By David Nge • Last Updated: September 08, 2022
If you’re trying to evaluate which website builder and property management system (PMS) to use for your vacation rental business, read on.
There’s no shortage of PMS in the market, most with overlapping features that it can be overwhelming even for seasoned homeowners.
This guide is the culmination of weeks of research trying different rental software to answer these questions:
- Which property management system is the most cost-effective?
- What are their advantages and shortcomings?
- Which website builder has the best features, design, and customizability?
- Are they beginner friendly?
- Are there any good examples of using these platforms?
- How’s their customer support? Having a great support team for your rental business is like having a partner, which can make a difference.
- And more as you’ll see.
Need inspiration? Here’s a list of unique vacation rental website designs I found.
Here’s a quick summary:
Lodgify — The most complete (feature-wise) property management software in the market.
Guesty — High-end PMS for property managers looking to scale operations.
Promote My Place — The most cost-effective way to get a professional website for your vacation rental.
OwnerRez — Robust and extensive PMS features. Highest customer-rated.
MyVR — All-in-one beginner-friendly PMS. Well-crafted software by a great team.
WordPress — Plenty of excellent vacation rental templates available. All features you’d expect are included with full control.
Squarespace — Cost-effective, designer-curated web templates for vacation rental.
Wix — Cost-effective, full-featured booking website with maximum customizability.
Now let’s take a look at the top 9 website builders and vacation rental software for property managers
Lodgify is one of the most complete property management platforms out there. The list of things they allow you to do is impressive:
- Create a dedicated website on a custom domain.
- Get direct bookings and payments (credit card & Paypal) from customers.
- Automatically add your property to popular rental platforms like Airbnb, Booking.com, Expedia, VRBO, HomeAway and several others.
- Sync bookings calendar and closed period across all rental platforms.
- Manage communication with customer.
- Manage customer reviews
And many other features that don’t fit in this bullet list. Feel free to head over to the Lodgify website for the complete feature list.
Unfortunately, Lodgify doesn’t have a free plan, but they do offer a 7-day free trial.
Their paid plan starts from $17 per property but the cost per property goes down as you add more. You can use the pricing calculator to figure out exactly which plan to opt for.
- All-in-one property management platform
- Includes website, booking engine, channel, and property management.
- Integration and calendar sync with a popular vacation rental marketplace.
- Embeddable booking widget for WordPress and other website builders.
- Guest management
- Accompanying mobile app
- Affiliate program for your short-term rental
- Supports multiple languages
- Limited website templates for property rental
- Limited website customization
- Can’t import existing listings
- 1.9% booking fee unless on a higher tier
6 amazing website examples built on Lodgify
So, is Lodgify worth it?
Lodgify is worth it if you (or any homeowner or property managers who) just want a straightforward, all-in-one platform for managing their property.
They cost $17-$70 per property per month. Still, if you can afford it, you essentially get a tightly integrated system for making a website, managing your property, and customers, and listing (and syncing) on various short-term vacation rental marketplaces.
Lodgify is not so great, however, if you care deeply about customizing the website and user experience for your customer. They don’t (and probably can’t afford to) allow customization on your website.
If you prefer to have full control, you’re better off creating your website on WordPress and using a third-party tool like SyncBNB to integrate all your listings on Airbnb, Booking.com, HomeAway, etc.
Of all the property rental website templates out there, Webready is hands down one of the best designed, plus all the booking and payment features, property, and channel manager (add-ons) you’d expect.
Webready is a dedicated website builder for rental businesses and it’s part of the Tokeet PMS. You can use Webready independently, or you can also add on Tokeet’s channel manager or automation tools.
The main difference between Webready and Lodgify is that you’re paying Lodgify for all-in-one rental management software, while Webready allows you to customize and pay for only features you need which results in a lower cost overall. Even if you opt for Tokeet’s rental management suite, the cost per property is still lower than Lodgify.
