It’s never easy to decide which property management system (PMS) is right for your short-term rental business, or whether to move your operations from one platform to another.
There’s always the fear that the new system won’t do what you want it to, or solve the issues you’re having with the old platform. It’s easy to worry that you’ll struggle with setup, lose data, or suffer costly downtime in the process.
It may feel as though it’s better the devil you know, and keep struggling through your current operational issues, rather than risk the problems of making the jump.
But, if you’re shopping around for PMS options, or you’re already with Escapia and suspect that it may not be the best software for you, it makes sense to check out some Escapia competitors.
Not all PMSs are created equal, so it’s vital to choose one that works for you.
There’s no need to struggle with platform problems. Instead, look for a solution that could help your STR business thrive and scale.
That’s why we’ve covered:
- Who Escapia is for and what it does
- Why you might be looking for an alternative
- What to look for in an Escapia PMS alternative
- The top 5 Escapia alternatives, including Hostfully, Track, Streamline, Guesty, and LiveRez.
Who is Escapia for?
Escapia is a cloud-based property management software used by more than 900 property management businesses worldwide. It’s a firm industry favorite, with more than 20 years of experience.
It puts particular emphasis on its financial and insight tools, including accounting, month-end reporting, analysis of property performance, and cross-channel rate management.
It offers a wide range of features including:
- Performance dashboard for at-a-glance insights into your business
- Trust accounting
- Distribution channel manager and reservation calendar syncing
- Rates management
- Team coordination for housekeeping and maintenance
- Owner portal for companies that work with homeowners
- Guest hospitality and communication tools
- Integrations for functions including OTAs, payments, smart locks, pricing, insurance, website providers, and guest services.
What should you look for in an Escapia alternative?
When choosing a viable Escapia alternative (or other online tools, such as alternatives to Hospitable or Guesty, for example), look for features you really need and use.
For example, another property management solution may work better for you, either because of its agility, or because it has a standout feature that particularly appeals.
Must-have features for you could include:
Robust API and integrations
Some older vacation rental property software struggles with offering an effective open API, which is the technology that allows software platforms to connect and talk to each other properly. A viable Escapia alternative will need to have a flexible, robust API that works with all the leading third-party tools you need.
This might include well-known payment providers, OTAs, insurance, guest screening, smart locks, housekeeping, and dynamic pricing.
Distribution, channel manager, and reservations manager
Any viable Airbnb management tool will need to comfortably manage multiple properties across several channels, with a centralized calendar that protects against double booking.
It will need to integrate with all of the channels you’re looking for. For example, because Escapia is part of the Expedia group, you may have more success with an alternative platform when it comes to connecting to OTAs and tools from other groups.
You’ll likely also want features such as a reservations manager, performance tracking, and data collection for full marketing capability and an at-a-glance view of your booking metrics.
Similarly, you may also want to look for a tool that offers a pipeline overview (like Hostfully does), so you can see guests’ booking journey, and understand which part of the process needs the most work to secure more conversions.
Rates management and dynamic pricing
Your chosen alternative to Escapia will likely include some form of pricing tool or robust integration with industry leaders such as PriceLabs or Wheelhouse. The best PMSs work with these tools to ensure your rates are always competitive and updated across all channels automatically.
This is because, without a dynamic pricing tool, it is extremely time-consuming and costly to even attempt to monitor all market fluctuations manually. Dynamic pricing tools use hundreds (even thousands) of data points to adjust rates automatically, so using one will save you time and money.
Owner management and portal
If your business model relies on inviting new owners into your portfolio—and keeping existing owners happy—you’ll want some kind of owner portal. This includes a way to gather regular reports on the indicators that owners look for (such as financial data or occupancy rates), to keep them happy and informed.
This can include everything from giving guests all the information they need prior to check-in, to communicating quickly and efficiently with them from their very first inquiry to a post-check-out review request. You’ll also want a tool that works with email and SMS, for contact at all times.
An effective property management system (PMS) will enable great communication, and should offer automated messaging and templates for even faster responses with less manual work. Fast responses help guests to feel taken care of, and they’re more likely to book (or feel satisfied during their stay) if they receive a helpful response to their inquiry quickly.
