What is a Property Management System and Why do You Need One?

What is a Property Management System and Why do You Need One?

What is a Property Management System and what are the benefits it provides to those managing vacation rentals. We deliver all the details.

In my last article – What is a Channel Manager and Why do You Need One? we talked about the ins and outs of having a channel manager.

A channel manager is a primary tool for anyone looking to scale up their efforts in their bid for world domination in the vacation rental market :)

Now we’re talking about something different. Something even more technical. We’re talking about a Property Management System of a PMS for short.

What is a Property Management System?

A property management system is online software that facilities the day-to-day operations of your vacation rental business.

This often includes the following:

– Integration of your channel manager
– Automation of guest messages
– The backend of your website
– Guest data
– Payment processing
– Receipt management
– Back end access for homeowners
– Homeowner email automation
– Homeowner data management

Within each one of these sections is a vast array of options and tools. On top of the above list there will be other additions to the list depending on which property management software you use.

At Happy Owner we utilise the services of a Property Management Service by the name of Krossbooking.

This is used for all our Sea N’ Rent hosted apartments in Tel Aviv.

I’ve used several PMS software platforms including Kigo, Avantio, Guesty, and SIBO. I would have to say Krossbooking (an Italian company) is perhaps the best one.

Krossbooking is still relatively new on the scene and perhaps this is what makes them better than the competition. They still embody the spirit of innovation and a strong willingness to adapt to their clients to meet their needs. Whereby other companies are just so big, they don’t feel it’s worth their while.

This means you either accept the platform as it is or you find another property management system. They don’t really care. Krossbooking do care and this is why I rate them so highly.

Confusion Between Channel Manager and Property Management System

If you’re new to the world of vacation rentals, you may get confused between a channel manager and a property management system. This is because many PMS platforms seamlessly integrate with their own channel manager.

Because of this tendency, stand-alone channel managers like Beds24 are becoming a little redundant to the industry and they are faced with two choices:

1. They must either adapt and become a channel manager or…
2. have the best possible integration with as many PMS providers as possible.

When I worked with Beds24 I also worked with Kigo legacy as a stand-alone PMS. The two were not connected. This caused many headaches. Moving to Krossbooking was the solution we needed.

When do you need a property manage systems?

Property Management Systems are complex machines. If you operate less than 10 properties the idea of working with a PMS may not be for you. You may still be happy with managing things manually and you may be doing so successfully.

You work with a property management system when the manual effort becomes too much to coordinate and stay on top of. In other words when you want to position yourself technically so that you can multiply your efforts and give yourself the foundation to scale up your business.

Don’t be sucked in with the marketing

No matter how brilliantly these software companies are at marketing their product and how easy they make it all look, learning how to use a PMS takes a significant amount of your time. It requires dedication, endless troubleshooting, and a desire to understand the system deeply.

With that said, I do believe every property manager system I have seen and used is overly complex.

Most of the features on the system will never be used. The systems look much more complex than they need to be from the end user’s point of view.

I always feel there should be a lite version of the PMS, whereby you just turn on the features you use and turn off the ones you don’t. It would make the product much more user-friendly and achieve the exact same results.

What you should look for when choosing a PMS?

It’s fair to say that pretty much all PMS systems do the same thing. Offering the same core functionality. If you ask me you are looking for two primary qualities:

1. Integration of PMS and channel manager
2. AMAZING customer support

Let’s talk about that second one – AMAZING customer support – Property Management Software is complex. You will inevitably need customer support to troubleshoot issues you are having. If the customer support is not AMAZING. Don’t touch them. Take your money somewhere else.

Customer service is the single biggest differentiator between an average PMS and a great PMS.

As they grow, they may make the mistake of trying to automate this aspect of their operation as much as possible and use some off-the-shelf solution in a bid to increase their profit margins.

A property management system offers many benefits and this is why anyone who is serious about their business of property management will utilize them. They will as a result have an advantage in the market over their competitors that don’t use them.

How can you compete with them?

If you don’t want to dedicate yourself to learning the ins and outs of a PMS and still want all the benefits, join forces with a property management company such as Happy Owner.

You will get all of the benefits without any of the work. Getting you more reservations throughout the year, which means more money and less hassle.

Want to see more benefits of working with a property management company? Read our article 10 Great Advantages of Working with a Property Management Company

Have you got a property in Tel Aviv that you’re considering renting out as a vacation rental?

Set up a call with Happy Owner today and see if we can help you with earning the most from your property.

Scott D. Renwick

Scott D. Renwick is the Head of Operations at Sea N’ Rent Ltd., working with them since 2015. His skills have helped the company structure its operations to ensure stability and future growth in the property management business.

7 Insider Tips to Make Sure Your Listing Gets Clicked

7 Insider Tips to Make Sure Your Listing Gets Clicked

Hosts are competing for clicks across the web. What can you do today to make sure your listing gets clicked and your property gets booked?

I’ve published 100’s of properties on various platforms including Airbnb, HomeAway, Expedia, Agoda, Ctrip, TripAdvisor, Booking.com, and various other platforms. The experience gained has been significant. Giving me methods and ways to ensure properties I list are optimized so that my listing gets clicked.

Below I share with you 7 insider tips to make sure your listing gets clicked.

Read on, apply and make sure your listing isn’t left behind in the dark depths of listing obscurity.