Webready offers a generous free plan if you own a single short-term vacation rental. You get a custom website on a free domain and you can accept bookings and payments for free also.
The standard paid plan starts from $10 and is up to $50 per month, depending on your needs.
And if you need add ons:
- $5/month for Airbnb channel manager
- $3/rental/month for multi-channel manager
- $5 – $10/rental/month for a full-fledged property management system
- and more
- Cost savings
- Best-in-class website template for rental
- Generous free plan for a single rental
- Only pay for what you need
- Integrates with a suite of powerful tools for rental management
- Advanced SEO setting for the website
- Complicated pricing scheme
- The learning curve for initial setup
- Fewer online travel agencies (OTAs) integration than Lodgify
5 Amazing Webready website examples
Is Webready recommended?
If you’re a homeowner running a single rental, Webready is an easy recommendation. Just use their free tool until you’re ready to upgrade.
And even if you do, you’re only paying a few bucks per rental to manage your property. Besides, most Tokeet and Webready users love the product.
However, Tokeet and Webready are still relatively new in the market, so you’d expect to stumble on bugs occasionally or specific feature that doesn’t work as good as you’d like. But all these are solvable as the product matures over time.
In a nutshell, Guesty is a high-end property management (requires >5 rental properties to qualify) platform that can automate and streamline every aspect of the rental business.
It has so many features, so much so that its website builder is just a small part of the offering.
Their website builder, while basic, does get the job done. Their website looks clean in a neat layout, which you’ll see later on.
By far, their greatest advantage is the backend systems:
- Hassle-free booking website
- Integrates with most online travel agencies and rental marketplaces
- Unified inbox for all channels
- Integrated calendar for all channels
- Automate messages, pricing, payments, reviews, promotions, and more
And a whole host of other features I didn’t mention here.
Guesty takes a cut, an agreed-upon percentage (2-5%) of all bookings. Steep, I know. The pricing structure is based on the number of listings managed, and the different features selected.
There’s also a $1000 onboarding fee, where you get concierge assistance from Guesty account managers in the initial setup. What’s more, is that they’ll charge a fee for any canceled bookings to your rental.
As you can see all these costs do add up. But at least there are some cost savings during the offseason — they won’t charge you if there isn’t any booking.
- Premium end-to-end property management product suite
- In-person training & support
- Extensive 3rd party integrations
- 24/7 guest services
- Extensive automation to scale high-volume rentals.
- Fees are charged based on a percentage of your sale
- Startup costs
- High learning curve
5 great examples of Guesty websites
Is Guesty worth it despite the high cost?
The ROI for using Guesty is only compelling if you use at least several of the features (i.e. Not ideal for single-feature usage).
The fact that Guesty requires at least 5 properties to get on board means they’re catered for property management companies.
It’s a powerful software no less, and Guesty can save property management companies a lot of time and cost, particularly if you have listings on multiple online travel agencies (OTAs) and want to be able to capture direct bookings.
In the end, Guesty makes sense if you intend to scale your rental operation. Despite the high cost, it will probably pay off in the long run.
In short, Promote My Place (PMP) offers a cost-effective way to get a professional website for your holiday cottage, villa, apartment, or B&B.
With PMP you can:
- Create a simple, professional website without worrying about hosting and management.
- Accept direct bookings and payments from customers
- Optimize your site for SEO/Google
- Show the availability calendar to your guests
Bear in mind PMP doesn’t offer many of the advance features you’d find from Lodgify, Guesty, and Tokeet, such as channel manager, guest management, automated workflows, etc.
The value proposition for PMP is clear: Create a simple website for your property to accept bookings without breaking the wallet.
Promote My Place is by far the cheapest (also great value) property rental platform out there, starting at around $7/property/month. The price goes down too if you add multiple properties.
