I used to manage 70 vacation rentals and used LiveRez software. It includes a web site and is very customizable. However, it is not cheap and doesn't make sense for a few rentals.
If you only have a few (less than ten) I would consider listing them on AirBnB. That covers marketing, accepting reservations and payments, reviews, and more. VRBO is another option but AirBnB seems to be the leading service now.
Originally posted by @Timothy Doenges :
I see a lot of investors using Buildium for investment properties, but does that translate to STRs/vacation rentals? If not, what software can you recommend that is optimized for STRs?
I've never done short term rentals but I am familar with Buildium. I don't see why it wouldn't work with short term rentals. I will say I prefer RentecDirect to Buildium though. Similar products & prices but I just liked the Rentec system better. We have been using it to run a rather larger portfolio ($54M+) for years. No major issues with it. One of the developers is a BP member, I had a couple minor issues with it in the past so I tagged him in a few forums & he ended up changing the software & adding features that fixed my issue. I thought that was pretty cool, that bought my loyalty.
@James Wise @Nathan G. Thanks so much for the advice! We are just getting into our first vacation rental property, which is technically 4 units, so nowhere near 10. Thanks for the huge tips on management software vs. the AirBNB website itself. I think we would plan to list on both AirBNB and HomeAway, since both have a bit of a footprint in our area.
I think the reason we were curious on management software was related to he multi-platform calendar. Do you know if the calendars on AirBNB, for example, can be interfaces to something like iCal or Google Calendar so bookings could be handled centrally instead of on a number of different booking sites?
Yes, there are ways to sync the calendars. I had a personal web site synced with Flipkey.com, VRBO, and HomeAway.
Try this: https://www.airbnb.com/help/article/99/how-do-i-sync-my-airbnb-calendar-with-another-calendar
@Timothy Doenges I'm a current Buildium user and would not recommend it for short term rentals. It's really just not designed to accommodate guests (tenants) who are staying a couple nights to a week (the length of their lease). The steps to create a tenants/start their lease, and then subsequently end their lease and move them out are too rigid and time consuming to make it helpful for short term guests.
You would end up wasting money on Buildium when all you really need is accounting software (like Quickbooks), coupled with a calendar to manage the guest arrivals/departures.
Thanks again all for your great tips on management of STRs! @Nathan G. knowing I can sync calendars makes managing bookings WAAAAAAY easier, thanks a ton for the tip! And thanks, too, to @Ryan Swan for the advice on Buildium. I'm hoping to use the vacation rental to generate enough cash for down payments on smaller SFRs for rent, or for cash to fund flips, so I may end up using Buildium in the future. But for now, I think I will stick to simple accounting software and a centralized calendar. Again, thanks so much to you guys and to BiggerPockets for hosting such a wealth of great knowledge and people way smarter than me!
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