Uplisting is a short-term rental property management software which supports property, channel and guest management with rates, bookings and availability syncing, and centralized bookings,Take Me To Uplisting
There comes a point in most short term rental host’s endeavors when they begin to wonder if they, perhaps, should explore platforms other than Airbnb to complement their bookings and become less dependent on a single source of revenue.
As this review is written during COVID-19 pandemic, this point is even further driven home as hosts’ entire businesses were turned upside down forcing them to actively explore ways to drum up more bookings.
Usually, this will lead hosts to begin to explore the VRBO/HomeAway platform, as well as Booking.com -- which are both quite popular in their own right (Booking.com being the world’s largest hotel booking engine), but a few crucial points begin to emerge:
Enter PMS (Property Management Service) - tools that offer to bring everything together and help hosts manage their listings across various platforms with ease.
Strangely enough, we’ve looked at close to a dozen of them until we found Uplisting.io - which is the tool that we use ourselves. The main issues with most of them on the market was either a super clunky interface or a fee structure that would take 1-5% of revenue, which seems somewhat unfavorable to a host.
Uplisting, on the other hand, managed to win us over with a stylish, easy to use interface (we’re huge fans of good, thought-out user experience!), friendly pricing where they charge a flat fee per listing, and spectacular customer service (where the co-founder himself took the time out to answer our questions and help us get started).
That said, let’s take a closer look at the service and really break it down to see what is what.
I have to admit, I probably have some mild OCD because I really like to be able to see everything organized nearly in one, single place. This is why I’m a fan of the Unified Calendar that will bring the bookings from all platforms, all accounts, and all listings in one clean calendar view.
Here, at a glance, you see all of the bookings, along with their source (Airbnb, VRBO, Booking.com). If you have or manage multiple Airbnb accounts, you can import them all here as well to get everything organized in a single place so you don’t have to jump between accounts.
What adds the most value here is the fact that when you publish the same listing on multiple platforms, Uplisting will sync the bookings, so you never get double booked for the same dates twice. This is really the very foundation of being able to successfully promote your listings on multiple platforms and one of key benefits of using a PMS tool.
From a user experience point of view, one little quirk is that if you have a lot of listings, you may need to click Next Page vs. just being able to scroll down. Same goes for the future dates -- rather than just being able to scroll to the right, you have to click on an Arrow that will open up the next view. However, these are just small things and are subjective at that.
What is quite great about the Calendar view is their Filtering mechanism. Once you setup a system of tags for each listing, it makes it super easy to slice and dice the view in any way you desire -- be it by location, type of a listing, or anything else.
While in this view, you also have the ability to perform a couple of tasks in bulk. Mainly, you can adjust rates and minimum stay requirements for multiple listings at the same time.
One little thing that I’d like to see over time is being able to change the rates as a % of a base rate vs. an absolute value. This would speed up the process and allow to apply changes to different types of listings more efficiently.
If you integrate with other booking platforms, one thing you’ll come across is that each one has their own pricing structure.
For example, Airbnb traditionally charges hosts 3%. VRBO/HomeAway charges around 8% (depending on how many listings you have and some other factors), and Booking.com charges 15%.
If you’re cross promoting your listings, however, your goal is to ensure that your take-home revenue remains fairly consistent regardless of which platform is being used.
Uplisting helps address that with an Automatic Channel Markup feature. With this particular tool, you can specify a different markup rate for each platform and have Uplisting automatically adjust your pricing accordingly.
For example, if you want your take home revenue for a night for a particular listing to be $100, you can add 3% markup to Airbnb ($103 rate), 8% markup to VRBO/HomeAway ($108 rate) and 15% markup to Booking.com ($115 rate).
As you begin to manage more properties, you also end up needing to coordinate more housekeepers on the ground. Notifying people manually is too time consuming and prone to error.
Fortunately, Uplisting has one of the best features we’ve seen on the market that solves this problem.
As an admin, you have the option to add Teammates to your account and assign specific listings to them. In this particular case, you can add each Housekeeper and assign to them the listings that they are responsible for.