They also offer value-added service at a fixed price:
- Create a website for you ($66/£49)
- Website copywriting ($66/£49)
- Individual page copywriting ($34/£25)
- Optimize website for SEO: Google ($34/£25)
Need an extra discount? Click here for a further 30% off PMP
- The cheapest property management platform
- Design your custom website
- Beginner friendly
- Easy website solution and management
- Great customer support
- Multiple language support
- Basic web design templates
- No channel manager
5 example websites using Promote My Place
Is Promote My Place recommended?
Promote My Place is excellent if you’re hands-on with managing your property and you’re looking for a cost-effective way to do it. The price is hard to beat, and it’s easy for beginners to get set up.
Even if you’re stuck, they provide outstanding support along the way. And you can always pay them to do it for you if you’d rather not worry about the website.
It also helps that they provide immediate, personal, and helpful support for all their customers.
OwnerRez pride itself with robust, end-to-end property management tools. From channel management, automated emails, messages, and workflow, to bookkeeping, booking websites, and more, there’s a lot of value for property managers in one platform.
OwnerRez starts at $35/per rental/month but the cost per property reduces significantly when you manage more properties. Here’s a comparison:
- 10 properties — $89/month
- 50 properties — $228/month
- 100 properties — $328/month
- 200 properties — $425/month
You can check out the pricing calculator and select features based on your needs.
- Great value for high-volume properties
- Robust PMS features
- Responsive customer support
- No set-up fees
- No booking fees
- High learning curve
- Basic website design
6 Great website examples built using OwnerRez
- Shenandoah Rentals
- Mt Shasta Vacation Rentals
- Sasquatch Vacations
- Borrego Springs Vacations
- Dawns Rentals
- Mountainside Treasures
Is OwnerRez recommended?
OwnerRez is an easy recommendation if you manage more than a handful of properties and appreciate quality customer service
There are many features on this platform, so you should expect to spend some time setting up and getting used to it. But once you’re up and running, you will find yourself on top of your business (instead of in it) just like other OwnerRez customers do.
MyVR is an all-in-one short-term rental management platform like Lodgify, Guesty, and OwnerRez. The biggest advantage they have over the other platforms is their intuitive and beginner-friendly interface.
Oftentimes rental management software can be overwhelming, considering there are so many features at their customers’ disposal. MyVR has done just the opposite of that.
Just as their customer said:
“It’s beautiful, simple, and pleasant to work in.”
MyVR paid plans are as follows:
- Basic — $13.5/property/month
- Plus —$29/property/month
- Professional — $99/property/month
You have to request a demo with their account manager to customize the plan according to your needs.
With the basic plan, you get to centralize all your online reservations and calendar. If you wish to get an integrated website you’d have to get the Plus plan stead.
Note: There is a $499 one-time setup fee upon confirmation.
- Robust all-in-one software for property managers
- Clean and intuitive UI
- Outstanding owner portal
- Extensive integration with online travel agencies
- Regular feature update
- Lacks mobile app
- Lacks bookkeeping features
- Lacks multiple language support
5 Great examples of MyVR rental sites
Is MyVR worth it?
MyVR isn’t cheap, but there’s a great team behind it continually improving the platform and who pays attention to the detail of the user experience, which is hard to come by these days.
It’s worth looking into MyVR if you’re a property manager with 10+ properties. They have most (if not all) of the features needed to run a smooth rental operation. Plus, you get to work with an amazing team and well-crafted software.
The biggest difference between WordPress and Lodgify, Tokeet, Guesty (or any other property management platform) is that with WordPress you truly own your website and customers.
While WordPress isn’t your traditional property management software, there are plenty of vacation rental-specific website templates available. Most of them include features you’re familiar with: booking engine, search function, channel integrations, etc.
