When you make a decision to launch your own vacation rental property site, it is inevitable that you face the problem of choosing the right script that would provide all necessary features, an intuitive interface, and could be simple to set up and administer. Our real estate listing script has all these and many other valuable features, and in combination with our Booking module, it will help you create a full-fledged and multi-functional vacation rental property portal.

Vacation Rental Property CMS

Regardless of whether you want to build a rental property site to rent out a one-bedroom apartment in downtown or rooms in a mini-hotel on the shore of a picturesque lake, or you plan to launch a portal for thousands of different listings showcasing apartments and houses in your city available for rent, you will need a reliable and feature-rich CMS for a vacation rental property site that will help you present your ads in an appealing manner and bring the properties to the attention of interested users. While we do not currently offer a turnkey vacation rental property script, you can put it together easily using our Real Estate Ads Script combined with a powerful Booking Module. After completing the settings with the use of the detailed instructions and examples given below, you will get a modern rental property website capable of competing with the leading actors in the rental property market.

Booking Module

The Booking module is a massive plugin with a wide variety of tools and options. Since the script that we offer allows you to add and store listings but does not provide for the possibility of booking, it is our Booking plugin that does all the work. The Plugin, which is a native addon to the basic script, was specifically designed for booking purposes, and therefore it is a perfect fit for a real estate portal.

The Plugin is thought out to the smallest detail. When developing it, we tried to take into account all modern requirements and possible scenarios for its use on the vacation rental property site. The Plugin has intuitive settings that allow property owners to easily activate the Booking option for any of their listings during the creation or editing process. They also can set the minimum stay period, check-in/out time, rates, quickly find booking requests, manage those requests, interact with users who submitted requests, in other words, fully control the entire booking process.

Since the Booking plugin is large and multifunctional, it requires configuration both in the admin panel and the user interface. Let’s talk about how to set it up for a rental property site based on our real estate script.

Installing the Booking Module

To get started, you will need to log in to the admin panel and go to the “Plugins” section in the left sidebar. From the list of plugins provided, select the Booking plugin and install it. After the installation, a corresponding manager will be added to the “Plugins” section, which allows you to manage booking requests that users submit by filling out the appropriate form on the website.

Booking General Settings

In the “General” section of the left sidebar, go to “Basic Settings” in order to set up the exact location of the booking calendar, select the time format that is preferred for your site, the number of requests that you can see on the page, and whether you want listing owners and the Administrator to be notified of new booking requests.

Having completed the basic setup of the Plugin, go to the “Plugins” section in the left sidebar and then to the settings manager of the Booking plugin. By clicking the “Listings for Booking” tab, you will see all the listings available for booking. You can also select calendar colors here and edit the Booking form displayed in the user interface by removing or adding corresponding fields.

Enabling the Booking Option for Listing Types

You can choose the type of listings that will be available for rent. Since we are setting up a rental property site, it is logical to select the “Property” type, which has already been added and configured in the admin panel. You can create your own listing type or use the existing one. Click the “Edit” icon to start editing.

Scroll down to the booking settings and select a booking mode. There are two modes to choose from:

  • Daily range
  • Hourly range

The Daily range mode allows users to book properties for almost any period: a day, a week, a month, a year, etc. Since you may have several similar fields on your website, you will need to map the fields that will be used for booking:

  • In the Price field, you should select Price,
  • In the Rental field Property for,
  • In the Rental value field – Rent,
  • In the Period field Rental period.

Then, in the “Rental period” field, you should map the values of the fields with their descriptions, i.e. if the description says “Per day”, then you should select “Per day”, if it says “Per week”, then select “Per week”, etc. If you plan to charge a down payment for booking, you can select the Administrator as the recipient of down payments. It is also possible to set the down payment amount. We will consider the monetization of the booking process in more detail below.

The Hourly mode allows users to book properties on an hourly basis. When this mode is enabled, the number of settings is limited to those related to down payment. The option “Repeatedly Service” should be disabled, as it does not apply to rental property.

Setting up the Booking Module for Categories

When the Booking module is activated for the “Property” listing type, it applies to the Primary (or parent) Category, which includes all relevant subcategories: Houses, Flats & Apartments, Villas, etc. In other words, all your booking settings made for the Primary Category are automatically inherited by all subcategories.  

If you wish to disable the Booking option for a specific subcategory, you will need to create a custom listing form for that subcategory. To do so, go to the “Categories” section, select the desired subcategory and click the “Click to Build” icon to start building the listing form. From the list of the forms offered, select the “Build Listing Form”. By dragging and dropping the required groups and fields as well as “Booking” field groups to the corresponding form, you will enable the Booking option for the specific subcategory. The fact that you have created a separate listing form for the desired subcategory does not affect the forms and functioning of the other subcategories.

Setting up the Booking Module for Packages and Plans

After completing the work with categories, we can move on to setting up the Booking module for listing packages and membership plans. To do so, go to the “Monetization” section and then click “Listing Packages”. The Booking option is activated by default for all packages. Therefore, you will need to select the packages for which the Booking option will be available and edit the packages for which the option is not available. Go to the settings of a corresponding listing package by clicking the “Edit” icon, then remove the tick from the “Booking” option. 

