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Hostaway

FrontRunners 2024

Imagine a world where managing your vacation rentals is not just efficient, but effortless. Enter Hostaway—the premier all-in-one solution for property managers who demand the best. Hostaway doesn’t just organize your business, it...Read more about Hostaway

4.8 (1006 reviews)

19 recommendations

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

Smoobu

FrontRunners 2024

Smoobu is an online vacation rental solution designed to help businesses streamline processes related to reservations, communications, guest experience and more. It comes with a channel manager, which lets users connect the platfo...Read more about Smoobu

Lodgix

Lodgix is a cloud-based vacation rental solution that provides tools for online booking, guest management and accounting for owners, vacation rental managers and boutique hotels. The Lodgix inquiry system helps customers fin...Read more about Lodgix

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

Semper

Semper is a Property Management System that helps hoteliers manage their properties better so that they can increase revenue, improve guest satisfaction and save time. The software is either locally installed on premises or can be...Read more about Semper

ResortCleaning

ResortCleaning is a vacation rental software that provides property managers, housekeepers and service companies the tools to overcome the chaos of managing accommodations and the stability to grow their businesses....Read more about ResortCleaning

RentalReady

RentalReady streamlines all the time consuming and repetitive tasks of your short-term rental business. Property Management Software Centralized system for all your needs Created by the GuestReady Group, one of the largest proper...Read more about RentalReady

Duve

Duve is an end-to-end guest management system helping hoteliers digitize their hotel, hostel, or vacation rentals, increase profitability, improve performance, and offer an elevated guest experience. The platform allows hotelier...Read more about Duve

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

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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

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LiveRez

LiveRez goes beyond the standard vacation rental management software. With LiveRez, you can replace your accounting software, booking software, CRM, and operations software. Add to that an included brand-new website that’s built t...Read more about LiveRez

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Your.Rentals

FrontRunners 2024

Your.Rentals is a cloud-based vacation rental management solution that helps property managers and homeowners to list their properties on various short-term rental websites such as Airbnb, Vrbo, Booking.com, TripAdvisor and more. ...Read more about Your.Rentals

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BrightSide Rental Management

BrightSide is a cloud-based vacation rental solution that caters to rental agencies and property management companies. It offers tools that enable users to manage rentals, reservations, housekeeping, maintenance, accounting, emplo...Read more about BrightSide Rental Management

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Operto Teams

Operto Teams (formerly VRScheduler) is the best software for managing vacation rental operations. It gives you a complete view of information on tasks, staff, vendors, issues, owners, and properties. Staff in the field use a mo...Read more about Operto Teams

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365villas

FrontRunners 2024

Enhance your vacation rental business with 365Villas' software solutions built on industry-leading Integrated Architecture. Our powerful vacation rental software goes beyond the industry standard, providing you with the tools and ...Read more about 365villas

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Rentals United

Rentals United is a cloud-based channel management solution, which assists vacation rental managers with management of online reservations and guest communications. Key features include room bookings, pricing analysis, messaging a...Read more about Rentals United

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Bookster

Bookster is a cloud-based vacation rental solution that helps businesses in the tourism and hospitality industries to manage bookings and collect payments. Key features include guest review management, arrival reports, email mar...Read more about Bookster

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CiiRUS

FrontRunners 2024

CiiRUS is a premier vacation rental management software offering a comprehensive suite of tools to streamline operations and boost revenue for property managers. Key features include advanced reservation management, automated gues...Read more about CiiRUS

4.4 (91 reviews)

3 recommendations

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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

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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.