How to Choose the Best Vacation Rental Software & Top Picks

best vacation rental software

Picture this: You’ve just purchased a resort with several cabins in a remote mountain town. The property needs a bit of work, but after a few weeks, you’re ready to welcome your first guest. 

After that first guest comes and goes, the process of welcoming, checking in, and getting guests situated seems to come a lot easier. A simple whiteboard or spreadsheet with cabin numbers and guest check-in/check-out dates works just fine for the six cabins you have on your property. There’s no reason to invest in vacation rental software at this point, right?

But as your resort gains popularity, you’re finding that guests are not only coming in at a faster rate, but the time between check-ins and check-outs seems to be narrowing to accommodate the growth. When did the guest in Cabin #2 check in again? Is it fair to ask them to leave by 10 a.m. the day they are supposed to check out when they weren’t given a check-out time initially? 



Maybe the guest does agree to leave at the requested time, but when you get to the cabin to give it a quick clean before the next guest arrives, you find…well…a cleanliness disaster that causes you to throw your hands up in the air in frustration. You’re going to have to call the front desk to tell them that no, there is no way the next guest can check in by noon…and do we have anything that states we can charge guests for damages?

Whether it’s two cabins, six cabins, or hundreds of spots in a campground, having the best vacation rental management software at your fingertips to manage the finer details of your short-term accommodations business is paramount. It helps you avoid affecting guest experiences by setting—and adhering to—strict check-in and check-out times and gives you valuable data that you can use to improve every aspect of your business.

In this guide, we explore the different types of software you can implement and provide recommendations for the best vacation rental software. 

Common Types of Vacation Rental Software

The first thing you’ll likely do when looking for software for your short-term accommodations business is perform a Google search for “best vacation rental software”. Once you type those words into the search bar, you’ll find that the results give you various types of vacation rental software, from property management solutions to software that allows you to communicate more easily with your guests. 

The table below provides a quick breakdown of different types of vacation management software that you’ll likely come across:

Type of Vacation Management SoftwareWhat it Does
Property Management Software (PMS)– A software tool that helps property managers automate and keep track of back office, financial, and administrative processes
– Common features of property management software include maintenance and cleaning tracking, guest information management, online payment processing, and online guest portals
Online Booking Software– Integrates with your existing website to allow guests to book online
– Provides customizable features to match your accommodations business, from campsite specifications to room types
Channel Managers– Software that allows you to manage listings on multiple third-party platforms such as Expedia or
– Allows you to synchronize prices on all platforms when integrated with your PMS
Pricing Tools– Uses multiple real-time and historical data points to dynamically create prices for your different property rental types (e.g., cabins, campsites, rooms, apartments, etc.) using machine learning and artificial intelligence
– Pricing tools allow you to set more realistic and competitive prices for your target market and area
– Management level can be tailored to work for your business, from fully automated to partially automated
Guest Communication Platforms– Many PMS platforms have guest communication portals built in to answer website questions and in-app guest communications (if the PMS has a guest-facing app), plus feeds from channel websites and/or social media
– Centralized guest communication platforms allow accommodations staff to keep track of and reply to guests sending messages from a variety of sources easily
On-location Software – Some short-term rental properties use convenient technologies like a Key Café so that guests can collect their room key without having to meet with a manager, and/or Self-Service Kiosks that enable quick and efficient check-ins
– These technologies make it easy for guests to check in or out on their own time without waiting and allow staff to take action, like cleaning or maintenance, as soon as a room is vacant

Benefits of Property Management Software Vacation Rentals

benefits of property management software vacation rentals

Implementing property management software for vacation rentals benefits your short-term accommodations business. These benefits include increased efficiency in your operations, better guest experiences, increased satisfaction, and more.

