The vacation rental industry is estimated to be worth about $193 billion by the time 2021 rolls around. With such big money involved, it’s only logical that there will be numerous parties with a vested interest in making the industry even more streamlined, efficient and profitable. Vacation rental software is one good example of these game-changing players.
With the right software, you can take what can be classified as a hobby (renting your second home out to vacationers) and transform it into a full-blown business bringing in real income.
What You Need to Know About Vacation Rental Software
Say, for example, you have one property listed on a vacation rental platform such as Airbnb. According to Airbnb, the income potential for a host on the platform is huge. There are people making well over $10,000 a month while there are some who make less than $200. It all depends on your location, how aggressively you market your property plus a host of other factors. However, the platform says that on average, more than 50% of all the hosts on Airbnb make about $500 a month.
$500 from a single property isn’t bad for what can qualify as passive income. Now imagine having more than just one listing on the website? Imagine having about ten properties listed across different websites? Imagine managing and making a living from all these properties? That’s something worth thinking about.
However, the issues associated with managing one property (booking, marketing, admin work, etc.) all multiply by the number of properties you own or manage. These issues become even more complicated if you use different channels (property listing platforms) and market the separate properties through different avenues. Do you see how time-consuming, mentally involving and even confusing this process would be?
Not if you have a vacation rental software that centralizes everything for you!
Who Should Use Vacation Rental Software?
Anyone who is serious about listing and renting out vacation properties online should consider using a vacation rental software of some sort. This is especially true if you own or manage more than one property that requires you to:
- Book guests when the property is available
- Market to a wide variety of potential guests through many different avenues
- Take inventory and manage the day to day administration work (know which property doesn’t have toiletries and such)
- Make sure every property is cleaned, secure and meets the highest possible expectation of your guests
- Carry out accounting work (get paid, pay taxes and associated fees)
These are all things you need to do for every single one of your properties and having a software that centralizes all these tasks and requirements is best and most efficient way of managing your vacation rental properties and quite frankly, staying sane through it all.
Essential Features of the Best Vacation Rental Software
There is a myriad of vacation rental software on the market today. Some of the best include:
Some are paid, others a free to use and all have various features that make them ideal tools for any budding vacation rentals business owner or manager. The idea behind vacation rental software is to make your life easier as a property manager. Here are some essential features of the best vacation rental software in the market:
- Website builder: Your website is an invaluable tool for your marketing efforts as a vacation rental property manager. It’s where your visitors will land to learn more about your properties, contact you directly and even read on what others are saying about their stays at your properties. The best vacation rental software should have this feature allowing you to build and customize a website for your business even without technical know-how.
- Booking engine: Being able to accept bookings and payments online is the backbone of your business. The right vacation rental software should be able to make this process as efficient and as effective as possible by availing as many different payment options as possible.
- Channel manager: If you own or manage many properties, it’s only logical that you would want to put those listings in front of as many potential guests as possible. You can do this by using a variety of channels from Airbnb to Booking.com. However, managing all these channels separately can be a real pain. The best vacation rental software should have a channel manager that allows you to have all these channels managed from one central location.
- Reservation system: You need to be able to see which properties are available, which ones are occupied and which ones aren’t getting any hits. A robust reservation system allows you to do all this and more.
Finally, the right vacation rental software should allow you to integrate it with other tools and apps that you are already using to run your business. Things like social media widgets and other aspects or tools you use to market your properties can help increase your income potential.
Advantages of Using Vacation Rental Software
If you find the right vacation rental software, you will benefit from a host of advantages that come with using a robust system that helps automate most of your administration work. Some of the most outstanding advantages of using vacation rental software include:
- It makes it easy to create a website for your properties
- Allows for easy bookings and online payments from different sources and through a myriad of payment methods
- Centralizes your admin work as you can organize and view all your properties from one central location
- Help you connect with other important apps such as Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms
- Provides you with useful statistics showing which properties are doing well, which ones aren’t performing so well and how much money you are making in comparison to how much you could be making
- It fosters trust in your potential guests, and they know that their transactions are monitored by an independent third party who processed their payments
Disadvantages of Using Vacation Rental Software
- Some cost a lot of money every month, thus eating into your profits
- The most robust demand for a huge learning curve and can be complicated to use
- Some have technical glitches that can be frustrating
It’s clear that using the right vacation rental software is for the best interest of your vacation rental business. Now all you have to do is find the right one.