Short Term Vacation Rental Management Software Recommendations

21 Replies

Hello SRT managing friends. I'm about to close on an SRT and I am investigating software options to self manage. Anyone have anything they love (OR anything they hate)? I'm exploring all-in-one systems or best in class smaller systems to combine into management workflows. I will be conducting demos but don't want to skip something valuable or spend time on something people are hating. 


Thank you!

Use what is between your ears, and a phone.  It's not rocket science mayne. I run 23.

Here are thee tools I use:

  • IGMS for communication with guests and automation of communication (free for 1 property)
  • PriceLabs for organizing min stays on what days and for far out bookings as well as dynamic pricing ($20/ mo)
  • Remote lock for my automated keyless entry front door ($6/ mo). This connects with Airbnb so each guests gets a personalized door code active for the duration of their stay
  • Nest Thermometer

@Paul Sandhu , thank you but this is not my exclusive job and I am located about 300 miles away. So really looking for some automated intelligence and management through software. However, since you don't use anything. What do you find to be the most tedious parts of your SRT managements that you hate doing?

Originally posted by @Melissa Patten :

@Paul Sandhu, What do you find to be the most tedious parts of your SRT managements that you hate doing?

 Mowing 23 lawns. I have a day job that is unrelated to real estate. 

@Melissa Patten Honestly if you're 300 miles away you might want to reconsider self management and hire a PM. The first few reviews will be crucial and if something goes wrong you'll start off at a disadvantage (this can still happen with a PM company I am aware). But I use the tools avaliable on airbnb like auto responders along with a ring system with remote lock and exterior cameras to keep an eye on the place. My cleaners are through turnoverbnb. I still go by regularly to check everything myself and restock consumables. You really shouldn't need 3rd party software for one STR.

@Peter M. thank you for the suggestion. We've reached out to a couple of PMs and have had the opportunity to stay in SRTs managed by them so we know their quality of work. We were thinking we would start out self managing and then going to a PM but you raise a good point about the initial reviews. We are taking the luxury approach to our SRT and that would certainly hurt our brand. 

Originally posted by @Melissa Bovee :

Here are thee tools I use:

  • IGMS for communication with guests and automation of communication (free for 1 property)
  • PriceLabs for organizing min stays on what days and for far out bookings as well as dynamic pricing ($20/ mo)
  • Remote lock for my automated keyless entry front door ($6/ mo). This connects with Airbnb so each guests gets a personalized door code active for the duration of their stay
  • Nest Thermometer

How do you like Remote Lock? 

Hey @Melissa Patten , you can definitely manage your place from 300 miles away. We do it from 360 miles away and have been for the last 4 years. A PM will pretty much suck all the profit right out of your investment.

We use the Schalge Smart Connect locks on our home. Work great and have been trouble free for 4 years. I can add guest codes, see when they come and go etc. Plus we have an Emerson Sensi WiFi thermostat. Easy to manage remotely and easy for guests to use.

I don't use any other automation tools. I like the hands on of communicating with the guests directly. They can get a hold of me when they need help with something. We have all 5 star reviews on VRBO and AirBNB so I think our style is working!

Our home is on the expensive side so we don't get a lot of riff-raff. If you are renting a $60 a night place and allowing single night rentals, you will get more difficult guests here and there which will require more contact and time.

Tell us more about your new place! Where is it at, how big, etc.

Originally posted by @Chris Mury :
Originally posted by @Melissa Bovee:

Here are thee tools I use:

  • IGMS for communication with guests and automation of communication (free for 1 property)
  • PriceLabs for organizing min stays on what days and for far out bookings as well as dynamic pricing ($20/ mo)
  • Remote lock for my automated keyless entry front door ($6/ mo). This connects with Airbnb so each guests gets a personalized door code active for the duration of their stay
  • Nest Thermometer

How do you like Remote Lock? 

Remote Lock works fine for me.  It was in place when I bought and I have had no reason to look for an alternative.  It can handle many permanent users (me, HK, maintenance, lots of other service providers) and it can handle all guest access each with individual entry codes.  I have it set up to send me a message each time a service provider enters, and only the first time each guest enters.  Notifications can be customized for each user. I can also adjust how often the lock connects to wifi and receives new information (Tradeoff quick response to remote adjustment for battery life of my lock). I can control settings for if and when it auto locks itself. It can handle multiple locks on the same property but I don't use that. The only upgrade I want is the option to automatically assign the entry code for a guest to be the last 4 of the phone number.   This is the code I use because my messaging system can use it to send check in instructions.  Currently the only manual step I have for a booking is to set the guest door code to the last four of their phone number. All else is automated. 

