The vacation rental industry is quickly evolving as more travelers expand their wings beyond traditional hotel accommodation. Today, more travelers favor arrangements like luxury villas or apartments, which can be clearly seen with the ever-rising Airbnb demand. Technology has taken center stage as the trends continue to shape the industry. Consumers can hardly go a day without technology, which greatly affects how they search and engage with vacation rental services. As a vacation rentals manager, it is critical that you include tech solutions in your quests, enhancing your visibility, efficiency, and effectiveness. Property management software is among the top tech solutions that managers can’t afford to ignore.
Property management software (PMS) makes your job easier, saving time and resources and helping you increase vacation rentals’ profitability. The best vacation rental property management software will have all the features you need to manage your rentals efficiently, including a professional website builder, an online booking system, automated email and text message reminders, and a payment processing system. It should also offer detailed reporting and analytics to track your progress and identify areas where you can improve. It also should be easy to use and offer excellent customer support in case you need help.
While focusing on such elements helps you choose the best solution, with the extensive pool and new options popping up by the day, the process can be overwhelming, especially if you don’t know where to look or what to pay more attention to. Let’s look at how you can find and what to consider as you shop for the best PMS.
Look at the reviews
Top ten property management software; hit the search engine with such a query, and you’ll be amazed by the resourceful pools you’ll access. Visit blogs and forums, and read through the materials to get an idea of what the top solutions offer. You can use the reviews to list the solutions to vet. The reviews, especially from unsponsored sites, tell you more about what other managers see as real value in their rental property management endeavors. They’ll show you areas software excels in and where they aren’t seen as the top solutions. The reviews aren’t just great at ranking your options. They provide valuable information to help you understand the top features and how they can help your business.
Consider the vendor
You’ve made a list of a few vendors from the reviews. Now is the time to dig deeper into particular vendors. The first point; establish their reputation. At this point, reviews and ratings come into the equation but now, considering existing and previous client’s input. This will give you an idea of what to expect from the vendor and their reputation. If you spot numerous complaints, such as regular downtimes, unavailable customer service, or hidden charges, to mention a few, steers clear of the service. Don’t believe everything you find on the site, though, especially if they are all glowing reviews since some could be solicited. Take it with a pinch of salt, and check ratings on independent sites for a less biased opinion.
You’ve picked the top solutions and a vendor boasting a great reputation. Now is the time to give the software some digging. The best vendors offer a demo, giving you a feel of the software. Don’t shy away from the free perk, as this is the chance to establish how well it works. Among the boxes to consider as you test the software include:
- Ease of use: Can you easily navigate the software? It would be best if you chose software that is easy to use. Otherwise, you will spend more time figuring out how to use the software than actually using it, beating the time-saving logic. An easy-to-use solution makes your automation efforts a breeze, allowing you to squeeze the most out of the software. Besides a friendly interface, ensure the software seamlessly integrates with your existing IT infrastructure. This means you won’t have to invest in extra hardware or skills to use the property management software.
- Functionality: Choose software with all the features you need but not too much that its complexity takes a toll on your processes. For example, if you want to be able to post your vacancy calendar on Airbnb automatically, make sure the software you choose has this functionality but doesn’t require a lengthy process. Sophistication seems nice, but those extra features and steps could take more time and impact your efficiency.
- Customer support: While the demo is a chance to test the software, it is also a great opportunity to see how responsive the vendor is. If they hardly give you the attention you need when still on demo, what do you expect when they take your money? Only pick software backed by an active, experienced, and professional customer support team. This makes it easier to deal with any difficulties you might face as you get the hand of the PMS.
Considering such aspects makes your choice a lot more informed. The demo lets you tell if the software is the right fit for your vacation rental business, especially considering its size. Beyond this, you still have a box to check; the budget.
Your budget is an essential check since it dictates what you can afford. You want affordable software, but this doesn’t mean the cheapest option. Consider the structure, the amount, and weight it against the value the solution offers. For example, many property management software packages charge a monthly fee. Make sure you can afford the fee before you sign up and that the terms are flexible enough to go with your business’s cash flow considerations. With such a solution, you won’t struggle to meet the monthly payments, making it easier to keep your business running.
Finding the best property management software can take some time and work. Nonetheless, it is a worthy task since the solution will automate many aspects and help you efficiently and effectively run the business.