BooksterStarting any new vacation rentals business can be scary, and using the right tools 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. 4 Principles for choosing a vacation rentals software 1. Prioritise the problems to solve with a holiday booking system All holiday booking 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 holiday booking platform will likely have some functionality missing that you consider important. The ability to accept a different workflow and 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 self-catering properties. Write them down, and order them in importance. Here are some Property Management System (PMS) features that may be important. Take payments Telephone support in my time zone Price 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 Market and competitive summary and more... 2. Try the holiday booking software before you buy Once you have narrowed your search down to two or three holiday booking software services, set 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. Choose a company with a philosophy that fits with yours 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. Speak to other property managers in the industry. Try to understand how they've been treated, what the response is when there is a problem, how solutions are found. All companies say they have great customer service and they care for you, so it's important to do your own research. 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) Book Direct tool (e.g. Book Direct Toolkit) Market analysis tool (e.g. Market Summary) 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!

4 tips for choosing a vacation rentals software

Written by Kelly Odor
Advice on choosing a vacation rentals system - 4 tips from Robin Morris, director of Bookster on choosing a vacation rentals property management system
4 tips from Robin Morris, director of Bookster on choosing a vacation rentals property management system

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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 scary, and using the right tools 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.

4 Principles for choosing a vacation rentals software

1. Prioritise the problems to solve with a holiday booking system

All holiday booking 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 holiday booking platform will likely have some functionality missing that you consider important.

The ability to accept a different workflow and 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 self-catering properties. Write them down, and order them in importance.

Here are some Property Management System (PMS) features that may be important. 

  • Take payments
  • Telephone support in my time zone
  • Price
  • 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
  • Market and competitive summary
  • and more...

2. Try the holiday booking software before you buy

Once you have narrowed your search down to two or three holiday booking software services, set 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. Choose a company with a philosophy that fits with yours

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.

Speak to other property managers in the industry. Try to understand how they've been treated, what the response is when there is a problem, how solutions are found.

All companies say they have great customer service and they care for you, so it's important to do your own research.

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)
  • Book Direct tool (e.g. Book Direct Toolkit)
  • Market analysis tool (e.g. Market Summary)
  • 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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