Free Resources for Property Managers

7 Best Property Management Software for Vacation Rentals

201 views May 14, 2024 Karina Jugo 0

Unlocking the potential of your vacation rental business begins with efficient property management and in today’s digital age, the key lies in innovative software solutions. 

Whether you’re a seasoned property owner or just venturing into the world of short-term rentals, harnessing the power of property management software can streamline operations, maximize profits, and elevate guest experiences. 

Join us as we delve into the transformative realm of vacation rental software, exploring its myriad benefits and how the best software solutions are revolutionizing the way property owners manage their accommodations.

What is a property management software for vacation rentals?

Property management software for vacation rentals is a comprehensive digital solution designed to streamline and automate the various tasks associated with managing short-term rental properties. 

From handling bookings and reservations to managing guest communications, coordinating maintenance, and tracking finances, this specialized software centralizes all aspects of property management into one user-friendly platform.

Features such as calendar synchronization, online booking, automated messaging, and performance analytics empower property owners to efficiently oversee their rentals, enhance guest satisfaction, and optimize revenue generation.

How we selected the best management tools for vacation rentals

A rigorous evaluation was conducted to zero in on top-rated property management software for vacation rentals. We scrutinized features like booking management, guest communication, maintenance coordination, and financial tracking. 

We also scoured online user reviews for insights into real-world performance and satisfaction. Pricing models were compared for affordability and emphasis was placed on suitability and ease of use, both for owners and guests.

As a result, this comprehensive approach yielded a well-rounded assessment in selecting the best software solutions tailored for vacation rentals.

6 best property management tools for vacation rentals 

The top 6 property management software for vacation rentals based on features and user reviews are:

  • Airbnb for owners of diverse vacation rental properties
  • Guesty for owners of up to 3 vacation homes
  • Lodgify for owners looking to grow their rental portfolio
  • Hostaway for more experienced owners and property managers with 10+ properties
  • OwnerRez for owners using multiple listing sites
  • Hostfully for property owners on the go

NOTE: With the advent of technological trends reshaping the industry, the landscape of property management software can evolve rapidly. We recommend researching the latest options and reading reviews regularly to find the best fit for your needs.

1. Airbnb

airbnb dashboard

Best for: Owners of diverse vacation rental properties

Airbnb pros: 

  • Takes the hassle off accepting and charging bookings manually
  • Eliminates advertising and marketing costs
  • Wider audience reach with its global platform

Airbnb cons: 

  • High commission fees take a significant chunk off potential earnings
  • Insufficient guest screening and vetting procedures increase liability risks
  • Fierce competition from other Airbnb rentals

Free plan: Yes

Pricing: Split fee (3% owner/14.2%-16.5% guest) or Host-only fee (14%–16%)

Founded in 2008, Airbnb has revolutionized the hospitality industry with its online platform for booking unique and personalized accommodations and experiences typically priced lower than hotels. 

Acting as an intermediary, Airbnb functions as an intermediary that facilitates transactions between hosts and guests and collects a commission for each successful booking. The company’s innovative approach has propelled it to the forefront of the short-term rental market, making it a household name for travelers seeking alternative lodging options.

Key features

  • Diverse inventory ranging from studios, apartments, and houses to cabins, treehouses, mansions and castles
  • Free listing of property information and host info
  • Customizable searches by date, location, price, property type,  amenities, and language of host
  • Value-based pricing
  • Multi-currency support
  • Instant booking and in-app messaging
  • Check-in and check-out capabilities
  • 24/7 concierge service and key exchange outsourcing

airbnb review

back to top

2. Guesty

guesty property management software for vacation rentals

Suitable for: Owners of 1-3 vacation homes

Guesty pros: 

  • Multi-language capabilities
  • Full white-labeling capabilities enable personal branding
  • Clear reports detail annual/monthly revenues per property, highlighting notable trends and providing property comparisons 
  • Full integration with major booking platforms 

Guesty cons: 

  • Extra features come at an added cost
  • Price is significantly higher than comparable software
  • Lacks social media integration or plugins
  • Can benefit from multi-currency support

Free plan: No

Pricing: Starts at $49 for a single property with a 10% discount on annual subscriptions.

