Should You Stay or Should You Go From Your Reservation Software?

Property management software (PMS) or reservation software may be the most important technological system a vacation rental company incorporates into their business.

The PMS is truly the brain center for many aspects of your business. The PMS is where your very valuable guest data is stored, and it helps you communicate with guests and homeowners, manage rates, and decrease the amount of manual processes. The PMS also connects your business to many third-party vendors. Some of the third party connections include direct connections to online travel agencies, channel managers, home automation tools, payment processing, revenue management, and website integration.

There is a lot to consider, a lot to learn, and a lot of challenges a property manager has to take on in order to get the most out of their reservation software. Our clients often reach out to us with concerns regarding their reservation software, and sometimes they ask for new software recommendations. RealTech understands the frustration a vacation rental manager has, especially when they feel their PMS is failing them. There are many choices out there when it comes to choosing the best reservation software. When a vacation rental manager wants to change their rental software, we ask them to consider a few things:

  • When was the last time you spoke to your software company and worked with them to try to resolve your issues? Have a heart to heart conversation to find out how much they want to work together and keep you as a client.

  • Come prepared and have a detailed list of items or current issues you would like to get resolved. Many times there are workarounds or new features.

  • When was the last time your company had training on the software?  Most clients we speak with have not had any training on their software since it was first installed however many years ago. A software company could have had a complete staff turnover in that time period. Reservation software companies are constantly updating and adding new features to their system, and a yearly training routine for your staff is an invaluable investment.

  • How much of the software system are you actually using? On average a company will use between 20 – 30% of the features available in a system. When a company begins training, they are being taught the basics of the system so they can go live in a short time frame. There could be features that could help your business be more efficient. 

  • Switching software is probably the most difficult undertaking a VR management company can do. The biggest factor in this process is time. The time it takes to set up the system, clean the data, and bring the updated information over. The time it takes a company and all of its departments to learn the system. It is a safe estimate that a company will begin to feel comfortable on the new system after about a year. 

  • While the grass may be greener on the other side, no software is perfect. More often than not, a rental manager may take some basic functionality for granted in their current software that is not available in the new software. Usually this will not be discovered until the client is working in the new live system.

  • One of the biggest things to consider is how much this is going to cost. Not only the monetary amount, but the time it will take an entire staff to learn it and implement it.  

When one of our website partners lets us know they are considering switching their reservation software or PMS system, we like to take a logical approach that has our client’s best interest in mind. RealTech Webmasters works with many different reservation software systems and has great relationships with them. If a client of ours considers all aspects of a software change and still feels they want to change their software, RealTech will support them and be confident that they made a sound decision.

About Drew Hines

When not meeting with clients or diving into reports, Drew enjoys watching soccer (Go Liverpool!), mountain biking, and cooking with his wife.