Originally posted by @Melissa Bovee :

It looks like remote lock integrates with many lock types. See this site: https://shop.remotelock.com/


Originally posted by @Melissa Patten :

@Melissa Bovee! Yes, I was going to be looking into all of those and already have a nest ready to install. Does remote lock require a specific lock type?

 Schlage has a free app for use with their Wifi lock. We just enter the code in the app and you can text directly to them from the app. No monthly fee. It takes one minute to setup a code, so not a real time waster. Our cleaner code is only activated during vacancy, so only the guest has a code during their stay.

We also use Nest thermostat. You can auto set the temperature to return to a set point at various times of the day. It can be manually overridden at the property and it can be motion activated set. We set it to return to a normal point every afternoon. 

We use Ring cams and Ring security system. The cam allows us to see when people come and go. This is helpful to see when people check in or out. It allows us to watch out for extra guests and parties. The Ring alarm has sensors on the doors and windows. There is also a motion sensor in the main room. This has come in handy at check out time to make sure the guest has left. Sometimes they forget to lock the door when they leave. We can see if if they are in the property or if they left, then lock the door. When we have vacancy overnight, we set the alarm. We know a STR operator who had furniture stolen during a vacancy, so this gives us piece of mind. None of this really automated, because it requires manual looking at the software, but it is still easier than physical contact or cheaper than a property manager.

Since starting our short term rental in September, I have never once met a guest in person.

Originally posted by @Joe Splitrock :
Originally posted by @Melissa Bovee:

It looks like remote lock integrates with many lock types. See this site: https://shop.remotelock.com/


Originally posted by @Melissa Patten :

@Melissa Bovee! Yes, I was going to be looking into all of those and already have a nest ready to install. Does remote lock require a specific lock type?

 Schlage has a free app for use with their Wifi lock. We just enter the code in the app and you can text directly to them from the app. No monthly fee. It takes one minute to setup a code, so not a real time waster. Our cleaner code is only activated during vacancy, so only the guest has a code during their stay.

We also use Nest thermostat. You can auto set the temperature to return to a set point at various times of the day. It can be manually overridden at the property and it can be motion activated set. We set it to return to a normal point every afternoon. 

We use Ring cams and Ring security system. The cam allows us to see when people come and go. This is helpful to see when people check in or out. It allows us to watch out for extra guests and parties. The Ring alarm has sensors on the doors and windows. There is also a motion sensor in the main room. This has come in handy at check out time to make sure the guest has left. Sometimes they forget to lock the door when they leave. We can see if if they are in the property or if they left, then lock the door. When we have vacancy overnight, we set the alarm. We know a STR operator who had furniture stolen during a vacancy, so this gives us piece of mind. None of this really automated, because it requires manual looking at the software, but it is still easier than physical contact or cheaper than a property manager.

Since starting our short term rental in September, I have never once met a guest in person.

Does the Schlage app integrate with your reservation system to set up guest access for each check in/ out time or do you set up the access duration manually? How does it work to allow HK access only when no guest is there? Is that automatic or manual? That is an interesting concept... all my service providers have continued access and a permanent code as there are times when a guest has a problem and I need to send someone out. But then I get a notification each time they enter so I know when say, the carpet cleaner arrived, and I would know right away if they were there at an improper time. One more question about the free Schlage app: how many guest and permanent access codes will it allow at one time? Do you ever “run out”? 

Thanks! Melissa 

To avoid battery dying in lock which happened to the PM, we are installing a Locklee which if it dies, one just needs to hold up a 9v battery to it. We have one STR but use it with our LTRs also.

@Melissa Patten Check out Tony J Robinson's podcast on Biggerpockets. He mentions several tools there which he uses for booking, pricing, managing, and communicating. He is also on Instagram. I found his episode to be quite informative and STR's are his investment focus.

Originally posted by @Melissa Bovee :
Originally posted by @Chris Mury:
Originally posted by @Melissa Bovee:

Here are thee tools I use:

  • IGMS for communication with guests and automation of communication (free for 1 property)
  • PriceLabs for organizing min stays on what days and for far out bookings as well as dynamic pricing ($20/ mo)
  • Remote lock for my automated keyless entry front door ($6/ mo). This connects with Airbnb so each guests gets a personalized door code active for the duration of their stay
  • Nest Thermometer

How do you like Remote Lock? 

Remote Lock works fine for me.  It was in place when I bought and I have had no reason to look for an alternative.  It can handle many permanent users (me, HK, maintenance, lots of other service providers) and it can handle all guest access each with individual entry codes.  I have it set up to send me a message each time a service provider enters, and only the first time each guest enters.  Notifications can be customized for each user. I can also adjust how often the lock connects to wifi and receives new information (Tradeoff quick response to remote adjustment for battery life of my lock). I can control settings for if and when it auto locks itself. It can handle multiple locks on the same property but I don't use that. The only upgrade I want is the option to automatically assign the entry code for a guest to be the last 4 of the phone number.   This is the code I use because my messaging system can use it to send check in instructions.  Currently the only manual step I have for a booking is to set the guest door code to the last four of their phone number. All else is automated. 

