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Best Short-Term Rental Management Software in 2024

The proliferation of vacation and short-term rental (STR) sites like VRBO, Airbnb, and Booking.com has given property owners a range of platforms to list their rentals. However, more platforms mean more complexity. The best short-term rental management software in 2024 helps simplify the puzzle. 

Rather than using separate silos for guest communication, listing management, and financial tracking, short-term rental software centralizes the disparate facets of running a successful STR business into a single location for easy property and guest management. 

While software simplifies property management in this category, shifting attitudes toward STRs at the government and community levels have made short-term rental owners consider converting their STRs to mid- and long-term rentals. 

We’ll break it all down, including an explanation of how different localities legislate STRs, why you need short-term rental management software, key features to look for, and the benefits of mid- and long-term rentals. 

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Understanding Short-Term Rentals

According to the city of Fort Collins, CO (where TurboTenant is headquartered), STRs are accommodations offered for fewer than 30 consecutive days. Fort Collins has two zones that determine where owners can operate primary residence STRs and non-primary residence STRs.

The difference between the two is that one is a residence where the person renting a part of the property lives full-time, and the other is housing operated solely as a short-term rental property. Different cities across the U.S. legislate these properties in various ways. 

In 2022, Burlington, Vermont, passed a law to “curtail the practice of buying homes and apartment buildings as investment properties,” as reported by Seven Days. Further, according to the Burlington government, hosts must live on-site, or in other words, the host must live in the STR property as their primary residence. 

Finally, New York City enacted a “de facto ban” (as Airbnb calls it) on short-term rentals. However, the law reads that for a NYC resident to rent their home as a short-term rental, the resident of the dwelling must be present during the guest’s stay. 

A Common Thread

Ultimately, the common thread between these cities is that they’re all enacting legislation defining vacation rentals, how long owners can rent them, and whether the host must stay alongside their guests. Ultimately, the main point is that governments don’t want investors snapping up housing and converting them to short-term rentals. 

Of course, government legislation adds another layer of complication to managing vacation rental properties. For landlords in heavily trafficked metropolitan areas full of tourists, you’ll need to garner a firm understanding of the laws if you want to run a successful business. 

If you find that you’re allowed to operate multiple short-term rentals or even run a rental arbitrage operation, consider software to streamline the work involved. The best software solutions offload the day-to-day challenges of running a vacation or short-term property so that you reduce vacancy rates, communicate with guests clearly, and charge the correct amount per stay.

Why You Need Short-Term Rental Management Software

Owners of short-term rentals have the same issues; they’re just in different places experiencing them — at least from a property management perspective. Here are some reasons why short-term rental management software makes your life easier. 

Time Efficiency

Juggling multiple bookings across different platforms can be a nightmare. Rental management software consolidates all your management tasks into one place, saving you time on scheduling, communication, and guest management tasks. 

Look for features like centralized booking management and an integrated calendar to maximize your time. 

Simplified Communication

Imagine responding to inquiries and messages from all your listings across different platforms. Rental software provides a unified inbox, allowing you to see and respond to all your guests from a central location.

Centralizing your tenant communications improves tenant satisfaction by improving response times. Guests often arrive at odd times, so promptly providing the necessary information prevents lockouts and poor reviews.

Dynamic Pricing

Keeping up with fluctuating market demands can take time and effort. Rental software can help you automatically adjust your prices based on real-time data, ensuring you maximize your income during peak seasons while staying competitive during the off-season.

Finding the sweet spot ensures you get a quality return on your investment.

Guest Feedback on Autopilot

The lifeblood of sites like Airbnb and VRBO is positive reviews. Rental software can automate the process of requesting reviews after a guest’s stay, ensuring you get valuable feedback to improve your listings and guest experience.

If you have a large number of positive reviews, you’ll see lower vacancy rates. 

Clean Spaces

Managing multiple rentals and their cleanings can be overwhelming. Short-term rental software tackles this challenge by scheduling cleanings, creating checklists, and streamlining communication with your cleaning crew. 

Properties that are clean when each guest arrives create a great first impression.

Top Short-Term Rental Management Software in 2024

Now that you’ve got an idea of what to look for let’s look at the best software companies to help you streamline your STR management. 

Hostaway

One of the best short-term rental management software providers in 2024 is Hostaway. With over 900 reviews on Capterra and a 4.7-star rating, Hostaway offers many key features that owners and operators need to manage their vacation rentals easily. 

