SpiritWorks Software Inc. creates easy-to-use software for creative, legal and technical professionals and rental property managers.  Vacation Rental Tracker Plus is reservation software that helps rental managers keep track of their units, guests, schedules, expenses and income.
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Tips for getting started with
Vacation Rental Tracker Plus

 

Vacation Rental Tracker Plus - Complete Short Term Rental Management System

Here are step-by-step directions for:

Using Vacation Unit Tracker

1) First create Unit records for each of your units. Start by choosing Vacation Unit Tracker from the Vacation Rental Tracker Menu. Then click the New button. You will be presented with the following choices: Naming Help (important when adding buildings), Show List (to see all the units you have already created - you can Add, Delete and Rename units from this window), Blank Record and Duplicate (to create a record substantially the same as the current unit record). You will first be asked for the name (or identification) of the unit. This can be a nickname or part of the address.

Note: In this software, Units are buildings or parts of buildings that are available for rent. Buildings are logical collections of Units. If you have one or more multiple unit buildings, it is best to establish a naming convention such as 1234 Main St. Apt #101 (a name for the building + a unit type (ie, room, apt, unit, etc.) + # (don't forget the # because the software looks for this symbol when creating lists of buildings for you to choose from) + the unit number). After creating the first unit record for a building, use the Duplicate option to create other unit records for that building.

2) Next fill in the complete mailing list for the unit. Then click the Tax Info tab, and enter the Kind of Property for the unit. Then click Add/Select Owner(s) to create and choose one or more owners. If the owners are the same for all your units, you can save this step for last because you will be asked each time if you want to assign the owner(s) to all units.

3) Also in the Tax Info section are buttons and fields for specifying tax types and rates. If the tax rates are the same for all (or most) of your units, click Set or Clear All Tax Rates. You can choose up to four different tax types and rates for both Rental Charges and Other Charges. Any exceptions to the settings you make in this window can be specified in the Tax Info section of Vacation Unit Tracker. In other words, tax info specified on the unit records overrides the settings in the Set Tax Rate window.

4) In the top right corner of the Vacation Unit Tracker window are six menu buttons. Four of these have Change buttons above them so you can customize the name and purpose of the menu. The default names are Complex, Bedrooms, Type, Location, Sleeps and Category. You can sort the records in Vacation Unit Tracker, the lines in the Unit Report, or the columns in the Unit Chooser (in Reservation Tracker) by these menus.

5) Click the Unit Cost tab for any Unit that is not part of a multi-unit building or is the first unit for a building (in other words, you do not need to keep track of the Unit Cost for each unit of a multi-unit building, so just pick one) and enter any information you want to keep track of. This section is optional. You can use the Add Payment to Expense Tracker button to post mortgage payments.

6) In the Notes section you can:

  • keep notes about the unit, add a Note to add to Confirmations (such as directions or policies specific to that unit),
  • set the First possible occupancy date (this is used to report occupancy rates for the unit), and
  • specify rental rates:
    1. Click Add/Select Rates and the Create Rate. You will be asked for the type of the new rate. The choices are Daily, WD/WE (weekday rates are different than weekend rates), Weekly, Monthly or Other.
    2. Next you will asked for a name for the rate (ie, Summer, Special, Rack, Peak, etc.).
    3. Then enter the amount for the rate. Each unit can have one or more rates assigned to it. These will be the default rates displayed in the Rate Chooser window after you select a unit in the Unit Chooser window. If no rates are specified for a unit, then all the rates will be displayed.

7) In the Amenities section you can specify four specific features of a unit (by default these are King Bed, Kitchen, Pets OK and Smoking OK, but these can be changed by clicking Change Above Labels) by using the buttons provided. Click Add/Select Amenity to add any number of features to the Amenities field. This information also appears in the Unit Chooser.

8) The History lists of all your reservations for this unit, and will appear here as they are created. If the unit will be unavailable for any reason, you can add a line to the History field that describes this period. Information for the Availability Checker and Schedule Checker comes from this field.

9) In the Assets section you can keep track of all the appliances, furniture, etc. in the unit. You can enter assets by clicking Add Asset or by going to Asset Tracker and clicking New.

10) Click New again and enter the information for your next unit. This is a one time investment of your time that will enable you to use this time-saving software.


Using Reservation Tracker

Reservation Tracker is the heart of Vacation Rental Tracker Plus. Here you specify the Arrival and Departure dates, the guest's name, address, phone numbers, email address, etc. and use the Unit Chooser to select the ideal unit.

1) Start by choosing Reservation Tracker from the Vacation Rental Tracker Menu. Then click the New button and choose an Arrival Date. You will then be asked for the number of nights. Next enter the guest’s First and Last Name.

2) You can use the Add to Contact Tracker button to add a guest to Contact Tracker. Then you can use the Choose button above the Last Name field to choose that guest from Contact Tracker then next time they request a reservation.

