The Truth About Server-Based Software

It’s going the way of pen and paper, and fast.

If you’ve been in the vacation rental management business for a while, there’s a good chance you use (or previously used) a server-based property management software. At the time, these systems were cutting-edge! They moved an entire industry away from pen-and-paper record keeping and gave property managers the tools they needed to scale their business.

Now, just as pen-and-paper record keeping was pushed out, so is server-based property management software becoming a thing of the past. And while it may be tempting to continue to use the system your business has run on for decades, you don’t want to. Here’s why:

It forces you to do work.

It doesn’t seem like a bad thing to do work at your job, but it is in this case. Anytime you need to update your software to get access to new features, you have to pause operations to install the update from a CD that has been mailed to you. It’s a hassle that either requires you to stop operations in the middle of the day or update after business hours.

And let’s face it: your staff has better, more valuable things to do with their time than busywork. Copying and filing contracts? Emailing invoices to each guest? These things take hours of staff time and interrupt their already busy days.

Modern, cloud-based software takes away a lot of this busywork. Two of the most popular automation tools in our property management software are Automated Payment Processing and Owner Portal. They save property managers hours of work every week because they no longer have to answer as many phone calls from owners, draft or confirm payment schedules with guests, manually type in credit card numbers, and produce owner statements.

It leaves your business vulnerable.

Just because you can see your server tucked under a desk or in the IT closet doesn’t mean you can protect it. Keeping a physical server on-site leaves your operations vulnerable to theft and natural disasters. Flooding, wildfires, tornadoes, hurricanes, and earthquakes can destroy servers kept in your IT closet.

If your server is destroyed, you lose all of your business data–including reservation data–that you hadn’t backed up yet. You are backing up your data on a separate hard drive, right? And keeping it in a separate, safe location? (No, a desk drawer in another part of the office is not a separate location.)

You’re getting left behind.

While server-based software may work just fine for you, it doesn’t always work well for businesses with whom you may want to partner. Their products–whether that’s smart home technology or expanded distribution networks–rely on constant communication between your software. That often requires a more modern system.

If you don’t use these technologies for your business, or maybe don’t want to go through the hassle of implementing them, remember this: your competitors are using this technology. They are simplifying their operations with cloud-based technologies so they can provide the seamless experience travelers are looking for and spend more time developing meaningful relationships with their guests.


We’ve helped hundreds of property managers successfully switch their operations over to a cloud-based property management system. We’ve also seen property managers ignore the need. While changing the software you use to run your business can feel like a painful process, it hurts your business much more to be left behind.