A unified inbox to help you and your team keep centralized track of all messages is also essential.
Upsells, guidebooks, and guest experience
The best PMSs always keep the guest experience in mind. Escapia alternatives will offer you the chance to generate extra revenue, such as via upsells for equipment or services that guests will love.
Similarly, anything that can help you to answer questions that come up again and again—such as a digital guestbook with house rules or instruction manuals for items in the home—can be a massive time saver compared to manually answering the same questions repeatedly over text or phone.
Another often-forgotten but very well-reviewed feature is guest local area guides, which offer much-appreciated local insights and recommendations for bars, cafes, restaurants, or activities.
Direct booking and online payment processing
If building up your direct booking strategy is a major priority for your business, you’ll want to look for a tool that specializes in this, with direct bookings as part of its core features, rather than one that only offers it as an integration option. Direct bookings can be extremely beneficial to your business, as they enable you to sidestep OTA fees and algorithms, build up better guest relationships, and generate more repeat bookings.
Team management and task coordination
Coordinating turnarounds and maintenance of your properties can be a logistical nightmare, especially if your company is growing or you have hundreds of units operating simultaneously. That’s why you’ll likely want a tool that enables you to coordinate staff, delegate tasks, and oversee housekeeping progress, to ensure all guests show up to a well-maintained, clean rental.
The top 5 Escapia alternatives for short-term rental management
Hostfully is an agile, Keystone and Shortyz award-winning property management platform that offers a huge variety of features in a single platform. Many are designed to boost revenue and enable your business to scale successfully. It’s also a Preferred Partner of Vrbo, Booking.com, and Airbnb.
Best for: Property management companies who want to scale quickly, and need an easy-to-use, one-stop platform to improve automation, save time, and gather detailed insights.
- Booking pipeline, to monitor guest journeys and lead status
- Channel management, with 14 connections to the big OTAs and niche sites
- Direct booking website, to develop your direct booking strategy (with synced calendars)
- Automated email and SMS messaging, for fast responses
- Payment processing to enable upsells and faster booking
- Digital Guidebooks to delight your guests and save time on repetitive guest communication
- Property data management for at-a-glance tracking of your listings, fees, and reviews
- Owner financial reports to keep owners informed
- Customer data management, for future email marketing
- Upsell services for extra revenue and better guest experiences
- Team coordination for effective staff task management
- Digital signatures for legally-binding contracts
Hostfully’s cost depends on the size of your business. It starts at $99 per month for up to four properties, gradually costing less per property with each unit. For example, 5 to 11 properties will cost $189 per month, while 12-20 will cost $250, and 250 will cost $1,500.
Custom quotes are available for managers with portfolios of 250 properties or more. There is currently a 10% off deal, and waiving the $400 setup fee for annual packages.
Track is an award-winning PMS, by hospitality platform Travelnet Solutions, which bills itself as “focused on the future”, and emphasizes its hospitality CRM, trust accounting capability, and automation of hundreds of thousands of tasks.
Best for: Property managers who want a streamlined solution that prioritizes communication, automation of hundreds (or even thousands) of tasks, and new innovations.
- Trust accounting, to manage tax and financial records with ease
- Channel management, for distribution to major OTAs including Airbnb and Vrbo
- Automation based on triggers and cloud-based tools
- Rate management to ensure synced reservation pricing
- Guest and owner portals for easy reporting and efficient communication
- Booking system for trustworthy confirmations and transactions
- Integrations with major OTAs, insurance platforms, and dynamic pricing tools
Pricing is available upon request, via a free demo at the TravelNet Solutions website.
Streamline is an all-in-one software solution and a partner of Airbnb and Vrbo, it’s also a 2021 Keystone Award winner and is recognized for its channel distribution.
Best for: Property managers looking for a PMS designed to help scale their business portfolio, with many tools designed to manage and improve finances, accounting, and revenue.
