Airbnb alone has over 6 million listings worldwide. Millions of people are making good money every month by hosting guests at their personal homes or in their bed and breakfast facilities through platforms just like Airbnb. Some of these people even have more than just one listing across several channels. Vacation rental business has arrived, and it’s here to stay.
Why You Need Vacation Rental Software
While it’s true that vacation rental facilities aren’t new to the hospitality business, thanks to technology and connectivity via the internet, millions of people who otherwise wouldn’t have ventured into the field are not legitimate business owners. These are people who have been thrust into a world of scheduling, guest management, property management and a whole lot of payment issues to deal with from across the globe. It’s okay for these people to feel overwhelmed by it all.
Big hotels have been doing it for years, and even the best of them still have the occasional guest management mishap from time to time. Whether it’s overbooking, dealing with cancellations or just completely misplacing a client’s booking, every system has its glitches.
With the help of robust vacation rental software, however, these glitches are minimized. Imagine have a system that helps you manage all your properties from a central location; a central dashboard, if you will. Wouldn’t that make things so much easier?
With the right vacation software, you can:
- See how many people are booked in any of your properties at any given time
- See which properties are due for a cleaning or what kind of repairs are needed
- You can receive and process customer payments from a plethora of payment options
- You can manage customer complaints and reviews
- You can manage the marketing of your properties all from this central location
Basically, the right vacation rental software gives you a clear bird’s eye view of all your properties; however, many they are and streamlines the admin work that goes with managing numerous listings across various platforms.
What are Features of the Best Vacation Rental Software?
There is a myriad of vacation rental software options in the market today, all of which have their own different set of features. All these features are geared towards helping you manage your vacation rental properties better and more seamlessly. Some features are deemed necessary; others are superfluous while there are a few that aren’t quite so necessary. Either way, when you choose a vacation rental software, it’s often best to know what kind of features are on offer and how they can help make your property management better.
Here are some of the common vacation rental features and definitions:
1. The Availability Calendar
As the name suggests, the Availability Calendar tells both your guests are you when a property is available for rent; vacant, if you will. A good vacation rental software should allow you to access this calendar both easily and securely to ensure that you are not missing out on income because guests don’t think that you have a vacancy on the dates they plan to book with you.
2. The Channel Manager
There is a very good chance that most of your guests are going to come to you via various online marketing avenues that you have set up. These avenues often include placing your properties on listing sites such as Airbnb and Booking.com among many others.
The Channel Manager allows you to manage all your properties that have been advertised on all of these platforms. This manager allows you to have a centralized view of where your properties are listed and manage the pricing on those various platforms.
It automatically updates your website and any other online travel agents you have marketing your listings whenever a guest books any one of your properties. It then makes those dates unavailable through the Availability Calendar.
3. The Reservation System
Your guests are going to need confirmation for their bookings and preferably talk to the host about their stay before they get there. A robust reservation system allows you to do all this including:
- Issue booking receipts and confirmations
- Correspond with the guest via email
- View your Availability Calendar
- Make secure SSL-protected payments for their bookings
- Offer auto responders when necessary
- Enable cancellations when necessary
4. Website Builder Software
The whole idea here is to help you market and manage your vacation rental properties more efficiently. The best vacation rental software offers you the option to build a website for your properties through their “Website Builder Software.” This allows you to better present or package your properties in a much more professional and attractive manner.
With the right analytics tool, you can easily assess how well or poorly your rentals are doing over a certain period of time. The most effective vacation rental software offers you that data and even helps you interpret in a way that makes sense. You can use the information provided by these reports to make changes based on the cold hard facts as portrayed by the numbers. You can identify which properties aren’t doing as well and try to see what you can do to improve them.
6. The Task Manager
Just as is the case in your own home, there are going to be tasks that need to be managed on a regular basis. Things like:
- General cleaning of the properties
- Periodic inspection of fire and safety equipment
- Garden or yard maintenance
- Electrical bill payments
These are all things that need to be done, and when you manage many properties, some can very easily fall through the cracks. Whenever your visitor’s check-out, you need to assign maids and cleaning crews the duty of making sure that the property is ready for the next guest.
The Task Manager allows you to quickly assign these duties and keep track of which are completed, and which ones need checking on.
There are also other features, such as:
- “Automation Tools” that allow you to give the software permission to automate most of your property management duties from bookings to cancellations and payments.
- “Mobile Management App” that allows you to take the software with you on the road.
Others have features that allow you to customize the software itself. It’s all about making your life easier and more efficient when it comes to vacation rental software. Finding the right one is key to you achieving this and increasing your profit margins.