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Why is PMS Software Different for Hotels, Vacation Rentals and Apartments?

by
Hotel Tech Report
3 months ago

Hotels, apartments, and vacation rentals each have their unique characteristics but what about their software? The property management system is the core of the tech stack at any accommodation business, but, as we’ll discuss in this article, not all property management systems are the same. If you’re considering implementing a PMS or switching from your current vendor, this article will help you understand the intricacies of systems designed for specific types of properties. With the right software partnership, you can run your hospitality business more efficiently and focus on delighting your guests (or tenants).   Very Different Guest Journeys Based on Length of Stay The apartment "guest journey" is relatively straightforward.  Prospective tenants view an apartment they like with a leasing agent, decides to rent and then moves in.  Prior to move in they complete a credit check and setup payment through an online payment portal that gets drawn upon in monthly increments. The next most complex guest journey exists in vacation rentals where prospective guests find a rental unit via an online travel agency like Booking.com or Airbnb.  They'll often communicate with the owner via the platform they booked on and use a mobile check-in method like keyless entry upon arrival.  Rooms aren't cleaned until the guest checks out and there are no on site outlets or amenities. Hotels offer the most complexity in guest journey with ultra high touch amenities delivered by often large teams of hotel staff.  The hotel industry is all about guest service.  Guests usually make direct bookings on a hotel website or via an OTA.  They'll receive email or text message communication prior to arrival.  Upon check-in, guests are greeted by a front desk agent and taken to their room by a bellman.  Their room gets cleaned each night and they enjoy hotel amenities like room service, on-site restaurant and spa outlets and more.   What is PMS Software? Let’s start at the beginning: what is a property management system anyway? A PMS houses all the organizational and administrative tools you need to run a multi-family business, hotel or short-term rental in real-time and automate core functions like booking and reservation management.  Key functionality in hotels and vacation rentals includes a calendar where you can manage reservations, a booking engine for your website, a dashboard for housekeeping to mark clean and dirty rooms, a guest information database, and various financial reporting. Some PMSs have an integrated channel manager which handles connections to third-party booking sites. Many PMSs are cloud-based and offer mobile apps so you can manage your property from anywhere at any time. It's important to understand each of these journeys before diving into the core operating system of each, a cloud PMS, because each PMS is designed for both the complexity and jobs to be done of both staff and guest journeys.  Where hotel property management software requires functionality like connecting to major international payment gateways an apartment reservation system might only require local payment processing since tenants are by definition locals.   Hotels, Apartments and Vacation Rentals Are Converging We're seeing a major convergence in the real estate and hospitality industry where the guest experience in certain segments of the hotel market is looking more like vacation rentals and vice versa.   Adding to that, companies like Sonder and Why Hotels are turning apartments into short term rentals and hotel rooms while Airbnb is now a major distributor of hotel inventory. It's not hard to understand why.  The hotel business is all about delivering high guest satisfaction and incredible guest experiences - it's ultimately doing the same thing as the vacation rental business and even apartments.  Hotel operations tend to be the most complex given the focus on guest experience and presence of front office teams.  Generally speaking, the longer the duration of the rental, the easier the business is to manage meaning that apartments are the least operationally complex to run. The key difference between short term vs. long term accommodation software lies in the fact that apartment management systems generally focus on tenant functionality like community portals and subscription rent payments.  For shorter term accommodations, hotel and vacation rental PMS software focuses on credit card and payment functionality, facilitating online bookings and rate management.   Key differences in PMS software for Hotels vs. Vacation Rentals The daily operations of hotels and short-term rentals can be quite different, so it makes sense that property management systems would have unique functionality for different property types. But what are the biggest differences? Key points of differentiation include the room or unit type setup, the connections available in the channel manager, tools for daily operations, and integrations with third-party software.   Room Types vs. Separate Units When we think about the physical layouts of a hotel, short-term rental apartments, and vacation homes, several differences come to mind. At a hotel, you’ll find a lot of rooms, but those rooms usually fall into a few distinct room types. Short-term rental operators might manage many apartments, but each of those apartments might be unique and located in a few different buildings. Vacation homes can have their own addresses and often have different sizes, amenities, and policies. In order for hoteliers and property managers to get the most utility out of their software, property management systems must account for these differences. Hotel-specific software like Hoteltime will be set up for room types in the same building, while vacation rental-specific software is built for unique individual units often at different addresses. While hoteliers probably don’t add new room types on a regular basis, short-term rental operators expand their portfolios regularly, so it’s important that their software allows for easy addition of new units. Daily Operations The who, what, and where for daily operations is another major point of differentiation between hotels and short-term rental properties - and their software. At a hotel, many employees from various departments will use the PMS on a daily basis. Front desk agents, housekeeping staff, back-office employees, and the leadership team might all use the PMS at the same time. Tasks range from checking in guests, tracking housekeeping status, upselling rooms, entering reservations taken over the phone, and running reports for leadership meetings. It’s important for a hotel PMS like Hoteltime to allow multiple user accounts and levels of access rights. A vacation rental PMS, on the other hand, is used by fewer people and for fewer manual tasks. Vacation rental reservations are rarely taken over the phone, and, usually, a smaller team of staff interacts with the system. Since short-term rentals often don’t have a front desk, it’s crucial that property managers can access the PMS on the go, like via a mobile app. Most short-term rentals do not offer housekeeping mid-stay, so that functionality is less important. However, it’s crucial that a PMS can support automated check-in instructions and other communications that allow the guest to complete a self-service check-in. Smaller hotels (under 20 rooms) generally require all-in-one affordable hotel management software but may be able to use vacation rental software to manage their properties.  Check out our list of best hotel software for smaller properties. Channel Connections Not only do daily operations differ based on property type, but so do distribution strategies. If a PMS offers channel management functionality, you’ll notice that the supported channels vary with property type. Hotel-specific software will focus on connections to the big OTAs, like Expedia, Booking.com, and Agoda, plus to the GDS and travel agents. Most vacation rental-specific software also connects to Booking.com and Expedia, but connections to vacation rental booking sites like Airbnb, Vrbo, and Tripadvisor Rentals are essential. Hotel-specific software likely does not support connections to Airbnb, Vrbo, or Tripadvisor Rentals. Integrations Channel connections aren’t the only links between a PMS and other systems; property management software can connect to third-party apps that bring additional value to your operations. Hotel-specific PMSs will offer integrations with other hotel systems that usually happen via API, such as revenue management systems (IDeaS, for example), work order software (HotSOS), upsell software and point of sale systems (Micros). Vacation rental-specific PMSs integrate with a slew of vacation rental-specific software and apps, including dynamic pricing tools (PriceLabs), property-level security and monitoring systems (NoiseAware), keyless entry solutions (RemoteLock), guest communication tools (Hostfully), and more.   Have we missed any major differences between property management systems? Let us know!  

