviews. Reviewers call it “easy to use and very straightforward” with “exceptional” customer service, but flag “kinks in the system still as they are a younger company.” Hostaway received $1.9 million in seed funding in late 2018. Contact for a price quote. They do not currently offer a free trial.

Features:

  • Calendar
  • Channel management
  • Dynamic pricing
  • Housekeeping management
  • iCal Calendar export links
  • Maintenance work orders
  • Owner statements
  • Reservation management
  • Website building

Hostfully

Hostfully
Hostfully was named the Best All-Around Vacation Rental Software in the 2019 VRMB Keystone Awards. The company highlights its unique user interface and emphasizes that it can help short-term rental owners manage and scale their business. Uniquely among vacation rental software, Hostfully offers a platform for creating high-quality customized and branded local guidebooks.

Hostfully has a Capterra rating of 4.3 out of 5 stars with 49 reviews. Reviews call it “extremely intuitive” but say that a mobile app “would be nice.” Hostfully landed $1 million in seed funding in May of 2019. Plans start at $59 per month plus a one-time $400 setup fee. They do offer a free demo if you are interested in trying the software before making a purchase.

Features:

  • Calendar
  • Channel management
  • iCal Calendar export links
  • Owner statement
  • Reservation management
  • Website building

Kigo

Kigo
Kigo, recommended for property managers with 20 to 99 properties, emphasizes its ability to help vacation rental property managers worldwide automate vacation rental management. Kigo has a Capterra rating of 3.8 stars out of 5 with 141 reviews.

Reviewers call it an “essential tool for short term rental management” but say that the “system can be a bit confusing at times as there are so many functions.” Prices are based on tiers and performance models; $1,000 setup. The starting price is said to be $109.00 a month. There is no free version available, but Kigo does offer a free trial.

Features:

  • Calendar
  • Channel management
  • Dynamic pricing
  • Housekeeping management
  • iCal Calendar export links
  • Insurance services
  • Maintenance work orders
  • Owner statements
  • Reservation management
  • Website building

Lodgify

Lodgify
Lodgify highlights its optimized multi-property website builder and “sophisticated solution” that allows property data to be synced with external booking channels. Lodgify received a Capterra rating of 4.3 stars out of 5 with 304 reviews.

Positive comments include, “Easy to integrate into our daily business processes and runs our business.” At the same time, some reviewers said time differences slowed down customer service: “Would love to have some Customer Support on USA time zones so that responses were quicker.” The company secured $5 million in Series A funding in summer 2018. Starts at $11 per month. They do offer a free trial but do not have a free version of the software available.

They were featured in the Top 20 Hospitality Property Management Software list for 2020 and the Top 20 Vacation Rental Software list of 2020.

Features:

  • Calendar
  • Channel management
  • iCal Calendar export links
  • Owner statement
  • Reservation management
  • Website building

MyVR

MyVR
MyVR spotlights its single, centralized dashboard and ability to automatically sync data across more than 70 premium listing sites. MyVR received a Capterra rating of 4.9 out of 5 stars with 41 reviews. Reviewers say that its “capability to sync across multiple booking platforms is a huge benefit,” but lamented its “limited accounting and housekeeping functionality.” MyVR was named an Airbnb Preferred Software Partner for 2019. Contact them directly for the starting price and set up fees.

Features:

  • Calendar
  • Channel management
  • Housekeeping management
  • iCal Calendar export links
  • Maintenance work orders
  • Owner statements
  • Reservation management
  • Website building

OwnerRez

OwnerRez
OwnerRez focuses on booking and reservations management and business reporting, catering to managers who handle from one property to hundreds. On Capterra, it received 5 out of 5 stars with 75 reviews. Reviewers praise the company’s service and support, saying that it “truly sets the bar for others,” but some say that the array of options can sometimes be overwhelming.

Priced according to a number of properties, starting at $35 per month. This is per property, and the starting price includes two properties. A free trial is available.

OwnerRez has won Best Ease of Use in Vacation Rental Software in 2020, Best Value Vacation Rental Software 2020, and Top 20 Vacation Rental Software 2020.

