Do Short-Term Rental Hosts Really Need a PMS?

need a PMS

By The Hospitable Team

As a busy short-term rental host, you might be tempted to invest in a full-blown property management system (PMS), because that’s what all the ads say you need to be successful.

After all, you want your rentals to be as simple to run as possible. You want to streamline the process, remove the stress and boring repetitive tasks, and enjoy the advantages of being a host without spending your whole life managing your rental and getting completely burned out. 

But you also want to keep things easy. You’re not a massive company with hundreds of rentals. Do you really need a cumbersome, expensive, complex software product that will take months to learn, and that has dozens of features that you may never end up using? We guess…nope.

The good news is, you don’t need a complex PMS to make your short-term rentals efficient and automated. In fact, using more user-friendly, agile software might work best for you right now—and it’s much easier to use right off the bat.

Here’s our guide to figuring out whether you really do need a fancy PMS—or whether the right automation system for your business might just be a whole lot easier (plus, what to do if you’re ready to cut to the chase and get started).

Need some automation in your life but don’t want to manage everything from a PMS? lets you retain control of your listings while automating 95% of your guest messaging.

What is a PMS supposed to do?

Don’t get us wrong, we’re not saying PMSs are useless. In fact, many of their major features are absolute game-changers when it comes to the business of vacation rentals.

But many include a ton of features and bells and whistles that many short-term rental hosts never actually need or use.

Ultimately, the role of a PMS is to save time, effort, and stress, and automate tasks that would otherwise be manual and time-consuming.

A good PMS frees up time and headspace so you can actually personalize and improve your direct guest service, rather than getting bogged down in the behind-the-scenes admin.

But you don’t need a full-blown, overly complicated PMS to do that. Ultimately, you don’t really want a PMS at all. You just want some easy-to-use software that automates and takes the stress out of managing short-term rentals.

Ensuring the software is easy to use should always be the main priority.

Do you really need all the bells and whistles of a PMS?

Of course, we understand that there’s a ton of pressure in the industry to buy a big, fancy PMS that promises game-changing results in every aspect of your business. It’s also really tempting to think that by choosing a big PMS, you’re investing in stuff you might need in years to come.

But it’s also easy to get swept up in an imagined future, without doing what’s right for your business now. You want the features that meet your specific needs today, and not worry about the needs of some imagined future down the line (which may not be what you expect anyway).

Tools such as accounting managers, complex owner dashboards, flashy but complicated extras such as offering upsells, or even massive channel managers spanning across hundreds of random platforms…all sound nice, but aren’t things most hosts with a handful of properties will need or use.

You might end up paying over the odds for an expensive PMS that includes a whole range of unnecessary features that you might never even look at (or at least, not for many years).

And the more complex the software, the more complicated the onboarding, which could take months. Similarly, many PMS providers are so huge that you may not get the level of customer support you need to make the most out of the software.

If even reading about all that sounds overwhelming or simply irritating, we suspect that easy-to-use automation software such as would work better for you and your business.

In fact, a host who now uses told us that they had previously tried several different solutions but none were as close to what they needed. 

“I did so many [software] trials,” he explained. “But I just wanted to automate my messages with guests. I didn’t even need messaging with the cleaning team [at that point]. And all the other [software providers] were complicated. They were offering all sorts of things that I didn’t need.”

Instead, investing in software to help with your immediate challenges—such as communicating with guests—will ensure you maximize your current rentals, and build a rock-solid foundation that will enable you to grow when you’re ready.

With a compact but powerful features list, a light, agile service such as includes everything you need and nothing you don’t. This means you get automated replies, guest messaging, a simple channel manager, double-booking protection, and even help managing your cleaning team.

Rather than working as a totally standalone, bloated PMS, it works as an agile and streamlined add-on to the channels you already use, such as Airbnb or Vrbo, so there’s no extra hassle.

So, how do you find the right automation software for you?

Ultimately, as we said earlier, you don’t want a PMS. 

You just want to get stuff done and make your business more efficient, without extra work. So finding the right automation software for you simply means finding one that does everything you need, with no extra faff, fluff, or fees.

It’s about getting a lean, efficient piece of software that you can get the absolute most out of and that does everything you need. 

It’s about only paying for what you’re actually going to use, rather than investing in a complex behemoth with features you don’t need.

You might ask yourself the questions:

  • What do you currently do manually that you don’t really have time for? 
  • What do you find yourself or your team doing again and again, which could be automated, or delegated? 
  • Where are there often human errors in your business, or things that could be easy to miss or get wrong?
  • Where could you automate or “set and forget” certain tasks in your business?  
  • What tasks in your business would benefit from a standardized, easy-to-repeat process?

Once you’ve established what your business needs, ask yourself:

  • Does the automation software enable me to do all that?
  • Will this take months to install, or learn? 
  • Are there lots of extra features that I don’t understand and currently don’t need or use?
  • Is this piece of software designed for a company my size?

Whatever software you end up doing for, one of the key questions to ask is about customer service. Is the support good, and are they responsive when there are problems? 

If the software offers a trial period, be sure to contact support during that time to test out the customer service, and how much effort they put in to ensure your software works from Day One.

What makes different? helps automate and simplify your rentals, but it’s not a PMS. 

It enables you to continue managing your own listings from Airbnb and Vrbo if you want to, so you retain total control of your existing pages, plus extra features (without the overwhelm of a big, scary PMS).

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: you don’t actually want a PMS. You want to automate all the must-do tasks in your hosting process, without any cumbersome extras.

You want automation software that does what you need. You want software that works reliably, which is easy to use and set up, and which has excellent customer support whenever you need it. 

And that’s lucky, because has all that. Plus, it’s not a PMS in the traditional, cumbersome, bells-and-whistles sense. 

It’s simply a super-powerful and sleek “add-on” to existing platforms such as Airbnb, and allows you to maintain control of your short-term rentals while automating crucial aspects such as guest communication and pricing.

Plus, Hospitable has industry-leading support and is rated 4.9 out of 5 on G2 Crowd, 4.8 out of 5 on Capterra, and 4.8/5 on Trustpilot by users, who overwhelmingly say the team is “fantastic, prompt, quick, flexible, and excellent to have on hand”.

Such a high level of attention and usability means that in the unlikely event that anything goes wrong, you can get an answer right away, and ensure it doesn’t happen again. 

When things go wrong, super-fast, responsive, and helpful support is paramount to reduce guest frustration and prevent it from taking a toll on your reputation. takes pride in giving you that extra advantage, so you feel as though you’re really part of something and have the support you need; you’re not just another client or number waiting in line on the end of a phone.

Automation software: The lean, user-friendly alternative to a big PMS

Ultimately, for a smaller property management business aiming to keep things lean and easy, investing in an all-singing, all-dancing, expensive, and not so user-friendly PMS might not be what you need right now (even if you think you might need it in years to come).

Instead, you can start seeing real results today, with user-friendly hospitality automation software that’s been designed to provide everything you’ll actually use and need right now. 

Automation is supposed to make your life as a property manager easier, so why overcomplicate things? Keep things lean and easy with an add-on that automates key tasks that improve your service, frees up time, boosts your revenue—and gives you everything you need…and nothing you don’t.

Need some automation in your life but don’t want to manage everything from a PMS? lets you retain control of your listings while automating 95% of your guest messaging.
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