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How to Use the Homeaway Revenue Tool (MarketMaker)

by
Adrienne Fors
2 years ago

Looking for opportunities to boost your vacation rental’s revenue? Your daily rates might be a good place to start.  A great way to maximize your opportunity for revenue and bookings is to implement a dynamic pricing strategy, which means setting unique rates for each individual day - based on market demand, competitor supply, and your own historical data. If your prices don’t adapt to changing market conditions, you could be leaving money on the table. For property owners and managers who use Vrbo, the MarketMaker tool can be a solid addition to your pricing strategy and vacation rental marketing toolbox. In this article, we’ll explain exactly what MarketMaker does and how you can use it to optimize your Vrbo listings.   What is MarketMaker? Homeaway's Revenue Tool Explained (now Vrbo) MarketMaker is Vrbo’s revenue management and competitor research tool. It’s available to all Vrbo hosts in the Owner Dashboard. MarketMaker is free of charge. To access MarketMaker, simply log into your property dashboard and select “MarketMaker” from the menu on the left side of the page. The tool itself compares your property’s current rates and occupancy with the average rates and occupancy in your market or competitive set. A competitive set is simply a group of similar properties that Vrbo’s algorithm has chosen. This comparison helps you determine whether your rates are too high or too low and if you are capturing your fair share of bookings. If your property has lower occupancy than the market average, for example, that could be a signal that you have an opportunity to increase bookings.   What information does MarketMaker show? When you first open MarketMaker, you’ll see your properties at a glance. You can quickly notice each property’s average daily rate compared to the competitive set or market as well as occupancy percentage compared to the same competitive set or market. The data is from a time range selected on the top of the page: 30, 60, 90, or 180 days, or a custom range.     By default, all of the properties in your account will show, but you can also search for a specific property or apply filters, like number of bedrooms or location, to show a subset of your listings. Next, we can drill down on one property in particular. By clicking the number of “opportunities” or the arrow on the far right of a given property’s row, we can see rates for that property on specific dates. These dates show rate recommendations that Vrbo suggests based on competitive set data. Vrbo can recommend higher or lower rates, whatever the algorithm determines your property needs to maximize the opportunity for bookings.     When you click on the property’s name in the “Property” column, you can explore MarketMaker’s graph view. The graph looks overwhelming at first, so let’s explain exactly what you’re seeing.     The graph contains data for one of your properties and that property’s market or competitive set. On the top, you can see the calendar, your current rates, and whether your property is available (white), booked on Vrbo (green), or unavailable for another reason (gray). In the graph, you’ll see a few lines, which you can toggle to show or hide: Blue line: Your current rate Green rate: Average rate of properties in your market/competitive set which have been booked on Vrbo Gray line: Average rate of properties which remain available on Vrbo Yellow line: Number of searches for your market on Vrbo The graph also contains two stacked bars: Light gray bar: Current occupancy of properties in your market, based on Vrbo data Turquoise bar (above the gray bar): Forecasted occupancy of properties in your market, based on Vrbo’s historical data, seasonality, and trends When you hover over one date on the graph, you’ll see the actual data points that correspond to each line and bar.   How do you use MarketMaker? You can use MarketMaker in two ways: to make targeted rate adjustments and to gain a better understanding of market trends. MarketMaker offers rate recommendations when its algorithm detects a gap between your current rates and the market’s occupancy or rate trends. These rate recommendations can be found in the “opportunities” section. While looking at either the portfolio (list) or graph view, you may notice properties with “opportunities.” On the graph, the “opportunities” will be shown in blue just above the calendar row.      Using MarketMaker’s recommendations, you can adjust your rates up or down - in line with market demand and trends - without needing to do all the research to come up with those recommendations on your own. The other way to use MarketMaker is to study market behavior. The graph view displays some great data about market demand in terms of search volume, and you can also get a sense of your competitive set or market’s occupancy trends. These findings can help you determine high and low demand dates so you can adapt your own strategies - both on Vrbo and on other channels - to capture as much demand as possible. Knowing which dates are in high demand can lead you to change not only your prices, but also your minimum stay requirements, fees, and content to be most competitive.   What are MarketMaker’s limitations? While MarketMaker certainly presents some compelling information, it has one major limitation: the data is pulled only from Vrbo, and the changes you make to your rates will apply only to your Vrbo listing. For hosts who list properties on Vrbo only, that’s totally fine, but many hosts use additional booking channels besides Vrbo. In some markets, Vrbo represents just a small slice of all searches and bookings, so we recommend that you take the data with a grain of salt.  Another limitation of MarketMaker is that it requires manual input. You can only make use of MarketMaker’s rate recommendations by acknowledging each recommendation manually, and if you have several properties, the time needed to click through these recommendations and stay up-to-date can add up quickly. Airbnb’s Smart Pricing tool offers similar rate intelligence functionality, but it’s fully automated. Property owners and managers who use third-party dynamic pricing tools, such as PriceLabs or Wheelhouse, spend much less time adjusting rates, since these tools also adjust rates automatically. However, some hosts may prefer to stay in full control of rate adjustments, so the manual nature of MarketMaker could be a benefit. Overall, MarketMaker is a nice addition to the Vrbo host dashboard, but it’s important to remember its limitations. MarketMaker can provide several benefits to property owners or managers who use Vrbo exclusively, but for hosts with larger portfolios or listings on multiple sites, the manual work needed to apply its recommendations is simply too big of an undertaking. The market data, however, can be beneficial for any host, especially to show search volume on high and low demand dates. Have you used Vrbo’s MarketMaker? We’d love to hear about your experience with this tool!  