Features:

  • iCal Calendar export links
  • Insurance services
  • Owner statements
  • Reservation management

VacationRentalDesk

VacationRentalDesk
VacationRentalDesk caters to short-term rental property managers and do-it-yourself owners and says it focuses on keeping its products intuitive to use. It also offers the ability to generate keyless entry door lock codes. All of its operations and personnel are located in the United States. VacationRentalDesk received 5 out of 5 stars on Capterra with two reviews. One reviewer called it “Easy use for all levels.” Starts at $10 per month per rental. Yes, there is a free trial available.

Features:

  • Calendar
  • iCal Calendar export links
  • Insurance services
  • Owner statements
  • Reservation management
  • Website building

WebRezPro

WebRezPro
WebRezPro assists managers of various types of hospitality properties but offers special features for vacation rental managers, such as owner statements and partner integrations for features it does not offer. On Capterra, it received 4.7 out of 5 stars with 135 reviews.

Reviewers called it easy to use: “The system is really intuitive, new users can jump right in,” while another reviewer called its interface with POS systems “lacking.” Contact them directly for starting price and fee information.

WebRezPro was featured in Top 20 Hospitality Management Software 2020 and Top 20 Vacation Rental Software 2020.

Features:

  • Accounting
  • Calendar
  • Dynamic pricing
  • Housekeeping management
  • iCal Calendar export links
  • Maintenance work orders
  • Owner statements
  • Reservation management

Built for boutique hotels but also serve vacation rental property managers

Beds24.com

Beds24.com
Beds24.com is a channel manager, property management, and booking software that works for various hospitality property managers. The company emphasizes its customization and multi-language capabilities. It was named a 2019 Airbnb Preferred Software Partner and received 4.8 out of 5 stars on Capterra with 49 reviews.

Positive comments include “Beds24 can meet all of our specialized requirements. Their Support Team answers our questions quickly providing excellent solutions and is receptive to new feature development,” while negative comments included, “It is quite complex – but that is due to how many options there are for any function.” Starts at €9.90 ($11) per month, plus payment provider fees. It is a pay as you go option with no contract, minimum term, and no setup fees.

They have also been featured in the lists of Top 20 Hospitality Property Management Software 2020 and Top 20 Vacation Rental Software 2020.

Features:

  • Calendar
  • Channel management
  • Dynamic pricing
  • Housekeeping management
  • iCal Calendar export links
  • Maintenance work orders
  • Reservation management

Cloudbeds

Cloudbeds
Cloudbeds is a hospitality management suite with a module specifically for vacation rental property managers. The company raised $82 million in funding at the start of 2020, and it was recognized with 6 awards at the HotelTechAwards 2021. On Capterra, it received 4.5 stars out of 5 with 180 reviews.

Reviewers liked that the software is constantly improving: “Multiple times we contacted customer service about an issue and a week or two later there was an update adding said feature to make it easier!!” However, some reviewers decried the lack of a mobile app for the software, calling the website “not mobile-friendly.” Contact for a pricing quote.

Features:

  • Calendar
  • Channel management
  • Dynamic pricing
  • Housekeeping management
  • iCal Calendar export links
  • Maintenance work orders
  • Reservation management
  • Booking Engine
  • Payment Processing
  • Website Builder

ReservationKey

ReservationKey
ReservationKey emphasizes its affordability and simplicity. It received 4.9 out of 5 stars on Capterra with 92 reviews. Positive reviews said, “There are just enough bells and whistles to get the job done but not so much as to make it too complicated,” while some reviewers would like to see the development of a mobile app. Flat-fee, no-contract, pay-as-you-go pricing starts at $29 per month.

They were featured in Best Ease of Use Vacation Rental Software 2020, Best Value Vacation Rental Software 2020, Top 20 Hospitality Property Management Software 2020, and Top 20 Reservations Software 2020.

Features:

  • Calendar
  • Channel management
  • iCal Calendar export links
  • Owner statement
  • Reservation management

For professional vacation rental property managers with 50 to 500+ units

365villas

365villas
365villas is a property management software system for vacation rental property managers of all sizes. It emphasizes flexibility to allow managers to choose only the capabilities they need. Add-ons include features such as trust accounting, dynamic pricing, and multiple currencies/languages.

