Dec. 1, 2020
Property management software (PMS) is an essential tool for any property manager looking to scale their vacation rental business. But the market is filled with options, making it difficult to evaluate which one is the best, especially with many offering similar features, price points and support. So, how do you know which PMS is right for your business?
Thankfully, Autohost’s new partner Hostaway has some expert advice on how to evaluate a PMS. As one of the fastest growing vacation rental softwares out there, Hostaway lets you manage your properties from an all-in-one dashboard, boosting your business’s profits and efficiency.
According to Hostaway, some key considerations when choosing a PMS include channel management, integrations, support and price. Here are Hostaway’s tips on what to look for with each.
Channel management is a key component of every PMS. Channel managers connect your property to a network of online travel agencies (OTA), giving your listings a broader audience.
When evaluating a PMS, look at the network of OTAs the system is integrated with. At the very least, they should be connected with all major OTAs, including Airbnb, Vrbo, Homeaway, Booking.com, TripAdvisor and Expedia. If you’re looking to expand or break into a new market, check if the PMS is integrated with any niche OTAs, maybe ones that cater to specific locations or types of guests.
You should also evaluate the type of connection they are offering. Look for systems advertising a 2-way connection. This means the PMS sends your inventory to the OTA, but also blocks off your calendar if you get a reservation through that OTA. Avoid 1-way or iCal connections.
Finally, consider the limit of the connection. Is the PMS only able to share your rates and availability with the OTAs? That may not meet your needs. Hostaway, for example, can share descriptions, photos, reviews, messages, and cancellation policies to its network of OTAs.
While channel management connects to OTAs, integrations connect supplementary software to your PMS. These are tools designed to improve your business processes, such as guest screening, dynamic pricing and home automation.
The more integrations a PMS has means the more options you have to improve the efficiency of your business. Look for systems that are connected with common vacation rental software. Autohost is a great example. By integrating with Autohost, Hostaway’s users now have access to Autohost’s intelligent guest screening solutions.
The level of support provided by the PMS can determine how much success you have with the system, especially when training your team. Live support is a key offering of any PMS. This means they have a 24/7 support system set up to resolve any issue at any time.
For more personalized service, find out if you’re provided with a dedicated account manager. This is your point of contact with the PMS, and they should be focused entirely on your success. They can be a great resource and partner when using the PMS to grow your business.
It’s also a good idea to look through the PMS’s online resources. Do they provide useful blogs, guides, and videos? With the right resources, you can save a lot of time optimizing the system and training your team.
Finally, look to the future of the company. You want a PMS that has its next few years mapped out and is focused on refining its technology, not just bloating its system with new features.
The PMS pricing system is typically set up as either commission-based or a flat monthly fee. With the commission-based plan, the PMS takes a percentage of the revenue you earn from bookings. If you only have a few properties or don’t anticipate many bookings, this commission stays small and may be the better option for you. It does, however, often come with a higher set-up fee.
For enterprise companies dealing with thousands of bookings a year, the commission-based plan can eat up a big chunk of your revenue. In this case, the monthly rate makes more sense.
Before settling on a pricing plan, look into discounts that might be available. If you’re willing to pay for a year of service or are bringing on a lot of properties, you can often receive a discount.
Autohost is excited to be integrated with a top vacation rental solution like Hostaway. The PMS reduces time spent on repetitive tasks, maximizes your booking revenue and lets you manage your properties all from a unified dashboard. If you have any questions about the integration, reach out to us or book a demo with the Hostaway team.