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Top 30 Vacation Rental Software to Manage Properties in 2022

by
Adrienne Fors
3 months ago

Are you wondering how you can streamline and simplify your vacation rental management operations? You don’t necessarily need to hire a third-party management company or a big reservations team to drive online bookings; property management software can do the heavy lifting and make your vacation rental business much smoother. But what exactly can these systems offer you? And which vacation rental property management systems are the best? In this article, we’ll explain exactly what you can expect from a short-term rental property management system and help you pick a system that works well for your business. With a system in place, you can not only run a more efficient business, but also take advantage of marketing opportunities, new listing channels, and exciting integrations with ancillary services.  Before you know it your property won't just be live on major hotel booking sites or vacation rental websites but you'll even have your own website and operations system!

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A Complete Guide to the Biggest Vacation Rental Websites

by
Adrienne Fors
2 years ago

Deciding to start a vacation rental business - or grow your existing one - is a big decision (especially in the wake of covid-19). But that’s just one of many decisions necessary to turn your goals into reality.  Many of the major hotel booking sites have been expanding into vacation rentals and vice versa as the lines blur between these categories of lodging. The vacation rental world is only getting bigger and more complex with new vacation rental websites popping up every day, and many property owners and managers feel overwhelmed at first. We wanted to eliminate the confusion and put property managers on the path to earning 5-star reviews with as few headaches as possible. That’s why we created our comprehensive guides to the most popular vacation rental websites: Airbnb, Vrbo, Tripadvisor, and Booking.com.  This can also be your guide if you're trying to understand which listing website can help you book the best vacation or getaway. Within these guides, you’ll learn about the basics, like logging in, setting up your property listings and getting support, as well as more complex topics, such as pricing models, service fees and promotional strategies. After reading about each site, you can make informed decisions about what’s best for your business. Do you list on all sites or just one? What can some sites offer you that others can’t? Which sites get the most traffic? Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about selling your property on the top four short-term rental sites.   Airbnb: Your Guide to Getting Started The first step in the Airbnb listing process is to create an account for your vacation rental property. If you’ve booked vacation rentals or Experiences on Airbnb in the past, then you don’t need to create a new account. Unless, of course, you want to keep your business separate from your personal account. If you’re wondering how to set up a new account or check if you already have one, then you’ll want to read our guide to how to log into Airbnb. Once you’ve logged in, then you can start building your listing. You’ll upload your photos, write compelling descriptions, set your rates, outline your house rules, and, when you’re ready, push the listing live. But all of those little steps can make a big impact on your listing’s attractiveness and your business’s bottom line. Our detailed guide to Airbnb FAQs covers all the specifics from refund policies to taxes. If you have any questions along the way, you can always browse Airbnb’s Community Center forum or contact Airbnb’s support team. They’re available via phone or online chat 24/7 and while they charge a hefty booking fee it's actually much better than what is charged by firms like Expedia and Booking to hospitality businesses for selling hotel rooms. Airbnb is one of the most popular travel sites in the world, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best choice for your business. Airbnb’s competitors can offer different features and commission rates, and some sites even target different types of guests.    