12+ Best Vacation Rental Automation Tools

Lizzie Griffin
Lizzie Griffin

February 20, 2024

Automation is an essential strategy for a growing short-term rental business, allowing you to save time, minimize errors, and improve key areas of your customer service and business performance. 

But if you invest in the wrong tools, you could experience costly downtime, platforms may struggle to share important data, and you could end up negatively impacting the guest experience, occupancy rates, and your ability to scale operations. 

This is why you need your tech stack to consolidate solutions, be user-friendly, and reduce the complexity of your operational processes.

In this article, you’ll see where in your business you can replace manual tasks. You’ll also find recommendations on the best vacation rental automation tools in the industry, plus see what to look for in those solutions. You’ll be able to make informed choices about what software to implement, and you’ll have a clear understanding of their benefits.

Here are the different kinds of solutions this article discusses:

    1. Property management systems
    2. Channel managers
    3. Operations
    4. Guest communication
    5. Dynamic pricing
    6. Guest screening
    7. Noise monitoring

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1. Property management systems

Property management systems (PMS) are your command centers for managing short-term rentals (STRs) while minimizing your manual tasks. These systems enable and streamline automated processes by centralizing your property, booking, and guest information.

Some features to look for include: 

  • A user-friendly manager’s dashboard with mobile app
  • Calendar synchronization across platforms to prevent double bookings
  • Guest experience tools for areas like keyless access and personalized upsells
  • Remarketing and direct booking tools
  • Comprehensive financial reporting to track your earnings and expenses

However, it's vital to recognize that while a PMS offers a broad suite of automations, its capability in specialized areas like task scheduling, team coordination, or detailed channel management often won’t replace dedicated software solutions. Integrating specialized software for these tasks will become increasingly important to efficiency and service quality as your portfolio expands.

Therefore, when selecting a PMS, prioritize one that not only scales with your business growth but also boasts robust integration capabilities. This adaptability ensures your PMS can seamlessly work alongside other specialized tools in your tech stack, supporting cohesive and efficient operations as your business evolves.

The best PMS for your business will depend on details like the size and structure of your operations, your property types, your target market, and your preferred tools. Explore our integrations page to see which PMS most align with the features and compatibility you need.

Escapia performance dashboardThis Escapia performance dashboard automates reporting across areas like occupancy, average daily rate (ADR), and revenue per available rental (RevPAR).

2. Channel managers: NetPax, Rentals United

Channel managers help you maximize the visibility and occupancy of your vacation rentals by distributing your listings across multiple booking channels. They ensure real-time synchronization of availability and rates, preventing overbookings while optimizing revenue.

The most important features to look for include:

  • Broad channel integration: Ensure your channel manager supports a wide range of booking platforms, including major online travel agencies (OTAs) like Airbnb, Booking.com, and Vrbo, as well as niche and localized booking sites.
  • Real-time synchronization: Look for systems that offer instant updates across all channels to avoid double bookings and maintain accurate availability and pricing information for guests.
  • Centralized inventory management:  Choose a channel manager that allows you to control and adjust your property listings from a single dashboard, including photos, descriptions, and rates.
  • Detailed performance analytics: Opt for a channel manager that provides insights into your booking performance across channels, so you can make data-driven decisions about how to maximize occupancy and revenue.

As your STR business grows, the ability to manage multiple channels efficiently becomes crucial. A channel manager can save you hours of work in this area, but it's essential to select one that integrates well with your PMS, so all your tools are working with accurate information, from your task scheduling software to your access management system.

Two of the leading channel managers in vacation rentals are:

  • NextPax
    NetPax has two-way API connections with more than 150 booking channels and integrates with more than 20 PMS. It also includes guest messaging and payment processing tools.
  • Rentals United
    Rentals United has two-way API connections with more than 60 booking channels and integrates with more than 30 PMS. It also includes guest messaging and payment processing tools, as well as the website builder, My Website.

    NextPax dashboardNextPax integrates Airbnb hosting quality dashboards in its channel manager, centralizing task management to boost your quality scores.

