There has been a rapid expansion of Automation software over the last 5 years. Each company has their advantages but there are three that I think stand out: iGMS, Your Porter and Lodgify.
These companies can be described as “Channel Managers”. Channels are Airbnb, VRBO, Booking.com, etc.
iGMS, Your Porter and Lodgify assist in managing your various channels by allowing you to make updates to your listings via their service. Your updates are then “pushed” via the “channel manager” to all of your property listing channels (Airbnb, VRBO, and Booking.com).
Example (NO Channel Manager): Mountain property1 is listed on Airbnb, VRBO and booking.com (without a channel manager). To change the listing price of Mountain property 1 you would need to log into each account.
By using a “channel manager” (iGMS, Your Porter, Lodgify) you can log into ONE site and make changes for all of your channels at one time.
Example (Channel Manager): Log into Your Porter (channel manager) and change the listing prices for the next month. Your Porter automatically changes the prices for Mountain property 1 for each channel (Airbnb, VRBO, and Booking.com).
As you can see, automation can greatly assist in managing any sized short term rental portfolio.
Choosing an Automation software for your STR can be a process and depends on your goals.
Are you interested in Automated messaging?
Do you want your own website for direct bookings?
Is ease of use your criteria for Automation?
Is automation worth the price?
iGMS is popular with short term rental owners. One of its main features is a unified inbox to check your messages from guests across all of your booking channels (Airbnb, VRBO etc). The automated messaging system includes templates that allow for an easy set up.
iGMS also offers a unified calendar so you can check prices across multiple platforms in one location.
The task management section can be used to schedule upcoming “tasks”, like a unit cleaning or property maintenance.
The cost of iGMS is attractive for those starting out because iGMS charges $1 per booking night. If you do not have a booking then there is no charge.
iGMS does NOT offer a website builder (for direct booking) and it can be cumbersome to use on your smart phone.
Lastly, iGMS does not integrate with Pricelabs. Pricelabs is an application that helps STR owners set prices for their units. While not mandatory, Pricelabs is a useful application for owners.
Unified Inbox and Calendar
Direct Booking Management
Does Not have a Website Builder
Does not integrate with Pricelabs
You cannot attach a pdf to messages
Like iGMS, Your Porter allows for channel management and Auto messaging. You can also perform task management and notify team members of upcoming cleanings. The Your Porter application and calendar are very easy to use. Pricelabs can also be integrated to assist in managing the pricing of your unit.
The Your Porter web builder is very easy to use and generates a personal direct booking website automatically from your Airbnb listing. The benefit of using a direct booking website when renting to trusted guests is that your guests save 18% off a traditional Airbnb booking.
Automated Messaging is simple (uses native messaging Airbnb, VRBO etc)
Can attach a pdf to your messages in message template (ex. A Guest/house book)
Website builder to allow direct bookings (builds a custom website Automatically from your Airbnb listing)
User-friendly booking calendar
Easy to use on a smart phone
Airbnb ranking booster
Inbox is not unified (separated by Airbnb, VRBO, Booking.com)
Lodgify is a channel manager with auto-messaging, task management and allows your to create your own website. The website builder provided by Lodgify is completely customizable which can be a great option for a full time host. A part time host may prefer an easier set up.
Website Builder to allow direct bookings. (More elaborate than Your Porter) this can be classified as a PRO or a CON.
Higher Cost when compared to iGMS and Your Porter
The Website Builder requires more work and input than the other options.
iGMS, Your Porter, and Lodgify each have their own advantages and can appeal to different types of hosts.
iGMS is great for the host who is just starting out and looking for assistance on keeping up with messaging via auto-messaging.
Your Porter would be the next level up from iGMS as Your Porter is integrated with a website builder to allow direct bookings. In addition, Your Porter is set up to integrate seamlessly with Pricelabs.
Lodgify has a higher price point than both iGMS and Your Porter and offers a customizable website builder that might appeal to a full time host looking to distinguish their unit.
All three of these channel managers allow for a trial period so you can test them out and see which one works best with your management style.
1$ per booking night
$7 per month
$9 per month (includes website builder for direct bookings)
(You can decrease to $5/$7 per month if you pay annually)
$32 Professional $48 Ultimate
(per property per month)
|Personal Website to allow Direct Bookings||NO||Yes||Yes|