Marketing vacation rentals has quickly evolved over the past decade. While you used to be able to survive from Craigslist posts and local ads, you now need to be listing your rentals on as many of the five major channels as you can. But adding listing sites to your channel management strategy without the proper set of tools isn’t always problem-free - especially when you are trying to scale your business.
Luckily, growth-oriented property management software (PMS) has simplified this process for short-term property managers, but if your PMS isn’t using direct connections, it may be causing more of the same problems you’re using it to solve.
Direct connections mean that a property management software provider connects to a channels’ official API directly, without the use of a third-party channel manager. Direct connections provide property managers full control over their properties while minimizing double bookings and other data inaccuracies.
Unfortunately, many software providers leverage indirect integrations. Indirect integrations involve a middleman - namely, a third-party channel manager - that sits between a PMS and each channel. Each time data flows back-and-forth between these three parties, the information can be degraded, meaning you lose data.
To add insult to injury, you end up paying an additional, hidden commission fee to the channel manager that harms your business.
Seven reasons you need direct connections:
1. Accurate property data informs smart business decisions
When you have direct integrations, there are no discrepancies in rates, including unwanted markups and inaccuracy of calendars. You also won’t lose data every time data is transferred, as can happen with incomplete integrations.
Not sure why this happens? It’s similar to when you played the game “telephone” as a kid. You start with a sentence and pass it down to the next person. Down the line, each person misinterprets and miscommunicates the original phrase until it gets back to you as a distant remainder of its original.
Much like the intermediaries in the game, third-party channel managers lose bits and pieces of your business’s data every time it processes your information - resulting in your listings displaying erroneous information. Except unlike the game, this results in lost revenue.
2. Grow your business on a solid foundation
When your PMS is built with direct integrations, you can trust that its connections are stable, while third party channel managers can break. The vast amount of data going back and forth between parties can cause the channel manager to inadvertently shut down. No property manager, big or small, can afford this inconvenience. What would you do if your listings were down for a week or more?
3. Be in the driver’s seat - don’t get taken for a ride
With direct integrations, you have tight control over your data. Because there is no third-party channel manager facilitating the exchange of data between your PMS and your listings sites, the changes you make in your PMS will automatically populate to your listings. This means the rates that are shown are the rates that were set by you. One of the issues of using PMS with indirect integrations is that your rates can be marked up without your consent or your knowledge due to the deterioration of data caused by third-party channel managers.
4. Keep your entire chain of command in sight
With direct connections, your PMS owns your listings’ entire hierarchy of production. If there’s a problem at any point along the way, you don’t have to rely on a third-party whom you didn’t contract with to fix the issue. You can simply alert your PMS and they will diagnose and resolve the issue.
5. Pay less, get paid first
There are several financial reasons why you should choose direct connections. For starters, with indirect integrations, you end up paying about 3% additional commission to a third-party channel manager in addition to what you pay your PMS.
But even more important, with direct integrations, you remain the merchant of record so that credit card transactions go straight to your account and you maintain financial control over your business. In the worst cases, when using a PMS with indirect integrations, they are the merchant of record and might shut down without paying you for the reservations that they’ve processed “on your behalf.” In short, direct connections make sure you get paid first and that you pay lower fees.
6. Stay on the cutting-edge
Third-party channel managers can’t support dynamic pricing and other of today’s modern vacation management tools. If you want to automate as much of your workload as possible, make sure your PMS is built with direct connections. By doing so, you are ensuring that your partner will be with you for the long-haul, as they will continue to evolve with you and the industry.
7. Rely on a business partner that works as hard as you do
When your PMS uses direct integration, it means that you’ve partnered with a company that has the expertise and the credibility needed to make your vacation rental business run as smoothly as possible. Always keep in mind that when your PMS is built without direct integrations, you are depending upon the business decisions of an unknown third party, leaving you completely vulnerable.
While some industry software companies try to upsell you before providing you with a direct connection, at MyVR, we only provide complete, direct integrations across all of our service plans.
Our software is built to spec with each channel’s nuances and unique technical requirements in mind. By only offering complete integrations to the 5 major listing sites and their affiliates, we are absolutely dedicated to helping you reach your goals, however you define them.