• Vacation rentals can be life-changing. But due to a surge in popularity, the requirements of the job are more challenging than ever. VRMB Communities is a private forum that helps thoughtful owners & managers automate and delegate tasks, so you can focus on the activities that win loyalty and direct bookings. Preview Private Forum Here

Products & Services We Like

The following is a select list of companies that we like for a variety of needs.

Hello VRMB Supporters!

The following is a select list of companies that we like for a variety of needs. Each has proven itself over time with real results from real owners and managers. And each has leadership/management who has demonstrated the ability to "help, not sell" and to resolve customer service problems when they do arise with integrity and fairness. Please do not, however, misinterpret our suggestions as guaranteed satisfaction. Our input should be added to your own demos, research, and decision-making.

Import Note: This list is a live document -- it is being updated regularly. If you have an addition, would like to suggest for a category not yet featured, or are a vendor please send me a Private Message -- would be happy to add and appreciate your contributions in advance.

Property Management Software

We are still working on integrating our property management software research projects into this platform. For the moment, please browse our latest Keystone Awards program.

Distribution

  • Rentals United -- one of the original vacation rental channel managers with an incredible "help, don't sell" library of free resources to show you their stuff!

Smart Home Automation & Noise Monitoring

  • NoiseAware -- the oldest-existing noise monitoring device in our industry
  • Point Central -- the leader in smart-home automation, smart locks, smart thermostats.
  • Flowcode -- a favorite QR code creator liked by @DannyB and @Jed

Guest & Guidebook Apps

  • Touch Stay -- one of the first (if not the first) digital welcome books in our industry. CEO Andy understands this space better than anyone else.
  • Ruebarue -- digital guestbooks, automated texting, guest messaging/SMS plus the CEO Nars is absolutely amazing.
  • SmartBnB -- send/receive emails; set up auto-messaging; link with Mailchimp, run reports and send sms/email booking updates to my team and generate tasks. Wonderful Support and they're continually adding new features. I use for Airbnb and VRBO. Don't think it integrates with web sites yet. For smaller operations like mine. (submitted by @Catherine)

Revenue Management

(Dynamic Pricing)

  • Beyond Pricing -- one of the oldest-existing dynamic pricing tools for medium-large vacation rental managers
  • Price Labs -- strong dynamic pricing tool that accommodates smaller vacation rental managers
  • Rented.com -- "Great value IMO. They do a fabulous job, my revenues are up (even in some 2020 summer months), and their communication and reporting has been excellent. I feel like I have another strategic business partner now, freeing my time and energy up for other important tasks. And they offer a fixed price plan which I like better than the commission based programs." - @JOest
  • Wheelhouse -- intelligent pricing software that leverages more than 10 billion data points daily to help your listing earn 10—40% more revenue (Founded by @Andrew)

(Market Data Tools)

  • Key Data Dashboard -- Key Data is the trusted data & analytics provider of real-time vacation rental market data for the short term rental industry
  • Transparent -- Transparent analyzes 35 million Airbnb, Vrbo & booking.com vacation rental listings worldwide to deliver powerful data insights through an actionable dashboard
  • AirDNA -- AirDNA tracks the performance data of 10M Airbnb & Vrbo vacation rentals in 120K global markets. Analyze Airbnb occupancy rates, revenue, and pricing

Housekeeping & Maintenance Apps

  • Breezeway.io -- perhaps the single company we hear recommended the most -- for better communicating with your cleaning team.

Credit Card Processing

  • Lynnbrook Group -- arguably the single most reliable company for credit card processing in our space, family business, competitive rates.

Insurance

  • Rental Guardian -- travel and damage protection made easy. But what really makes this company special are it's leaders Brady and John. Ask about the game-changing
  • Safely -- a new kind of insurance that vets your guests and avoids having criminals terrorize your neighborhood (our words, not theirs).

If you were wondering what VRMB uses to run the show, we've taken the liberty of sharing our favorite companies below.