Vrbo: Your Guide to Getting Started Like on Airbnb, the first step to listing your property on Vrbo is to create an account and log in. Need help with this step? Check out our guide on how to log into Vrbo. By the way, Vrbo and HomeAway are the same company now and both are owned by Expedia Group. There’s no need to create two separate accounts or two separate listings; your listing will show on both Vrbo and HomeAway automatically. After logging in, you can begin to build your listing. The listing process is similar to Airbnb’s; you’ll write your descriptions, upload photos, check off all those little amenity checkboxes, and choose your subscription plan. Wait, what? You need a subscription plan for Vrbo? This must be one of the most frequently asked questions about Vrbo and HomeAway. Like other vacation rental sites, Vrbo charges a small commission on every reservation if you do not go for the subscription model. The subscription model costs $499 per year, so for hosts and owners who plan to rent full-time, the subscription can make good financial sense. If you have any questions along the way, you can always contact Vrbo support for assistance. When we look at user reviews for Vrbo and Vrbo’s competitors, Vrbo’s support team actually gets great ratings! That’s just one difference between Vrbo and other sites, though. If you’re planning to list a shared space, like a private room in a house, then a site like Airbnb or Booking.com would be a better option. The bread and butter of Vrbo’s business is traditional vacation homes and condos.   Tripadvisor: Your Guide to Getting Started Few travelers book hotels without checking the Tripadvisor reviews first, but Tripadvisor now lets travelers book directly on their site. And we’re not just talking about hotels, but vacation rentals too. Through the Tripadvisor Rentals program, which includes sites like FlipKey and Holiday Lettings, you can make your property available to book on this popular channel. After you’ve set up a Tripadvisor Rentals account, the listing process is quite simple. In fact, it might be the fastest onboarding process out of this group. Compared to Tripadvisor’s competitors, though, the site gets the least amount of monthly visitors, but it can still be a good addition to your vacation rental business strategy.  Like other sites, Tripadvisor operates on a commission model, so there’s no risk in setting up your listing. You’ll only pay the commission on money you earn from reservations. In our guide to listing on Tripadvisor, you can learn more about Tripadvisor’s policies, features, and best practices. Throughout the listing process (and when you’re managing listings that are live), Tripadvisor offers plenty of support options in case you need assistance. The site contains helpful how-to guides, a database of support articles, and a team that you can contact by phone.   Booking.com: Your Guide to Getting Started It’s impossible to write a guide to vacation rental listing sites without including the biggest of them all: Booking.com. This site attracts the most visitors of any travel site in the world, so it seems like an obvious partner for your vacation rental business. Well, not so fast! As you’ll learn in our Booking.com listing guide and our study of Booking.com’s competitors, there are a few reasons why the site might not be the best choice for your business. For one, Booking.com charges a 15% commission - that’s a lot higher than Airbnb’s 3% commission! Despite the cost, Booking.com can bring a lot of value to savvy vacation rental owners. Once you’ve logged into Booking.com and gotten acquainted with their host portal, called the Extranet, you’ll find a slew of market research tools, promotional options, and resources for running a successful hospitality business. Being a massive, global company, Booking.com also offers some of the best customer support out of the vacation rental listing sites. The company has offices in dozens of countries, so no matter what language you speak or what time zone you’re in, you can get great support at any time of day. The Booking.com support team can also communicate with you through the Extranet Inbox, which is conveniently available on desktop and in their Pulse mobile app. Ready to set your vacation rental business up for success? One of the most important steps is choosing which vacation rental listing sites to use. After all, these sites are responsible for bringing potential guests to your property - so it’s a good idea to choose wisely. You’ll also want to consider the time commitment necessary to manage multiple sites. But, after you’ve read our guides to each listing channel, perhaps you want to dive right in and partner with all of them. Whatever you choose, we wish you nothing but happy guests and 5-star reviews!  

