When I first got started with the vacation rental industry in the mid-1980s, the landscape was fundamentally different. There was no internet or software to help us carry out our daily business. As an industry, we have moved a long way from tape boards, direct mail, paper brochures, and the telephone as our primary tools for handling reservations, marketing, and unit information. I remember what a huge deal it was to make the decision to go with First Resort Software (FRS, the precursor to V12) in the early ‘90s. Now we have multiple options for software, and the decision-making process is more complicated. Once you’ve made the decision, implementing new software is probably the most challenging thing you will ever do in business. It is safe to say that if you are not afraid of this process, you should be.
Now OTAs have entered the business. At first, they basically replaced travel agents, who were a very small part of our business. However, they are now getting between us and our new and even existing customers. Nevertheless, great software can give vacation rental companies a critical advantage, one I wish we’d had back in the ‘80s. Not only do these innovative technologies increase efficiency and maximize revenue, but they also insulate your business against change.
LMPM is the most modern PMS on the market today and is by far the best choice for vacation rental software that I’ve ever seen. In fact, I’ve tried most property management systems at some point, and I have years of experience with the vacation rental software industry. On this basis, let me give you some of the reasons why I joined LMPM as a board member and use it to run my business at a 350-unit rental company on the Gulf Coast of Florida. By the way, we operate with no main office, and most of our staff work from home.
It’s critical to use technology to process-drive your business
The most important part of our business is our employees. Your software should make their work as easy as possible. This is a complicated business, and anyone who tells you differently is a fool. Add to this the difficulty we all have with hiring and retaining good employees. Furthermore, we are in a business that in most cases is seasonal, which leads to higher turnover and a greater reliance on temporary employees than in other industries.
Making your business process-driven is critical for efficiency and employee retention, and making complex tasks process-driven and easily repeatable makes work more fun. You can automate sending booking confirmations and check-in emails, task creation, work orders for cleaners and maintenance personnel, and much more.
With LMPM, you can even automate the key components of your bookkeeping so that it takes place in real-time.
You want a software company that is always looking for ways for technology to boost operating efficiencies
Let’s go back to the early days of software. Back then, we were only looking for a way to handle reservations. Soon afterward, we wanted software that dealt with accounting as well, which is probably the most complicated matter for vacation rental software to deal with. Next came housekeeping, then maintenance integration, and then API connectivity to our own and third-party websites.
No software is ever going to be perfect because change is inherent to the business. Don’t we all wish we had thought of HomeAway, Vrbo, or Airbnb first? Who knows what the next game-changer will be? I am not going to try to explain the details of LMPM’s software here, but I will tell you that it is the latest and greatest and can do all the things that I mentioned above. If you want a piece of software that can easily adapt to change, this is it.
Future-proof your company with a modern platform
Legacy software is a lot like an old house—it’s expensive to maintain, and things break frequently, but tearing it down and starting from scratch can be prohibitively expensive.
Your technology partners can either be key allies adapting to change on your behalf or problematic associates holding you back. The question is this: Is your PMS company actively adding exciting new features, or are they primarily releasing bug fixes? Recent patch notes will tell the story here.
You want a provider that regularly provides substantial updates to their product. In this way, your existing system continues to improve and adapt to change, enabling your vacation rental company to take advantage of new features. This is a much better way of adapting to change than the reverse, where your technology partners fall behind, years go by, and you suddenly realize that other providers have developed a wealth of desirable new features, forcing you to make a huge shift to a new platform. It is far better to be ahead of the curve.
Given a choice between decades-old software and a modern platform with a very robust feature set, the modern platform is the way to go.
Change is the only constant, but adapting to it doesn’t have to be a struggle. If you’d like to talk about technology and see a modern property management solution, please visit lmpm.com.