3) Next click Unit Chooser and select an available unit. After selecting a unit, you will be asked to choose a rate. See more info about the Unit Chooser below. This information is then added to the Charges field. To view the Unit record, click the line in the Charges field and then click the View Unit button that appears.

4) You can Add Other Charges, such as food, phone, and extra persons to the Charges field too.

5) An important step is to choose the Status of the reservation from the menu in the top right corner of the screen. The choices are Canceled, Waiting (no units available for the requested unit or period), Tentative, Reserved, Reserved - GLA (Guaranteed Late Arrival), Owner Occup., Checked In, and Checked Out.

6) In the Deposit section you can keep track of security or cleaning deposits, including the amount, date due, date paid, how paid, etc. You can make all charges due by the Date Due by clicking the Prepay Charges option. When the Deposit is paid, enter the date in the Date Paid field. The payment will be added to the Payments field and the deposit will be marked Paid.

To switch from security deposits to prepayment deposits, select the I accept prepayment deposits instead of security deposits option on the Reservation Tracker Prefs screen. To access this screen, click Prefs and then Reservation Tracker Prefs.

You can add another pre-arrival payment by using the 1st Due Date feature in the Deposit section. This option is not visible when the deposit is Paid.

There is also an option for a second payment due date on the Reservation Tracker Prefs screen. If you require two payments before arrival (plus a deposit) select the I require a second prepayment in the amount of option. You will be asked if this amount is a Percent, a Multiple of one nights rate, a Variable amount, or a Set Amount, and for the number of days prior to arrival that this second payment is due. If the Prepay Charges option is enabled, the remainder of charges will be computed if you choose Variable. The 1st Due Date and Amount Due must be filled in for the second due date to be activated.

7) Use the Add Payment button to display deposits and payments in the Payments field.

8) in the Notes section you can enter a Reminder that will be added to the Schedule Checker, any Notes about the reservation, and whether a Specific Unit was Requested. Click Add/Select Agent to assign a Booking Agent and assign a commission (either a Percentage, a Set Amount or a Variable amount. When the Create Commission Expense Record button is clicked, a new Rental Expense Tracker record is created with the correct commission.

9) When you create a reservation by phone, use the Confirmation button to print or email a letter to the guest. When the guest arrives, you may want to print a Statement for them. When you receive payment, click Create Receipt.

10) Clicking the Admin Tasks button reveals the following features and controls:

  • Create Statement - When the guest arrives, you may want to print a Statement for them.
  • Misc Notice or Contract - you can use this feature to send an email to a guest for any purpose (ie, a rental agreement or contract).
  • Click Open Daily Reminders to view a scrolling list of reminders with a Done button for each Task. Each line contains the Date the software has assigned for this task, the name of the task and the reservation number. You can click any of these lines to go to the Reservation Tracker record.
  • Security Deposit Due - you can send an email to a guest to remind them that their security deposit is due. Click Enable to add a reminder for this task.
  • Tentative Res Expiring - you can send an email to a guest to remind them that their Tentative reservation is expiring. Click Enable to add a reminder for this task to the Daily Reminders list.
  • Arrival Reminder - you can also send an email to a guest to remind them that their Arrival date is approaching. Click Enable to add a reminder for this task to the Daily Reminders list.
  • Thank You Note - you can also send an email to a guest after their departure.
  • Add a Property Management Invoice reminder to the list by clicking the Enable PM Invoice Reminder option. Click the Create PM Invoice button to create an invoice.
  • You can also add dates to your Daily Reminders list to make sure Pre Cleaning and Post Cleaning for each reservation are performed.

Using Unit Chooser

Clicking the Unit Chooser button in Reservation Tracker displays a new window where you can see which units are available for the specified dates.

1) Near the top right corner of the window are two buttons that determine if the unit will be Added to the reservation or Changed (replaced) on the reservation (if there is already a unit in the Charges field).

2) You can display any or all of the information in Vacation Unit Tracker by clicking the Options at the top of the window. You can make the window wider, allowing more options to be displayed, by clicking the Medium or Wide buttons below the table.

3) Use the Show Only Available Units option, to choose whether to display all the units, or just those available, from the Arrival Date to the Departure Date.

4) Click any unit in the table and then click either the Choose Unit or Edit/View Unit Record button at the bottom of the window.

5) When you click Choose Unit, you will be asked to choose a rate for the unit for this reservation. There are many options including a Special Rate which allows you to enter any amount for the entire rental.


Using Availability Checker

Clicking the Availability button in either Reservation Tracker, Vacation Unit Tracker or Schedule Checker, displays a table view of your reservations.

1) Use the This Month, Previous Month, Next Month or Jump To: button to select the seven week period you want to view.

2) The Condense Table button near the bottom of the window, causes all the reservations for a single unit to be displayed on one line, rather than having each reservation displayed on a single line. In the Condense Table mode you can choose the color for the first day of each reservation from a menu near the top of the window.