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Vacation Rental Software vs. Hotel Software (What's the Difference?)

by
Hotel Tech Report
6 months ago

‘Hotel tech’ has been a catchall for the various segments of hospitality. It’s even in our name: Hotel Tech Report, where we distinguish between property types as a means of connecting hospitality professionals to the best software for their property. In a recent session on the future of property management software at HomeAway’s RezFest, the conversation around the trajectory of vacation rental technology highlighted how the needs of the industry diverge sufficiently from hotels to merit its own category. In comments reported by PhocusWire’s Jill Menze, one solution provider preferred the term “vacation rental software” to reflect these divergent needs: “The answer is simple: We aren’t property management software companies,” says Vinny Dicarlo, chief operations officer at Ciirus Vacation Rental Software. “We’re using the concept of ‘property management’ based on what hotels or long-term rentals were doing. We should change the term; it should be vacation rental software.” Vacation rental websites and hotel booking sites are converging as is the software used by each segment of the industry. Indeed, many of the technology solutions overlap between these two segments of hospitality -- but there are some critical distinctions. With this view in mind, what exactly is the difference between vacation rental technology and hotel technology?   Hotel Management vs. Vacation Rental Management To understand how technologies differ, we first need to understand how the products themselves differ: Hotels Vacation rentals Hotels priced per room Vacation rentals priced per unit Multiple room types, bookable individually or as a block One room type per booking (either shared room, private room, or whole home) Leans towards standardized Leans towards individualized Large databases of previous customers Small (or non-existent) databases Amenities may be extra Amenities usually included Upsells common Upsells rare Highly collaborative staff, large teams Less staff, small teams Ongoing recruitment of new staff Employee light On-site amenities require software No on-site amenities to manage via software In-house housekeeping and maintenance Mix of in-house and third-party (depending on size of property manager) GDS for broad distribution, plus direct booking Specialized booking channels for short-term rentals, direct booking less frequent Loyalty/CRM across properties Loyalty/CRM limited to vacation rental management company brand More guests; more complex reputation management Fewer guests; increased importance of quality of reviews   Vacation Rental Management 'Jobs to Be Done' Efficient operations matter to vacation rental profitability. Systemized operations keep the rental in top-shape for each new booking, with automations and checklists helping to maintain a consistent guest experience. Since most vacation rentals are whole homes, there are far more things to manage when making a vacation rental “guest ready” than with a standard hotel room. The size of checklists is much longer, as is the list of items that need to be checked and potential maintained regularly: individual hotel rooms rarely have hot water heaters, while most vacation rentals do, for example. The average vacation rental requires more operational finesse. Given this complexity, vacation rentals have far different needs for their property management software when compared to hotels. Other areas that vacation rental software must distinguish itself from standard hotel technology: Integration with other services. From third party cleaning services to maintenance and repairs, good vacation rental software facilitates the logistics of managing many vendors in one place. Also: must work reliably with various smart home devices for remote management. Guest communications. Constant and consistent guest communications is essential for vacation rentals. Whether pre-booking or for an emergency during a stay, 24/7 support via multiple communications channels is different for vacation rentals than hotels. Intelligent routing and AI-driven support help property managers be more responsive to guest communications. Check-in/check-out management. Without a front desk to welcome guests, there has to be a process in place for key/code management, welcome packet, and overall welcome. Proper vacation rental software makes this happen. Website and marketing. Direct booking is also a focus for vacation rentals; however, these sites often do better when fully integrated into a property’s management software for seamless bookings and real-time calendar updates. Mobile too. Works well on mobile, since many property managers are out