Guesty is a cloud-based property management platform that automates various aspects of vacation rental management, including pricing, bookings, listings, messaging, reviews, and staff scheduling. 

The software provides a unified dashboard for managing multiple properties across various booking platforms. Guesty streamlines operations and enhances service quality with reporting capabilities and 24/7 guest communication.

Key features

  • Guest arrival form
  • Guest language detection
  • Auto inquiry response and reviews
  • Calendar syncing across all listing platforms
  • Smart pricing integration
  • Automated payment processing
  • Deposit management
  • Income reporting
  • Task automation and cleaning management
  • Smart lock automation
  • Unified inbox
  • Damage protection and compensation

guesty review

back to top

3. Lodgify

vacation rental property software

Suitable for: Investors looking to grow their rental portfolio

Lodgify pros: 

  • Free domain to establish brand online and facilitate direct bookings
  • Dedicated guest app on higher-tier plans
  • Available in 32 languages

Lodgify cons: 

  • Cleaning and task management available only on Ultimate plan ($59/month)
  • Charges a booking fee on its Starter plan
  • Higher service fee for client payments compared to other booking platforms

Free plan: No

Pricing: Starts at $13/month + 1.9% booking fee

Lodgify is another leading vacation rental software that allows users to create a bookable website, sync property data across channels, and automate business operations. It connects to major booking platforms through its channel manager. The platform works for both single property owners and large property managers. The company, founded in 2012, is headquartered in Spain.

Key features

  • Professional-looking bookable website 
  • Channel manager distributes listings across various channels
  • Secure reservation and payment system
  • Mobile app for on-the-go access
  • Free domain and onboarding sessions
  • No booking fee on higher-tier plans
  • Advanced guest messaging
  • Damage protection pre-authorization
  • Google vacation rental listing
  • Dedicated guest app for better stay experiences
  • Priority customer support on higher-tier plans

back to top

4. Hostaway

short term rental software

Suitable for: More experienced property managers with 10+ properties

Hostaway pros: 

  • Centralized hub for managing marketing, sales, accounting, reporting, payments, and communications
  • Deep channel integration
  • Customizable fields for financial reporting

Hostaway cons: 

  • No defined pricing structure
  • More expensive than most rental software
  • No free trial

Free plan: No

Pricing: Not available (estimated at $50 per property/month)

Hostaway is an all-in-one vacation rental software that automates and optimizes property management operations. It enables centralized management, cross-platform listing integration, dynamic pricing, and a direct booking site to increase profitability and occupancy for property managers. Hostaway began operations in 2015 and is based in Finland.

Key features

  • Proprietary channel manager (syncs with Airbnb, Vrbo, Booking.com, Expedia, Marriott, etc to avoid double bookings)
  • Direct booking tools including a WordPress website and booking engine
  • User-friendly dashboard and mobile app
  • Automated messaging, tasks, and pricing adjustments
  • Unified inbox
  • Centralized reservation system
  • Smart lock connectivity
  • Team-friendly platform
  • Multiple users with limited access restrictions
  • Customizable solutions for enterprise customers

back to top

5. OwnerRez

property management software vacation rentals

Suitable for: Vacation rental property owners using multiple listing sites

OwnerRez pros: 

  • User-friendly interface
  • Extensive documentation features
  • Easy calendar integration format

OwnerRez cons: 

Free plan: 14-day free trial

Pricing: starts at $40/month (volume-based)

OwnerRez is a comprehensive vacation rental management platform that integrates with channels, handles bookings, and processes payments. It also enables guest communication and provides websites, insurance, and accounting integrations, as well as advanced features to streamline operations for multi-property owners. OwnerRez was founded in 2012 by US-based vacation rental owners and property managers.

