It’s a good time to be a vacation rental manager. According to the latest TripAdvisor® Vacation Rentals Survey, vacation rental stays are on a steady rise with 59 percent of more than 1,800 U.S. survey respondents planning to stay at a rental home this year, up from 52 percent last year, and 44 percent in 2013. An inspiring 87 percent are more likely to book a vacation rental because of the industry’s increased online presence. The survey also delved into why travelers choose to stay in a vacation rental, the top three reasons being value and amenities, more space for groups, and an at-home experience.
Recent technology has impacted traveler expectations, the customer relationship and the way properties are managed and marketed. The Internet of Everything has given rise to the Millennial Traveler and a desire for instant gratification through mobile technology. Customer service has gone digital via email and social media, and genuine, personalized travel experiences are more important than ever.
In a thriving and increasingly competitive market, vacation rental operators must keep up with industry trends and technology in order to maximize bookings and revenue.
Turning Lookers into Bookers with a Cloud PMS for Vacation Rentals
A cloud property management system (PMS) is key to success in this evolving industry. From centralized inventory management and online bookings to automated owner statements and mobile system access, cloud vacation rental management software streamlines front-and back-office operations so that your vacation rental business runs like a well-oiled (and fully booked) machine.
Take WebRezPro PMS for example; with a flexible set of custom-designed features for vacation rental operators, WebRezPro helps managers of vacation homes, holiday apartments, and cabin and cottage rentals increase operational efficiency and bookings through:
>> Real-time vacation rental management. Front- and back-office integration, from the reservation process to housekeeping reports to accounting, results in end-to-end automation that gives property managers a complete and real-time view of their business from a single point of control.
>> Online bookings with unit slideshows. A fully integrated and easy-to-use online booking engine is crucial when it comes to turning lookers into bookers. The online booking engine is integrated with the PMS for real-time inventory management that prevents double-booking and maximizes occupancy. The booking widget is customizable to match a website’s look and feel and provides a user-friendly experience on all devices. WebRezPro’s online booking engine also includes unit slideshows within search results, which has proven to be a great way to showcase individual units and clinch sales.
>> Flexible rate management. It’s important to stay competitive with rates, especially now that it’s so easy for travelers to compare pricing on online booking websites like Booking.com and FlipKey. With flexible rate management features like multiple rack rates, unlimited rate changes and quick overrides, WebRezPro enables property managers to take advantage of dynamic pricing for optimal revenue management.
>> Owner statements & owner log-in. Owner profiles cover single, multiple and fractional ownership scenarios and facilitate accurate, automatic revenue tracking. Once owner charges — such as cleaning fees and utilities — have been set up, the system can generate automatic owner statements, saving a lot of time in the office. Owners can also be given limited access to the system so that they can view availability and booking history of their own units, book themselves in at no charge and request statements online (and it goes without saying that happy owners contribute greatly to smooth operation).
>> Mobile access & paperless check-in. One of the greatest advantages of a cloud PMS is mobility. Going beyond anywhere access — which means your system can be accessed from any computer connected to the Internet, anywhere in the world — mobile-optimized cloud PMS allow property managers to run their business on-the-go from a mobile device, truly eliminating the need for a front desk. Think paperless check-in with electronic signature capture for efficient guest registration on the spot. And mobile housekeeping and maintenance reports to ensure your properties are spotless and fully functional for each and every booking, even on same-day turnovers.
>> Detailed guest profiles. The ability to accumulate rich guest data enables vacation rental managers to gain loyal guests through personalized service and targeted communications based on stay history and guest preferences.
>> Automated email communications. From reservation confirmations to review requests, customizable email templates for automated pre- and post-stay guest communications are central to targeted marketing campaigns and customer service that wins loyal customers. WebRezPro also offers integration with sophisticated CRM and email marketing solutions like Guestfolio, Salesforce, Constant Contact and Revinate for even more powerful functionality.
>> Direct integration with online distribution channels. Online portals like AirBnB, CanadaStays and Booking.com are usually part of a healthy marketing strategy. PMS integration with these online distribution channels maximizes reach and reservations with minimal effort.
In one smart package, a cloud PMS for vacation rentals equips property managers with the tools they need to steer their business to success now and in the future.