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Hostaway

FrontRunners 2024

Hostaway is the #1 rated, and fastest growing all-in-one vacation rental software for property managers who want to get more bookings with less hassle. Designed to automate and optimize all aspects of your operations, Hostaway c...Read more about Hostaway

4.7 (861 reviews)

32 recommendations

Jurny

FrontRunners 2024

Experience the ultimate hospitality transformation with Jurny's free PMS powered by AI. ✅ Unify Your Universe: Consolidate apps, dashboards, fees, and providers in one place with our vertically integrated system. ✅ All-in-One: E...Read more about Jurny

4.5 (32 reviews)

18 recommendations

Hostfully Guidebooks

Guidebook Platform is a cloud-based content management solution designed to help businesses of all sizes in the travel industry provide local recommendations and property information to customers. Key features include custom greet...Read more about Hostfully Guidebooks

4.8 (121 reviews)

17 recommendations

WebRezPro

FrontRunners 2024

WebRezPro is a cloud-based hospitality property management solution designed specifically for the hospitality and hotel industry. The solution helps a broad range of hospitality segments including hotels, inns, lodges, cabins, cam...Read more about WebRezPro

4.6 (190 reviews)

9 recommendations

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IQware

IQware's Property Management System (IQpms) is a comprehensive Hospitality solution designed to enhance RevPAR and effectively meet the distinct needs of various accommodations, ranging from small to large Hotels, Condo-Hotels, Re...Read more about IQware

3.4 (15 reviews)

9 recommendations

Escapia

Escapia is a proven, full-featured vacation rental software offering business guidance you can trust and automation to simplify. With innovative tools backed by Expedia Group data, it’s never been easier to optimize your property ...Read more about Escapia

4.5 (147 reviews)

8 recommendations

CiiRUS

FrontRunners 2024

CiiRUS is a vacation rental management solution that offers reservation management, quotes, website management, marketing, accounting and reporting features within a suite. The product is available both in cloud-based and on-premi...Read more about CiiRUS

4.4 (91 reviews)

6 recommendations

Lodgify

FrontRunners 2024

Lodgify is the #1 All-In-One Vacation Rental Software that simplifies the process of managing a vacation rental business. Easily create a bookable website, synchronize property data and availability across other channels, and mana...Read more about Lodgify

Guesty For Hosts

Guesty is an end-to-end property management software for short-term property managers managing 4+ listings and hosts with 1-3 listings looking to save time, increase revenue and grow their businesses. The software allows users t...Read more about Guesty For Hosts

RMS Cloud

RMS is a global provider of innovative, cloud-based technology solutions for the outdoor hospitality industry. By offering business insights, best practices and user-friendly software, RMS enables campgrounds, National Parks, RV p...Read more about RMS Cloud

eviivo

FrontRunners 2024

eviivo Suite is an award-winning booking and property management platform, trusted by over 26,000 accommodations globally. It is designed to help accommodation businesses of all types and sizes go further, faster, and simplify wit...Read more about eviivo

ResNexus

FrontRunners 2024

AWARD-WINNING RESERVATION SOFTWARE TRUSTED BY THOUSANDS OF PROPERTIES! ResNexus is a cloud-based property management software that helps increase reservations and revenue. As an all-in-one solution, ResNexus provides a beautifu...Read more about ResNexus

Cloudbeds

Cloudbeds is an easy-to-use hotel management suite that offers hoteliers and hosts a centralized solution to help run their property simply and effectively. With Cloudbeds, you have one login, one system that is always in sync. O...Read more about Cloudbeds

Checkfront

Checkfront is a cloud-based business management software designed for tour operators, rental companies and accommodation providers. It offers booking and activity management, reservations and payment processing. Checkfront fe...Read more about Checkfront

eZee Absolute

FrontRunners 2024

eZee Absolute from eZee Technosys is a cloud-based solution designed to help hotels of different sizes and types in handling their day-to-day operations. The solution has a property management system with multi-property support, a...Read more about eZee Absolute

Rent Manager

Rent Manager is award-winning property management software built for residential, commercial, association, manufactured housing, self-storage, and short-term-stay portfolios of any size. The program’s fully customizable features i...Read more about Rent Manager

Guesty

Guesty is more than just a property management software; it's an all-encompassing hospitality operations platform designed for the modern needs of property managers and hospitality companies. This platform stands out in the indust...Read more about Guesty

iGMS

iGMS is the only vacation rental software that automates up to 90% of daily hosting tasks & management. Easily control all OTA accounts like Airbnb, Booking.com, & Vrbo from one multi-calendar. Grow direct bookings with our intuit...Read more about iGMS

innRoad

FrontRunners 2024

innRoad's award-winning property management system is trusted by thousands of hoteliers across the globe. With this all in one solution, you can manage your property from any device, anywhere in the world. innRoad is designed to m...Read more about innRoad

Bookerville

FrontRunners 2024

Bookerville is a cloud-based vacation rental management solution that helps property owners with booking management, contact generation, calendar synchronization and channel management. Bookerville’s channel management featur...Read more about Bookerville

Buyers Guide

Last Updated: March 16, 2023

If you own property in a hot tourist spot, it’s never been easier to make some extra money by leasing it out as a vacation rental.

Companies such as Airbnb and HomeAway have greatly simplified the process, working as listing services or marketplace brokers for long- and short-term properties. You might use these services to rent your apartment during a local festival or to professionally rent a large number of properties. Either way, vacation rental software can help you manage your properties in a more efficient—and profitable—way.

