Buidling a vacation rental tech stack

Vacation Rental Tech Stack 101

There’s software for just about everything these days—and good thing, too! Your vacation rental management software platform keeps your business running smoothly. It manages reservations and calendars, business-critical information like finances and operations, and all of your inventory information. 

But a property management system (or PMS) can only do so much well. Sometimes that means adding specialized technology to supplement certain needs. Let’s talk about what can go into a solid VRM tech stack, and how to build the best one for your business.

Building Your Dream VRM Tech Stack

VRM tech stacks follow a similar structure throughout the industry, but just like any business, your vacation rental property management company will have its own unique needs. 

Consider the core functions you’re looking to fulfill when building your tech stack. What kinds of tasks will you keep in house, and what will you outsource? Can your tech stack perform at scale? Is there a reliable support team waiting in the wings for when you need help? 

Attending conferences, chatting with colleagues in the industry, and listening to experts via podcasts, newsletters, or video can help you stay on top of the latest and greatest tech coming out and best practices for your VRM business.

Now, let’s take a look at the basic setup for your VRM tech stack. 

Your PMS System: The Foundation of Your Vacation Rental Management Business

Your VRM tech stack starts with your property management system. This is the central core of your entire business. It manages the details of your inventory, including listing information, reservations (past, current, and upcoming), and guest information. It also syncs your listing information across your website and any OTAs you partner with, like Airbnb or Vrbo. (We have some opinions about the best property management systems out there—take a look.) 

Adding on to Your VRM Tech Stack

Your PMS may come with a few other tools, like a housekeeping tracker and a guestbook function. While some of these tools will fit your needs just fine, you might want more specialized software for specific functions. 

A CRM 

It’s important to have a tool that organizes your customer data and supports sales goals. A customer relationship management system (also known as customer management software) allows you to store contact information, build out marketing nurture pathways for both potential customers and previous customers, and provide helpful insights to you and your team about what sales tactics are performing best. 

As a vacation rental manager, you have two customers: Your guests and your homeowners. A specialized CRM tool can help you differentiate messaging and nurture pathways for either vertical. 

Benefits of This Tool

Adding a CRM like Hubspot or Salesforce can simplify your marketing process through automation, and provide you with a suite of tools to optimize your relationships with your customers. 

Email Collection Tool(s)

In order for your CRM to do its job, you need guests’ contact information. You’ll have the email address and phone number of the person who made the booking—but what about other adults in the house? 

There are a few tools out there that can collect the email addresses of additional people staying at a property, usually by requiring an email to use an amenity or login to the guestbook. This can become an invaluable tool for your VRM tech stack.

Benefits of This Tool

An email scraper tool like StayFi gives you more information for your CRM, widening your audience with which to engage. 

Financial Tools

While your PMS may offer a way to track and save your financial records, consider whether the built-in tool will meet your particular needs. For example, if you’re working in a state that requires trust accounting, you may want to go with supplemental financial software for your VRM stack in order to get all of the functionality you need. Many PMS tools make this simple by offering integrations to financial products like Quickbooks. 

Benefits of This Tool

Adding financial management software to your VRM tech stack can be particularly useful if you need to meet certain legal requirements or if your finances are at all complicated. 

Marketing Tools

If CRM is the tool for engaging with your customers, your marketing tool is what brings those customers through the door to begin with. 

Of all of the functions of your business, your marketing may require the most specialized software. Here are the main tasks you’ll want to consider when looking into marketing tools: 

  • Building and managing your website
  • Email marketing
  • Blog content
  • Social media marketing (including creation and automation) 
  • SEO and SEM 
  • Digital ads
  • A photography library
  • Virtual tour management
  • Any additional design tools

Benefits of This Tool

Marketing is what attracts customers to your business. And in a market as competitive as vacation rentals, producing excellent marketing is key to staying relevant. 

Revenue Management

A key component of your VRM tech stack is a dynamic pricing tool of some kind. It optimizes the performance of your properties by pricing rentals based on certain criteria, from the season to the size of the home. A good revenue management tool can track a whole host of factors, and make adjustments to multiple listings at once. 

Benefits of This Tool

While some PMS have pricing tools built-in, many of them have a steep learning curve, take time to implement and manage fully or are not robust for property managers’ needs. Revenue management software like Art by Rented use both a rates tool and the support of revenue management experts to make sure your properties are in front of the right guests at the right time for the right price. You can start now, for free with our Automated Rates Tool: Art!