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Optimising and scaling vacation rental software

Your vacation rental property management software represents a significant cost and time investment, so it’s understandable for you to want the most out of it. You might not be able to get the full potential out of the software, but you can maximise its usefulness to your business. 

Use the full potential of vacation rental property software

Cars don’t go to 0 to 60 mph right away, and neither does software. Maximising vacation rental software happens in stages. You’ll have to build up to it, stacking knowledge and familiarity with the software until you’re in a position to safely throw something new into the mix.

Focus on your core functions first. Get the software up and running to the point that it can assist with the regular day to day tasks without any issues. Make sure your team is well-versed enough in the tool to be able to run it on their own. This will give you room to start experimenting. 

Another reason to prioritise core functions is so you have time to work out the rough spots in your new process. Is collecting security deposits still a problem? Maybe you should look into that issue. Are you still sending guest messages manually? That might have to be the next feature you explore. 

A needs-based approach is usually better than picking a feature and finding a use for it. In the former, you’re solving an existing problem that you already have an ideal solution for. In the latter, it’s a solution in need of a problem. 

That said, you can still definitely explore a new feature to see if it can add value. Ask yourself the following questions as you try it out:

  • How would this benefit the guests?
  • How would this benefit the team?
  • How much work would it take to set this up and run?
  • Would it be worth the effort?

If the feature passes this little “value” test, then treat it as another mini-implementation. Plan out how to leverage it, line up all the assets you need (templates, manpower, etc), and train people on its use. 

One notable kind of feature that you should always set up is automation.

Optimise through automation

Automation is one of the main reasons property managers use vacation rental property software. It’s a great time saver and an incredible convenience for you and your guests. As you explore your new software, look for any opportunities to streamline job functions. 

For example, you can automate the sending of guest messages so that guests are properly informed of booking details, house rules, and even directions to your property—all without you having to lift a finger. You can also automate things like price changes, courtesy of a dynamic pricing app integration. Use automation wherever and whenever you can. 

If you’re an advanced user and are comfortable adding some complexity to your workflow, you can go to sites like Zapier. They are basically app connectors that let you link two online services together. It’s very good for creating clever and useful new short-term rental workflows

You could, for instance, use Zapier to connect your vacation rental property management software with Twilio SMS, and configure it to send you text alerts whenever you get a new booking. Or have Quickbooks Online create sales receipts. It’s flexible and it’s rewarding, if you can find the right application.

Scaling operations

You’ll eventually want to expand your short-term rental operations into more regions, and add more properties to your portfolio. If you choose right, your vacation rental property software should be able to grow along with you.

It should be a simple matter to just add more properties to the system, but it may raise your rates depending on how you’re being charged. This shouldn’t come as a surprise—not if you made an appropriate TCO calculation when you first signed up. Double-check the prices before you do, just in case rates change. 

By the way, automation will be even more important as you add more listings, so start that process immediately if you haven’t already.

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Read more about what you need to look out for when assessing what vacation rental software to buy.