in the field. On-the-go property management is typical so functionality cannot be limited. There's also a lot of coordination between parties that are not stationed on-site, which creates the potential for lapses in communication that affect the guest directly. Whereas hotels have crews on property, vacation rentals often do not. For example, what happens when the property manager forgets to tell the cleaners about an early check-in? The guest is frustrated, and, despite the team’s best intentions, the property looks disorganized. Vacation rental software alleviates these issues through automation and functionality that enhance transparency across the vacation rental operation. Image Source   Pricing Software for Vacation Rentals Hotels often have teams of revenue managers and data analysts; vacation rentals much less so. The most profitable property managers leverage tools, such as BeyondPricing, to accurately forecast the types of properties in the highest demand among a destination’s key demographics. While hotels also use this type of data-driven dynamic pricing, vacation rentals have unique needs that require specialized pricing optimization and revenue management. Since vacation rentals don't have many room types, revenue management is even more important. There's no making up lost revenue from a mispriced room; If unit is booked, it needs to be booked for the highest possible price. The only way to do this is to have dynamically priced inventory that accounts for both local availability and inbound demand. Pricing optimization must also be as seamless and automated as possible. With fewer staff resources at vacation rentals, tools must be more automated than their hotel tech counterparts.   Short Term Rental Demand and Hotel Demand are Converging but NOT the Same While demand data matters to both hotels and vacation rentals, it matters in different ways. For example, it's much harder to know how many vacation rentals may be in the pipeline for a given market. Property managers could look at total permits issued, and any limits imposed by the city. But some rentals may be incognito, so there’s less understanding of how inventory will impact future pricing. Another difference with demand data is which types of properties are popular with which demographics. As vacation rentals are less standardized as far as amenities, design, and guest experience, there are deeper nuances when it comes to demand data. For example, if Chinese demand is increasing locally, it’s important to not just work to gain visibility in local booking channels but also to tweak amenities during periods of high demand to accommodate traveler preferences. Data delivers these insights, especially for off-peak demand generation, says Dicarlo: “It’s all about Asia and working with a channel in that market. If I didn’t have data, I’d assume Chinese people travel in summer, but they travel in February or March.” The way traveler data is aggregated is also quite different with vacation rentals, said HomeAway President John Kim in another session, as there’s a different imperative for larger booking platforms to facilitate better use of data: “We have to combine all data from travelers so we can build useful products in all of these environments and change quickly for interactions we haven’t even yet seen.” The thread here is that the way data is captured, presented, and acted upon is different enough to merit standalone solutions for the vacation rental industry.   Agility Matters in the Growing Vacation Rental Industry Freedom from legacy technology allows vacation rental software to be nimble and evolve alongside -- or even ahead of -- the growing industry. Old technology hinders progress, as hospitality operations mold to limitations rather than grow with innovations. Vacation rentals need the agility to integrate and build a software backbone that supports each unique operation. Ciirus’ DiCarlo sees this ability to change as a core differentiator, saying: “There have been hotels since day one. That industry is set in stone. To get them to change how they do business is very hard. [Vacation rental software has] the ability to change because we’re not a 4,000-year-old industry or old technology. If we use data correctly, the way we do business isn’t set in stone.” For property managers looking for the best vacation rental software, we’ll continue to offer a comprehensive view into solutions targeted to this growing segment. In an industry challenged by change, candid insights into hospitality solutions foster transparency and encourage partners to serve such a dynamic industry better. Agility pays dividends in today’s hospitality industry!   Browse honest reviews to find the ideal vacation rental software or hotel software for your property.