We recommend that you add a free package for adding one listing, a premium package for adding several listings, and a premium package for adding several listings that will be available for booking. Of course, you can add any other packages that you believe may be necessary for your rental property site. 

The procedure of setting up the Booking option for membership plans is similar to the one described above.

The Booking module can also be used to monetize your rental property website. For example, by making the option available as part of a package or plan, you can enhance the attractiveness of such package or plan for property owners and, therefore, increase its cost.

Setting up the Search for Vacation Rental Property

In order to make it easier for users to find properties available for booking, you can use one of the two options provided by the Plugin:

  • Adding the “Available for Booking” field to the search form,
  • Adding the “Search for Reservations” block.

To add the “Available for Booking” field to the search form, go to the “Forms” section. Then, in the search form manager, select the search form that you need (quick, advanced, etc.) and drag the “Available for Booking” field into the appropriate form.

The “Search for Reservations” block is added automatically after the Plugin is installed. You can disable it in the “Content” section using the content box manager.

The setup of the Plugin in the admin panel is complete now. However, as we have mentioned above, it also requires some work to do in the user interface.

Setting up the Booking Module in the Front End

The Booking module in the user interface is set up by property owners. After a listing for renting out an apartment or house is added, the property owner will need to log in, if he has not automatically logged in before, and then go to the “My Listings” section. The user then selects the listing for which he wants to enable the Booking module and clicks the Edit button. In the “Booking” section, he must enable the “Booking” option by clicking “Yes” in the “Available for Booking” field. When it is done, the system adds a few new fields to fill in:

  • Check-in
  • Check-out
  • Rental rate(s)

The rental rate can be fixed, regardless of the day, or variable, for example, it can be lower on weekdays and higher on weekends and holidays. In addition, the property owner can determine the standard rate based on the rates offered by him for the lease term. To do this, he needs to make sure that the property is for rent and not for sale, which is achieved by clicking “Rent” in the “Property for” field and by choosing the rental period. He should also ensure that the appropriate rental rates are set. The Plugin will calculate the standard rental rate per day by dividing the amount of rent per month by the number of days in such month.

Each listing has a booking manager that allows property owners to manage booking requests. For example, property owners can:

  • Disallow visitors to book;
  • Change the dates when the property can be available for booking (the user who has submitted a booking request receives a notification about the date change);
  • Choose the days of the week when the property will be available for booking;
  • Specify the minimum and maximum nights to book;
  • Set a fixed rental rate;
  • Limit calendar to package duration;
  • Hide booked dates from the calendar to be able to select tenants from the list of those who have submitted booking requests.

Monetization of the Booking Process

We would additionally like to discuss the possibilities of 
monetization of your vacation rental property site. There are two such possibilities if we focus on the interaction with property owners and tenants. The first one involves the sale of listing packages and membership plans to property owners who want to rent their properties out. The second possibility, unlike the first, when property owners pay for adding listings to your website, allows you to receive down payments for reservations from users who wish to rent properties. And, if everything is more or less clear with the first possibility, the second one needs to be considered in more detail.

  • By establishing a down payment for booking properties, you can allow property owners to add their listings to your site for free, which will attract more property owners and thus increase the number and variety of properties available for rent on your site.
  • By making it free for property owners to add listings to your site, you will be able to pass the cost on to clients, who, after going through the entire booking process, will be able to confirm their intention to rent the property and reserve the right for it for the specified period by making a down payment.
  • You can set the amount of the down payment as a percentage of the rent. For example, by setting a down payment of 2-3%, you will be able to receive this percentage from each reservation during the period while the listing is active, which, in comparison to selling listing packages or membership plans, may be even more profitable.
  • You can use any payment gateway available on your site or even several gateways to accept down payments.
  • After making a down payment to the Administrator, the client will be able to pay the remaining amount directly to the owner of the property he has booked.

How can Users Book Properties on Your Website

As soon as you complete the described settings, a “Booking” section will appear on listings pages in the interface of your site, where users can book the properties they are interested in. For example, if a user wants to book a house for two days, he selects the corresponding dates in the calendar. After doing so, he can see the booking details: check-in/out time, number of nights, and amount to be paid. At the next step, the user fills out a short questionnaire by indicating his personal data and reporting how many people will stay in the rented house. Besides, he can provide additional information to the owner of the house, for example, that he plans to take a pet with him. Then, if you charge a down payment for the booking, the user pays the corresponding amount. This is the last step of the booking process.

If you have selected the hourly booking mode at the setup stage, then property owners get the opportunity to specify the hours during which their properties are available for booking, and users, accordingly, can book those for this time. The procedure for making a request to book a property on an hourly basis is the same as described above. However, property owners need to remember to use intervals between booking periods to ensure that there is enough time for cleaning and preparing their properties for their next tenants.

In addition to the Booking plugin, you may want to consider a few other addons designed to enhance your rental property site from a functional point of view. To do this, we suggest that you read our article with a description of the top free and premium plugins for our real estate ads script.

As you can see, launching a vacation rental property site based on our real estate listing script in combination with the Booking plugin is not very difficult. You can install and configure everything yourself by following the instructions above. We also hope that you have been able to appreciate the simplicity and capacity of our product, which can help you create an excellent platform for renting out all types of real estate and thus not only benefit other people but also receive a steady income for yourself.

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