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If you're trying to evaluate which website builder and property management system (PMS) to use for your vacation rental business, read on.
There's no shortage of PMS in the market, most with overlapping features that it can be overwhelming even for seasoned homeowners.
This guide is the culmination of weeks of research trying different rental softwares to answer these questions:
Need inspiration? Here's a list of unique vacation rental website designs I found.
Here's a quick summary:
Lodgify — The most complete (feature-wise) property management software in the market.
Guesty — High end PMS for property managers looking to scale operations.
Promote My Place — The most cost-effective way to get a professional website for your vacation rental.
OwnerRez — Robust and extensive PMS features. Highest customer rated.
MyVR — All in one beginner-friendly PMS. Well-crafted software by a great team.
Wordpress — Plenty of excellent vacation rental templates available. All features you'd expect are included with full control.
Squarespace — Cost effective, designer curated web templates for vacation rental.
Wix — Cost effective, full featured booking website with maximum customizability.
Now let's take a look at the top 9 website builder and vacation rental software for property managers
Lodgify is one of the most complete property management platforms out there. The list of things they allow you to do is impressive:
And many other features that don't fit in this bullet list. Feel free to head over to the Lodgify website for the complete feature list.
Unfortunately, Lodgify doesn't have a free plan, but they do offer a 7-day free trial.
Their paid plan starts from $17 per property but the cost per property goes down as you add more. You can use the pricing calculator to figure out exactly which plan to opt for.
Lodgify is worth it if you (or any property managers) want a straightforward, all-in-one platform for managing their property.
They cost $17-$70 per property per month. Still, if you can afford it, you essentially get a tightly integrated system for making a website, managing your property, customers, and listing (and syncing) on various short-term vacation rental marketplaces.
Lodgify is not so great; however, if you care deeply about customizing your website and user experience for your customer. They don't (and probably can't afford to) allow customization on your website.
If you prefer to have full control, you're better off creating your website on Wordpress using a third-party tool like HostHub to integrate all your listings on Airbnb, Booking.com, HomeAway, etc.
Of all the property rental website templates out there, Webready is hands down one of the best designed, plus all the booking and payment features, property and channel manager (add ons) you'd expect.
Webready is a dedicated website builder for rental businesses, and it's part of the Tokeet PMS. You can use Webready independently, or you can also add on Tokeet's channel manager or automation tools.
The main difference between Webready and Lodgify is that you're paying Lodgify for all-in-one rental management software, while Webready allows you to customize and pay for only features you need, which results in lower cost overall. Even if you opt for Tokeet's rental management suite, the cost per property is still lower than Lodgify.
Webready offers a generous free plan if you own a single short-term vacation rental. You get a custom website on a free domain, and you can accept bookings and payments for free also.
The standard paid plan starts from $10 and up to $50 per month, depending on your needs.
And if you need add ons:
If you're a homeowner running a single rental, Webready is an easy recommendation. Just use their free tool until you're ready to upgrade.
And even if you do, you're only paying a few bucks per rental to manage your property. Besides, most Tokeet and Webready users love the product.
However, Tokeet and Webready are still relatively new in the market, so you'd expect to stumble on bugs occasionally or specific feature that doesn't work as good as you'd like. But all these are solvable as the product matures over time.
In a nutshell, Guesty is a high-end property management (requires >5 rental properties to qualify) platform that can automate and streamline every aspect of the rental business.
It has so many features, so much so that the website builder is just a small part of the offering.
Their website builder, while basic, does get the job done. Their website looks clean in a neat layout, which you'll see later on.
By far, their greatest advantage is the backend systems:
And a whole host of other features I didn't mention here.
Guesty takes a cut, an agreed-upon percentage (2-5%) of all bookings. Steep, I know. The pricing structure is based on the number of listings managed, and the different features selected.
There's also a $1000 onboarding fee, where you get concierge assistance from Guesty account managers in the initial setup. What's more, is that they'll charge a fee for any canceled bookings to your rental.
As you can see, all these costs do add up. But at least there are some cost savings during the offseason — they won't charge you if there isn't any booking.
The ROI for using Guesty is only compelling if you use at least several of the features (i.e. Not ideal for single-feature usage).
The fact that Guesty requires at least 5 properties to get on board means they're catered for property management companies.
It's a powerful software no less, and Guesty can save property management company a lot of time and cost, particularly if you have listings on multiple online travel agencies (OTAs) and want to be able to capture direct bookings.
In the end, Guesty makes sense if you intend to scale your rental operation. Despite the high cost, it will probably pay off in the long run.
In short, Promote My Place (PMP) offers a cost-effective way to get a professional website for your holiday cottage, villa, apartment or B&B.
With PMP you can:
Bear in mind PMP doesn't offer many of the advanced features you'd find from Lodgify, Guesty, and Tokeet, such as channel manager, guest management, automated workflows, etc.
The value proposition for PMP is clear: Create a simple website for your property to accept bookings without breaking the wallet.
