Is Dr. Frankenstein Running Your Vacation Rental Company’s IT Department?

Any more, there are really two philosophies when it comes to technology and managing vacation rentals. Some managers choose to use a mash-up of many different services, and others choose to use an all-in-one solution from a single provider.

While the industry is currently trending toward all-in-one solutions, some managers – whether it’s by preference or by habit – are still stuck trying to stitch together multiple pieces of technology to run their businesses.

But, as you’ll see outlined in this blog, there are many disadvantages to patching together your technology, in terms of costs, commitments, integration challenges and support.

Below, we outline the two different approaches, take a look at the potential costs involved, and examine the pros and cons of each approach.

All-in-One Software v Mash-Up

Mash-Up – This mash-up of different technology and services is partly a symptom of the times when all-in-one software didn’t exist, when software installed on a computer had to find a way to connect online and when managers were forced to seek out different vendors to accommodate different needs. The idea of mash-ups like this are great in theory, but problems arise quickly when you look at the actual logistics.

Pros

  • Address specific needs with specific technology

Cons

  • Multiple pieces of technology
  • Multiple contracts / commitments
  • Multiple payments
  • Sometimes incompatible technology
  • Finger pointing during support

Example Set Up

Here’s an example of a typical mash-up solution for vacation rental managers and some estimates on how much it could cost.

Property Management Software

  • Handles your reservations and property management tasks
  • Can cost $350 or more a month

Website

  • Built by a third-party design company
  • Can cost $5,000 or more up front for a new design
  • Can cost $400 a month to integrate with your PM software
  • Around $75 an hour any time you have a designer make a change to your website

CRM System

  • Track interactions with guests, send emails, etc.
  • Can cost $500 or more a month
  • Might integrate with your PM software

Mobile App

  • Provides guests with reservation information, local area information, etc.
  • Can cost $1,000 or more to set up
  • Can cost $150 or more a month
  • Might integrate with your PM software

QuickBooks

  • Handles your trust accounting and operations accounting
  • Costs $250 per license
  • The real cost is all the time you spend transferring data from your PM software to QuickBooks
  • Varying levels of integration with different PM software systems. Most are not real-time.

Plus, many times you’ll pay extra for one or more of these services, any time you…

  • Add a property
  • Add an owner
  • Add an employee
  • Go over your allotted support hours
  • The product is upgraded

All-In-One Software – A newer and increasingly popular solution is all-in-one software.  This handles just about all your needs and works together flawlessly because it’s one piece of software, supported by one company.

Pros

  • Everything works together, because it’s all one piece of software
  • You pay one company, once a month
  • When you have a support issue, you deal with one company (no finger pointing)
  • Reduces the amount of third-party integrations needed, if any.

Cons

  • You may have specific requirements not addressed in the software (which makes the company’s development schedule important).

Example Set Up

One cloud-based system that handles:

  • Reservations
  • Property Management
  • Your Website
  • Content Management
  • CRM System
  • Online Owner Portals
  • Guest Reviews and Surveys
  • Integration with QuickBooks

Costs – For an all-in-one solution, like LiveRez, you pay one monthly fee based on your booking. This approach helps LiveRez economically align its interests with that of its users (called partners) and means that LiveRez is successful when it helps its partners become more successful.

Integration is the No. 1 Technology Issue for Vacation Rental Managers

According to a recent survey from VRM Intel, integration between technologies was rated as the biggest challenge that vacation rental companies face when it comes to technology. Not so surprisingly, the second rated factor was multiple points of data entry, which is often a symptom of missing integrations.

While these problems can pop up no matter what approach you take, choosing a quality all-in-one solution can help mitigate these issues. No approach is perfect, but there are definitely approaches that work better than others.

Choosing the Best Solution

As you begin to look at upgrading your technology, here are a few things to consider while you are shopping:

  • Quality of the Product
  • How Many Companies Utilize It
  • Quality of the Integrations
  • Track Record for New Development
  • Total Costs
  • Number of Commitments
  • Quality of Support
  • How it Will Affect Your Bottom Line

Regardless of what approach you choose, make sure to check ahead of time before adding a new piece of technology to make sure it is compatible with your current software system(s) or can adequately replace or upgrade your current system.

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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