In the world of vacation rental software, there are a number of ways to rate software. If you’re trying to gauge which software is the best, you could look at number of users, fastest growing, most features, best value, etc. But, what you really should be looking for is what is the best fit for you and your company.
In making that determination, here are a few things to consider.
There are two basic platforms for all vacation rental software systems: traditional software, which is installed on a computer, or cloud-based software that is accessed online. The majority of new product offerings are cloud-based. The advantages of cloud-based software is that you can access it online 24-7 from a variety of devices, there are no servers or networks to maintain, no updates to install and very few (if any) compatibility issues.
Every business is unique. They have different needs, different business practices and different philosophies on management. You know better than anyone the features you need and the features you don’t need. The best thing to do is list out all of your needs and compare it to the software company’s offerings.
Some software systems will have only some of the features you need, and will offer integrations with third-parties to try to fill the gaps. Sometimes integrations work great. Sometimes they don’t. So, it’s important to ask around when you’re looking at software.
The ideal solution is to have all of your technology needs handled in a single platform. That way you’re dealing with one company for everything, and you don’t have to worry about whether or not the third-party services will integrate.
This is extremely important. Technology changes quickly, as does the needs of the industry. You want a software product that is going to be continuously updated with the latest technology and upgraded to meet the expanding needs of the vacation rental industry.
Number of Users
The most-used software isn’t always the best, but the number of management companies using the software does give you an idea of what the industry thinks about the product. Vacation rental managers are smart. They do their homework before buying, and look at a number of solutions. If they’re consistently choosing the same one, there’s got to be a good reason.
Just as important as company size is the current growth of the company. What does it say if you have a lot of users, but each month you lose more customers than you gain? So, you want to find a company that has a solid base of users, but is also continually adding new users. This shows that the software not only has longevity, but is one of the best solutions on the market right now.
Recently, industry veteran Amy Mutual released some numbers on this year’s VRMA Annual Conference attendees, including what software systems they were using. It has numbers for last year, as well, so it can speak to trends in the usage of different vacation rental software solutions. To learn more, check out our blog on these vacation rental software user statistics.
Training and Support
Does the company have good training resources? You can have the best software in the world, but if you don’t know how to use it, it’s not going to do you any good. A great software company will not only have the best technology, but they’ll have the training and support to back it up.
The time period between leaving your old software and moving to the new software you have purchased is known as implementation. While you want to make sure that the implementation is done right, you don’t want it to drag on. The shorter the implementation, the less double entry you’ll need to do and the less money you’ll spend on running two software systems at once. Implementation time will depend on a number of factors, including the size of your company, but the period should be measures in weeks or months, and not years. So, make sure you ask about implementation times during the sales process.
Your software should be helping you get a number of results – helping you get more bookings, helping you make your business more efficient and cut costs, and helping you grow your inventory. This should all add up to more profit. Therefore, a good software company will have a track record of getting results for its customers.
Testimonials and Reviews
When you’re looking at software, you should find out what current users are saying about the company. You can get this information by looking at testimonials, reading reviews online and asking for referrals during the buying process. Our recent blog on vacation rental software reviews is a good spot to get more information.
Pricing models vary among software providers, and are normally different for different management companies based on the number of properties they manage or the volume of reservations they take. For this reason, you’ll want to contact each company individually to get a quote.
You know more than anyone what you can afford and what you can’t. But, you don’t want miss out on a great software based on price alone. What you should really look at is return on investment versus price. If a software costs a little more, but can save you time and money and help you grow your business, it’s probably a better option. At the end of the day, your business is about making money, so you’ll want to choose the software that best contributes to your bottom line.
When it comes to vacation rental software, there are a lot of things to look at. But, if you do your homework, you’ll end up with a software that best fits your needs. That should be the end goal. The term “best” will always be subjective. And, while the market will always point to leaders in an industry, it’s important to find the best software for you.
Learn More About LiveRez
LiveRez is the fastest growing vacation rental software provider for professional vacation rental managers. The company’s cloud-based, end-to-end platform offers fully integrated solutions for reservation management, trust accounting and online marketing, with high-ranking, high-conversion dynamic websites and an extensive affiliate marketing program. The company is a proud Gold Sponsor of the Vacation Rental Manager’s Association (VRMA).
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