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.
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 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.