- CRM and lead management for data collection and marketing
- Automated communication with customizable triggers for all stages of guest stays
- Distribution channels across major OTAs (Airbnb and Vrbo), as well as more niche or local sites such as CollegeWeekends.com and FloridaRentals.com
- Integrations for insurance, pricing, channel management, and marketing
- Revenue and yield management to help with pricing and revenue reporting
- Own-brand “phone system” that helps your team identify important guest data and details such as door codes, WiFi codes and previous reservations as they’re speaking to guests
- Trust accounting platform to keep track of your finances and cash flow at all times
- Homeowner acquisition for expanding portfolios
- Travel agent tools to provide direct connections with distribution channels
- Open API to connect with third party property partners
Pricing is available upon request, and calculated according to the size and scale of your business. Everything is included in all packages, except for revenue management and phone system tools, which are optional add-ons.
Guesty is a premium PMS that emphasizes guest communication. It works well for a range of property types, including aparthotels and glamping rentals.
Best for: Property managers who like the option of 24/7 guest communication, and are particularly drawn to Guesty’s comprehensive range of insights and reporting tools.
- Unified inbox for synced guest communication
- Multi-calendar manager to avoid double bookings and keep reservations in one place
- Accounting tools to manage and streamline repetitive financial tasks
- Task automation to coordinate housekeeping and maintenance
- 24/7 guest communication support for extra reassurance
- Integrations with industry tools including Airbnb, PriceLabs, and RemoteLock
- Booking website builder to help drive your direct booking strategy
- Owners’ portal with customizable features and multi-language translation
Pricing is available on request. Quotes depend on your company size and requirements.
LiveRez aims to provide software that replaces all other kinds of software you may need for your vacation rental, including accounting, booking, CRM, and operations. It focuses on partnerships and integrations and prides itself on its large community of like-minded VRMC managers.
Best for: Property managers with distributed teams, which might benefit from extra training in how to use the software, as well as managers looking to replace all of their software with a single platform.
- Website design to drive direct bookings
- Reservation management booking platform, including rate manager, automation tools, and a homeowner portal
- Direct connection to OTAs, including niche booking sites
- Live comms and lead management to enable tracking of your guests’ booking journey
- Maintenance, housekeeping and operations platform to sync task coordination with bookings
- Trust accounting that aims to replace third-party software, and produce regular reports
- Help center and live support six days a week
- Staff onboarding and training with customizable programs for the tools you need
Personalized quotes are available on request, and are based on what LiveRez calls “pay-for-performance” pricing, rather than the number of listings, owners, or users.
Choose the right Escapia alternative based on features and functionality
Escapia is a great product, but it may not be for everyone. Your business will change and expand—so it makes sense that your core management software can too.
When it comes to choosing the best Escapia alternatives—whether it’s your first PMS or you’re looking to switch—first, decide which features and functionality you need most. Then, think about your budget and figure out which platform will work best for you.
If you’re considering an alternative to Escapia or setting up with your first PMS, you might want to consider another, newer choice with features such as an open API—plus the ability to innovate and update quickly.
Hostfully serves property managers of all sizes with a suite of powerful time-saving features to make your life easier, drive more revenue, and improve the guest experience.
Frequently asked questions about Escapia alternatives
What is Escapia generally used for?
Escapia is used for short-term property management and includes a range of features designed for that purpose, including accounting, insights, and channel distribution. It is just one PMS on the market, including Escapia alternatives like Hostfully, and may not be right for your business. It’s important to find the best PMS, with the features you’ll really use, to enable your STR operations to thrive.
Is there an Escapia equivalent for enterprise businesses?
Escapia is a short-term rental property management platform that can work well for enterprise businesses as well as smaller operations. However, there are many types of PMSs available, and the best one for your business depends on what you need and your goals. Some PMSs, (like competitors Hostaway or Hostfully) offer pricing options for businesses of all sizes, including those with hundreds of properties.
Which is the best alternative to Escapia for vacation rental managers?
The best alternative to Escapia for vacation rental managers depends on the features you need and the tools you’ll use the most, as well as your portfolio size, team size, and stage of business growth. Some, like Hostfully, offer extras such as upsell opportunities and guidebook integration, whereas others might offer other capabilities and integrations with different companies, depending on your needs.