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    Do Vacation Rental Companies Really Need ‘Enterprise’ Software?

    Sponsored by Track

    Many software companies reference the “enterprise”—e.g., “enterprise caliber” or “enterprise class”—but what does that actually mean, and why does it matter for the vacation rental industry?

    Enterprise software is designed to handle large amounts of data and multiple users. So, if you’ve always thought that “enterprise” refers to big businesses or organizations, you’re on the right track. But there is a lot more to it, and if you see the word “enterprise” in relation to software and automatically think, “That’s not for me,” then it might be time to adjust your thinking.

    Enterprise solutions are for companies that want to play bigger.

    The Difference Between ‘Enterprise’ and ‘Non-Enterprise’ Software

    So, why is enterprise software generally associated with big business? Mainly because they’re complex organizations with multiple tiers of leadership and responsibility. The same goes for larger vacation rental companies, which often operate in multiple markets with a tangled web of state, local, and municipal tax requirements.

    For software to be useful across an organization like that, it must be ready to handle complex permissions and functions. It must be ridiculously secure, standards-based, highly scalable, reliable, well-supported, and it must play nicely (integrate) with other software currently in use. On the surface, can you think of a good reason why those features wouldn’t interest you?

    The other well-known aspect of enterprise software is price. Yes, an enterprise solution will come with a higher price tag than a non-enterprise alternative, but price isn’t the issue so much as value, which we’ll get into shortly. The true cost of an underpowered solution can be hidden behind a low price.

    Non-enterprise solutions tend to have a more role-focused feature set because they don’t need to do it all. They’re often for individual users or departments, and they’re much cheaper. In other words, if enterprise software was a Swiss Army knife, non-enterprise software might just be the hole punch.

    So, why would a small or medium business consider investing in enterprise software?

    Price vs. Value in High-Consideration Purchases

    Let’s say you want to double your unit count in three years. Your plans include moving into a new office, expanding your staff, and upgrading your software. Why does value matter more than price in this scenario?

    1. Higher stakes. You’re going after something, and the cost of failure is high. The less you have to worry about, the better.
    2. Emotional investment. You care about this, and so do the many people who depend on you. You owe it to them and yourself to be thoughtful and deliberate.
    3. New context. The game has changed, and you can’t play it the same way. To level up and scale requires a new approach to price versus cost.
    4. Commitment. If you’re truly ready to go bigger, value is king. Intangibles like time, worry, and support must enter the equation.

    Enterprise solutions must deliver value above all else. That value comes in many forms, such as peace of mind and ease of use, that don’t factor into ROI. Obviously, enterprise solutions must deliver on that front, as well.

    The No. 1 Reason to Consider an Enterprise Solution

    Hopefully, we’ve established that it’s not the size of your business that matters so much as your intentions for it. No intention is better suited to an enterprise solution than the intent to grow.

    You can’t grow sustainably unless you can scale. That is exactly what enterprise solutions are designed to do.

    Moreover, features once considered enterprise-class have become a necessity for the vast majority of businesses. Examples of what enterprise software offers:

    • A thorough, consultative implementation process
    • Security, such as PCI certification
    • Extensive, responsive support
    • Business intelligence
    • Powerful reporting
    • Customer relationship management (CRM)

    In order to grow, you need to think aspirationally. Plan around what you want your business to become, not what it is.

    Summing Up

    Solutions can be any combination of fast, cheap, or good, but you only can choose two. If you’ve been caught in the fast-cheap loop long enough, you might not even know what good looks like anymore. But whether an enterprise solution is for you or not isn’t as clear-cut as you might think.

    It comes down to your direction. Not every business wants to grow to the point where you need an enterprise solution. But if you’re ready to seize opportunities in your market and kick off some serious growth, you might need the sturdy scaffolding that only an enterprise solution provides.

    In the end, an enterprise solution mainly requires an enterprising mindset. If you’re ready to level up and leap forward, let’s discuss your options.

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