VRS198 – Selecting the Right Property Management System for your Vacation Rental Business with Terry Whyte

If you asked a property manager what the hardest decision has been in their business so far, most would put choosing reservation software, right at the top. Not only is it a big financial decision, but the time taken in implementing a new platform and learning how to use the software can be a huge drain on resources.

We only have a limited amount of time available to us, and there are so many calls on that time. Carving out chunks of hours to watch demos; to speak to reps who only have one goal – to sell their product (regardless of your actual needs), and sit through on-boarding webinars, is challenging. Making the wrong decision is very costly.

Terry Whyte is a homeowner of property on Anna Maria Island in Florida, and he’s also a successful property manager who credits some of that success to the research he did before selecting his PMS. According to Terry, this is not a simple process because you have to know what you want the platform to do for you before you start. A lot of thought needs to go into the features you want, because every PMS is going to focus on its bells and whistles rather than the real meat of the system that will free up your time and make life easier for you.

This interview supplements a recent article Terry wrote for the Vacation Rental Marketing Blog (see link below), so it is worthwhile taking a look at this for some additional information. He talks about the wealth of advantages gained for a VR business by using a good property management system – these include time-saving, good process management, channel management, and email automation – and what a good software platform can offer in terms of features.

Terry also shares:

  • The story behind his stunning new website
  • What to look for in a property management system
  • His favourite technological resources
  • A simple reflection on channel management ( and why you may not need them at all)
  • The industry experts who contributed to his success
  • The 3 tips he would give to a start-up manager

Links mentioned in the episode:

Choosing the Right VR Software on VRMB

Anna Maria Island Condo Rentals

Boomerang for Gmail

Rentals United

Vacation Rental Secrets/Web Design

Alan Egan

  • Heather, I have listened to all your podcasts and I never thought I would be part of one. Thank you so much for having me it was such a pleasure speaking with you.

    Terry

  • Hi, still listening to your podcast as I type. Super useful information! I’m a property owner and also provide a service similar to Vacation Rental Secrets for ski chalets and always found the huge choice of PMS and channel managers difficult to get my head around.

    Great episode as usual Heather and a big thanks to Terry for imparting his knowledge and experience to all.

    Mark

  • Hi Mark,

    Thank you for listening. I will be happy to answer any questions you might have.

    Terry

  • Carter

    Thanks for this. Finally begining to understand what all of these components are…..Feeling (a little) less overwhelmed. Was it Host Writer you mentioned? Post Writer? I dont think there’s a link and Im curious what it is…. thanks

  • Hi Carter,

    Thank you for listening and I will be happy to answer any questions you have.

    Here is a link to Host-Writer https://host-writer.com/ which is a blogging platform. I suggest you wait until after Antonio’s world summit http://www.vacationrentalworldsummit.com/ for more good news to come regarding this platform.

    Terry

  • Shannon Mangum Knight

    Favorite Podcast so far! I learned so much and the timing was perfect! I am only a year into my VR adventure. I own two properties near Disney World and am exclusively on HomeAway. Because of that, I rank very high on HomeAway searches. I do have some slow times of year that have me thinking about using other channels, but I don’t want HomeAway to start lowering my ranking because I am taking bookings elsewhere. What are your thoughts on this? Is my effort to increase bookings by using other channels going to decrease the number of bookings I receive from HomeAway because I will eventually rank lower on the platform?

  • Celine Girard

    Excellent podcast! Thank you Heather and Terry!

  • Jon Ham

    Best Podcast Yet! Thanks for the great information Heather and Terry! Terry, you have a fantastic site and this podcast has been a huge inspiration for us to do better in our vacation rentals in Scottsdale AZ. Thanks!!!

  • I have just interviewed Alan Egan for episode 201 which will be broadcast after the VRW Summit where he announces his new project which takes Host Writer to a greater level, along with many other features. Stay tuned!

  • Glad you are enjoying them Jon. Let me know if there is anything you’d like me to cover or feature in general.

  • As ever Celine, thank you for listening and being such a great supporter.

  • Jon Ham

    I am really enjoying the Internet Brand building subjects, website discussions, the PMS, and marketing in general. It given me a lot of paralysis by analysis and there is so many factors to consider when building the systems!
    I currently have 2 properties in AZ and i have a squarespace site http://turquoisehousescottsdale.com I build that does Not take reservations. I’m beginning the journey to LSI and have begun to map out a plan to execute. I had no idea it would be so much work to run these properties, but I’m up for the challenge!
    Thanks for all your help!

  • luann brenner

    Thanks for a great podcast. I agree with Terry, Boomerang is terrific. I switched from Boomerang to Right Inbox when I went to google apps,(price was lower), it works great too.
    I understand why you can’t recommend a PMS, anyone know of a site that compares the various features of them (what they offer, in table format) similar to the features Terry recommended, to make the search at least a bit easier? I’m not sure where to start.

  • Hi Luann – I am sure there is something out there but have yet to find it. I’ve heard some good things about this one: https://www.ownerreservations.com/

  • luann brenner

    thank you! I will look.

  • @cottageguru:disqus @terrywhyte:disqus I just found this podcast, amazing! I have two vacation rentals now but want to expand. This is exactly the information I have been looking for. Thanks for this, you’ll be seeing more of me!

  • Matt Elder

    Fantastic podcast with lots of great content. Just started in the vacation rental space (rent out normal family homes). Been using a PMS and think it is limiting what I want to be doing. So good to hear others experiences in encountering similar problems. List of resources mentioned great too.

  • Ali Veli

    Just perfect! Very useful info!
    I will try to implement them all. Also, it maybe useful for the other hosts as well, now I am using a new Airbnb management tool whose name is Your Porter App. It seems well for now but we’ll see.