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Short Term Rental Apps & Software: The Complete List

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    Whether you operate one short term rental property or a whole portfolio, staying on top of everything is no easy task. You have to set pricing, manage listings on multiple platforms, coordinate with guests, make sure your property is secure, handle bookkeeping, and much more. To the outsider, it all looks easy, but the reality is that managing short term rental properties takes a lot of time and energy. 

    But thanks to the growing popularity of short term rental apps and software, there’s now a better way to manage short term rentals. These solutions can save you countless hours each week, ultimately giving you time back to spend on what’s important to you. 

    If you’re just getting started, the sheer number of solutions available can be overwhelming. There are multiple categories, each with seemingly endless apps and software platforms that promise to completely reinvent your short term rental business. Identifying the best solutions is challenging, and for many investors, it’s difficult to know where to even start. 

    In this guide, we’ll explore the top software tools in each category, including:

    • Property Analysis
    • Pricing
    • Listing and Booking Optimization
    • Property Management Software (PMS)
    • Security
    • Host Controls & Guest Experience
    • Bookkeeping
    • Housekeeping

    By the time you’re through reading, you’ll be able to select the tools that are the best fit for the unique needs of your portfolio. After they’re implemented, your short term rental business will be running on autopilot.

    For each category, we’ll assess several highly-rated tools. We’ll share a summary of what each tool does and an overview of the features they bring to the table. Ready to learn exactly which tools need to be in your short term vacation rental tech stack? Let’s dive in. 

    At Hall CPA, our team of specialized real estate accountants serves as trusted advisors to real estate investors all over the country. We provide accounting services for short term rentals, as well as tax planning and advisory services that help our clients build and sustain wealth. 

    Looking for a deep dive into short term rental strategy? Check out our Guide to Short Term Rentals. Interested in working with us? Contact the team today to set up an initial consultation.

    Property Analysis Tools

    It’s often difficult to find the perfect short term rental property to acquire. In-demand vacation destinations are often competitive markets, and to achieve the best results, it’s important you identify and acquire properties that are well-matched to your investment strategy. 

    In this niche, STR Insights is a clear leader, proving popular with STR influencers and investors alike. 

    STR Insights

    STR Insights helps short term rental investors eliminate guesswork from their property acquisitions. The platform provides users with a wealth of data and research that investors can analyze to identify and purchase high-potential properties.  

    By using STR Insights, investors can quickly hone in on the best market or property type for their budget. With revenue and property value data available for over 12,000 markets, the platform helps investors make decisions with higher levels of confidence, no matter where they’re located. 

    Key Features:

    • Automated revenue data collection
    • Selective ROI data
    • Market comparison tool
    • Research tools for different property types

    Pricing Tools

    Pricing your short term rental at market rates is key to success. Price too low and you’re leaving money on the table, but price too high and nobody will book your property. Striking the balance is difficult, and your pricing strategy will often change throughout the year in response to seasonal trends. 

    To understand the best pricing strategies for your rentals, adopt a pricing tool. These solutions use powerful analysis tools to recommend the optimal price for your property on any given day, ensuring your property is always priced competitively. 

     PriceLabs

    PriceLabs is a dynamic pricing tool that determines your pricing strategy based on availability and demand in your local area. The tool works with popular STR platforms including Airbnb and VRBO, and there’s a 30-day free trial for you to determine whether it’s a good fit for you. 

    Key Features:

    • Pricing analytics
    • Dynamic pricing 
    • Daily rate automation 
    • Booking analytics 
    • Market insights 
    • PMS integration 

     

    MarketMaker by VRBO

    MarketMaker is a tool within the VRBO platform that enables VRBO hosts to make more informed pricing decisions. The data provided here gives hosts the insights they need to drive incremental revenue and improve the performance of their listings. 

    The tool leverages real-time data on your property, nearby properties, and user search behavior to produce powerful insights that ensure your rates are competitive year-round. There’s also the option to apply the insights directly to active property listings on VRBO. 

