It will have escaped nobody's notice that the property rentals industry, like so many others, has overwhelmingly seen a shift from the high street to the online marketplace in the last decade or so. This opens up plenty of great new possibilities for property owners and for would-be guests. And in fact, the industry has yet to settle. There is more movement to come – more of a shift from paper to pixels; more of a shift from offline to online. It is this last change that is most interesting – and if you can get ahead of it now, you could find yourself saving a lot of paperwork, as well as being one step ahead of many of your competitors.
The move from offline to online is not a change exclusive to the property rentals sector – industries like word processing software and data storage are undergoing a similar shift in their centres of virtual gravity. Indeed, only a year or so ago, Google produced their first flagship computers, which run on a unique operating system that is entirely based around the idea of everything being done online. This may be a little ahead of the curve on Google's part, but the message is clear. Things are, so to speak, moving on up.
And they're moving on up with good reason. Through some innovative—and ardently competing—products, customers are now able to do many of the jobs that would once have been a home desktop task on their phones, tables, laptops or work computers – on the bus or in their morning cafés. It is a paradigm shift which should very directly make vast swathes of the economy more efficient overnight, as well as quite possibly changing the way business is done in certain sectors as well. And this is nowhere more true than in the holiday rentals market, where a good online presence and speedy, efficient responses are key to getting ahead.
This is where some very interesting new software products come in. The advent of an industry-specific product for building, maintaining and updating property rentals websites – called rental property management software or holiday letting software – has opened up the potential for anybody renting a property to save time and increase turnover in one fell swoop. And as the products tend to be fairly 'one size fits all' in nature, because it is such a specific industry at which they are being marketed, even the owner of a second home will get a robust product which offers sufficient functions and professional features to satisfy a larger portfolio owner. This is a useful and welcome side-effect of the nature of the market, because it should encourage even more people to enter this fascinating and growing industry.
The shift from offline to online is one that will have more of an impact on this industry than many others. Anybody who can update their bookings database and leave their website, third-party listings and portals to update themselves will be able to get a lot done very quickly. The same is true of vacancy calendars, for example – if customers can see when rooms are booked as soon as they are registered as being so, the efficiency of your website will be hugely improved. So, too, will your customer base. And that, more than lessening your workload or making use of the morning commute, is what business is all about.