1. Better Management of Daily Tasks

Many moving parts are related to the daily management of a short-term accommodations business. Coordinating tasks and schedules is key to ensuring that rooms get cleaned properly, or that power, water, and plumbing are checked in cabins prior to a guest’s arrival. The efficiency of cleaning and maintenance staff, as well as other essential stakeholders in the business’s operations, like front desk staff, can be enhanced through the right short-term property management software solution.

By centralizing your operations, Newbook’s task management not only allows easier management of different teams but also allows staff members to easily find the information they need and action tasks assigned to them quickly. Built-in automation tools also take over tedious and repetitive tasks. For example, when a guest checks out through the self-service kiosk or through the website, an automatic task can be generated to schedule a member of the cleaning staff to prepare the room for the next guest.   

2. More Effective Billing Management

Short-term accommodations businesses often offer various billing options for their guests, depending on length of stay, current promotions, and other factors. For example, an RV park may allow guests to have permanent, long-term vacation spots while at the same time providing short-term rentals for stays that last days or weeks. 

Being able to bill these guests differently without having to use different platforms is essential to keep financial information organized. The guests with permanent vacation sites will likely receive different rates and be billed at different intervals compared to staying for the short term. It makes sense to bill the permanent guests every month or even once a year, while the short-term guests will likely be billed at the beginning or end of their stay.

Property management software for vacation rentals should be able to handle different billing arrangements seamlessly for every guest without issue. Newbook offers flexible payment plan options customizable for each guest and online self-service payments so that guests can easily pay their bill without having to visit the front office. 

Your all-in-one, vacation rental software

Newbook is your all in one vacation rental software. Talk to us today to learn how you can improve operations and increase bookings for your business.

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3. Easier Integration of Upsell Services

Upselling is a great way to boost revenue, but options must be presented to guests in a way that enhances the guest experience rather than come across as pushy or intrusive. Guests don't want to be presented with a giant list of promotions and add-on services that may or may not apply to them during the booking process; they want tailored deals that apply to them specifically.

When an online booking system like the one offered through Newbook is integrated with a PMS, the process of upselling is made easier as relevant offers can be included seamlessly in during the booking process

Here are two different examples:

  • A guest booking a cabin at a lakeside property for a weekend can be offered a kayak or canoe rental or even a fishing tour as a potential upsell. 
  • Or, let’s say a guest books for 2 days but can get a discount if they extend their stay to 4 days. 

These offers are relevant and timely and make sense to offer to the guest without being pushy or overly salesy.

4. Get the Information You Need to Make Better Business Decisions

The best vacation rental software offerings are able to take valuable data that’s generated from your business’s daily operations and present that information in an easy-to-understand visual way that allows you to glean insights from it. These insights can then be used to help you make informed business decisions based on real-world data. 

Newbook provides robust analytics and reporting options, allowing reports to be generated for single properties or multiple properties as a whole. 

5. Self-Service Options and Automations Reduce Workload

One of the most efficiency-increasing aspects of vacation rental management software is the combination of self-service options and automations. Today’s travelers are not only more tech-savvy, they want a seamless booking experience where they are in full control of their trip from start to finish, including activities, promos, and other benefits. Also, they likely dislike talking on the phone.

Aside from online booking, other self-service options like self-service kiosks and lockboxes where you can retrieve keys (Newbook’s Key Café is a good example) are additional ways to give your guests increased convenience and more control over their experience. When you combine these self-service options with automations, the work involved in managing different processes is also lessened. For example, when a guest drops off their key in the lockbox to check out, a notification can appear on their phone reminding them to confirm their check-out. Or on the flip side, when a guest confirms their check-in, a message could be sent to them that confirms which lockbox their room key is located in and a map of the property so they know where to find both the box and their room. With this system, a guest can check in and out without having to wait for staff to assist them. 