7 Insider Tips to Make Sure Your Listing Gets Clicked

1. Photos

Invest in a professional photographer. I know it’s tempting to take the photos yourself but the bottom line is, the people at the top of this business are using professional photographers and this is who you are competing against.

As well as this the photographer is most likely experienced in knowing what matters for these photos and will give you the best practices to ensure you get the most out of the photoshoot.

It may seem a bit pricey but think of it as an investment. The more you get clicked the more money you’ll make. That photoshoot will pay for itself.

Think outside of the box. While your apartment may be lovely and special, ultimately it’s not the only reason why people are coming to stay at your property. Make sure to get photos of the local area, highlighting reasons why people will enjoy staying in the locality.

Potential guests always want to see the outside of the property as well.

This serves two purposes:

1. It ensures the quality of the building and that their experience will go beyond superficial interior aesthetics.
2. It will help guests identify your property when they arrive giving them an increased level of confidence and increasing the likelihood of them booking with you.

Next, once you have the high-quality photos, put some thought into how you arrange them. Making sure to put your top 3 to 5 photos as the first ones people will see.

These first few photos will ensure higher clickability. Be careful to pick the ones you would want to click on if you were the guest. Put yourself in their shoes.

Below is one of the pictures of one of Sea N’ Rent’s apartments in Tel Aviv – a balcony over looking the Mediterranean sea.

Listing Gets Clicked

2. Headlines

You have about 1 to 3 seconds to get someone to take in your headline and make a decision to click.

This means your headline has to be:

  • Short (Most platforms have character restrictions)
  • Showcase the unique selling point (pool, gym, bright, new etc.)
  • Sound appealing (use powerful words such as amazing, beautiful, luxurious etc.)

A lot of people make the mistake of trying to cram too much into their headline. This often has the opposite effect.

Try following this formula:

Power words + Property type + unique selling point

Just about anybody can do that.

The real skill comes in making it as short as possible and packing in as much information as possible. This is what separates the professionals from the amateurs.

3. Response Rate

Most booking platforms will favor showing properties with a high response rate. This is why at Happy Owner we have a team that operates 24/7 to ensure we have a very fast response rate.

All properties managed by Happy Owner get this service.

The faster you respond to guest queries, the more likely you are to be ranked higher on people’s searches. This ensures more impressions and therefore more clicks. More clicks mean more bookings.

You’ve either got to be ready to answer or outsource the work to a credible property management company that offers you’re properties and guests that 24/7 support.

4. Prices

If you don’t continuously update your prices and stay competitive you may be pricing yourself out of your listing getting clicked. Having an overview of the market that is relevant to your property will ensure you price yourself within the market range for what you are offering.

Property management companies use various types of software and strategies to achieve this and to stay competitive.

5. Reviews

In the world of short term vacation rentals reviews are basically currency. The more you do to earn top reviews the more booking platforms will push you up the rankings. Again increasing your impressions and increasing the likelihood of your listing getting clicked.

This is why property management companies value so much the concept of customer service.

What is done on the ground is vital to how your property listing performs online. Literally, nothing will boost your listing and increase clicks more than a stream of top ratings and great guest feedback.

If you want to be ranked high you either need to be hungry for those top reviews or work with a property manager that knows how to get them on a regular basis.

The truth is there is no secret to gaining high-quality reviews. You get them because you’re good at what you do. If you’re not willing to invest the time and effort on the ground it will show on your online presence.

6. Descriptions

The two biggest reasons why people fail at descriptions is because:

  1. They under value the art and technical skill that is content writing
  2. They under estimate their audience and produce generic meaningless descriptions

A description should be laid out and composed well. Most importantly it should go into a degree of depth in terms of the unique value and characteristics of the property.

For example:

Bad content: This amazing, spacious, and bright kitchen has a toaster, kettle, oven, stovetop, and espresso machine
Good content: An archway leads you into the kitchen space, naturally lit up due to the south-facing floor-to-ceiling bay window overlooking the sea.

The first example could be applied to so many kitchens. However the second description is much more unique to this specific listing.

As a general rule, always stay far away from generic descriptions. It’s lazy, lacks imagination and people see right past it. You’re fooling nobody.

7. Online profile

Whether you’re on one of the major platforms like booking.com or Airbnb or even if you are selling direct from your own website, profiling yourself through the various tools or via an About page is an essential component.

This is your opportunity to build up your online presence and establish credibility for yourself and your listing.

People want to feel confident about booking your property. Exposing yourself as a real company or person as the case may be will go a long way to giving a sense of transparency which will, in turn, build trust.

A strong, professional profile will ensure your listing gets clicked a lot more.

With all of the above said, remember setting up your property is not a set it up and leave it process.

Listings must be revisited. Feedback from guests will affect what is important and what you want to bring to the forefront of your listing.

At Happy Owner we regularly make adjustments making sure to A/B test features of our online property listings to see what has more of an impact. This could be changing a headline or changing the order of the photos. Then reviewing the analytics to see if it increases performance.

This is how we always stay competitive for all the property owners we partner with in Israel.

Have you got a property in Tel Aviv that you’re considering renting out as a vacation rental?

Set up a call with Happy Owner today and see if we can help you with earning the most from your property.

Scott D. Renwick

Scott D. Renwick is the Head of Operations at Sea N’ Rent Ltd., working with them since 2015. His skills have helped the company structure its operations to ensure stability and future growth in the property management business.