Breaking Down the Cost of Vacation Rental Software

Hidden Costs - Vacation Rental Software

Before signing a contract for vacation rental software, make sure you’re not agreeing to “hidden cost.”

Upgrading your vacation rental software is an important decision. And, one of the major factors in this decision is the cost of the software.  Educating yourself on the different pricing models commonly used will help you ask better questions during the sales process and make sure you’re getting the “whole story” on costs. The last thing you want to do is buy a software and then be hit with additional “hidden costs.”

Below are some questions you should ask during the sales process, before you sign on the dotted line.

Are you being charged per property?

Some software companies will charge you for every property you have in the system. Some even charge an additional fee to have that property listed on your website. And, many will charge an up-front fee when you add a property and then a recurring monthly fee for the property.

Are you being charged for owners?

Some companies will charge you extra for adding additional owners. Some charge you extra for online owner portals, where your owners can log in and view important details about their account, make owner reservations, view their owner statements, etc.

Are you being charged for users?

Being charged for users (or licenses) dates back to the pre-cloud-based software days. But, some cloud-based software systems still charge for every system user.

Is technical support included? Unlimited?

Some companies will charge you for technical support and training, or will limit you to a certain number of support and training hours.

Is a website included?

Not all software company include a vacation rental website. In fact, many companies send you to a third-party designer to have your website built. These third parties can charge $5,000, $10,000, $15,000 or more depending on the level of work. In these situations, you’ll also need to make sure this third-party website integrates with your software. And, if the website doesn’t come with a content management system, you could end up having to pay the designer any time you need to make a change to your website.

If a website is included, is it high-quality?

Some companies will offer free websites when you sign up for their software. But, there’s a big discrepancy in the quality of these websites. Always ask to see examples of websites before you buy. Also ask about the platform the website is built upon? Is the content management system built into the software or do they use a third-party platform, like WordPress? You don’t want to end up with a website built on a content management system that isn’t fully secure.

Do you have to pay extra for an online booking engine?

You would think an online booking engine would be included with any new vacation rental software, but that’s not always the case. Some companies charge an extra fee to allow you to take online bookings on your website.

Are you paying per booking?

Some companies take a very small percentage of your booking revenue (normally less than 1 percent) as their monthly fee.  But, in some instances these companies have minimums or base fees in addition to this commission model. For example, some charge a flat monthly fee plus a commission every month. Others may charge a minimum fee if the commission does not add up.

Are you being forced to list your website on an advertising channel in order to qualify for special pricing?

Some companies have deals in place with listing websites and, as a result, offer special pricing to managers, but only if they commit to listing their properties on a certain advertising site for a pre-determined length of time. In this case, be careful about the level of commitment you’re agreeing to before you sign the dotted line.

Are you getting all the components of the software?

Some software companies have different levels of service. On the lowest (cheapest) end of the spectrum, you may not have access to all the advertised features (or may have to pay more for them). Make sure you ask about this in the sales process.

What is the penalty for cancelling early?

Some software companies make you sign a contract for a specified length of time, so you are committed to using their software (or, at least paying for it) for a pre-determined length of time. In the event that you may need to change software or cancel your software, make sure you know what you are getting into before you sign the contract.

Other Important Factors to Consider

  • Is the software company continually releasing updates to the software?
  • How much money can the software help you make?
  • How much money can the software help you save?
  • What are current users saying about the software?
  • How often is the software down?
  • Does the software work on all browsers?
  • Does the software allow you to grow?
  • How easy will it be to switch from your current software? How long will it take?
  • What will you be responsible for in the implementation process?

One last thing to remember: When you are shopping for software, always look at the value. Software is a business investment, and should be looked at beyond just costs and rather be evaluated in terms of return on investment (ROI). In the world of software, you often get what you pay for.

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).

Visit LiveRez.com to learn more:

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