Some of them integrate with Airbnb, Booking.com, and Tripadvisor, but if you’d rather use a proper channel manager instead, then here are some popular ones:
- SyncBnb — Zero double booking guarantee
- Uplisting — Zero commission
- Lodgify — Extensive channel integrations
Cost savings is one of WordPress’s most significant advantage. Here’s the associated cost for building your rental website on WordPress:
I’d recommend going for managed hosting, where the service provider manages the hosting for you, i.e. backups, security, and uptime monitoring. And if you need suggestions:
Hostgator ($5.95/month)- Cheapest managed hosting for WordPress
WPX ($20/month)- Fastest managed hosting for WordPress
Here are the current best-selling and highest-rated vacation rental WordPress theme:
Note: The price is a one-time payment.
- Low cost
- Full control
- Plenty of resources online
- Easy to hire WordPress designer/developer
- Drag and drop website builder interface
- Property rental & management features included
- Significant learning curve
- May need to rely on a developer
- More to manage
Excellent rental website examples on WordPress
Is WordPress worth the hassle?
Do you care about owning your customers?
Do you want to build a brand?
Do you want full control of your marketing efforts? Customer experience?
If you answer any of those with a strong yes, then WordPress is the best platform to do so.
Special mention: If you don’t want to build the WordPress site yourself, SyncBnB offers to make it for you for $599. In my opinion, it’s great value compared to hiring third-party agency or even a freelancer, who charges a few thousand dollars and may not do as good a job.
Recommended read: WordPress vs Wix vs Squarespace vs Weebly (Pros and Cons)
Squarespace takes pride in its designer-curated website templates. The website typography is stunning, it works seamlessly on every device and the web editor is the most intuitive to use.
Squarespace is great and affordable if you’re looking to build a brochure website for your rental. If you want to add booking or channel management features you could always sign up for SyncBnb, Uplisting, or Lodgify. All of them support Squarespace integration.
Squarespace starts at $16/per month. You get unlimited storage, bandwidth (traffic), a secure website, and you never have to worry about backups or hosting.
The icing on the cake is their award-winning support (since 2013).
For additional PMS features, you can look at:
- SyncBnb ($15/property/month)
- Uplisting ($100/month for 5 properties)
- Lodgify ($17/property/month + booking fee)
- Beautiful templates
- Easy to maintain & setup
- Great customer support
- Good for blogging
- Need additional PMS features
- No free plan
- Limited third-party integrations
5 Inspiring rental websites on Squarespace
Is Squarespace recommended?
Squarespace is great if you like the control that WordPress offers without the hassle of setting up servers and having to rely on a web designer/web developer.
Squarespace takes care of everything that has to do with website management and even offers great support should you run into issues.
Note that a regular Squarespace site won’t allow you to take reservations from customers unless you add third-party PMS platform features.
Wix is unique. Not only will it take care of all the website management hassle for you, but they also offer native direct booking, accept payments (commission free), and manage reservations via the Wix Hotels app.
Their biggest advantage over other general website builders is their app marketplace and third-party integrations. You can build a full fledge vacation rental Wix site with:
- Multilingual booking for guests
- Commission-free earnings
- Channel manager
- Manage rooms and the whole property
- Calendar sync
- And more
You have to subscribe to a business plan to use Wix Hotels and all its property management features. It starts at $17/month and up to $35/month if you need more storage space.
Granted, that’s the price for 1 hotel / rental website. If you manage more than one property, you’d need to create a separate website for that listing, otherwise, you can add them as rooms with different addresses.
- Sufficient features to manage a property online
- Low cost
- Professional vacation rental templates are available
- Extensive third-party integrations
- Hard to scale
- Hard to migrate
- Complicated UI
6 Inspiring Wix Hotel websites
Is Wix Recommended?
Wix is great for homeowners managing single properties who
- Needs a low-cost solution for managing their vacation rental
- Wants control of their booking and reservations management — Wix is highly customizable
- And needs to get set up quickly.
While Wix is notorious for its laggy and sometimes overwhelming interface, it does a (surprisingly) good job simplifying the tasks/processes for setting up a vacation rental site.
If in doubt, you can always sign up for a free account first and see how you like it.