Maybe you’re an enterprise organization that started out by purchasing 100 short term vacation rental units. Maybe you had a vacation rental that you turned into a small empire. Or maybe your vacation rental empire is just getting started. Regardless of how you got here, you’re here. And that means you’re now running a full-fledged short-term vacation rental business that has…well… full-fledged requirements, the most important of which is a reservation system. But not just any reservation system.
Here are 6 features your short-term vacation rental reservation system needs to help you continue to grow while managing your existing properties:
1. Booking calendar
Without guests and their love for your product, your empire would metaphorically turn into an empty field. So you HAVE TO keep them happy. You need a central location that features availability in real-time – preferably something that can handle inquiries, book guests and filter property or room preferences. And it has to be secure.
2. Online payments
This is no longer a great-to-have amenity. It’s a must. If you’re not accepting money in the way of deposits, payments and any other upgrade you offer, then you’re losing money, time and most likely customers. They WANT to pay online. It’s just as easy for them as it for you. Sure, you can take payments at the door, but you’re running a business and it’s important to treat it like one. And that payment platform had better be integrated with your booking calendar.
3. Synchronization with staff calendars
Many people don’t automatically think of staff calendars and guest booking calendars in the same sentence, but how fantastic would it be if you didn’t have to call your cleaning staff after every booking or let the maintenance guy know that a unit is empty and he can replace the AC? A synced calendar lets everyone know when there is work to be done without you being buried in the details.
If you require contracts, and many of us do before we let new guests into our homes, you need a signature. But what kind of nightmare is it to send something via snail mail, or even to scan something, so it can be emailed, printed, signed, re-scanned and emailed back to you, in who knows what condition? eSignature requires about 5 seconds and is a more secure alternative.
5. A quick response to inquiries
We all know that the sooner you reply to a vacation rental prospect, the better chance you have of getting their reservation. A vacation rental reservation system that can send automated responses allows you to take advantage of business opportunities without being on call. A system that uses a branded email template is even better!
The only way to grow is to improve and the only way to improve is to track your progress. A solid reporting system will tell you where you are, what you’re lacking, and what your future might hold. That can be worth its weight in gold. From settling owner accounts to saved histories, a strong reporting system can help you on many levels.
Running a short-term vacation rental business takes time, enthusiasm and a true love for the industry. Pair a vacation rental reservation system with your property management talent to stay a level above your competition.