Vacation Rental Websites : Property Management Websites
Internet Strategies for Vacation Rental Websites
Whether you’re managing a few rental units or several hundred, the vacation rental business requires almost endless tracking, communicating, processing and accounting in day-to-day operations alone. When you add in the activities that help to grow and sustain the business, from advertising to promotions to follow-up with guests, it’s all too easy for some element to get lost in the daily grind.
A web site devoted to vacation rentals provides part of the answer, but a simple site, while essential, does not make it any easier to manage the business, nor does it provide the dynamic interactive features that allow sophisticated automation. That automation is what allows you to eliminate many of the mundane chores that clutter a busy schedule. At the same time, automated solutions can add many new capabilities without requiring a huge investment of time, and a web site upgrade that includes specialized, full-featured and focused tools is an upgrade that can more than pay for itself in a very short time.
Two options that can be integrated into an existing site are Property Plus and Escapia, both of which provide a full range of features that work regardless of the scale of a vacation rental business.
Property Plus Website Integration
Property Plus, from Instant Software, has a long history and a large installed base as the most popular Windows-based product in the vacation rental industry. Property Plus has a full-featured suite of tools that cover management details, information capture and reporting, and customer relationship management.
Property Plus Features Include:
- Reservation capability both in-house and on the web
- Maintenance and housekeeping tracking, including the ability to report unit status from the property
- Detailed information about owners, guests, properties and vendors
- Full Customer Relationship Management capacity, with reporting functions and marketing via automated email
- A separate activities module that allows the creation and marketing of additional revenue-generating activities packages to guests
Property Plus also includes interfaces for credit card verification and processing, keyless entry, call accounting and a variety of newsletter and email capabilities. Reports are fully customizable and can be exported into a variety of Microsoft Office formats for analysis and distribution.
Using Instant Software’s ISI Link, NeoNexus integrates your website with Property Plus, letting you do cool things like:
- Using the real time connection, ISI Link talks to Property Plus, so someone on the website and someone on the phone to your property management office will not be able to book the same property at the same time!
- Website visitors can browse your properties, including all photos and descriptions, without you having to load the information to both Property Plus AND your website
- Our website uses the WordPress Content Management System (CMS), so you can update your website yourself, even at 2 am! Unlike some of our competition, the WordPress CMS is easy to use, requires little training, and can be done from any computer. There are no IP addresses that need setup for each and every computer that needs to access the software; just Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Safari.
- Write your very own blog, so you can discuss all the cool things that visitors can do when on vacation in your area
- Use automated sitemap submission and website optimization tools to help you build traffic to your website
Escapia Website Integration
Escapia is a similar option that, again, can be integrated completely into an existing site. While Property Plus can be managed as a client-hosted system, Escapia is a purely web-based system that shares many of the features of Property Plus and adds some variations.
Escapia offers a wide range of features, including:
- Reservation and accounting functions
- Housekeeping and maintenance tracking and scheduling
- Contact management that includes automated email marketing and correspondence
- Advanced rate engine that applies yield management strategies used by major hotels and airlines
- Escapia incorporates ratings and guest reviews and claims a 41 percent booking increase for properties that guests have reviewed
- Reporting features with built-in export to Microsoft Excel, covering reservations, accounting, housekeeping and various administrative functions, along with a selection of custom reports exportable in several formats.
NeoNexus Vacation Rental Websites
Both Property Plus and Escapia offer a great deal to a vacation rental business, especially as partners with a well-designed and administered web site. After all, no matter what bells and whistles are attached, the web site is the company’s face to the world. Like any good site, it needs to be polished, attractive, easy to navigate and useful. It also needs meaningful attention after it is built: this is not a “set it and forget it” situation. The underlying site needs to be continually optimized throughout its life, especially in terms of its relationship with search engines. Search Engine Optimization (SEO), the art and science of assuring high rankings in relevant search listings, is crucial to vacation rental sites, and SEO strategy requires constant adjustment to reflect the constant changes made by search companies and in the web itself.
After all, even the best tools and technology can go to waste if guests don’t find you in the first place. A successful vacation rental business needs all three elements: an exceptional site of its own; the right tools to supplement that site; and careful on-going attention, especially to SEO, that keeps things running at top capacity.