How to choose a vacation rental management system

The vacation rental sector is rapidly expanding in terms of the technology on offer to property management companies. New and innovative forms of software are appearing frequently, all with the aim of making property management as easy and profitable as possible.

If you are a property management company that is looking to scale and run its operations more effectively and efficiently, then a property management system/software (PMS) will be an incredibly valuable investment for your business.

However, with a huge range of options currently available, you might not have any idea about where to look or what to look for. We’ve put this blog post together to show you how to evaluate a vacation rental management system and help make that decision a little easier when it comes to choosing a provider.

What is a vacation rental property management system (PMS)?

Simply put, a PMS is a type of software that centralizes key information and operations in one place.

Property management systems are primarily designed to:

  • Be more efficient in terms of daily operations
  • Eliminate double bookings
  • Sustainably scale property management businesses
  • Increase direct bookings and vacation rental profitability
  • Boost listing visibility on major OTA platforms (such as Airbnb)

Keeping on top of every booking calendar, payment, guest message, and reservation can be an extremely tough task. Especially if you manage 50+ properties that are listed across multiple OTAs.

As a property management company, your properties are probably on every major online travel agency (Airbnb, Vrbo,, Whimstay, VacayMyWay etc.) and you may also be managing your own direct booking website.

If, for example, you wanted to change your reservation rates or a specific listing’s description, you would have to manually make those adjustments on every single channel that you list that property on.

Having a vacation rental management system allows you to make any changes directly in your PMS and they will automatically apply across all the channels you have linked.

Each PMS will have its own unique features, but the majority encompass:

  • Channel management
  • Task management
  • Calendar management
  • Listing management
  • Guest communication tools
  • Property performance reporting

How to evaluate a vacation rental management system

When evaluating your options, pay close attention to what each one provides for these five core PMS functions:

  1. Channel management system (CMS)
  2. Listing management
  3. Calendar alignment
  4. Guest automation tools
  5. Task automation tools

Additionally, you may want to evaluate a PMS based on other features that will help run your business, such as:

  1. Integrations
  2. Performance reports
  3. Website creation/booking engine
  4. Dynamic pricing
  5. Marketing
  6. Accounting
  7. Customer support
  8. User-friendliness

To help with your evaluation of these features, compare the overall performance, user experience, pricing, customer support etc. through reputable online software review sites such as:

Capterra | Vacation Rental Software Shortlist
GetApp | Category Leaders in Hospitality Property Management
Software Advice | Vacation Rental Software
G2 | Best Vacation Rental Software

Evaluating the five core PMS functions

Here’s a breakdown of what the five core PMS functions do.

1. Channel management system (CMS)

One of the most crucial features of a good PMS is a built-in channel management system. For property management companies that list their homes across multiple booking channels, keeping an organized calendar of the bookings that have been made can quickly become a problem.

A channel management system will help you avoid double bookings by keeping calendars up to date, distribute your listings across all major booking channels, and synchronize nightly booking rates, all in one centralized place.

2. Listing management

Your property management systems listing management feature is where you can find and edit the details and descriptions for your vacation rentals. An effective listing manager will keep your details updated, central, and universal across major OTAs.

3. Calendar alignment

Another crucial feature is a unified calendar, that shows all your reservations, availability, rates, and more in one place. If you’re looking to scale, you will obviously begin to take on more bookings.

Keeping track of the availability of your properties is crucial. You want to avoid double bookings and having to cancel on guests due to your own mistakes, as this could affect your reputation as a business.

4. Guest automation tools

Guest automation tools are incredibly important for property managers. Providing a good guest experience before check-in and getting those all-important reviews post-stay is crucial, but also incredibly time-consuming for your team.

The best PMS’ will provide you with the tools to be able to automate these processes, allowing you to reallocate the time your team saves to other more important parts of your business.

5. Task automation tools

Like guest automation tools, task automation tools simplify, automate, and organize your property operations. Task automation tools allow you to manage your team efficiently, allowing you to assign tasks such as cleaning and maintenance, and automatically keep you and your team updated on status, progress etc.

Consider other key vacation rental management system features

Other than the five core functions of a PMS, you also want to choose a provider that offers as much value as possible to make your operations easier and more profitable. So when looking at a PMS, examine the extra features either built into the PMS or provided through third-party integrations.

Most of the major PMS providers in the sector have identified the best software vendors for each problem that property managers face and can be solved through innovative technology solutions.

Check to see if a PMS is integrated with any software that you currently use or are looking to use in the future. That way you’ll know that the appropriate framework is put in place for you to sync your accounts and not cause any operational problems or delays for your team or your guests, causing you to miss out on revenue.


Overall, a good PMS should provide you with a detailed overview of your vacation rental activity and the ability to automate your day-to-day operations. This includes managing inquiries, requesting guest reviews, effective distribution of your properties across booking channels, and in general, make running your business easier and help you scale.

Get advanced guest screening and damage protection

Superhog is integrated with the biggest PMS providers in the sector, allowing you to easily import your listings and your bookings into our system and start using our advanced guest screening and industry-leading damage protection.

Check out Superhog’s PMS integrations to see how we can seamlessly integrate into your current pre/post booking journey through your PMS and start verifying your guests and protecting your properties today.

Speak to us today!

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