4 tips for choosing a vacation rentals software
Written by Kelly Odor
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Confused by the choice of vacation rental softwares available? Don't be! Check out tips from Robin Morris, director of Bookster.
Starting any new vacation rentals business can be a scary time and using the right tools right is critical.
So we asked Robin Morris, director of Bookster for his advice on choosing a property management software for vacation rentals.
"As a small to medium size business, you should certainly be looking at cloud based Software as a Service (SaaS) tools first.
Here is my advice on how you might go about selecting the best services for you.
Basic Principles choosing a vacation rentals software
1. Decide on your priorities
All software is a reflection of the priorities (and capabilities) of the team behind it - they constantly make decisions about which problems to tackle… and which ones to push down the road for another day.
It's important to understand that any platform will likely have some functionality missing that you consider important.
The ability to accept a different work-flow and to adapt your vacation rental business processes with software is key to making it work for you.
Consider what the really important things are for your vacation rentals. Write them down, and order them in importance.
Here's some Property Management System (PMS) features that may be important.
- Take payments
- Telephone support in my time zone
- Self sign-up
- iCal syncing (import and export)
- Integrate with a particular OTA/Channel (e.g. Booking.com)
- Owner Statements
- Unlimited and secure team member, owner, cleaner logins
- Onboarding and training support by a real person
- Multi-unit support (e.g apartment block with identical apartments)
- Specific pricing tools (e.g. “if you bring a dog, your kids go free”)
- Damage deposit management
- Yield management
- and more...
2. Try before you buy
Once you have narrowed your search down to two or three software services, set some time to create a property within those platforms and see how you get on adding pricing, availability and bookings.
Don’t take their word for how good it is - get a demo, and a log-in.
3. Buy into their philosophy
Most software companies are on your side.
They want to make tools that help you grow your vacation rentals income and make your working life easier.
Try to understand what makes them tick and understand why they make the choices they are making.
4. Consider what tools you may need
And finally, here are the types of tools a vacation rental agency may need:
- A PMS and/or Channel Manager (e.g. Bookster Property Management System)
- Pricing tool (e.g. BeyondPricing)
- Working as a Team to chat and share documents (e.g. Slack)
- Documents & Calendars (e.g. “Google GSuite”)
- Providing help and support to Guests and Property Owners (e.g. ZenDesk)"
We have worked with numerous experts in the industry to produce a series of articles with advice on how to manage holiday rentals. Check it out!
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