As the vacation rental industry continues to grow, technology is reshaping the industry like never before.

From new ways to list and manage bookings to automation tools, AI, and smart homes, expectations are changing for both property managers and guests. 

In this article, we’ll discuss the critical role of technology in the vacation rental world and the importance of keeping up with changes. 

Want to know what to expect from the vacation rental industry in 2024? Check out this article.

Why embracing technology is a must

Technology has revolutionised vacation rentals, and embracing innovation is vital for property managers to survive and thrive in a competitive industry.

By using technology tailor-made for vacation rentals, you can:

  • Increase your efficiency — Time-saving tools help property managers do more in less time often with less staff required.
  • Improve the guest experience — Today’s consumers appreciate how technology makes their experience smoother. You’ll likely get more positive reviews if you use technology to enhance the guest experience. 
  • Boost your income — With the right tools, you can increase your income, whether you’re using AI to set better prices or effortlessly optimising your listings to get more bookings. 

Overcoming today’s business challenges with technology

Today’s property managers face many challenges, but technology is able to help solve many of them.

Here are some examples of how you can use technology to navigate current challenges in the vacation rental world.

Optimise listings

As the demand for vacation rentals has exploded in the past decade, so has the number of properties on the market. 

Competition is fierce, especially on large OTAs where guests can choose from thousands of properties in your area. 

Property managers can use technology to outshine their competitors and increase their chances of getting bookings. 

For example, with a tool like Rentals United’s built-in listing checker, property managers can get accurate, AI-powered recommendations to improve their listings, rank better on OTAs, and increase their ratio of 5-star reviews. 

Manage listings across several channels

Property managers have plenty of options when choosing where to list their properties. From major listing sites like Airbnb and, to smaller sites specialising in different travel niches, property managers can list on a combination of sites that best suits their business goals. 

However, while listing on a diverse range of sites helps increase occupancy and income, a quality channel manager is required to reduce excessive manual workload and ensure you avoid double bookings. 

Rentals United is constantly updating its channel manager to ensure top quality connections to all channels, and also offers a range of tools to help with different aspects of the business.

Increase profits

While OTAs offer exposure to a large audience of travellers, bookings often come with commission and fees attached, meaning property managers don’t keep all the profits from each booking.

Currently, many property managers are looking for ways to increase the profitability of bookings and also retain control over their businesses. There are two key tech solutions that can help with this.

Website building tools tailored the the vacation rental industry allow property managers to create simple, user friendly websites where guests can book their properties directly. This creates another income stream and an opportunity to 

Deliver 5-star guest experiences

Because guest’s have so much choice, they come to expect a higher standard,  and may even compare short-term rentals to hotels and want many similar experiences in addition to the benefit of their own private property.

Technology can help property managers improve guest experience in several ways, for example:

  • Smart locks and self-check in tools allow guests to check in immediately instead of waiting to pick up keys from a property manager. Electronic locks may also boost security in the property.
  • Digital welcome books and apps help guests find information about the property and local attractions on an easy, self-serve basis. 
  • Guest messaging platforms help property managers keep up with all messages from different platforms and channels, and can even send automated messages. Guests are reassured when their questions are answered quickly and property managers are available to solve problems.

As well as elevating guest experience, many of these tools also have the added benefit of saving time for property managers. 

Learn from data to grow 

Property managers now have the opportunity to grow their business rapidly by analysing trends and performance data to see what they can do better.

Data analysis tools, such as Elevate from Rentals United, give property managers crucial insights into how their properties are performing and allow comparison with market data. Armed with this knowledge, property managers can make better decisions about channels to list on, rates, discounts, and locations to invest in. 

Choosing the right tools for your business

 Vacation rental tools are an investment, and depending on where you’re at in your business development, you’ll have to make a calculation to decide which tools you need most at the moment.

Start by evaluating the state of your business today. Consider:

  • What’s working really well for you at the moment?
  • Which areas of the business are you struggling in?
  • What takes up most of your time?

For example, maybe you’re providing really amazing guest experiences and getting a lot of positive feedback and 5-star reviews. However, you’re struggling to fill your calendar because your listings aren’t getting enough visibility on sales channels. You’re spending hours trying to improve your listings, and you also spend a lot of time answer messages from guests.

In this case, you might want to look for a tool that helps you optimise listings by giving you accurate information about how your listings are performing and what content could be added for better rankings and conversions.

You could also look for a guest messaging tool that would make it easier to keep up with messages by bringing them into a centralised inbox, and incorporates automation and AI to help you respond faster.

Here are some best practices for building your vacation rental tech stack:

Choose a powerful channel manager

Listing on various channels is essential for any vacation rental business to stay competitive. Your channel manager is the foundation of your vacation rental tech stack, so it’s important to choose the right software.

Your channel manager should:

  • Offer a wide range of channels to list your property. The more places you can list, the better for your business.
  • Be simple to use. You need to be able to add new properties and manage your listings easily.
  • Have reliable connections. Strong connections to channels will prevent double bookings.
  • Include additional features. Many channel managers now have a range of additional features which means you don’t have to invest in as many tools, and you can do more things in one place.

Rentals United is an award-winning channel manager with top-quality, official connections to 50+ channels. In addition to channel management, the software also includes a guest messaging tool, website builder, data platform with AI insights and more.

Watch a demo today to see how to grow your business with Rentals United.

Look for tools that integrate easily

Another thing to consider when choosing tools is how well they will integrate with each other. For example, you’ll want to have a PMS that integrates with your channel manager. 

When tools integrate with each other seamlessly, it will be easier to keep track of what’s going on and manage your business seamlessly.

Use technology to upgrade your properties 

Finding ways to enhance the guest experience with technology will help you get more bookings and positive reviews.

Guests will appreciate being able to check-in and access information using their smartphones, and also enjoy the comforts that technology can bring to your property.

Collect and analyse your data

One of the most crucial aspects of technology is the ability to collect and analyse your data. This enables you to understand what’s happening in your business, what’s working well, and what areas are less successful. 

With a powerful data analysis tool, you’ll be able to understand your business performance and compare to the market. Analysing your data will also help you see how effective your tools are and which aspects of the business you may need help from technology.

Find ways to automate your work

Growing your vacation rental business is difficult if you don’t start using technology to automate your work. Doing everything manually will prevent you from being able to grow your inventory and increase profits.

Look for any software solutions that allow you to step back and spend less time on repetitive tasks, for example: 

  • Sending automated messages to guests instead of writing the same message every time
  • Allowing guests to check themselves in so you don’t have to meet each guest to hand over keys
  • Automatically analysing listings to see what you could improve so you don’t have to research each channel’s requirements individually.

Grow your business today with technology

Embracing technology is one of the easiest ways to start growing your business. Want to know more? Book a demo to see how our expert teams can help you boost your bookings and revenue.