technology short term rentals

Property management and the technology powering short term rentals

Ask anyone working in the short-term rental industry, and they will tell you that property management is hard. Despite what the plethora of get-rich-quick individuals circling the space might say, by its nature, STR property management is a path, filled with rocks and potholes.

It can be an uphill battle dealing with multiple owners, many of whom are reluctant to invest properly in their properties and yet still have sky-high expectations of their so-so rental in its so-so location.

The properties themselves are challenging. Diverse in layout, amenities and, perhaps, in far-flung locations, managing them can be extremely complex. Unlike hotels where a housekeeper can travel a few feet to clean the next room, teams may need to cross traffic, lakes, or whole towns to get between units.

And then there are the guests. Managers are held hostage 24/7 by the tyranny of reviews. Fair or unjustified, those little incremental digits between a four and a five can make or break a vacation rental business. When you add to this mix the growing community issues and heavy-handed regulators, it’s no fun fighting constantly to justify your existence and the value you bring.

And what about the near oligarchy of the OTAs? Let’s face it: most STR property management companies rely on a handful of marketing sources, all completely out of their control, for the entire demand side of their business. If the tap was turned off, many managers would struggle and may even have to re-start their businesses from scratch.

In the decade I’ve been working in the STR sector, the most significant change has been the growth and innovation of the technology tools that address almost all the pain points managers encounter. No one ever needs to rely on an Excel spreadsheet or pen and paper today. The STR sector has attracted both the brains and the capital to solve all manner of issues for the manager, to make what is inherently complicated much easier.

Why else would the industry boast the hundreds of technology companies that now power rentals from Maine to Mali? This explosion in tech solutions has happened not just because of the size of the potential market but because of the nature of short-term rentals.

Simply put, property managers need technology to make their operations more efficient, economical and scalable. As a result, the STR sector has become as well-equipped with technology as any other hospitality vertical. Many of its solutions even outpace and inspire some of the best innovations in its sister sectors of hospitality and lodging, where costly and cumbersome legacy technology still persists.

Why do managers keep going and going? It’s because they love what they do. Hospitality is what drives the industry. And it’s because the ‘home from home’ experience, whether a trip is for business, pleasure, leisure, or visiting friends and family, is what guests now want. Despite the challenges, potholes, and boulders, the returns are worth it — made sweeter and more manageable through technology.

For a full index of the technology tools now powering short term rentals download the Abode Worldwide Short-Term Rental Tech Index 2024.

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