The complexities of being a short term rental host used to make it a part time job, and very difficult to scale.  But not any more!  Not every BnB host runs their business the same or uses the same tools, but these are what I found worked the best for me.

1. 🖥 A Direct booking website.

Having my own bit of the internet dedicated to my BNB business that no one else can dictate or take away is key. Direct bookings give me a way to stay afloat even if the OTA’s like Airbnb were to shut down.  The thing is, there are lots of ways to do this.

  1. DIY website that you own yourself via Wix, Squarespace or WordPress.  If you choose Wix, start with a vacation rental template and plug & play from there.  If you want to pair with a PMS, you can plug in a widget for that platform to link to your Wix website.
  2. An almost done for you website via a PMS (property management software) like OwnerRez. or GUESTY FOR PROS
  3. A custom or semi-custom done for you website. I recommend  BoostlyUK or ICND

Pro Tip: Make sure you have an email list software integrated with your website, to create a base of potential and past guests.

2. 🏩 The Host protection trifecta:

  1. STR specific homeowner’s insurance
    1. Proper Insurance
    2. Steadily Insurance
  2. Damage protection policy – This is different than insurance or a rental contract.  It is an actual damage insurance policy just for each booking.  The guest pays the small fee and it gives you thousands in protection and you never have to involve the guest.  This equals more 5 star reviews!
  3. Rental contract for every booking.

This combination protects you even when Airbnb or VRBO won’t and gives you the freedom to take direct bookings without worrying.

3. 👩🏻‍💻 Automation software (PMS) –

Property management software is key to automating your business and giving you time freedom.  It includes booking management, communications, channel/ calendar manager, rental contract delivery, team management, even sometimes financials, etc etc.

My recommendations are:

Less than 5 units: OwnerRez.

5+ units: also OwnerRez, but Guesty for Pros also becomes an option.

4. 💲 Dynamic pricing software –

The days of spending hours creating spreadsheets trying to figure out your pricing are over. Dynamic pricing is the key to earning at your highest potential with very little effort.

My top 2 recommendations are Pricelabs or Beyond Pricing.

5. 📲 Smart home tools:

Digital keypad locks – I wholeheartedly recommend Igloohome’s products.  Use my link and get 10% off.  They beat any other keypad locks on the market for functionality, not to mention price.  And you can’t beat their customer service.

Noise / smoke monitoring – Wynd – Get $10 off with my link!There is a new product in town, and it not only monitors and proves excessive noise, but also cigarette / tobacco / vape smoke.

Wifi enabled thermostat linked to motion sensors for energy efficiency. I have tried Nest, Honeywell home and Ecobee.  I highly recommend Ecobee thermostat with smart sensors so you can automate adjustment to temperature to save money when the unit is vacant.

Exterior security cameras & doorbell.  Ring is the best in my opinion.  It’s what I have used for years and is compatible with so many other components like the Ecobee thermostat.

Smart TV’s, etc. – Self explanatory.  My favorite brands are Samsung and LG.  Samsung especially because it links to their smart things app which also connects to so many other elements.

Having the ability to manage these elements from your smart phone & keep track of what is going on in your home will give you peace of mind.


And there you have it!  I hope you find this helpful to create your own tech stack and choose products and services that help you create an STR business that gives you the lifestyle you desire!

Happy hosting!

Marilyn Taylor, signature




P.S. This post contains affiliate links.  It’s like a virtual tip jar in exchange for the tips but at no cost to you!  {{See what I did there?}}

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