    Key Features:

    • Real-time market data 
    • Competitor insights 
    • Dynamic pricing
    • Revenue management
    • Listing analytics 

    Listing and Booking Optimization 

    Acquiring and pricing your short term rental properties is only one factor in the path to success. Perhaps the most important factor is attracting guests to stay at the properties you manage. Doing that successfully demands that each listing is continuously refined and improved.

    Pricing is one part of optimizing your listings, but the title, picture, list of amenities, and description are important too. Adopting a data-driven approach to updating these elements helps improve occupancy rates, ultimately generating a higher ROI. 

    Rankbreeze 

    Rankbreeze helps short term rental owners increase their rankings in Airbnb search results by optimizing listing titles, photos, and descriptions. 

    There’s a suite of price comparison tools as well as features that help you decide which amenities to add to your property to drive maximum profitability. 

    Key Features:

    • Analytics to optimize listings
    • Pricing comparison tools
    • A/B testing
    • Local rental data
    • Daily and weekly reports

    AirDNA

    AirDNA offers powerful analytics into over 10 Million Airbnb listings around the world. The platform offers valuable insights into the performance of local markets, helping you discover new trends to capitalize on as the market develops. There are also dynamic pricing tools that analyze competitive data to automate your pricing strategy. 

    Key Features:

    • Market analytics 
    • Competitor insights 
    • Property search
    • Local tourism insights 
    • Lead generation 
    • Rental calculator 
    • Enterprise solutions 

    Property Management Software (PMS)

    Managing short-term rentals can eat up huge portions of your time. You have to monitor many different platforms, keep track of bookings, communicate with guests, and manage all of the finances. If you have more than one property, it’s easy for this to feel like a full-time job. 

    Fortunately, PMS platforms make it easy for property owners and managers to automate many of the most time-consuming elements of their role. These tools streamline many of the operational tasks involved in managing a short term rental property and also come with features that help you build a brand and forge relationships with customers. 

    This is a huge category and when it comes to picking a platform, there are many options. For the purposes of this guide, we’ve selected three of the highest-rated tools. At Hall CPA, our clients rely on these tools every day. Let’s take a closer look at each of them. 

    OwnerRez

    OwnerRez gives you all the tools needed to operate short-term rental properties across multiple channels. There’s a huge range of integrations, with a centralized messaging inbox and booking calendar that makes it easy to manage daily operations. 

    The tool is recognized by leading vacation rental platforms like VRBO and TripAdvisor as a top-tier partner and has also received multiple awards from third-party software review sites. Pricing is per-property, so even if you own just a few STRs, you’ll still get fair pricing. 

    Key Features:

    • Website hosting 
    • CRM
    • Multi-channel management 
    • Payment processing 
    • Accounting 
    • Messaging 
    • Renter agreements 
    • Reporting 

    Hospitable

    Hospitable, formerly known as SmartBnB, enables STR owners to automate many of the most time-consuming elements of running a vacation rental. The tool is used by over 300,000 short term rental properties around the world and is rated highly by users on independent review sites. 

    One of the most popular features is messaging automation, which enables users to create custom replies that are automatically sent to guests in response to inquiries or common questions. 

    Key Features:

    • Automated messaging
    • Task management 
    • Team management 
    • Financial reports 
    • Reservation management 
    • Double-booking prevention
    • Review management 

    Guesty

    Guesty is an end-to-end short term rental platform that offers features that enable owners and operators to both manage and market their short term rental properties to a wide audience. With options for Hosts (3 properties or less) and Pros (4 properties or more), Guesty provides STR owners with features that are more customized to their individual needs. 

    Like the other property management software featured here, Guesty receives many positive reviews and is also recognized by leading booking platforms like Booking.com and Airbnb as a preferred software partner. 

    Key Features:

    • Unified inbox
    • Multi-unit calendar
    • Accounting 
    • Mobile app
    • Guest communication 
    • Branded booking web pages
    • Extended stay management 
    • Payment processing 
    • Reporting 

    Security 

    Guests expect the properties they stay in to be safe and secure. To live up to their expectations,  it’s best to invest in adding security features that enable you to remotely monitor the security of your property.

    There’s a huge variety of security solutions for short-term rental property owners, ranging from smart door locks to Wi-Fi enabled security camera systems. Let’s take a look at some of the established players. 

