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04/24/2017

3 Steps for Choosing Vacation Rental Software

For lodging owners and managers, having an online presence with a business website is critical to increasing bookings and building a brand. However, it can be difficult to know which website builder or software solution to choose. In this article, Lodgify discusses three important steps hospitality businesses should follow to help them choose a vacation rental software.
 
Step 1. Compare prices
While it’s not the most important aspect of the software, comparing prices from the outset can provide you with a good general overview of what you can expect to pay. Even better, if you already have a specific budget in mind that you don’t want to exceed, you can immediately rule out any options that far surpass this figure.
 
It’s important to consider all costs that will be incurred with each software option and how you are expected to pay. For example, most vacation rental software services charge a monthly or yearly fee depending on your subscription type. Though it’s still possible there may be other added costs that aren’t included in this base fee. Some of those added costs could be:
  • Subscription or set-up charges
  • Commissions for each booking
  • Software update fees
  • Support service charges
 

Step 2. Compare the features you need
When picking a vacation rental software solution, you need to ensure it has all the functions and capabilities that your business demands. It should also make your job easier and more enjoyable – not harder and more complicated.
 
Overall, optimized vacation rental software will consist of the following components:
 
Website builder
To get your business online in the first place, you’re going to need to build a website for your company. With little-to-no web design knowledge, creating a website can be a very daunting task. Choosing a software with an integrated website builder that comes with preloaded, customizable templates which you can easily personalize to suit your brand can be beneficial.
 
Intuitive drag-and-drop web builders are often the simplest solution to help you get your website up and running within minutes.
 
Booking system
With the number of travelers now booking their accommodations over the internet, your website won’t go far if it doesn’t have an inbuilt booking system to facilitate this need. This feature should allow you to securely accept online bookings and payments (e.g. by credit card) in a wide variety of currencies.
 
Reservation system
A reservation system that’s optimized for vacation rentals will allow you to manage all of your bookings from one centralized place. That includes everything from your booking calendar to your incoming inquiries, quote management, payment scheduling and even handling cancellations.
 
Channel manager
The final feature a good vacation rental software will boast is a channel manager which allows you to synchronize external channels and listings with your business website. Having a channel manager in place helps avoid double bookings for your rental as your listings and multiple calendars across the web are always consistent and up-to-date.
 
Step 3. Compare additional benefits
Each software is different, so it’s likely that each provider has some additional advantages to using their service. Here are a few ideas of bonus features for which you can look:
 
Free trial
One of the most basic extras software providers can offer is a free trial. Usually this is for 14 days. This should be more than enough time to test the product and its different functions before making your final decision – without any obligation to commit.
 
Easy-to-use
If it seems like you’re going to need a Ph.D. in computer science to get your head around the software, it’s probably best to move on to the next choice. Vacation rental software caters to a very specific market, and it should be built to make your life easier – not more difficult. You should be able to make the edits you want, when you want, without having to spend hours reading a user’s manual to get there.
 
Flexibility
The software you choose should be as flexible as your business requires. This isn't just referring to being tied into a contract (though you should always check if there is a minimum contract length), but also rest assured that if your business grows or changes, you can adapt your website accordingly.