Promote My Place is by far the cheapest (also great value) property rental platform out there, starting at around $7/property/month. Moreover, the price decreases further when you add multiple properties
They also offer value-added service at a fixed price:
Need an extra discount? Click here for a further 30% off PMP
Promote My Place is excellent if you're hands-on with managing your property and you're looking for a cost-effective way to do it. The price is hard to beat, and it's easy for beginners to get set up.
Even if you're stuck, they provide outstanding support along the way. And you can always pay them to do it for you if you'd rather not worry about the website.
It also helps that they provide immediate, personal, and helpful support for all their customers.
OwnerRez prides itself with robust, end-to-end property management tools. From channel management, automated emails, messages, and workflow, to bookkeeping, booking websites, and more, there's a lot of value for property managers in one platform.
OwnerRez starts at $35/rental/month, but cost per property reduces significantly when you manage more properties. Here's a comparison:
You can check out the pricing calculator and select features based on your needs.
OwnerRez is an easy recommendation if you manage more than a handful of properties and appreciate quality customer service
There are many features on this platform, so you should expect to spend some time setting up and getting used to it. But once you're up and running, you will find yourself on top of your business (instead of in it) just like other OwnerRez customers do.
MyVR is an all-in-one short-term rental management platform like Lodgify, Guesty, and OwnerRez. The biggest advantage they have over the other platforms is their intuitive and beginner-friendly interface.
Oftentimes rental management software can be overwhelming, considering there are so many features at their customers' disposal. MyVR has done just the opposite of that.
Just as their customer said:
"It's beautiful, simple, and pleasant to work in."
MyVR paid plans are as follows:
You have to request a demo with their account manager to customize the plan according to your needs.
With the basic plan, you get to centralize all your online reservations and calendar. If you wish to get an integrated website, you'd have to get the Plus plan stead.
Note: There is a $499 one-time setup fee upon confirmation.
MyVR isn't cheap, but there's a great team behind it that is continually improving the platform and who pays attention to the detail of the user experience, which is hard to come by these days.
It's worth looking into MyVR if you're a property manager with 10+ properties. They have most (if not all) of the features needed to run a smooth rental operation. Plus, you get to work with an amazing team and well-crafted software.
The biggest difference between Wordpress and Lodgify, Tokeet, Guesty (or any other property management platform) is that with Wordpress, you truly own your website and customers.
While Wordpress isn't your traditional property management software, there is plenty of vacation rental specific website templates available. Most of them include features you're familiar with: booking engine, search function, channel integrations etc.
Some of them integrate with Airbnb, Booking.com, and Tripadvisor, but if you'd rather use a proper channel manager instead, then here are some popular ones:
Cost savings is one of Wordpress' most significant advantage. Here's the associated cost for building your rental website on Wordpress:
I'd recommend going for managed hosting, where the service provider manages the hosting for you, i.e. backups, security, and uptime monitoring. And if you need suggestions:
Here are the current best-selling and highest-rated vacation rental Wordpress themes:
Note: The price is a one-time payment.
Do you care about owning your customers?
Do you want to build a brand?
Do you want full control of your marketing efforts? Customer experience?
If you answer any of those with a strong yes, then Wordpress is the best platform to do so.
Special mention: If you don't want to build the Wordpress site yourself, HostHub offers to make it for you for $599. In my opinion, it's great value compared to hiring third party agency or even a freelancer, who charges a few thousand dollars and may not do as good a job.
Recommended read: Wordpress vs Wix vs Squarespace vs Weebly (Pros and Cons)
Squarespace takes pride in its designer-curated website templates. The website typography is stunning, it works seamlessly on every device and the web editor is the most intuitive to use.
Squarespace is great and affordable if you're looking to build a brochure website for your rental. If you want to add booking or channel management features you could always sign up for HostHub, Uplisting, or Lodgify. All of them support Squarespace integration.
Squarespace starts at $16/month. You get unlimited storage, bandwidth (traffic), a secure website, and you never have to worry about backups or hosting.
The icing on the cake is their award-winning support (since 2013).
For additional PMS features, you can look at:
Squarespace is great if you like the control that Wordpress offers without the hassle of setting up servers and having to rely on a web designer/web developer.
Squarespace takes care of everything that has to do with website management and even offers great support should you run into issues.
Note that a regular Squarespace site won't allow you to take reservations from customers unless you add third-party PMS platform features.
Wix is unique. Not only will it take care of all the website management hassle for you, but they also offer native direct booking, accept payments (commission free), and manage reservations via the Wix Hotels app.
Their biggest advantage over other general website builder is their app marketplace and third party integrations. You can build a full fledge vacation rental Wix site with:
You have to subscribe to a business plan to use Wix Hotels and all its property management features. It starts at $17/month and up to $35/month if you need more storage space.
Granted, that's the price for 1 hotel / rental website. If you manage more than one property, you'd need to create a separate website for that listing, otherwise, you can add them as rooms with different addresses.
Wix is great for homeowners managing single property who
While Wix is notorious for their laggy and sometimes overwhelming interface, it does a (surprisingly) good job simplifying the tasks/processes for setting up a vacation rental site.
If in doubt, you can always sign up for a free account first and see how you like it.