Technology Breaks Boundaries For Small Businesses in Tourism

Technology Breaks Boundaries For Small Businesses in Tourism

When you used to search Google for a hotel or holiday rental property, the results were dominated by corporate dot-coms and big brand hotels that had overtaken the search engines. With their huge marketing budgets, getting a piece of the pie if you have a small tourism business did mean having the ability and/or investment to outsmart million dollar plus budgets.

Today, vacation rental software has been introduced giving individuals and small businesses a way into the hotel and holiday rental business without having to compete using large marketing budgets.

Online technology today is worth its weight in gold. Project management teams and developers have been working together an began to release software solutions that target as well as help small firms break into the vacation property management and rental industry.

How Can You Increase Your Properties Revenue Stream Working Online?

If you own a property that is vacant right now or your lease agreement with your current tenants is about to end, and you are looking for a way to increase its revenue stream by working online, then read on. The software tech and the marketing resources available to you right now are there for the taking.

There are plenty of people out there that are running successful vacation rental and property management businesses online.

When you consider the current rise in global marketing reported on statista.com, you have to take your hat off to companies that are looking to design solutions that help small businesses compete.

How Does Software Break Down Barriers To Entry Into The Vacation Rental Industry?

Rather than only seeing hotel websites as we used to see when using search engines, we are now seeing sites like Airbnb and HomeAway start to appear. The technology built into these websites is almost completely automated.

Though arguably the biggest advantage is that property owners that want to rent out their holiday home do not need a marketing budget that competes with the big guns in the industry such as Agoda or some of the large hotel chains.

For example, Airbnb.com already has a multi-million dollar global marketing budget that attracts millions of visitors to its website every week.

All property owners need to do is sign up for an account and enter their property details, make sure the photos uploaded are accurate, and then the website will do the rest of the work for them. Vacationers searching online for a vacation rental property will find the website then use its search filters to locate vacation rental properties available in their chosen holiday destination.

As long as a property owner has accurately filled in their listing, then their listing will show up in the website’s search results for that area.  

It All Fits Together To Work As An Integrated System in Sync

The Instant Book Feature

As long as ‘instant book’ is turned on, people can book and the property owner is sent a notification the property has been reserved for the specified dates.

Real-Time Chat Functions

There is also a built-in real-time chat function that is available both on the website and via a downloadable mobile application. This is there for guests that may have a few questions before deciding to go ahead and commit making a booking. It is also handy so guests can ask their host questions during their stay at the property.

How Do People Manage Vacation Rental Listings on Multiple Websites?

This is where vacation rental website builders and WordPress channel manager plug-ins have grown in popularity. The technology behind the concept is actually quite straightforward and makes perfect sense.

This is exactly why vacation rental website builders like lodgify.com have become so popular. Their software solutions have been so well designed to cater towards small and medium-size businesses for several reasons.

Most notably one of Lodgify’s best software solutions is their channel manager technology that has been built into their website builder and is available as a WordPress Plug-in, plus can be used on Squarespace, Wix, Weebly, and the list of platforms the Lodgify Channel Manager integrates with continues to grow.  

Why Would I Need a Channel Manager?

To understand the channel manager fully, let’s begin by taking a look at this from the property owner’s perspective.

Most property owners want as many people as possible to see their property. In order to achieve this, the property owner needs their place to be available via as many sales channels as they can possibly get their website listed on.

This is good practice, but could potentially mean managing up to ten different websites and usernames. For instance, let’s say a property owner lists his or her holiday home on Airbnb, Booking.com, HomeAway, VRBO, FlipKey, and the list goes on. Every one of these websites needs to be managed.

Installing a mobile app for each of these sites in order to use the real-time chat functions is not a problem and neither is setting up desktop notifications on your tablet, PC, or laptop. It might be a little inconvenient to chat across several apps/platforms, but it is no different to using WhatsApp, Skype, SMS, Google Chat, LINE, and Twitter for social media chats.

The biggest issues with having properties listed on several websites are double bookings.

How can the cogs turn to sync across every calendar each time there is a new booking?

When a booking comes in and payment has been confirmed, the calendar will automatically block off the dates so no one else can book them. The problem lies with the calendars on the other websites.

Other calendars do not sync well from site to site, so there is always a risk of a double booking. This is where the Lodgify channel manager technology solves a huge problem. Rather than having to manually log on to all the websites the property is listed on, then proceed to block off the dates on every calendar, the channel manager will act as a central location on the property owners main website.

Calendars on the other websites will send a push notification to the channel manager saying ‘hey these dates are booked for X property’. The channel manager will then send push notifications telling all the other website calendars to block those dates off. Problem solved – no more double bookings.

Thanks to new technology, developers have now invested ways to help small businesses or even single property owners not only have their own company website that represents their firm’s brand, but also technology that helps them automate a vacation rental business. Website builders such a Lodgify’s also comes with a number of themes, payment systems and much more.

Plus, the channel manager is available across multiple software platforms meaning any website can take advantage of a tool that helps small business owners in the industry run a business that is 80% automated.

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