Email Marketing

  • StayFi -- Vacation rental WiFi that collects valuable guest data. Increase direct bookings for your short-term rentals with StayFi
  • InfusionSoft: Folks often ask what CRM platform I use for this blog and the answer is the almighty InfusionSoft. It's what basically runs "my marketing life" and has quite a steep learning curve (so definitely consult the reps before purchasing).

Hosting

  • GoDaddy: VRMB used to use GoDaddy for hosting when we were first getting started and they do a very good job. Plus there are TONS of tutorials on YouTube that walk beginners through pretty much every single step. One of the best values out there.
  • Reliable Penguin: These guys are super. We weres turned on to them by a colleague and we use a 2GB package which features backups, monitoring, virus scanning...blah blah blah. Hosting really isn't our area of expertise so we prefer to pay these guys to do it all for us and they're spectacular!
  • Green Geeks Hosting: It's all about the carbon footprint, yo! (Submitted by @Catherine)

Video

  • Camtasia: For screencasting AND talking head video embedded in the corner of the screen. It's incredibly simple, has versions for both Windows and Mac, and utilizes this simple upload feature so you can put the video on YouTube with one click. Having researched them all, Camtasia is pretty much the gold standard.
  • ScreenFlow: Half the price of Camtasia, easier to use. Sorry Windows users, Mac only. Record your screen, powerful editing and callout tools to enhance your recordings, and an intuitive interface. BONUS: For $60/YR you can purchase a stock library comprised of 500,000 unique media clips (e.g. soundtracks, noises, video clips). You can search for, listen or watch, and add the clips with one-click.
  • Logitech Brio: What I use for all talking head videos. This is the best webcam you can buy for your money. Note: You need a newer computer to run the BRIO with at least 8GB of RAM. All the Logitech webcams are very solid and a huge upgrade from what's already in your computer!
  • Blue Raspberry: This is the portable high-quality USB microphone that we use for all videos and podcast monologues. All of the "Blue" microphones are top notch. VRMB used to use the Rode NT-USB but it was a little too bulky for travel.
  • Wistia: If you are just toying around with videos for your vacation rental, just stick to Youtube. But if you want to get serious and start tracking your views, correlating views with inquiring guests, calls to action at the end...etc. We highly recommend Wistia.
  • Diva Ring Light: This is the light we use for videos when necessary. Natural light is always best, but this ring light does a great job in darker rooms.

Websites

  • Wordpress: It's no secret that Wordpress is the easiest, most straightforward platform on which to build your website. Most DIY vacation rental owners use it (and so do we).
  • WooThemes: If you have a Wordpress website, here is the theme company we previously used. For like $70 you can get three themes (and they're all really nicely formatted and easy to use).
  • ThriveThemes: This is the theme we use for VRMB's website and while it takes a little learning, it is by far the best theme we've ever purchased with Wordpress.

Analytics

  • Google Analytics: You simply aren't doing your job if you don't have Google Analytics installed on your personal website. It's free, it gives you scientific-like insight into where your guests are coming from, and most importantly, it can be installed with literally the click of a button.
  • Open Site Explorer: Ever wondered how your competitors are getting all their leads? This tool provides every nitty gritty detail about your competitors' website free of charge (it's like 5 free searches per day)

Security

  • Lastpass: You NEED a password manager and there are a number of great ones out there. @SteveH loves Lastpass (along with many of other IC members) but also consider this thread for more options and reviews.

Custom Swag

  • Beach House Logos -- by far the best niche branding company in our space -- think coozies, towels, coldsters, anything you can put your logo on -- make sure to meet Steve Z!

SEO

  • Build-up Bookings: Conrad O'Connell has been in the vacation rental SEO game as long as anyone. He is THE go-to option for better rankings and PPC.

Inventory Growth

  • Vintory -- Brooke Pfautz and his team do one thing and they do it really well: help you grow your properties or inventory. Probably the best investment a growing property manager could make.
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