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The 10 Best Rental Property Management Software of 2022

by
Hotel Tech Report
6 months ago

The lines between hotel, short-term rentals and multi-family real estate have officially blurred. With brands like Sonder and Selina re-defining the category, this blending of  the hospitality and multi-family was a pre-pandemic trend that’s only accelerating.  As property owners evaluate new revenue streams, extended stays are becoming much more appealing. After all, apartments are really just limited service hotels that you stay in for a very long time! Here are the most popular real estate property management software:   Best For Larger Landlords (50+ Units) Appfolio Property Manager Appfolio provides a comprehensive property management so that you can run your entire real estate business in one place. The standard version includes marketing, maintenance, accounting, leasing and rental management, as well as online payments and custom training. The Plus version adds advanced performance insights, configurable workflows, data exports and revenue management tools.   Pros: Optimized mobile experience for tenants, from application to submitting online maintenance requests via the Online Portal; AppFolio Contact Center can handle after-hours maintenance calls, dispatch vendors, and log activity; mobile app for property managers that works anywhere and has all of the same data and reports as the desktop version.  Cons: The single system approach means that you can't integrate other systems and customize your technology based on your own needs. Cost: Appfolio’s monthly cost is $1.25 per unit for residential and $1.50 per unit for commercial, with a minimum monthly fee of $250.   Buildium Buildium’s property management software is designed to do everything property managers need across accounting, operations and leasing. For back office, there’s property accounting and financial reporting, as well as managing rental listing and tenant applications. For front office, there’s a resident portal with maintenance request tracking, as well as lease and document management.  Pros: Made to scale with your business; those managing over 100 units can customize with specific functionality; works across devices; backed by RealPage. Cons: Additional fees for payments, eLease, screenings and property inspections, depending on plan Cost: $99 setup fee plus: Essential plan starts at $50 per month for up to 20 units and $160 for the Growth plan (up to 20 units). Per unit costs increase beyond 20 units based on desired functionality.   Yardibreeze Out of all of the property management tools we reviewed, Yardibreeze has the cleanest and crispest look (along with Hemlane and Avail). Its modern feel is ideal for tenants that appreciate well-designed experience that works equally well on a computer and mobile device. Tenants can sign leases, manage requests and pay rent online, while property managers can access property management tools on the go on any device.  Pros: All of the features that you need to manage your properties, accessible via a simple and modern interface on desktop and mobile web; CRM for automating follow-ups; Breeze Premier version includes job cost tracking, corporate accounting and a CRM to increase marketing efficiency; no setup fees. Cons: Fewer customization options; no standalone app.  Cost: Starts at $1 per unit for residential and $2 per unit for commercial, with a minimum monthly cost of $100 for residential and $200 for commercial.   Best for Commercial Properties   IBM’s TRIRIGA Real Estate Manager IBM integrates its Watson AI into TRIRIGA, which is a full-featured real-estate management platform. From energy management and maintenance to space optimization and lease accounting, the software is ideal for larger buildings that have robust people and space management needs.     Pros: The highly connected solution combines WiFi, IoT and AI to give property managers full visibility into over-utilized and underutilized spaces. That not only helps optimize the outside but also keeps occupants safer. Cons: TRIRIGA is an enterprise-level product that comes with an enterprise-level price tag. It's only for those with the most robust property management needs. Cost: Customized deployments based on property’s needs.   MRI MRI’s property management software is a comprehensive solution for managers with both residential and commercial properties. The platform encompasses both front-office and back-office functions, integrating accounting and analytics with end-to-end tenant management.  