 You had me hooked until the end. My current system automatically generates user codes based on the last 4 of their phone number. It's not the easiest or cheapest to set up but it sure works well.

For those that are curious, I'm using the Schlage Connect lock/RBoy RLA software/Samsung SmartThings hub combo.

@Melissa Patten

- Remote lock is wonderful, look into it.

- if you only have one rental, I don’t believe you need a full software like IGMS or smartbnb, unless you plan to listed on several different sites. Airbnb has automatic messaging so you can start with that.

- Pricelabs is great for pricing.

- Noise aware is great for noise monitoring to prevent parties.

There a ton of answers in this forum because this question has come up a lot, check that out!

@Michael Baum good to know others are managing their SRTs from 300+ miles away. I am definitely wary about a PM sucking away all the profit. We bought a 2bd condo inside a ski resort in CA. Most of the PMs working in the area are taking a 30 to 50% cut. Unit is only 2bd/2bth 1026 sqft. It already has LVP on living room/kitchen floor so pretty low maintenance. It will also be a luxury ski resort type rental so I think we will have pretty clean respectful guests. My husband is a wine broker and we are going to try to somehow build luxury wine into our brand. 

Originally posted by @Melissa Bovee :
Originally posted by @Joe Splitrock:
Originally posted by @Melissa Bovee:

It looks like remote lock integrates with many lock types. See this site: https://shop.remotelock.com/


Originally posted by @Melissa Patten :

@Melissa Bovee! Yes, I was going to be looking into all of those and already have a nest ready to install. Does remote lock require a specific lock type?

 Schlage has a free app for use with their Wifi lock. We just enter the code in the app and you can text directly to them from the app. No monthly fee. It takes one minute to setup a code, so not a real time waster. Our cleaner code is only activated during vacancy, so only the guest has a code during their stay.

We also use Nest thermostat. You can auto set the temperature to return to a set point at various times of the day. It can be manually overridden at the property and it can be motion activated set. We set it to return to a normal point every afternoon. 

We use Ring cams and Ring security system. The cam allows us to see when people come and go. This is helpful to see when people check in or out. It allows us to watch out for extra guests and parties. The Ring alarm has sensors on the doors and windows. There is also a motion sensor in the main room. This has come in handy at check out time to make sure the guest has left. Sometimes they forget to lock the door when they leave. We can see if if they are in the property or if they left, then lock the door. When we have vacancy overnight, we set the alarm. We know a STR operator who had furniture stolen during a vacancy, so this gives us piece of mind. None of this really automated, because it requires manual looking at the software, but it is still easier than physical contact or cheaper than a property manager.

Since starting our short term rental in September, I have never once met a guest in person.

Does the Schlage app integrate with your reservation system to set up guest access for each check in/ out time or do you set up the access duration manually? How does it work to allow HK access only when no guest is there? Is that automatic or manual? That is an interesting concept... all my service providers have continued access and a permanent code as there are times when a guest has a problem and I need to send someone out. But then I get a notification each time they enter so I know when say, the carpet cleaner arrived, and I would know right away if they were there at an improper time. One more question about the free Schlage app: how many guest and permanent access codes will it allow at one time? Do you ever “run out”? 

Thanks! Melissa 

 When we get a reservation, we setup the guest code and activate the cleaner code for right after check out. It doesn't automatically do this, but it only takes a couple minutes per guest and we average 1 guest a week. I could give continuous access to a cleaner or maintenance, but we choose to limit it. Their code stays in the list, but we edit the times it is valid. The app logs every time a code is used and I get alerts on my phone that pop up. 

Call me a privacy freak, but I prefer to have only guests have access during their stay under a unique code. If service personnel needed to enter the property, we prefer to have the guest there. If the guest cannot be there, we would grant access for a period of time only. 

I am probably overly careful, but I never want a situation where someone enters a property unauthorized. It is not even a matter of not trusting service people. Codes can get lost or stolen. I have no way to know if they are keeping it secure or sharing it. The only way someone is getting into one of my property when a guest is there is by forced entry or if the guest leaves the door unlocked. Either way, there is no liability on me.

I had a situation a couple years ago where someone was trying to use a key at one of my rental properties. The new tenant said they claimed to be a "friend" of the old tenant. Apparently not great friends because they didn't know they moved... Thankfully I rekey all my locks between tenants. 

Schlage holds 100 unique codes, which is plenty for our purposes. 

The majority of AirBNB hosts don't even change the code or key between guests. If you are doing just that, you are ahead of half the hosts out there.