Key features

  • Channel management
  • Messaging
  • Hosted websites
  • Accounting
  • Payment processing
  • Property Management (PM)
  •  Integrations 
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
  • Electronic signatures
  • Auto-responders
  • Call center with VOIP calling, voicemail, and SMS integration on Premium plan

review property management software vacation rentals

back to top

6. Hostfully

property management software short term rental

Suitable for: Property owners and hosts on-the-go

Hostfully pros: 

  • Pay only for properties with check-ins after the first two
  • Double-booking protection
  • Multi-lingual and AI-enabled

Hostfully cons: 

  • Lacks marketing capabilities
  • No online signature tools
  • No phone and 24/7 customer support

Free plan: 14-day free trial

Pricing: Starts at $40/month for 1-2 properties

Hostfully is a leading short-term rental management software with advanced features for managing guest interactions. Its AI-powered system can recognize and respond to common guest inquiries across 29 languages and also automates task scheduling and calendar syncing across major rental platforms. It also provides direct booking websites and Google Vacation Rentals integration. What started as a tool for a single host has grown into a solution that has helped thousands of hosts worldwide manage over 300,000 listings.

Key features

  • Guest communication and unified inbox
  • Channel manager
  • Team collaboration
  • Task management
  • Analytics and Reporting
  • Manual reservation
  • Direct booking website
  • Double-booking protection
  • Pricing Sync
  • Review management
  • Smart locks integration                                                                      

back to top

What makes the best property management software for vacation rentals?

The most comprehensive vacation rental platforms provide end-to-end functionality to optimize and scale vacation rental operations. This means handling the core operational aspects of running a short-term rental business seamlessly, from booking and guest communication to financial management. 

Let’s take a look at vital features that make the ideal property management software for vacation rental properties.

Booking and Reservation Management

This feature is a core component that directly impacts operational efficiency for hosts and the overall guest experience. 

For hosts, dynamic booking tools like channel managers and multi-calendars streamline availability, pricing, and reservations across multiple platforms. This reduces manual work and errors, ensuring guests have a seamless booking experience. 

To build trust and customer satisfaction, guests must also enjoy instant availability checks, quick confirmation, and the capability to modify reservations. Efficient booking management also enables hosts to maximize occupancy and revenue by managing minimum stays, last-minute bookings, and other booking conditions efficiently. 

Channel Manager

A channel manager enables hosts to efficiently manage their property listings across multiple booking platforms like Airbnb, Vrbo, and Booking.com. 

Instead of manually updating availability, rates, and other details on each channel, the channel manager provides a centralized interface to synchronize all information in real-time. This streamlines operations and eliminates the risk of overbooking. 

For guests, the channel manager ensures accurate, up-to-date information is displayed across all the platforms they search. By simplifying multi-channel distribution, hosts can provide a consistent and reliable booking experience and optimize occupancy.

Multi-calendar

The multi-calendar feature provides a unified, comprehensive view of a host’s property availability, reservations, and other calendar-related details. Rather than toggling between multiple calendars on different platforms, the multi-calendar consolidates this information in a single, easy-to-navigate interface. 

For hosts, this eliminates the risk of overbooking and enables efficient management of pricing, minimum stays, and other booking conditions across all channels. For guests, the multi-calendar ensures they can instantly see accurate availability when searching for accommodations.

By centralizing calendar data, the multi-calendar feature empowers hosts to maximize occupancy while giving guests confidence in the booking process, leading to a seamless booking experience for both parties.

Unified Inbox and Automated Responder

The unified inbox feature helps consolidate all guest inquiries, requests, and messages from multiple channels like email, messaging apps, and booking platforms into a single, centralized location. This allows hosts to quickly address queries without toggling between different inboxes.

The automated response functionality takes this a step further by crafting personalized, pre-written replies to common guest questions. This frees up hosts to focus on more complex issues while ensuring timely responses to guests. 

For guests, prompt and personalized communication builds trust and satisfaction, enhancing the overall rental experience. By streamlining communication, these features are invaluable for property managers juggling inquiries across a portfolio of listings.

