Before the age of the Internet, vacation rentals were advertised in the classified sections of the newspaper, or promotional brochures or booked through word-out-mouth recommendations.
However, in recent years, the market has completely transformed due to modern technological advancements.
Whether you are a new business entering into the vacation rental industry or a business that’s been in the industry for years, technology can truly help you to achieve your goals.
From helping business owners to increase direct bookings to maximizing profitability, technology can also save their effort, precious time, and money by automating repetitive tasks.
This is when vacation rental software becomes significant.
A vacation rental software is an all-in-one solution that has been designed to make things simple for businesses by bringing together the different functions to effectively and efficiently run a profitable vacation rental business.
When deciding whether to choose management software for your vacation rental business, it is important to consider the benefits against the costs.
While business owners may be hesitant to add it to the list of business costs, the value of management software is worth the money spent.
Let’s look into the benefits it offers for your business.
Benefits of vacation rental software- why should you get one?
According to studies, over 80% of global travel booking is done online.
Hence, it is important to have an online presence for your vacation rental business.
That is where vacation rental software comes into play.
Not just website building, having a vacation rental software for your rental property serves a number of purposes.
Let’s take a brief look at some of the most important benefits.
Potential customers will see everything you want them to
Having your own vacation rental website is going to give you the opportunity to showcase your businesses in a way other listing channels cannot provide.
You can put up high-quality images and in-depth descriptions of the properties, amenities, etc. without any constraints.
In contrast, all other listing channels come with different restrictions on descriptive content and image.
Potential guests will not be tempted to choose a competitor
This applies if you are a vacation rental business with a lot of rental homes and you are planning to list your properties alone.
This will present you with an opportunity to exclusively showcase your own properties so that potential guests will not be tempted to choose a competitor.
However, if you are planning to build a peer-peer vacation rental platform, this doesn’t apply, but your customers will have a lot of choices and varieties in one place which is again great.
Having a vacation rental property website allows you to be more visible and seen by more people.
It also means a better chance of appearing in search results.
You will also be able to advertise your business to your website that belongs to you instead of listing channels like landing pages as this violates the terms and service of most advertising platforms like Google AdWords.
Software features you need
Before diving into the core matter of the cost of vacation rental software, you must know about the important features your vacation rental platform must-have, which will add up to the cost.
Here are some of the core features and functionalities of vacation rental software.
Advanced search functionality is vital for any vacation rental software.
Users must be able to search for vacation rentals by dates, number of guests, and other filters.
Additionally, users must be able to choose the appropriate accommodation, check their availability, and place booking requests.
The reservation calendar
The reservation or booking calendar is an integral part of any vacation rental management software.
It holds all your bookings visually while keeping track of guest’s booking and reservation information.
The calendar will automatically pin bookings and allow you to split reservations and schedule them without losing the information.
Integration of Map
Map integration allows users to search for an exact location, check different spots on the map, and spot accommodations to choose.
Map localization also allows seeing the routes and neighbourhoods in concurrence to the location.
This is another significant feature of your vacation rental software as knowing how and when to collect payments is important.
Vacation rentals usually take payments before arrival along with other methods of billing like charging on arrival or departure.
If you are running an Airbnb-like business, you also need to integrate escrow payment into your software that allows you to hold the payment until a transaction is completed.
You can set up commissions and transaction fees that allow you to generate revenue from each transaction that happens on your website.
Guest communication within the software is increasingly important as it facilitates improving the trust between users.
Potential guests will have a lot of questions when making a reservation or after scheduling a booking.
Not just that, a well-thought communication strategy will help you to deliver a stellar customer experience to your users and maximizing the number of bookings on your vacation rental platform.
A notification system is useful to make your vacation rental platform convenient to use. For instance, when the guest makes a request, the owner gets instant notifications.
Service providers can also be notified about unchecked requests, booking changes, cancellations, and more.
Review and rating system
Review and rating system allows travellers to express their feedback on your vacation rental platform allowing users to get an overview of the accommodation quality before making the booking.
Likewise, hosts will also be able to leave reviews for users.
What to consider when choosing a vacation rental software
Deciding to leverage the functionalities of vacation rental software is a huge step for businesses.
When you consider the cost of vacation rental software, there are other major factors to consider to make the best decision.
Knowing the right questions to ask in the early stage will help you in filtering out service providers with hidden fees.
So here are some of the things to consider when calculating the vacation rental software cost.
The level of tech support included
As most vacation rental management software comes with the fee included for support, it is beneficial to ask in advance what level of technical support is included with the package.
While some service providers offer you free support for a limited period, some offer long term support for a fee.
Opting for technical support even if it includes a fee is recommended as you will have access to the customer support team to guide you through step-by-step instructions in case of any doubts.
Does the software include an online booking engine?
To accept direct bookings for vacation rentals, choose software that comes with an integrated booking engine.
Some providers charge an extra fee for this feature so it is better to check before you sign the contract.
You must be able to readily accept online bookings and credit card payment directly via your business website.
Does it provide any features to optimize your website?
Having a vacation rental platform is one thing and optimizing it for search engines is another thing.
If the vacation rental software you are choosing doesn’t allow you to build a mobile-friendly website, create a personalized domain, or brand it according to your requirements, it won’t have a positive impact on your business as you expect.
Choose a vacation rental software that comes with SEO integration that helps you to optimize your vacation rental website effortlessly.
Are you gaining access to all the features?
This might be surprising to hear initially, but yes, some service providers offer services based on how much you are willing to pay.
The low-price plans come with access to certain features only and the more expensive ones will have a full range of features and functionalities.
Look for a vacation rental software that gives you access to all key features like website builder, booking and reservation system, multiple payment integration, SEO integration, etc.
Cost of vacation rental software
If you are running on a tight budget, it is recommended to choose a vacation rental software that comes with all the features and functionalities for an attractive price.
And, there is nothing better than ready-made scripts. A ready-made script is ready to deploy a software program that will help you create a vacation rental business like Airbnb with all the similar functionalities.
Airbnb clone script’s come with all standard features you must have in your vacation rental platform.
Ready-made scripts are 100% customizable and it is easy to incorporate personalization of any level to make your vacation rental platform unique.
Airbnb clone scripts are mobile-friendly and work great in both iOS and Android browsers.
A good Airbnb clone script comes equipped with all advanced features like search, guest-host communication, multi-currency support, admin dashboard, monetization features, server requirements, etc.
When you choose a ready-made vacation rental software, it is more than a one-time deal.
You get everything with a single time payment and you just have to pay for specific customizations if any.
The cost to build a vacation rental management platform using a readymade script might come around just $600-$2000 including all the significant customizations your business requires.
On a global scale, vacation rental software has become such a hit that businesses are trying to build their own vacation rental management platforms.
Not only it helps to increase the number of bookings and save admin time, but it also helps to organize all booking details in your vacation rental platform.
Choosing a ready-made vacation rental software could be a better alternative over other software or building the website from scratch, as it is a cost-effective solution that offers much value to your business.