These days it’s becoming very popular to rent your own properties out as short-term and vacation rentals, but the process can be daunting for newcomers. Particularly if you want to move away from a vacation rental website like Airbnb and take your own bookings.
How do you build a website, manage messages, deposits, and so forth? Lodgify is a platform that claims to help you with all that, but how does it fare, and is it worth it?
For property owners looking for ways to become independent from platforms like Airbnb, the Lodgify software is capable of direct bookings and offers three tiers of plans, including a branded website if you don’t already have your own, direct payment processing, and other features other direct booking solutions do not offer.
In this Lodgify review, we will take a closer look at the platform and assess its features, pricing model, and whether it’s worth using over other software.
What Is Lodgify?
Airbnb can be great for travelers but not always so good for hosts who want to have more control over their property. Their strict rules and policies can often find you on the wrong side of disputes when guests damage your property, and a few 4-star reviews can knock you out of Superhost status. Simply put, they have too much control over your business!
Lodgify is a vacation rental management software designed to simplify administrative tasks for property owners. It lets hosts automate tasks, such as setting reminders, signing rental agreements, and sending messages to guests.
The main appeal of Lodgify is that the software can be integrated into your pre-existing website as a way to gain direct bookings without needing an entirely different website, or hosting your property through platforms like Airbnb where you are subject to their policies and rules.
Lodgify allows potential guests to browse openings by the property, availability by date, and more.
Vacation rental software companies live and die by offering unique competitive features, and in the world of property management, these features can completely change the way you do business.
Lodgify is no exception. The company has an array of useful features that can elevate a user with some spare rooms or properties to a full-fledged business that is independent from the rules and restrictions of major platforms.
Included Website & Domain
Making a website can be quite difficult, and even a simple one like our own has taken many hours of tweaking and testing to get just right.
The most useful feature Lodgify offers is a domain and branded website that customers can turn into their own direct booking site, should you be less than tech-savy. This allows you to cut out the middleman of businesses like Airbnb and others, completely managing your properties from the comfort of your own site.
In addition to features like direct payment processing, Lodgify allows users to effectively become their own business.
While sites like Airbnb, VRBO, and others are very useful for exposure when starting out, property owners would no doubt love to be free of their stringent rules and fees, which is why the ability to completely eliminate them from your business is so great.
But maybe you’re fine with being on the popular platforms. Many property owners enjoy the increased visibility of having their properties on multiple sites, but it can be hard to keep up with multiple listings on different sites with distinct layouts, rules, and other idiosyncrasies.
The difficulties only mount when you have more than one listing! Two or three listings on three or four sites… Well, it gets a lot to manage.
This is where Lodigfy’s built-in channel manager comes in to take the load off your shoulders. It lets you create and manage all your listings across various rental platforms in a single consolidated calendar-style view.
As a bonus, Lodgify allows you to integrate with other sites that don’t typically support software integration via API, such as Hotels.com, TripAdvisor, Expedia, and more.
As any independent business owner knows, taking payment can be a pain when you have to shell out for a company’s proprietary software and POS systems, and this only gets more complicated when you factor in their fees on top of fees.
With Lodgify, this is a thing of the past with its extremely useful direct payment processing. This lets you take payment on your terms without middlemen taking cuts of your revenue or setting arbitrary limits on your transactions.
For the more technically minded, Lodgify offers integrated business tools. What this means is you’ll have access to Google Analytics for your site, as well as other relevant business tools that let you view how your site is faring. Note that this is only available on the most expensive monthly plan.
You can view and track revenue, occupancy rates, website traffic, and other pertinent information to form long-term business strategies.
Generating reports is easy and makes it simple to compare your business month-to-month without dealing with mounds of paperwork.
Lodgify Pricing Plans & Features
As with many services, Lodgify has varying tiers with the price and features increasing accordingly.
The starter plan is rather bare-bones and even takes a fee out of all bookings, but the two higher plans remove the fee and tack on extra features.
The following sections will go over what each plan costs and what features it comes with, so you can best determine what may fit your needs.
The Starter Plan
The Lodgify Starter plan costs $12 a month at the time of this post, and notably, is the only Lodgify plan to take out a not insubstantial fee of 1.9% per booking. For those opposed to middleman practices, this may be a problem. However, Lodgify does provide a useful array of features even at this base level.
- Branded bookable website & free domain
- Proprietary property management software
- Channel manager
- Reservation system & Inbox
- Direct payment processing
- Mobile app (iOS & Android)
- Payment scheduling system
The Business Plan
The Lodgify Business plan costs $32 a month at the time of this post, being the cheapest plan that doesn’t charge a fee per booking.
In addition to the features included with the starter plan, the business plan includes manual payments, meaning you can accept methods of payment such as cash, check, and bank transfers. This is useful for business owners to remain flexible in their payments and possibly gain more traffic.
Did you know that Airbnb doesn’t actually charge a guest’s card for your security deposit? It’s only an “authorization” to charge should you open up a resolution, which Airbnb will make a determination on later.
The other feature included with Lodgify’s business plan is damage pre-authorization, which is another essential feature for owners worried about possible damages from rowdy or careless guests. You can easily charge a security deposit upon check-in and release it once you confirm that there were no damages after your guests check out.
All in all, it adds two very useful upgrades from the starter plan, albeit at a much higher monthly cost. If you have enough traffic to justify needing these two features, however, it’s well worth the investment.
The Ultimate Plan
Finally, Lodgify’s aptly named Ultimate plan costs a whopping $48 a month at the time of this post but throws in a lot more than the previous plan.
Benefits of the Ultimate Plan include:
- Individual task management
- Business tools including Google Analytics, expense report generation, and more
- Guest app
- Priority customer service
- Expanded dashboard
For long-term business strategy formulation, you really can’t go wrong with this plan. Google Analytics access alone is a huge boon, letting you view your website’s traffic in order to better improve business strategies. Easy report generation makes tracking revenue and expenses simple without the need to individually track every element of your business.
For businesses with an established audience, the Ultimate plan offers the most bang-for-your-buck compared to the other plans, but it’s definitely not for novices dabbling with renting out their spare bedroom.
Is Lodgify Worth It?
Even in its base form, Lodgify offers a lot that other software doesn’t: namely a free domain and website and direct payment processing. For those entering the short-term rental market, it’s a great way to test the waters and figure out the long-term viability of your business or just run a side hustle more easily.
For those with lots of properties searching for the best ways to manage their listings, administrative tasks, and so on, the Professional and Ultimate plans offer a lot of value. The integrated business tools of the latter plan make it easy to track long-term growth and potential.
However, there may be better options for managing multiple listings (check out our in-depth article on that).
Lodgify offers a lot of unique benefits that other software doesn’t, even in its base form. This makes it a no-brainer to try when trying to increase the earning potential of your property rental business.
There are plenty of other direct booking softwares that you can integrate with your website, so does that make Lodgify a waste of time?
Not if you’re a beginner and you want to test the waters with a streamlined solution. If you’re just starting a vacation rental business and want to take direct bookings, Lodgify is a great channel manager and management software that can be the first step in freeing you from mounting rules and restrictions.
The catch is that you will need to market your own property on social media. But at least you won’t be paying for the bookings of your competitors.