    Ring 

    Ring’s video doorbells have been popular for years now, but the company also offers a broader range of security tools, including cameras and smart lighting. While these products aren’t built specifically for vacation rentals, there’s no reason you can’t use Ring to monitor and secure short term rental properties.

    Many operators also use Ring products to make sure their STR isn’t being used for anything that goes against house rules––such as a large party or event. Install cameras in public areas like the driveway and porch to keep an eye on your property remotely. 

    Key Features:

    • Video doorbells 
    • Security cameras
    • Property security systems 
    • Smart lighting 
    • Smart lock integration 
    • Indoor and outdoor security kits
    • Secure alerts 
    • Video recording

    Schlage

    With the technology available today, it’s no longer necessary to give guests a physical key that they could easily misplace or lose. Service providers like Schlage offer a range of smart locks. 

    A smart lock allows guests to open the door using their phone or a PIN code that can be changed after their stay. That keeps your property secure from any unwanted guests and eliminates the chances of keys being lost. 

    Key Features:

    • Keyless access
    • Change access codes remotely
    • Home security hardware 
    • Security support 

    SimpliSafe

    SimpliSafe offers a comprehensive suite of security tools for any home––vacation rentals included. Their hardware is easy to set up and bundles come with vital tools like smoke detectors and motion sensors. 

    Choose from one of the pre-configured bundles or build a bespoke security system based on the unique needs of your short term rental properties. 

    Key Features:

    • Home security systems
    • Outdoor and indoor cameras 
    • Video doorbell
    • Smart locks
    • Video recording 
    • Secure alerts

    Host Controls and Guest Experience

    One of the best ways to build a successful short term rental business is to invest in improving guest experience. If you nail the guest experience, people will come back time and time again, creating stable repeat income that’s great for business. 

    Personal touches go a long way in building these relationships with guests, but there is also a range of technologies you can adopt to deliver the best experience possible for all guests. 

    Touch Stay 

    Touch Stay is a digital welcome book that gives guests a comprehensive introduction to the property. That makes for a better guest experience, but it also makes your life easier too–including answers to FAQs in a welcome book cuts down the time you spend responding to basic questions from guests.  

    Include all sorts of helpful tips, from how to turn on the hot tub to recommendations for local restaurants and activities. Touch Stay also gives you the ability to send the welcome book to guests digitally before they check in, pre-empting many common questions.  

    Key Features:

    • Online/offline guidebook
    • PDF and print options
    • Website link integration 
    • Google Place integration 
    • Streamlined guest instructions 
    • Automated email and SMS 
    • Multi-language support 

    Ecobee 

    Ecobee is a digital-first home security and thermostat system that remotely controls the heat in your properties. That saves energy while also enabling small improvements to the guest experience, like scheduling the heating at your ski lodge rental to turn on a couple of hours before check-in time. 

    Key Features:

    • Temperature scheduling
    • Smart sensors 
    • Voice control
    • Smart camera

    Lynx

    Lynx is a software platform that provides tools to manage the physical environment of your property from one central platform. The platform integrates with many of the other solutions we’ve already discussed, including Ecobee and Schlage. 

    Use Lynx to manage smart devices, including locks, thermostats, lights, and power outlets. The results? Reduced operating costs, savings on energy bills, and happier guests. 

    Key Features:

    • Contactless check-in
    • Keyless locks
    • Smart device management 
    • Smart device automation 
    • Leak detection
    • Smoke detection
    • Noise detection 
    • Property analytics 
    • PMS integration 
    • Guest communication 

    Bookkeeping and Accounting

    Keeping track of the financial performance of your short term rentals is key to success. That’s especially true if you’re using tax strategies like the short term rental loophole and need to rigorously document every transaction. 

    Many property management software platforms will have some form of accounting and bookkeeping bolt-on, but you’ll often find that they’re not as sophisticated as custom-built accounting and bookkeeping platforms. That’s not to say they won’t work, but we recommend approaching them with caution. 

    qb

    QuickBooks

    When it comes to accounting and bookkeeping, Quickbooks has everything needed to keep the finances of your short term rentals running smoothly. It’s the industry standard and is used by businesses of all shapes and sizes. 

