How to Choose Vacation Rental Software for Your Business

Aug 1, 2023 | Property Managers Blog

It’s no secret that running a successful vacation rental business takes time, effort, and money. Savvy property managers know that having the right vacation rental software can alter the course of their business—for better or worse.

If your vacation rental business has grown to the point where you’re considering investing in a property management software, you’re familiar with the stress this entails.

Which integrations can I not live without? Which software is the easiest to use? How long will it take me and my team to learn? What kind of support will I have if I run into software issues?

Although researching your (seemingly) endless options can cause stress, it’s important to remember your goal for your new vacation rental software. Acknowledge the work you put into to grow your vacation rental business to this point! Keep this in mind when choosing which software option has your company’s best interests at heart.


Set goals, monitor pain points

Before you begin booking demos, take a moment to assess your company’s unique needs and long-term goals. Consider factors like the number of vacation rentals you manage, the size of your team, and the specific pain points you want to address.

It helps to list out these pain points and check with your staff to crowdsource this information. For example, your reservation team may already have strong opinions about what they think is and isn’t working!

Beyond that, you may ask yourself if you need better communication tools with guests and staff. Or you’re looking to streamline booking and reservation management. Understanding your requirements will help you find a software solution tailored to your business.

Importantly, look for vacation rental software that has a clear, easy fix for these issues. Your vacation rental software should optimize, not complicate, your workflow.


Categorize needs and wants

First-time users can get overwhelmed by the multitude of features offered by different property management systems. To avoid getting lost in the sea of options, focus on identifying the essential functionalities you need to get your vacation rental business up and running smoothly.

This may include features like a centralized booking calendar, automated guest communication, and basic financial tracking. As an example, some of us were not gifted with mathematical and accounting brains. Look for software that mentions trust accounting capabilities, which will free up your time and sanity!

Mobile friendliness could fall into either the want or need category for your business, depending on your business model and preferences. Some property managers believe that in the fast-paced world of vacation rentals, you can’t afford to be tied down to a desktop computer.

In this case, opt for software that’s mobile-friendly and allows you to manage your properties on the go. Whether it’s responding to guest inquiries, updating availability calendars, or checking real-time analytics, having a user-focused mobile app can be a lifesaver.

After all, your smartphone is practically an extension of your hand, right?


Get second opinions

Your industry peers will have opinions on what has and hasn’t worked for their vacation rental company. Use your network to get recommendations and red flags to look out for!

If your network makes a recommendation, look at their website and read through testimonials. Quality and quantity both matter here.

Additionally, vet providers by seeing how other industry vendors view their vacation rental software products. One quick way to gauge functionality and reputation is to check if this vacation rental software is a VRBO Connectivity Partner. This shows you how well your potential PMS will work with OTAs and distribution channels.

Streamline has VRBO Elite Connectivity Partnership status, meaning our software has industry recognition for working well with other vendors and OTAs.

Streamline also hosts our annual Streamline Summit, where industry pros gather for the ultimate networking experience. Potential and current clients can network with other industry peers and vendors to share best practices and form long-term relationships.


Vet their customer support

Being new to property management systems, you’ll want a user-friendly interface that doesn’t require hours of training to understand. Look for a software provider that offers a straightforward and intuitive platform, along with accessible customer support. A responsive support team that can address your questions and concerns promptly will be invaluable during your initial setup and early days of use. A user-friendly system and excellent support will help you adapt quickly and maximize the benefits of the software from the get-go.

Your business doesn’t stop at 5 PM, and neither should their support. Ensure the software provider offers 24/7 customer assistance so that you have a safety net whenever you encounter technical glitches or need expert advice. Prompt and reliable support will keep your business running smoothly and your stress levels in check.

Streamline offers an extensive knowledge base with thousands of articles to empower property managers to troubleshoot on their own. Beyond that, our dedicated customer support team can handle any complex challenges you may face.


Test the waters with demos

Before making a commitment, take advantage of free trials or demos offered by different property management system providers. Demos allow you a hands-on experience with the software to see if it aligns with your business needs.

It also gives you a feel for what your customer support experience would be like. This way you can gauge if you would work well with the property technology company.

During the trial period, take note of how well the system integrates with your existing processes and if it genuinely improves your efficiency. Testing the waters before making a final decision will give you the confidence to invest in a property management system that’s the perfect fit for your vacation rental business.

Streamline offers free consultations and demos to showcase how we would optimize your business workflow.

Bottom line

The need for new vacation rental software is a great sign that your business has grown! Look for the best features and integrations for your business goals and solutions.