3. Operations management software: Breezeway

Operations management software coordinates, communicates, and verifies the work and service that goes into making your properties guest-ready. For example, Breezeway automates various time-intensive tasks, allowing you to:

  • Reduce your workload
  • Avoid mistakes like missed cleans
  • Have schedules that reflect even last-minute booking changes
  • Uphold your brand standards on cleanliness, presentation, and timeliness

Here are some of the automated processes you should expect from your operations management platform:

  • Task scheduling: 
    By integrating your ops management system with your PMS, you can automate cleans based on your customized rules for check-in and check-out workflows, guest and stay types, and property attributes.
  • Task assignment:
    The software should be able to assign tasks based on the availability of your housekeepers, maintenance staff, and service providers.
  • Quality control:
    Look for customizable digital cleaning and inspection checklists, so you can automate clear instructions for each clean alongside representative photos.
  • Linen packing and inventory tracking:
    You can fully streamline the cleaning process and make sure housekeepers always have the equipment, consumables, and linens they need with an automated system that allows you to associate supplies with different units, tasks, and types of stay.
  • Payment processing:
    Easily pay your cleaners based on their hourly rate or by piece rate using a simple one-step approval process

    Breezeway operations management dashboardBreezeway gives you an at-a-glance overview of operations across your entire portfolio.

In addition to these core areas of ops automation, Breezeway lets you store and manage property profiles, so you can easily access and share information like when the boiler was last serviced, what the WiFi codes are, or the location of the circuit breaker panel. Also, Breezeway has robust owner reporting and guest messaging software. 

By integrating these with your day-to-day operations management, you can spend less time coordinating and communicating with property owners, easily track billables, and improve the guest experience.

Automate your operations with Breezeway
Breezeway’s user-friendly solutions to ops management will replace your most time-consuming tasks, ensure your cleaning schedules are always aligned with your latest booking information, and save you hours of work.

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4. Guest communication software: Breezeway

Without an automated solution for managing guests, responding to common queries about directions, parking, property access, WiFi, and maintenance issues can become daunting. In fact, because it’s so easy to miss a question or response when you’re also overseeing your operations, manually messaging guests can even end up harming your reviews and reputation.
So, you need a solution that offers guides, templates, and consolidation with your team coordination, so you can minimize guest questions, be more responsive, and cut down on the effort guests require from you.

Here are some of features to consider when automating guest communication:

  • A central hub for all your guest communication so you have one easy-to-use interface for all your guest management
  • Scheduled messaging so you know guests always receive the welcome messages, in-stay reminders, and departure details you want them to
  • Automated property and guest information which you can pull through from your PMS via shortcodes within your message templates
  • A digital guidebook that provides guests with all the essential information they’ll otherwise ask you for, including details about parking, property and WiFi access, and local recommendations
  • Bulk messaging so you can easily communicate urgent messages like weather warnings to multiple guests at a time
  • Gap-night messaging to drive more revenue from departing and arriving guests with automated offers of extra nights based on your latest availability
  • Integration with your operations management so you can quickly respond to maintenance issues as you coordinate your team and create and track work orders

Breezeway provides all these features, natively integrating its messaging software with the platform’s work coordination tools so you can manage all your guest and team messaging in one place.

The digital guidebook is fully branded and user-friendly for guests and is a great way to elevate their experience. Also, you can increase efficiency with Breezeway’s AI feature, which analyzes incoming messages to generate a suggested response.

Breezeway’s gap-night messagingBreezeway’s automated messages that offer an extended stay are personalized using shortcodes and based on your customized rules and booking calendar.

Pro tip: Breezeway Assist is a hands-off solution to guest messaging you can implement to ensure high responsiveness, personalization, and problem-solving, even in the middle of the night.

Breezeway’s trained hospitality professionals will respond to your guests 24/7, saving you from handling issues outside of business hours while providing a fantastic guest experience at all times.

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5. Dynamic pricing tools: Beyond Pricing, PriceLabs, Wheelhouse

Automation tools process vast amounts of data in real time, adjusting your pricing to demand, competition, seasonality, and other key factors without your direct involvement. This helps you optimize rates for profitability and occupancy without the need for constant manual oversight. 

As well as keeping your vacation rentals competitively priced, automating pricing and revenue management: 

  • Helps you capitalize on high-demand periods like local festivals or sports events, allowing for rate increases
  • Saves you hours of work researching local market trends, historical pricing patterns, and other data points
  • Reduces the need for specialized expertise within your team

Some of the features you should consider in a dynamic pricing and revenue management tool include:

  • Market data analysis: 
    Your pricing software should suggest pricing strategies based on the latest market information, including competitor pricing, demand trends, and local market conditions.
  • Real-time pricing updates: 
    You need real-time pricing adjustments to respond quickly to market changes, so your rates are always competitive and aligned with shifts in demand.
  • Integration with booking platforms and PMS: 
    Seamless integration ensures that any updates in pricing are automatically updated across all your listings, while changes in availability are reflected in your rates.
  • Customization and control: 
    While automation is key, the ability to customize pricing rules based on your knowledge and preferences is also essential. Look for tools that allow you to set minimum stay requirements, blackout dates, and special pricing for events or seasons.
  • User-friendly interface: 
    Ensure the tool has an intuitive, easy-to-navigate dashboard that allows you to manage your pricing, view analytics, and make adjustments without a steep learning curve.