Once invited, they get their own username and password and can login to a dedicated Uplisting account that will only show them a full, real-time calendar for only their listings.
This way, they can easily see the status of each property - when are guests checking out, how many people are coming and going, and so on. They don’t have the ability to edit it or see the financials.
It makes it very easy to keep everyone in the loop automatically. Especially if you’re planning to publish your properties on multiple channels, this is a must have.
Most hosts with multiple properties will want to eventually automate their guest communication as well - especially check in and check out instructions.
Uplisting provides a pretty solid automation tool that can send out about 6 various emails before, during and after a reservation, as well as automatically write the reviews for the guests.
It’s a pretty good starting point, although the challenge is that you have to edit the messages for each listing individually and you don’t have a lot of control over the timing for each message. Essentially, you have to follow the pre-set time triggers provided by Uplisting. For many, that’ll be plenty.
For others who want more flexibility, you can also integrate with another tool like Smartbnb.io that will give you more control over automated messaging and others. It’s an extra cost, but the savings in time and effort can be well worth it.
Uplisting also has some basic functionality that can adjust pricing for the listings for you.
For now, I think that this doesn’t necessarily add a ton of value because the only thing you can do is set last minute discounts for 7, 14 and 28 days. Airbnb itself offers the same thing and gives even more flexibility to set your own intervals and do other rules as well.
That said, while the internal rate management tool is a bit too basic to be genuinely useful, what is great is the fact that Uplisting integrates with price management tools such as Pricelabs, Wheelhouse, Beyond Pricing, and Everbooked.
If you aren’t familiar with those, these tools focus specifically on automating the pricing for your listings. They evaluate the competition, supply, demand and make numerous adjustments every single day to every single listing to maximize your occupancy and daily rates.
So, if you, for example, integrate Uplisting with Pricelabs, then you can syndicate your pricing across all channels (Airbnb, VRBO/HomeAway, Booking.com) automatically. This is where the true value lies.
One of the last things we wanted to talk about is the Zapier integration that Uplisting supports. Zapier is a 3rd party tool that helps connect different web services together. This may end up sounding a bit technical, but bear with us, as it can really end up doing some very special things for you.
For example, let’s say that you want to add every new booking data into a Google Spreadsheet for your own reference. Or perhaps you want to collect people’s email addresses automatically, so you want to put every guest’s email into MailChimp or another mailing software. Or perhaps you want guests to automatically send a quick online contract to the guests who book your larger properties to ensure they agree to the rules.
You can do all of that and more by connecting Uplisting to Zapier:
In our particular case, we use a tool called Slack for internal communication among team members. So we’ve set it up that Uplisting/Zapier sends a quick alert to the relevant team members whenever we get larger property bookings, so we can quickly review them in more detail.
Essentially, this allows you to use the data from the bookings you have in whatever way you want -- you can send it to other tools, organize it, and store it in more meaningful ways.
We’ve been very pleased with Uplisting offering so far and intend to continue to use it to manage our hosting business.
It’s worth highlighting, however, that to run a lean, mean hosting machine, a typical host needs to utilize several tools in their arsenal. No single one will do everything for you.
Our software stack currently looks as follows:
Smartbnb - for automating guest communication
Pricelabs - for automating price management
Uplisting - for automating channel management
Yes, you could use Uplisting for everything, but you’d miss out on some of the benefits that Smartbnb and Pricelabs would offer. At the same time, I don’t think it’s fair to even expect a single tool to do everything well -- that’s usually how you end up with tools that do nothing well.
Rather, I think that Uplisting should continue to build themselves out as a hub for bringing everything together, so we can manage and oversee the hosting business in one place, while also utilizing other tools for their own strengths.
Uplisting starts at $100 per month for the first 5 properties, then it’s $20/mo per listing between 6-20 listings, then it’s $10/mo per listing for 21-100 listings and then it’s $5/mo per listing after that.
It’s actually one of the least expensive PMS options on the market and we like that it doesn’t charge a % of revenue, which seems unfair and unnecessary for a software-as-a-service product.
As a whole, it’s a great tool for any host who is thinking of going across-multiple platforms.