Pros: Automates complex leasing calculations for commercial landlords; offers an online portal for tenants and residents; easy integrations of proprietary and third-party solutions, including seamless sync between other MRI software; global offices means global support teams; Cons: You may pay for features that you don't use  Cost: Pricing varies according to usage   Best For Smaller Landlords Hemlane Hemlane’s all-in-one rental management platform was specifically built for landlords with 1 to 100 units. Owners and property managers can advertise vacancies, track applicants, screen tenants, and manage leases, maintenance and accounting. Especially helpful is the top tier of service (“Complete”), which connects out-of-town owners to local leasing agents and repair vendors to streamline remote property management. Pros: Minimal design keeps focus on functionality; network of service pros makes remote property management easy with 24/7 US-based repair coordination; offers state-specific leases via third-party partners; automations, such as for late fees, saves time; no setup fees, and phone support for both managers and tenants. Cons: no standalone app, fewer customizations, may not be the best tool if you plan to grow your business beyond 100 units; maintenance coordination not available on basic plan. Cost: A small base fee of $34 and then varies per unit according to service tier: Basic is $2.50 per unit, Essential is $15 per unit and Complete is $40 per unit. Plus: one month free trial with no credit card.    Rentec Direct With its low-cost, no minimums pricing model Rentec Direct is also a great value for smaller landlords. It’s a bit less modern than Hemlane, but it checks the boxes: screening and background checks, marketing tools, online file management and complete accounting  functionality. There are two tiers: Rentec Pro for property owners who manage their own properties and Rentec PM for those managing on behalf of owners (and need trust accounting). Pros: Affordable (and with US-based support); online rent collection makes it easy to collect rent and disburse to owners; custom website for taking direct bookings; includes a work order management system and a mobile app for tenants. Cons: Reporting isn’t very customizable and design is becoming a bit dated. Cost: Starts at $35 per month for Pro and $40 per month for PM for up to 10 units, with additional per-unit costs beyond 10 units.    Best Value    Avail Avail is a full-featured and well-designed platform to find, screen and keep tenants. Given that it’s free for landlords, it’s no surprise that the company claims over 170,000 customers. On the free tier, landlords can syndicate listings, perform credit and criminal screenings, accept online rent payments, track maintenance and create state-specific leases. Paid features include next day rent payments, waived ACH fees, the ability to clone and reuse applications and leases and a custom website.  Pros: Free tier includes all features you need to manage your rentals, including lease customization and eSignatures; easy rent payments; tenant photos for maintenance requests; customizable questions on rental applications. Cons: Trade-off is that you will pay fees for ACH Cost: Free to us for unlimited units with premium features available for $5 per unit per month.   TenantCloud For the value-minded DIY landlord, TenantCloud’s “free forever” tier includes basic functionality for up to 75 units. This includes the ability to track rental information, accept and send payments, manage leases, maintenance, and tenant communications, as well as insurance tracking and data import/export. Upgraded features include priority support and QuickBooks sync. Pros: The price is right, with lots of functionality included in the free plan; on-demand printable reports; Apple and Android apps.  Cons: Not as many features as other options here; minimal integrations and customizations. Cost: Free tier with limited functionality up to 75 units; it’s $9/month for the Standard plan and $35/month for Advanced.    Best For Single-Family Propertyware PropertyWare focuses exclusively on single family homes, from those managed by smaller property managers to those owned by institutional investors. It features tenant and owner portals, payments, maintenance, marketing and tenant screening. There's also a contact center that can augment your leasing, management and maintenance teams.  Pros: Integrated text messaging with tenants, owners and vendors; part of the RealPage family, which means more stability than startups or smaller companies; robust customization options, such as custom fields and reports; built-in automations around tasks, reports and fees; Cons: Not ideal for multifamily or condos, which may limit its ability to support  expansion into other property types; steep implementation costs  Cost: Starts at $250 per month plus $1 per unit and goes up to $450 per month plus $2 per unit. There’s also an implementation fee that's twice the monthly subscription price.