    Wheelhouse dashboardWheelhouse’s dynamic pricing dashboard gives you instant insights across multiple areas of your business.

Three pricing solutions you should consider are:

  • Beyond Pricing
    Beyond Pricing analyzes real-time market data to provide dynamic pricing recommendations. It integrates with numerous booking platforms and PMS, offering a user-friendly interface and automated pricing adjustments.
  • PriceLabs
    PriceLabs offers customizable pricing strategies by incorporating market trends, demand patterns, and individual property characteristics. It features extensive market data analysis, dynamic pricing recommendations, and broad integration capabilities.
  • Wheelhouse
    Wheelhouse provides data-driven pricing tools that tailor recommendations to property attributes and market shifts. It offers a comprehensive set of features including market forecasts, competitor analysis, and customizable pricing


6. Guest screening: Autohost, Safely, Superhog

By implementing a thorough guest screening process, you can minimize potential risks, like property damage or chargeback fraud, which can lead to a loss of revenue and impact your brand image.

Automated guest screening works using instant background checks, analyzing previous host feedback, and verifying personal information against set criteria. With this information, you can be alerted to any red flags and see an objective risk analysis, allowing you to make an informed choice on whether or not to proceed with a booking.

This is especially useful for direct bookings since these don’t come with the in-built protections of an OTA.

Three platforms you should consider are:

  • Autohost
    Autohost’s risk management approach provides a detailed risk score for each guest based on a variety of factors. It's heavily focused on providing a friction-free and non-intrusive booking experience for guests.
  • Safely
    Safely allows you to integrate the screening process with a specific insurance product for each booking. This provides a double layer of security for preventive measures as well as financial safeguards in the case of damage to the property or its contents.
  • Superhog
    As well as automated guest screening and its damage protection plan, Superhog streamlines the process for collecting and handling damage deposits and damage waivers.

Authohost guest screening dashboardAutohost lets you customize the guest screening workflow with types of verification tailored to the property listing, booking channel, or kind of reservation.

7. Noise monitoring: Minut, Noiseaware

Noise monitoring in vacation rentals is a proactive approach to managing disturbances and ensuring guests comply with your house rules. These devices respect guest privacy by not recording actual sounds but by measuring decibel levels. 

By implementing noise monitoring devices, you can receive real-time alerts if noise exceeds your customized thresholds, enabling timely intervention to prevent potential complaints or issues with the authorities. Some systems also allow you to automate a message to guests—making them a highly scalable solution to protecting your properties and community relationships.

Two noise monitoring tools to consider are:

  • Minut
    Minut’s standalone device is suitable for indoor and outdoor noise monitoring. The system measures noise, tracks occupancy, detects cigarette smoke, and includes other protection measures, like mold-risk analysis. Guests receive an automated message when there’s an issue, and you can see decibel levels across your portfolio in real time using the dashboard.
  • NoiseAware
    NoiseAware’s privacy-safe noise monitoring includes occupancy detection, automated guest messaging, and, as with Minut, access to historical data that you can access to present to homeowners or provide as evidence in the case of a dispute.

Minut noise monitoring mobile appMinut’s noise monitoring software automates guest messaging when there’s an issue and includes multiple other solutions to STR protection.

STR automation: Saving time, reducing costs, minimizing error

STR automation allows you to streamline your property management processes, effectively saving time that can be redirected towards more strategic tasks, like developing personalized upsells or marketing your services to prospective homeowner clients. 

Automating key managerial processes also reduces human error, such as scheduling cleanings and maintenance. Automated systems can ensure these tasks are assigned promptly and tracked through to completion, minimizing the chance of a missed turnover or sending two cleaners to do the same job.

By using specialized vacation rental software to replace manual tasks like optimizing rates and messaging guests, you can also drive revenue, improve your reviews, and cut down on staffing costs, including recruitment and training.

However, you should build your tech stack carefully—be sure to factor in compatibility, consolidate tools where possible, and turn to user-friendly solutions for both managers and in-the-field staff.

Save hours of work, avoid human error, and have no more missed cleans
Use Breezeway to automate your key ops processes, like task scheduling and assignment, quality control, and inventory tracking.

Book a Demo