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Are Free Reservation Systems for Outdoor Property Management Worth It?

A free reservation system may be an attractive option for your property, but insufficient software can come with its own costs that could limit the growth of your business.

You could potentially face inadequate marketing capabilities, guest experience tools, cybersecurity features, or innovative automation — all of which can prevent your company from expanding.

Here are a few things to consider when evaluating free reservation management software, and why it may not be all it’s cracked up to be.


Free Isn’t Always Free

Because reservation management software is one of the most important tools in your property’s tech stack, it’s essential to know what exactly is meant by “free.”

As you know, free is rarely ever free without a catch.

In many cases, free software means that you have access to a basic version that’s lacking the essential elements you need to successfully run your property, such as:

  • Features and tools that support your property’s growth
  • Ongoing professional support, updates, and maintenance for your software
  • An all-in-one solution you need to keep your operations centralized
  • And much more


Basic Features of Reservation Management Software

When you’re evaluating reservation software solutions, make sure that it includes all of the standard features, such as:


Reporting and Property Insights 

Your reservation management system should offer the comprehensive information you require to make data-backed decisions about your business.

Free reservation systems typically give you limited data and restrict the benefits you could receive from advanced reporting tools and insights. While basic software may provide fundamental reporting tools, those tools don’t offer long-term flexibility or scalability to grow your business over time.


Automation For Your Guests and Staff

Reservation management software should come equipped with advanced self service and automated tools to improve your property’s operational efficiency and the guest experience.

Without automated messaging capabilities in free reservation management software, your staff may find it hard to keep up with pre and post check out communications to your guests.

In addition, without mobile check-in and contactless service capabilities, your staff may be too occupied checking guests in and out to focus on more demanding tasks.

Not all free software has these tools to meet the demands of your guests and streamline your operations. 


Hidden Costs of Unpaid Software

Free reservation software often comes with many hidden costs.

This could mean that while you are not paying a subscription, the functionalities you can access don’t save you time or money. 

For example, to track property KPIs and make pivotal pricing decisions, you may need to purchase BI upgrades or additional features. This can become more expensive than a paid software subscription when you have to add on each additional feature that you need for your business. 

In other cases, unpaid software providers may take a percentage of your bookings to compensate for the cost, which may cost more than paid software in the long run. Additionally, unpaid software may cause you to miss out on marketing opportunities that an advanced, all-in-one solution may have allowed you to capitalize on.

As a result, free software can get in the way and cost more money to grow your company.


Support Considerations


Security and Privacy

Free software may have subpar cybersecurity features, which you cannot afford to risk. Data breaches alone can cost you up to $5 million, impact customer loyalty, and decrease bookings. 

Furthermore, your data may be sold to a third party without a paid subscription, which can lead to even more cybersecurity risks. Unpaid software's privacy regulations can obligate you to reveal your data without your knowledge when you sign up for it. 

If you are considering free software, do your due diligence and get answers to questions like: 

  • Who will own your data on the new system?
  • Where will payment info be stored? 
  • What cybersecurity measures are in place?
  • What recovery and remediation services does the provider offer?
  • Does the software provider offer resources to help your organization follow the best cybersecurity practices?

Insufficient Resources and Support

Not all software vendors can provide continuous support to ensure your operations run smoothly and avoid downtime. Furthermore, 24/7 support is rare for free platforms, as the provider simply doesn’t have the same resources to provide this convenience.

A lack of support and learning resources can cause your team unnecessary stress and your business to lose revenue or bookings if your software malfunctions. 

When looking for the right software solution for your outdoor property management, look for one that gives you and your staff access to 24/7 support, maintenance, and makes it possible for your team to locate the solutions they require to fully leverage the technology.


Why an All-in-one Software Is Worth the Investment

Free reservation systems may help your business get off the ground but aren’t typically suited for outdoor properties that want to grow and maintain a positive guest and staff experience. 

With an all-in-one solution, all the essential tools and features are integrated into one platform to make management more effortless. With RMS, you can rest easy knowing that you can rely on: 

  • Native features and automation capabilities that improve efficiency and reduce expenses
  • The latest technology supported by the cloud with enhanced customer and staff support services
  • Increased ROI in the short and long term

There are many software options on the market, but if you are looking for a comprehensive solution, RMS is here to help. Find your software for all your needs with our Ultimate Guide to All-In-One Reservation Management Software. Inside, you’ll learn more about: 

  • Essential integrations to help improve and customize your business
  • What separates a good reservation management system from a bad one
  • Vital features and benefits of using reservation management software

Download your Ultimate Guide to All-In-One Reservation Management Software today.


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