Cleaning and Maintenance Scheduling

To ensure properties are guest-ready, the cleaning and maintenance scheduling functionality allows hosts to coordinate their cleaning teams and vendors efficiently via task assignments, deadlines, and status tracking. 

Automated scheduling and notifications help streamline the turnaround process between check-outs and check-ins, even for properties with high occupancy and rapid turnover.

For guests, property that is consistently clean and well-maintained enhances their overall experience and satisfaction. This translates to positive reviews, which can boost a property’s online ranking and lead to more bookings. 

Financial Management

The financial management capabilities of vacation rental software provide integrated payment processing, invoicing, and detailed reporting on inflows, outflows, and overall financial performance. 

The tool simplifies tasks like collecting guest payments, paying vendors and contractors, and tracking business expenses – all from a centralized platform. This saves time and reduces the risk of errors compared to manual bookkeeping.

For guests, the financial management tools ensure a seamless, secure payment experience. Hosts can accept a variety of payment methods and provide digital receipts, building trust among their clientele. 

Business Growth Support

The best vacation rental software should also support business growth by providing data and tools to help identify new profitable markets and investment opportunities. This allows property owners to expand their portfolios efficiently.

The most advanced vacation rental software platforms offer features that specifically support the growth and expansion of property owners’ businesses. This includes access to reliable market data and analytics to help identify new, profitable markets and opportunities. 

Tools like property finders and investment calculators enable hosts to efficiently locate and evaluate potential properties to add to their portfolio. By leveraging platform insights, investors can make informed decisions about scaling their vacation rental business, accelerate their ability to generate passive income, and build long-term wealth.

back to top

Best property management tools for vacation rentals at a glance

Feature

Airbnb Guesty Lodgify Hostaway OwnerRez Hospitable
Booking & Reservation Management

Channel Manager

Multi-Calendar

Unified Inbox & Automated Responses

Cleaning & Maintenance Scheduling

Financial Management

Business Growth Support

Free Plan

Starting Price

3-16%

$49/month $13/month + 1.9% N/A $40/month

$40/month

Suitable For

Diverse properties 1-3 Properties Portfolio growth 10+ properties Multi-platform hosts

On-the-go hosts

back to top

Property management software I liked but didn’t make into this list

Bookerville

Bookerville helps property owners with bookings, calendar synchronization, and contact generation. Its channel manager distributes property data to listing sites. Other software features include automated guest emails, booking calendars with iCal export, and email templates pre-populated with guest and booking details. Bookerville offers monthly and yearly subscriptions, with a 30-day free trial to start you off.

Cloudbeds

Cloudbeds was founded in 2012 by Richard Castle and Adam Harris, who were inspired to create a platform that could help any property, regardless of size or location, run their lodging business successfully. Starting as a “back of the napkin” idea, Cloudbeds has since grown into a global hospitality management solution, with a presence in over 157 countries. The only downside of this award-winning industry leader is its high start-up cost of $100/month.

Escapia

Escapia is a full-featured vacation rental software that simplifies property management with innovative tools backed by Expedia Group data. Its proven platform offers advanced functionality including trust accounting, rates management, guest communications, and distribution. Built in 2002, Escapia is among the few vacation rental software that predates Airbnb which was founded in 2007.

RentManager

This award-winning property management software is designed to support residential, commercial, and short-term-stay portfolios of any size. Its fully customizable features include a double-entry accounting system, maintenance management, marketing integration, mobile applications, and over 450 insightful reports. While the software can be used for large-scale portfolios or specialized niches, the company requires a $200 minimum monthly subscription.

Smoobu

Smoobu is an online vacation rental solution that streamlines processes like reservations, communications, and guest experience. It has a channel manager to sync data with third-party platforms, a reservation system, and tools to create rental homepages. Smoobu also provides a unified inbox and guest experience app, with pricing on monthly and annual subscriptions. The company is based in Berlin, Germany.