This buyer’s guide will explain what vacation rental software can do for you. We’ll also examine specific features you should take into consideration when you’re looking for a vacation rental system.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

What Is Vacation Rental Software?

Common Features of Vacation Rental Software

What Type of Buyer Are You?

Key Considerations

Market Trends to Understand

What Is Vacation Rental Software?

Vacation rental software helps you manage, maintain and run a short-term rental property. It could be a small apartment in a big city that you rent out a couple of weekends a year, or a lakehouse that you lease throughout the year.

These properties are not hotels or bed-and-breakfasts, which rent out multiple rooms in the same building to multiple guests. Instead, these are discrete units (whether individual buildings or specific apartments within a larger complex) rented out individually.

As such, owners and managers of vacation rental properties face different challenges than hotel managers, and they require a different type of software solution to traditional hotel management software. In fact, vacation rental systems have as much in common with property management software as they do with hotel management systems.

Vacation rental management software combines the most important software functions used by both hotel and property managers. These tools address the specific needs of vacation rental property owners and managers, no matter the size of their portfolio.

Common Features of Vacation Rental Software

Common features found in vacation rental management systems include:

Booking management

Track who is renting your property during which dates, so you never accidentally double-book or lose a reservation. Maintain a database of previous renters. Some systems will allow you to accept bookings from third-party online travel brokers.

Billing and invoicing

Create invoices and collect payment from renters, including deposits for reservations.

Generate key documents

Produce rental agreements, marketing/promotional materials and other important documents and emails with customizable templates.

Housekeeping and maintenance management

Manage cleaning schedules, so your property stays in good shape. Track maintenance issues to make sure all complaints are taken care of and everything remains up to code.

Accounting

More robust systems include accounting and financial functions, including trust accounting—to keep business finances separate from personal accounts—as well as tracking important tax information.

Website management

Create a website for your properties that makes it easy to accept online reservations. The reservations will be automatically stored and updated in your booking management module.

Calendar

A detailed, customized and automatically updated calendar that tracks all of your bookings and facilities management schedules. You can also set alerts and reminders about important matters that need to be taken care of at specific times, and to send your customers alerts and reminders about their upcoming stay.

Interface/integration

Interface with a listing service such as HomeAway, Airbnb, TripAdvisor etc. so you can accept bookings, update your calendar accordingly and keep your listings up-to-date.

Reservations-dashboard-in-vacation-rental-software-platform,-Streamline

Streamline’s reservations dashboard

What Type of Buyer Are You?

Vacation rental software buyers all have one key thing in common—they own a property (or multiple properties) that they’re want to lease out for short-term stays. However, needs vary among buyers, depending on the number of properties owned and the level of independence of the manager.

Most of these buyers will fall into one of the following three categories:

  • Independent owner/manager with one property. These are individuals or families who rent out a single property as a way to make extra money, but usually not as a primary source of income. The property may be one that the owner lives in, which is rented when the owner is out of town, or it may be a separate property the owner rents out throughout the year. These buyers do not need a particularly robust vacation rental system. A system that manages the basics of booking management and billing/invoicing, as well as integration with popular online listing services, will likely be enough.

  • Independent owner/manager with multiple properties. These buyers are individuals or families who manage several properties, either as an extra way to make money or as a primary source of income. They require a slightly more complex system in order to track bookings, maintenance needs, billing and invoicing etc. across multiple properties.

  • Rental property businesses. These are fully incorporated businesses that rent out numerous properties at multiple locations. They require the most robust software to both manage their properties and keep information (and access to information) consistent across multiple employees. They will also likely have additional business software needs, such as human resources and customer relationship management.

Key Considerations

The market for vacation rental systems includes vendors ready to meet a variety of levels of functionality.You can find a system that fits your specific needs, based on the size and scale of the properties you manage and rent, without having to pay extra for features that you don’t really need. If you do need those features, however, they are available in more robust systems.

Still, there are additional considerations to bear in mind when choosing a software product:

Legal compliance. Housing and property codes are constantly being updated, and a vacation rental system can help you make sure all your properties remain in compliance with both local and national requirements as they change. This is a feature of larger, more robust systems.

Separation of accounts. If you make enough income from your rental properties that you want to create a separate business entity to manage them, you will want to keep your financial accounting for that business separate from your personal accounts. A robust vacation rental system will assist you with this trust accounting.

However, if you are only managing one or two properties, avoid systems that exceed your needs. You will likely be fine with a simple system that integrates with a service such as HomeAway or Airbnb, generates bills and invoices and helps you track your contacts and financial information.

Market Trends to Understand

Here are some important market trends that may factor into your choice of a vacation rental system:

Third-party brokers. The current model for vacation rentals relies overwhelmingly on popular third-party websites (Airbnb, HomeAway, TripAdvisor etc.) that essentially serve as brokers between property owners/managers and renters. They provide searchable listings that put your property in front of more prospective renters’ eyes in exchange for service fees charged to both you and the renter. Unless you are a larger business with multiple properties, you almost certainly want to be listed on the most popular sites, so you should choose software that integrates with theirs.

Cloud-based software. Cloud-based systems have dramatically increased in popularity of late because of their relative benefits compared to on-premise systems. Whereas on-premise software requires hardware and some level of IT knowledge, these cloud-based systems are more easily and quickly implemented. They also tend to have lower costs up front. This makes cloud-based systems well suited for smaller businesses.

Mobile functionality. Mobile access is increasingly important to travelers on-the-go. As a result, renters will expect to be able to access your software and information from a phone, tablet or other mobile device. This functionality can be useful for property managers as well, enabling them to make notations while on-site at a property or as they travel between them.