Hostaway offers:

  • Reservation management
  • Automated messages, reviews, and payments
  • A unified inbox
  • Property marketing
  • Dynamic pricing tools
  • Occupancy reports
  • Financial reporting
  • Expense tracking

But that’s not it; those are the key features that make managing short-term rentals easier than manual processes. You’ll find a complete suite of tools to provide excellent management experiences and insight into the critical functionality that drives successful short-term rental businesses. 

Regarding pricing, you’ll need to contact Hostaway for a quote. 

Guesty

One of the main aspects that Guesty users rave about is its ease of use. With an intuitive vacation rental management software design, Guesty boasts a product that’s easy to navigate and learn. 

Plus, like Hostaway, it boasts a 4.7-star rating on Capterra, though it does have fewer reviews, with over 500. Key features you’ll find in Guesty include: 

  • Reservation management
  • Property management
  • Multi-channel distribution
  • Multi-calendar
  • Unified inbox
  • Workflow automation

Their PriceOptimizer tool, which is analogous to the dynamic pricing feature in Hostaway, is available as an add-on. While the list of features may look different, just know that Guesty and Hostaway use different names for many of the same products. 

Pricing is relatively straightforward for smaller property managers with 1-3 units. When billed annually, it is $27 a month. If you have more units, you’ll need a quote from Guesty. 

Lodgify

For the final piece of software we’ll include in our best short-term rental management software list of 2024, we included Lodgify. Like the previous examples, Lodgify ranks very well on review sites like Capterra. 

With a 4.5-star rating and over 900 reviews, Lodgify’s users appreciate its ease of use. Key features you’ll find include: 

  • Reservation management
  • Property management
  • Multi-calendar
  • Unified inbox
  • Channel manager
  • Property management

Just like Guesty, dynamic pricing capabilities are offered as an add-on. While Lodgify ranks very well overall, many customers wish Lodgify’s customer service was more robust. 

Unlike the two software choices previously mentioned, Lodgify’s pricing is easy to find. With three pricing tiers, you’ll unlock features as you move up in tiers. As you add units, the price increases as well. 

Why Consider Mid and Long-Term Rentals Instead

Mid-Term Rentals

You may have properties set up as Airbnbs, but with recent legislation changes, you might be unable to operate them as short terms. According to a 2023 Business Insider article, 26 North American cities have begun regulating short-term rentals. That might be reason enough to get ahead of STR regulations. 

In that case, consider mid-term rentals for already furnished properties. Traveling nurses, digital nomads, and seasonal workers need pre-furnished places to stay, so the transition from short- to mid-term rentals is relatively smooth. 

Key mid-term rental benefits include:

  • Less tenant turnover: Mid-term leases typically last several months, reducing tenant turnover and cleaning needs.
  • A reliable income stream: With longer leases, you’ll have more reliable income
  • More stable tenants: Individuals seeking mid-term rentals often seek a temporary home, potentially leading to more responsible tenants than STRs. 
  • More thorough screening: With longer lease terms, you can conduct a more rigorous tenant screening process.

Long-Term Rentals

On the other hand, transitioning your short-term rental to a long-term makes sense as well. 

However, you’ll likely need to gut the property and take your furniture and countertop appliances elsewhere. 

When you make the transition, you’ll gain:

  • A more consistent income: Long-term leases provide a predictable rental income stream.
  • Reduced vacancy periods: With long-term tenants, you’ll experience fewer vacancy gaps.
  • Simplified maintenance: Long-term tenants are responsible for minor wear and tear within reasonable limits.
  • Less guest communication: With long-term rentals, you eliminate the constant communication associated with STRs. 
  • Lower expenses: You may save on costs associated with managing short-term rentals, including cleaning and listing fees, as well as guest amenities.

How to Manage Mid and Long-Term Rentals with Software

Just as you’d look for the best short-term rental management software, finding the long-term rental software to manage your properties is critical. As you shift your property from a STR to more traditional leasing, you’ll need solutions that can keep up. 

That’s why you should sign up for a free TurboTenant account. It simplifies mid- and long-term rental property management. For zero bucks, you’ll gain access to: 

Rental applications

Tenant screening

Maintenance management

Property advertising

Rent collection

Lease agreement management and generation

Plus, even with a free account, you can manage an unlimited number of properties. If you decide to move away from STRs, consider managing your properties with an all-in-one solution designed to help you be a better landlord: TurboTenant. 

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