Hospitable

Hospitable (formerly Smartbnb} has firmly established itself as a market favourite among short-term rental hosts. The system’s automated messages are a hit with customers, who appreciate the human-sounding, personalized communication that enhances the guest experience. Hospitable’s fixed pricing structure, which does not fluctuate based on reservation value, is another key differentiator, providing hosts with cost predictability.

back to top

Are vacation rentals still a sensible investment?

Over the past few years, short-term rentals like Airbnb have experienced a significant decline in popularity among real estate investors. While initially seen as a lucrative opportunity, the risks and challenges associated with this business model have become increasingly apparent, leading many investors to shift their focus towards long-term rentals.

One of the primary reasons for this shift is the mounting regulatory challenges faced by short-term rental operators. As the industry grew rapidly, many cities and municipalities implemented strict regulations, ranging from outright bans to stringent zoning laws and occupancy limits.

Moreover, property owners have become increasingly wary of vacation rentals due to the numerous horror stories that have surfaced. From extensive property damage and noise complaints to illegal activities and safety concerns, the risks associated with short-term rentals have become a significant deterrent for many homeowners.

Long-term rentals, on the other hand, offer several advantages that have gained favor among real estate investors. First and foremost, they provide a reliable and steady stream of income, as tenants typically sign leases ranging from 6 months to a year or more. This predictability allows investors to better manage their cash flows and plan for expenses, reducing the financial stress associated with short-term rental vacancies.

Furthermore, long-term rentals often require less hands-on management and maintenance compared to short-term rentals. Tenants tend to treat the property as their own, reducing the likelihood of excessive wear and tear or intentional damage. This translates into lower operating costs and fewer unexpected expenses for investors.

Moreover, long-term rentals foster a sense of community and stability within neighborhoods, which can positively impact property values over time. Tenants who establish roots in an area are more likely to take pride in their surroundings and contribute to the overall well-being of the neighborhood.

back to top

Switching from short-term to long-term rentals?

While short-term rentals may still have a place in certain markets, the challenges and uncertainties associated with this business model have led many savvy real estate investors to prioritize long-term rentals for their portfolios. The stability, predictability, and reduced operational risks make long-term rentals an increasingly attractive option for those seeking consistent and reliable returns on their investment properties.

If you’re thinking of converting your vacation rental into a traditional long-term lease, RentPost property management software is the ideal choice. Our powerful tools streamline the entire rental process, from marketing vacant units to screening tenants and managing leases.

With RentPost, you can easily advertise your property across multiple platforms, collect online rent payments, and stay organized with automated rent reminders and maintenance requests. Designed specifically for long-term rentals, RentPost ensures a seamless transition from vacation rental to reliable, stress-free property management.

rentpost property management software for small landlords

back to top

Try RentPost’s all-around property management software for FREE 

In today’s competitive rental market, having the right software tools in place can make all the difference in streamlining operations, delighting tenants, and growing your business. RentPost offers a dynamic, user-friendly platform that automates key tasks, provides powerful analytics, and delivers a seamless experience for both landlords and tenants. 

RentPost simplifies property management by offering tools to track applications and leases, accounting, work orders, and online payment collection. Created for property owners and landlords with diverse portfolios, RentPost’s platform scales from a few units to thousands.

Don’t miss your chance to take your rental investments to new heights – sign up for RentPost’s 30-day free trial today and discover how the right technology can transform your business.

Key features:

    • Built-in tenant screening tools
    • Online portals for owners and tenants
    • Rent collection via ACH or credit cards
    • Real-time information on payment status and pending cases
    • Maintenance requests and tracking
    • Trust accounting for multiple owners
    • Document storage for applications, leases, invoices, inspection reports, images, etc.
    • Configurable workflows to match business process

Pricing: $29 per month + $1 per unit

back to top

Author

  • Karina Jugo

    Karina Jugo is a content administrator at RentPost who works directly with real estate and property management experts to create resources and guides for property managers. She has more than 15 years of experience in content research and writing for various industries.

Was this helpful?