Vacation Rental Management Software, Direct Booking & Channel Manager

Do You Need Vacation Rental Management Software?

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As new hosts gain clout on Airbnb and its competitors, they’ll find themselves struggling with new ways to scale their business further. Is it better to buy more short-term rental properties? Or is it better to optimize your existing properties by cutting costs? Vacation rental management software can help you do both. You can manage multiple properties more easily using a vacation rental channel manager. You can also take direct bookings using management software. Using this software, you can essentially be your own property manager.

What Can Vacation Rental Management Software Do?

Professional Website Design

Most vacation rental management software includes the ability to make your own websites for your properties. You can typically use their website building tools to make your property stand out.

A huge benefit to using your own vacation rental website over Airbnb or its competitors is that you’ll have much more control over how everything looks.

Our favorite vacation rental management software, Lodgify, offers over 30 different templates to make your properties stand out!

Search Engine Optimization

Vacation rental management software can make it easier for prospective guests to find your listings via search engines. They do this by utilizing SEO, or “Search Engine Optimization,” in order to make your listings rise to the top of the search pages when someone searches for “Listings in (Your City)”.

This is similar to the way you can increase your search rankings on Airbnb. It’s very important that potential guests can find your listing. If they can’t find it, they can’t book it!

Lodgify offers a very robust solution to get your properties to the top of every search engine’s results.

Vacation Rental Channel Management

If you are on Airbnb, VRBO, HomeAway,, and every other vacation rental platform under the sun, you are probably having a ton of difficulty responding to messages across multiple apps. Hopefully, you’ve integrated some sort of messaging automation.

It is still helpful to be able to check these messages and view all your reservations all in one place. That’s where a vacation rental channel manager can come in handy. With software such as Lodgify, you can update your rates across multiple platforms, respond to messages, and even run an email marketing campaign!

Direct Booking Reservation System

Do you ever wish you could get ALL the money the guest paid? Don’t get me wrong, Airbnb and VRBO are super useful tools for advertising and booking your properties.

However, they come at a cost. And on Airbnb this cost seems like it is only 3%, but don’t forget that the guest is paying almost 20% extra in service fees to stay at your place! What if you could be raking in that extra 20%?

That’s where direct booking comes in. You can take reservations on your own using vacation rental management software. The pros to this are huge. No more worrying about living up to Airbnb’s requirements. You can turn down any booking that doesn’t seem right for you – with no repercussions. Get a bad review that seems dishonest? You can remove it. Furthermore, you make the rules when it comes to direct booking. Hosts are also in complete control of a guest’s security deposit.

How will guests find my direct booking site?

PRO TIP: As we mentioned before, that’s where Lodgify’s SEO comes in. However, we also utilize Hospitable (formerly Smartbnb to ask every guest for their email address. Hospitible’s automation adds that email address to our Mailchimp mailing list. Lodgify’s Channel Manager allows us to easily send out advertisements to our list of over 1,000 former guests. We solicited them to book again via our direct booking site. This is a great way to get guests to come back. You can also offer them lower rates since they won’t need to pay any service fees when direct booking.

Cons To Direct Booking

The con to taking direct bookings is that you aren’t covered by the Airbnb Host Guarantee. Make sure that you have a rock-solid rental agreement and that you require a copy of the guest’s ID. If you don’t use a rental agreement, it’s possible the guest could start squatting at your property. It’s also a good idea to have a commercial insurance policy that covers short-term rentals. If someone gets hurt on your property, you could be liable. Make sure you equip your short-term rental so it’s safe for guests. You definitely don’t want to get caught up in a lawsuit – we’ve been there!

Our Favorite Vacation Rental Management Software

Yes, we have already mentioned it a couple of times in this article. Sorry for the spoiler, but Lodgify takes the trophy when it comes to our favorite vacation rental management software. We were very easily able to set up a website for four of our properties we wanted to test direct booking with. Our Airbnb calendars synced up flawlessly and we were even able to sync our automated Airbnb pricing.

We purchased the domain name www.stayin(ourcity).com and began offering direct bookings at a 10% discount. Once we began sending out email marketing campaigns with links to our direct booking site and our 10% off promo code we began booking like crazy.

We priced our listing 20% higher than on Airbnb. Even after the 10% discount, we still earned 10% more than we would have on Airbnb. The guest saved 10%, and we gained 10% – everyone won.

What Other Apps Can I Use to Scale My Airbnb Business?

At AirHost Academy, we are strong advocates for automation in short-term rentals. If you aren’t already automating your messaging and reviews, we highly recommend you save yourself from stress and do so.

Also, in order to maximize your profit, it’s essential to use a pricing tool. Otherwise, you could be charging too much or too little on any given night!

Furthermore, you should consider using smart home devices for Airbnb in your listing to help you manage your vacation rental remotely.

About the Author Kevin Kelsey

Originally from Connecticut, Kevin moved to Los Angeles in 2013 and worked his way up to becoming an editor on award-winning reality TV shows. Kevin owns 4 short term rentals in Southern California and founded AirHost Academy to help other hosts improve their business.