It received a Capterra rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars with 130 reviews. Positive reviews call it easy to use with “fantastic” customer service, while negative reviews call it “cumbersome and time-consuming to build. It also has a fairly steep learning curve for those not so computer literate.” Starts at $69 per month. There are no transaction fees, no startup fees, and no training or other hidden fees.

Features:

  • Accounting
  • Calendar
  • Channel management
  • Dynamic pricing
  • Housekeeping management
  • iCal Calendar export links
  • Maintenance work orders
  • Owner statements
  • Reservation management
  • Website building

Escapia Vacation Rental Property Management Software by HomeAway

Escapia Vacation Rental Property Management Software by HomeAway
Escapia is built for professional property managers and highlights its trust accounting, owner statements, reservation grid, and distribution features. Escapia was founded more than 25 years ago but has been a part of Expedia since 2017. It has a Capterra rating of 4.4 stars out of 5 with 97 reviews, with positive comments such as “seamless integration with VRBO/HomeAway” and ‘”full-service solution.” Negative comments include “doesn’t work with Airbnb” and “cost is steep.” Contact for a price quote.

They were featured on the Top 20 Vacation Rental Software 2020.

Features:

  • Accounting
  • Calendar
  • Channel management
  • Dynamic pricing
  • Housekeeping management
  • Maintenance work order
  • Owner statement
  • Reservation management

LiveRez

LiveRez
LiveRez highlights its all-in-one capabilities, intuitive interface, and customer support. It received 4.7 out of 5 stars on Capterra with 78 reviews. Positive reviews include, “Not only do I love the comprehensive system that is LiveRez. I love that they are always adding more features and improving the system.” At the same time, one reviewer was disappointed with the API connection to Airbnb: “I figured it would be robust. I was sadly mistaken.” LiveRez operates on a pay-for-performance pricing model; contact for a quote.

Features:

  • Accounting
  • Calendar
  • Channel management
  • Dynamic pricing
  • Housekeeping management
  • iCal Calendar export links
  • Maintenance work orders
  • Owner statements
  • Reservation management
  • Website building

RNS

RNS
RNS has produced vacation rental management software since 1988 and caters to property managers of all sizes with a full suite of automation features. It received 5 out of 5 stars with three reviews on Capterra. One reviewer said that RNS has “streamlined our entire booking process, saving hours of time and work, and we can provide better customer service than ever because of it!” while another reviewer said they have had “some issues with delays.” Contact for a price quote.

Features:

  • Accounting
  • Calendar
  • Channel management
  • Dynamic pricing
  • Housekeeping management
  • Insurance services
  • Maintenance work orders
  • Owner statements
  • Reservation management

Streamline

Streamline
Streamline is built for professional vacation rental property managers. The software offers a full suite of features focused on simplifying the management process for large numbers of properties, including extras such as keyless entry door code generation. It received a Capterra rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars with 65 reviews.

Positive comments said it “comes with a lot of functionality and extras for a price well below the competitor.” Still, one negative comment said Streamline offers some useful reports but that “it is quite difficult to get information out of the system to analyze/summarize for the management or operational reporting.”

Featured in Best Value Vacation Rental Software 2020, Top 20 Real Estate Property Management Software 2020, and Top 20 Rental Property Management Software 2020.

Features:

  • Accounting
  • Calendar
  • Channel management
  • Dynamic pricing
  • Housekeeping management
  • iCal Calendar export links
  • Maintenance work orders
  • Owner statements
  • Reservation management
  • Website building

About VRScheduler

VRScheduler vacation rental software helps property managers organize tasks and coordinate employees. Our software gathers all tasks, employees, issues, and property workflow from multiple inputs into one central calendar. It automates task assignments and enables efficient communication with staff to save precious time for property managers.

VRScheduler also easily integrates with other short-term rental software via an open API. This type of integration allows property managers to mix and match different types of short-term rental software for the exact features they need — because one size does not always fit all.