January 26, 2023
The vacation rental property management industry faces challenges unlike most others. From labor shortages and productivity concerns to data security and profitability, managers and owners have to solve a variety of business problems every day.
Fortunately, technology can be the solution. All-in-one vacation rental management software can protect your business, increase productivity, provide needed business intelligence, streamline operations, and improve guest satisfaction.
4 Vacation Rental Software Features You Need
As you research, ensure that these four critical features are included in any software solution you consider.
1. Security Systems
Vacation rental property management software stores sensitive information about reservations & guest information. More importantly, it maintains information that is legally required to meet strict security standards.
Online vacation rental reservations are typically made with credit card payments. When accepting credit cards online, you must adhere to PCI compliance including the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) and Payment Application Data Security Standard (PA SDD). There are 12 essential requirements as well as over 400 test processes included in PCI standards.
Failure to comply with these standards may result in data breaches, a tarnished reputation, financial penalties, and legal action, so security considerations are extremely important.
Utilizing a cloud-based property management system (PMS) can ensure that all of your sensitive confidential guest information, business data, and critical payment card data are kept secure.
2. Automation and Reporting Tools
Automation is everywhere, and profitable business operations all but require the use of automation to streamline operations.
Automation tools for vacation rental management increase productivity by eliminating those manual administrative tasks that shouldn’t — but do — get in the way of critical guest experience responsibilities and operational and financial management.
In the vacation rental industry, automation can streamline numerous day-to-day processes for your staff. For example, check-in, reservation changes, housekeeping, and check-out activities can all be automated. In fact, if you find a software solution that doesn’t offer a self-service guest portal, you may struggle with operational excellence.
In addition, automated reporting tools eliminate the need for you to manually run the financial and other data reports you need to make effective decisions about your business and your rental properties. In fact, solutions that offer robust integration with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) tools for visual storytelling make it easier than ever to make the right decisions.
3. Reservation Management Systems
Managing the reservation process is a common feature of most vacation rental software solutions. For a competitive edge, the right platform will help you streamline the process from start to finish, and you should confirm that the software you are considering includes these top features.
Mobile-Responsive Reservations. Nearly 50% of all online travel bookings take place on smartphones. Unless your reservation system is responsive on mobile devices, you may alienate your guests who get frustrated with the booking process and turn to your competitors.
Direct Online Booking. One of the most effective ways to increase your gross rental revenue is by allowing your guests to make reservations directly on your vacation rental website. Direct online booking avoids online travel agency (OTA) fees and can offer a simplified, professional, and branded reservation process to your guests.
Robust Channel Management. Even with direct online booking, you may opt to keep listing your vacation rentals on OTAs. Vacation rental management software can help you:
Manage multiple external channels
Ensure consistent rates across platforms
Avoid overbooking with real-time reservation updates
Dynamic Pricing. Manual rate changes based on holidays, seasons, or when occupancy is low can be tedious. A dynamic pricing tool leverages AI, enabling you to “set it and forget it” with predefined rate rules that automatically apply to your rates in real time.
4. Improved Guest Experience With AI Technologies
Vacation rental management is all about delivering an exceptional guest experience. AI technologies can give customers seamless communication, offer virtual or augmented reality experiences, and use facial recognition to replace guest keys.
Chatbots combine both AI and ML to answer customer questions and automate tasks. According to Insider Intelligence, chatbots are preferred by almost 40% of internet users globally over speaking with a person. Your guests can receive answers to their questions quickly and throughout the day and night while letting your staff focus on guest needs and on other operational tasks.
Virtual reality (VR) has been around for quite some time, and some of your competitors are probably already using it. Providing a 360-degree view of your rental properties lets your guests “virtually” tour the accommodations before booking a stay. VR is both a powerful marketing and a guest experience tool as it allows guests to reserve rentals that truly meet their preferences.
A final example of AI is facial recognition. When physical keys or digital codes are replaced by facial recognition, your guests can enjoy a stress-free vacation without keeping up with keys or remembering pesky entry codes.
Find the Ultimate All-in-One Vacation Rental Management Solution
When you need a solution to business challenges, you want to find the right one. You’ve learned about four key features you need to streamline your vacation rental management, but there are more features to explore.
Download our Ultimate Guide to all-in-one property management systems for a side-by-side comparison of top-rated hotel and vacation rental platforms, learn how to measure success, and more.