Key Features Included in the Best Vacation Rental Software

It’s important to remember that not all vacation rental management software is created equal. Some solutions will prioritize certain functions over the other. But if you want to enjoy the benefits listed above, it’s important to choose software that has the key features listed in the table below:

Key Feature of Short-Term Property Management SoftwareWhy You Need it
Integrated online booking systemIt’s better to go with a property management system for vacation rentals that integrates their booking system into your website rather than making you create a separate page. A separate booking integration allows you to ensure your booking engine is a seamless part of your website rather than a separate page. This not only looks nicer, it increases trust with your guests. Visiting a different page with different fonts and layouts, even if it’s the same branding, may be confusing and be thought of as a scam rather than a legitimate link.
AutomationsAn automation is when a certain action is triggered as a result of another action. So when a guest checks out, an automatic task for room cleaning is scheduled. These can be extremely time-saving for operations and property management, as the seconds and minutes saved with manual task scheduling or putting through a payment quickly add up.
Guest information management Saving guest information is important for streamlining the booking process. Repeat guests can easily pull up their information by logging into your website. At the same time, you can save payment information and other important details, like room preferences, that can automatically be populated to reduce booking time.
Dynamic pricingDynamic pricing is necessary to ensure that you’re offering the most competitive and market-matching prices by analyzing and gleaning insights from current and past business data and market information.
Robust billing options and online paymentCustomizable billing options are necessary so that you can accommodate all different types of guests. Plus, online payment capabilities are a must to make it easy for your guests to pay for their stay. 
Owner paymentsIf you manage individual properties on behalf of the actual property owners and take management fees or booking fees in order to do so, the Owner Payment feature may be a great option for you. It allows you to set up all owners and contracts within the Newbook system which automatically calculates the fees that are owed to you as a business at the end of each month and then allocates and pays out the rest of the money to the owner from the Newbook system.

Considerations for Choosing Short-Term Property Management Software

considerations for choosing a shortterm-property management software.

Knowing the benefits and features of short-term rental management software is important, but there are still a lot of solutions saturating the market that seem to be, at least on the surface, exactly the same offering. To evaluate these different options and pick the one that fits your business perfectly, you need to keep in mind a number of considerations. 

Tips For Evaluating a Vacation Rental Management Platform

Before you make a list of property management software for vacation rentals, it helps to ask yourself a few questions:

  • Does the short-term rental management software have good reviews from others in my industry? Check out review websites like Capterra, Software Advice, and G2 to get a better understanding of what others who have used the software before have to say about it. Be sure to sort by the most recent reviews to get opinions based on the latest software. You can also check out the company’s social media, google reviews, and other websites like Reddit to gauge the overall perception of the software.
  • Does it have the features that I need it to? Before you check out short-term rental property management software offerings, make a list of must-have features that you absolutely can’t live without. These could be online payment capabilities, integration with specific software, or a robust booking engine. If the software doesn’t offer one or more of your must-have features, then strike it from your list.
  • Will it work with my current tech stack? All businesses use a variety of software for management and operations. Examples include email, instant messaging systems like Slack, and video conferencing software. It’s important that the vacation management software you choose integrates with the tech that you need it to. 

In addition to these high-level questions, you’ll also want to consider the following:

1. All-In-One Solution or Not?

One important question you should ask yourself is whether you want to use an all-in-one vacation rental software solution or pick several pieces of software that perform various tasks. For instance, some accommodation operators may choose a third-party channel management software solution over one incorporated with their PMS simply because they think it will be less expensive or perhaps they’ve used it before and are comfortable with it.

While it may be necessary to use separate pieces of software for different tasks, like email, website development, and handling certain guest communications like phone calls or social media messages, many aspects of short-term accommodations can be combined into one software offering.

Newbook, for instance, combines your PMS, online booking system, reservation management, and channel manager software in one solution. For any functionality that isn’t handled by Newbook, quick integrations and connections are available through a robust integrations store

2. Scalability

You may be planning for growth for your business over time, so if that’s a goal that you have, it’s important that your vacation rental software is able to scale as well. Many software-as-a-service companies offer tiered pricing and/or pricing based on a per-user basis, so it’s important to look into how your costs may change over time. It’s also important to consider the robustness of administrative and security features for managing different types of users. Many software vendors incorporate multi-factor authentication and/or single sign-on as standard user security and authentication features. 

