5 Tools Every Successful Short-Term Rental Should Use

Running a short-term rental property might seem like a simple task at the first glance, however, there’s a lot that goes behind the scenes in order to run it in an efficient and sustainable manner. In this article we will walk you through some of the most crucial tools that short-term rental property owners/managers should be proficient in.

1) Online Travel Agencies (OTAs)

Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) essentially are the channels that are used for bringing guests to your property. The most well-known short-term rental OTAs are Airbnb, Booking.com, Expedia but there are many more that are more popular in certain geographies. The main reason that we’re considering OTAs as a tool is because they vastly differ from one another and there’s a lot to learn about each one in order to get the most value. For example, Airbnb and Booking.com are very different when it comes to what’s needed to increase the ranking of your property in their search results. Furthermore, the commissions that OTAs charge vary substantially, so if you want to be present on more than one of these platforms, it’s a good idea to use a Channel Manager that will help you charge more consistent rates across various OTAs.

2) Channel Manager

If you’ve used Airbnb’s standard calendar sync option, you’ll probably have noticed that a new booking that has just been made from a different channel doesn’t instantly appear in the Airbnb calendar. It can sometimes even take up to multiple hours for a booking to finally sync with your Airbnb account. This can often lead to a double-booking (when two reservations are confirmed for the same dates). This obviously isn’t something you want to happen to you, that’s why using a Channel Manager is recommended. It will make the likelihood of a double-booking almost impossible. However, this is not the only thing that a Channel Manager does. It also sends different information to all OTAs you use, for example, if you’ve blocked/unblocked some dates, changed the pricing of a given day or period and so on.

3) Property Management System (PMS)

In case you’ve got more than just a couple of properties under your management, you’ll probably want to manage processes in a more structured format without 10 different Excel sheets floating around. This is where a Property Management System (PMS) comes in. It’s a multi-functional and robust system that helps you manage different aspects of your property – anything from planning the housekeeping, communicating with guests on a single platform, creating financial reports and many more. Essentially, it’s an extension of a Channel Manager, which might be sufficient for most rental owners but has its limitations when it comes to its functionality.

4) Revenue Management Tool

This is a truly valuable tool and should be used for pretty much every short-term rental property. You can, of course, set the pricing manually but there’s a high chance that you won’t be setting the optimal price for each date and will miss out on some extra profit. There are so many things that affect the optimal price that should be charged on a given day – is it a weekday or a weekend? Is it high-season or low season? Are there any events going on at that time? What is your competitor pricing? These and many other factors are what Revenue Management Tools take into account when running their algorithm and setting adequate pricing. However, you’ll still have to keep an eye on the tool after the initial set-up to see if the listing is performing well or if it needs some adjustments.

5) Guest Experience Tool

Although this is probably the “most optional” type of tool that you should consider for your property, Guest Experience Tools are becoming a lot more popular and for good reason. Their basic function is pretty obvious – to increase the guest’s experience and satisfaction with his/her trip. First and foremost, it’s about the experience around the property itself – things like easier check-in/check-out process, mobile and tailored house manual or even personal website for being able to book your accommodation directly with the owners. However, guest experience tools don’t just include things related to the property itself, it’s also about providing additional value, such as personalized and interactive guidebooks for what to do and see in the city, discounts for activities and so on.

As mentioned earlier, it might not be mandatory for every short-term rental to use all of the tools described above; however, if you want to grow and increase the efficiency of your rental business, they’re definitely something worth looking into. At least here at Houseys, we are always following and trying out the latest tech in the field to deliver the best results and experience to our clients.