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Top 3 Time-Saving Vacation Rental Management Tools for Vacation Home Owners

With property management firms charging as much as 45% of a rental property's income, more and more vacation home owners are turning to the Internet to book their rental properties themselves in order to keep more of their rental income.

While websites such as HomeAway have given vacation home owners a new venue to advertise their rental properties, most vacation home owners are finding that these sites alone do not produce enough rentals to keep their properties fully booked. Even worse, vacation home owners are finding that the mundane tasks of replying to inquiries, manually sending out invoices and rental agreements, updating their properties' availability calendars, and all the other tasks associated with replacing a property management firm all add up to a full-time job.

There are online software management tools for vacation rental properties, though, that can greatly reduce the amount of time you have to spend managing these types of activities.

To help vacation home owners find, book and manage online rentals for their rental properties, here are the top 3 time-saving vacation rental management tools that no vacation property owner should be without.

1. Online Booking and Reservations Management System

If there's one thing that online consumers have learned to expect, it's instant gratification. If a potential renter can't instantly book and reserve your vacation property online, then you are lowering your chances of getting their business.

Websites like HomeAway urge their vacation home owners to "respond quickly! Data shows that owners who respond to inquiries within 3 hours close 57% more bookings than owners that respond within 24 hours." Just imagine what eliminating response time altogether can do to improve your bookings, then.

With today's integrated online booking, credit card processing, and reservations management systems, there's no reason to make your potential renters wait. These best of these services provide renters an instant rate quote, including taxes, and allows them to sign-up and book your vacation rental property instantly using any major credit card.

Some vacation rental management software solution providers offer this service - including setting up the merchant credit card processing on your behalf - with no up-front costs. You just pay a small portion of your reservation amount when a renter uses the online system. If you have multiple websites, make sure to find a provider who allows for their software to be integrated into your other sites, too, so you can centrally manage online bookings for all of your websites through one main interface.

2. Self-Updating Availability Calendars

If you're like most vacation home owners, in order to find enough renters to book your property as often as you'd like, you have listings on all the large vacation listing sites. You might supplement those efforts with manual postings on Craigslist and even your own personal website that you maintain. Whenever you book a rental you have to log in to each website/ listing and update your vacation property's availability calendar. That can take a lot of time.