3. Pricing

Once you’ve gathered a list of what you think will be the best vacation rental software for your business, it’s time to determine an appropriate price range. By taking the prices of each piece of software (including the number of users you’ll need) and doing some quick math to determine an average price, you’ll have a better idea of what price you should expect to pay when you make your final decision. 

Why Newbook is Your Best Vacation Rental Software Option

newbook revenue management solution

When it comes to a comprehensive software solution for your vacation rental business, Newbook is your centralized base of operations. By combining the pieces of software that accommodations businesses need, including property management, channel management, online booking and payment, and a robust reservations system, into one centralized piece of software, you have the core of your vacation rental business’s back end ready to go. From there, you can seamlessly add additional functionality through the integrations store to further build Newbook into a solution that’s tailored to your business. 

What else does Newbook offer?

  • A focus on collaboration. Newbook approaches customers similarly to a collaborative partnership. We provide exceptional support from onboarding and beyond, fueled by our philosophy that our customers should get the maximum benefit from our software.
  • A 99.99% uptime guarantee. Most software offerings highlight a 99% uptime guarantee, so how much difference does .99 make? Well, a 99% uptime translates to 3 days, 15 hours, and 39 minutes of potential downtime, while a 99.99% uptime translates to a potential of only 52 minutes and 35 seconds of downtime. It’s much easier to deal with an hour of downtime versus 3 days!
  • Continuous customer support. The relationship doesn’t stop once you buy; you'll get continual support, improvement recommendations, and quick answers to inquiries.   
channel manager newbook

Boosting your Newbook Experience

Taking advantage of the many integrations that Newbook offers is a great way to augment your tech stack while at the same time ensuring that each piece of software that you use for your business effectively shares data.

Online Payments and POS

Adding online payment and POS functionality to Newbook is easy and effective. There are several options for out-of-the-box integrations, including:

  • Newbook payments—includes EFTPOS terminals, gateways, BPAY, and more
  • Clover—offers smart, customized POS devices that allow you to track payments or process charges back to the guest
  • Bepoz—offers a comprehensive variety of POS retail solutions

Business Intelligence

Tools for business intelligence are essential for giving you data-driven insights so you can make the right decisions on operations, policies, procedures, and more:

  • Calumo—offers intelligent dashboards, reporting, and forecasting tools
  • Qlik—uses in-memory processing and on-demand aggregations to help you uncover deeper insights
  • Tiger TMS—provides specialist middleware for smart devices, allowing you to gain intelligence from usage patterns

OTA Connections

While Newbook offers robust OTA connectivity, the software is also able to connect to a wide range of OTA software offerings, including:

  • Bookoutdoors
  • Google Hotel Ads
  • Hipcamp
  • Vrbo
  • The Dyrt
  • Spot2Nite

Take advantage of the many integration partners that Newbook connects with to boost your software experience

If you’d like to facilitate a connection that isn’t listed on our integration partner page, we also have comprehensive resources for developers to help you build the connections you need. 


Choosing the best vacation rental software can be tough in such a saturated market. The challenges accommodation providers face, from intricate guest management to dynamic market demands, require sophisticated solutions that can adapt, automate, and elevate operational efficiency. Selecting the ideal solution requires careful consideration and understanding of your business’s unique needs.

Newbook makes the cut for the best vacation rental software for short-term accommodations providers. Let us show you how by booking a demo with Newbook today.

Your all-in-one, online booking system

Newbook is your all in one online booking system. Talk to us today to learn how you can improve operations and increase bookings for your business.

Request a Demonstration

Request a Demonstration

Subject to Newbook's Privacy Policy, you agree to allow Newbook to contact you via the contact details provided for scheduling and marketing purposes.
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