    Quickbooks offers a range of powerful automation features that put elements of bookkeeping on autopilot. It’s the favored software for many accounting firms, which means that if you decide to outsource accounting, any accountant will be able to easily understand your books. 

    Key Features:

    • Income tracking 
    • Payment management 
    • Invoicing
    • Expense management 
    • Reports
    • Profit projections 
    • Team finance management 

    REI Hub

    REI Hub is accounting software that’s custom-built for the needs of rental property owners. While it lacks some of the powerful features that Quickbooks offers, REI Hub does offer a range of features tailored to the needs of real estate investors that are lacking in other more generic accounting software platforms. 

    Use REI Hub to track metrics like Cash on Cash (CoC) return and Net Operating Income (NOI), as well as to view reports for each property in your portfolio. The platform is a great fit for real estate investors looking for intuitive accounting software that’s easy to learn.  

    Key Features:

    • Bank account tracking 
    • Recurring payments 
    • Automated mortgage accounting 
    • Lease tracking 
    • Receipt and document management
    • Financial reporting 
    • Fixed asset tracking 
    • Scheduling 

    Stessa

    Stessa is another accounting platform that’s designed for real estate investors. It’s more tailored towards long-term rental owners, with features including online rent collection that aren’t applicable to short term rental investors.

    However, there are many helpful features, including a real-time financial dashboard, automated transaction categorization, and a mobile app that makes it easy to track the financial performance of your properties from anywhere. 

    Key Features:

    • Automated expense tracking 
    • Property investment portfolio reports 
    • Document organization
    • Monthly reports 

    Housekeeping

    The final element in any short term rental property management technology stack should be a service that coordinates housekeeping and cleaning services. If your property is fully booked, there’s little room for error. Often, there will only be a few hours to clean for your next party of guests. Having a reliable way to schedule cleaners and maintenance staff is crucial to making sure the job gets done on time, every time. 

    The software platforms listed below not only schedule cleaning teams, they also give you the ability to pay them, share booking calendars, assign checklists, and more. Using all of these features streamlines the entire cleaning process, ensuring a smooth check-in experience for guests every time. 

    ResortCleaning

    ResortCleaning is a vacation rental housekeeping software that fully integrates with many property management systems, enabling automatic scheduling and real-time updates on the status of cleaning jobs. 

    Pay invoices, track the inventory of the supplies provided to guests, and find new housekeeping providers from a built-in list of vendors. There’s also a mobile app. 

    Key Features:

    • Cleaning schedule management 
    • Cleaning service directory 
    • PMS integration 
    • Inventory management 
    • Invoice management 
    • Automated payments 
    • Mobile app
    • Operations consulting 

    TurnoverBnB

    Looking to put housekeeping services on full autopilot? TurnoverBNB might be the platform for you. It syncs up property booking calendars on Airbnb, VRBO, Booking.com, and other major platforms into one central hub and automatically schedules cleanings when guests check out. 

    Communicate with cleaning teams using a mobile app, and if you need to find a new cleaner, there are more than 25,000 available in TurnoverBNB’s directory. 

    Key Features:

    • Cleaning service directory 
    • Cleaning schedule management 
    • Payment management 
    • Calendar syncing
    • Automated payments 
    • Mobile app

    The Best Short Term Rental Apps & Software = Streamlined Operations

    Embracing short term rental apps and software offers real estate investors a range of powerful tools to drive higher revenue and improve efficiency across their portfolios. An additional benefit? The countless hours you spent on mundane operational tasks are freed up to prioritize higher-impact activities. 

    One way to spend this newfound time? Enrolling in our Short Term Rental Tax Course to discover the strategies leading investors use to save tens of thousands of dollars in taxes while growing their portfolios faster than ever.  

    At Hall CPA, our real estate accounting team has deep expertise in working with short term rental investors. Our team is available to advise on short term rental tax strategy, walk you through how to use the short term rental loophole, and to discuss other advanced tax strategies such as cost segregation studies and bonus depreciation. 

    Interested in learning how we can help accelerate the growth of your short term rental business? Contact us today

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