Vacation Rental Software
The Vacation Rental Software Landscape
According to Transparent’s 2018 European Vacation Rental Survey, the two most common software tools used by vacation rental managers are a Channel Manager and Property Management System (PMS) – which are often bundled into the same service.
Picking a PMS & Channel Manager is therefore the first big software decision vacation rental managers will probably have to make, and if you read Facebook groups, you know there are a lot of options and opinions out there.
If you don’t know what PMS and Channel Management Software do, here is a quick summary, otherwise you can skip ahead for where to find the best guidebooks and reviews.
What Is A Vacation Rental Channel Manager?
Channel Management software is how you can distribute your listings to third-party bookings sites. In the United States, distribution is vital because at a minimum property managers need to be on Airbnb, Vrbo, and have a direct booking site to access 80%+ of demand.
Channel Managers will at a minimum have Airbnb, Vrbo and a templated direct booking site as options, while Booking, Expedia, and TripAdvisor are considered a nice-to-have. Lodgify for instance, includes API connections to Airbnb, Vrbo, Booking, and Expedia. However, some vacation rental managers (or the PMS software itself) use a separate dedicated Channel Manager, like Rentals United, that specializes in seamless connectivity to just about every imaginable channel.
What Is A Vacation Rental Property Management System?
Property Management Systems (PMS) is a blanket term that encompasses many different features for the management of vacation rentals bundled into one platform. These features can include:
- Calendar and Pricing
- Task Management
- Guest Communication Tools
- Reporting and Analytics
- Payment Processing
- Owners Portal
- Revenue Management
PMS software has become an integral part of vacation rental management, especially for managers with more than one property. As of last count, there are easily 50 different providers to choose from. That is why it is vital to read reviews, and consult different guides to make sure you find the right PMS for your business.
Vacation Rental Property Management System Guides
Rentals United PMS Quiz
Rentals United has compiled a list of over 50 property management systems for vacations rentals, and this list is one of the most comprehensive available online. Rentals United has done the research and they include core features, who to contact to sign up, and where the PMS is based in their list. Rentals United also took all this data and created a fantastic quiz that you can use to get some recommendations for what PMS software is the best fit for your business.
Rented.com PMS Guide
Rented.com has created one of the best guides to property management software that does a deep dive into functionality, complexity, analytics and pricing. Rented.com provides outsourced revenue management services – meaning their employees work in just about every PMS and know how they work intimately. Based on their experience, rented.com was able to provide one of the most in-depth guides to vacation rental property management software.
Vacation Rental Software Reviews
Capterra is one of top sources for reviews on all sorts of software categories and they include a section just for Vacation Rental Software. Most of the software solutions listed are PMS providers; however, there are some different types of services like guidebooks that are also reviewed here.
One of the great things about these review pages is you can see a summary of the most common pros and cons from the verified reviews. You also know these reviews are coming from high-quality sources as you can see the job titles from LinkedIn for each vacation rental software reviewer on Capterra.
For even more reviews and comparisons of these PMS options, Capterra has a comprehensive list of vacation rental software providers with reviews.
Tap Your Network For Vacation Rental Software Advice
Even after you consulted these quizzes, guides, and reviews, you will probably still have questions before any vacation rental software or property management system. Reach out to other folks you know that manage vacation rentals and see what they have to say. Everyone in this industry has a story about PMS software – good or bad! If you don’t know anyone else in the industry, there are great Facebook groups to join, or you can attend a VRMA conference.