3) When you click (or double-click) a line in the table you can then click either the View/Edit Reservation button (if the Condense Table option is not selected) or the View/Edit Unit Record button.


Using Schedule Checker

Clicking the Schedule button in either Reservation Tracker, Vacation Unit Tracker or Availability Checker, displays a table view of your reservations listed by Arrivals, Departures or Security Deposits Due date.

1) Use the Dates menu in the top left corner to specify the date range of reservations displayed.

2) Select Arrivals, Departures or Security Deposits Due.

3) You can choose to display several different fields from Reservation Tracker in the Second Column by using the menu button provided. The choices are: Balance Due, Deposit Date, Persons, Reminders (a short bit of text you enter in the Notes section of Reservation Tracker), and Time (arrival or departure).

4) When you click a line in the table you can then click either the View/Edit Reservation button or the View/Edit Unit Record button.


Using Housekeeping

In the Resort Unit Tracker and Schedule Checker windows there is a Housekeeping button. This opens a window where you can see which units need cleaning, and which housekeeper has been assigned to the unit, for any period of time. You can display Reminders, Times and any of the four changeable fields in Resort Unit Tracker. Use the Add Date to Schedule button to manually add a housekeeping event. After selecting an event, you can also click Change Housekeeper or Assign Time. Click Help in the Housekeeping window for more information.



There is much more information about each component of the software available by clicking the Help button in that component or window.

If you have any questions or comments about the software, feel free to contact us.


Tips on using the other components of Vacation Rental Tracker Plus:

Navigation & Common buttons

Use the Vacation Rental Tracker Menu button on the Welcome screen, and in the lower left corner of all the main windows, to access all the components of the software.

Each component of Vacation Rental Tracker Plus has a New button (for creating new records), a Delete button (for deleting one or more records), a Find button (for searching for text on another record), a Sort button (for sorting the records by predetermined fields), an Import button (for importing sample or archived records) and an Export button (for backing up your data).

You will find a Help button on most of the windows in Vacation Rental Tracker Plus. Included in the Help system is a Tutorial, which will introduce you to the most important features of that component. Just click the Tutorial button near the top of the Help window. More detailed explanations can be found by clicking the other buttons found near the top of the Help window.

There is also a Quit button and a Save button on each main window. Although records are normally saved when going to another record or closing the component, it is often a good idea to click the Save button after making changes, just to be safe.


Reports

Each component has its own report feature. In some cases you will use an intermediate screen to select options and sort orders for your report or invoice. In many cases you will go directly to the report. There is a Help button on each window with more information about the report options.

On the output window you will find the following buttons: Save As... (saves the output as a text file for archiving or exporting to a word processor for formatting, etc.); Font (allows you to specify the size and font of the text in the report output); Print (usually just prints the output - you may need to print some reports in landscape mode); and Edit Report (allows you to make changes to the report before printing or exporting - when this button is unchecked (its normal position) you can click the main line of each record's output to go directly to that record.

There is also a row of buttons, just above the report's output field, that allows you to change the width of the columns (the tab stops) in the report. Just drag any of the little rectangles left or right to make the report more readable.


Tips on using Rental Expense Tracker

You can keep track of all your expenses and easily generate Tax Form Reports in Rental Expense Tracker. This component comes with a built is list of expense types which you can add to if necessary.

1) Start by clicking New. You will be asked if you want to Duplicate the current record or transfer just the Payee/Expense or Account information. Or you can start with a blank record.

  • If you choose Duplicate you will be asked for the new expense Amount.
  • If you choose Payee/Expense you will be asked to choose an Account, and then a new expense Amount.
  • If you choose Account you will be asked to choose an Expense type, a Payee, and then a new expense Amount.
  • If you create a new blank record you will be asked to choose an Expense type, a Payee, an Account, and then a new expense Amount.

You can either add an expense amount directly into the field provided or you can create a list in the Notes field and then click the Add to Expense Amount button. Any numbers not proceeded by the # sign will be added to the expense Amount.

2) Select a building or a unit to apply the expense to by clicking Select Bldg or Select Unit.

If you use the standard mileage rate on your tax forms, then you can use the handy Travel Deduction calculator to enter the Miles (or Kilometers) and rate. This information will then be available for the Tax Form Reports.

Account Register

The Account Register button takes you to the Account Register window where all the debits you've entered into Rental Expense Tracker and credits (Payments or Deposits) in Other Income Tracker for that account are listed.

At the top of the window you can choose another Account, Add Deposits & Payments (creates a new Other Income Tracker record), add a New Expense/Debit (creates a new a new Rental Expense Tracker record), a Dates range (or a Start Date and End Date) and whether to display Descriptions or not. You can also add Daily Separators.

After clicking the Add/Select Account button in the Account Register, Rental Expense Tracker, or Other Income Tracker window you are presented with an Account management window. There you will find fields where you can record the Account #, Account Type, Starting Balance, and the Last Check # Used for each Account and buttons to Create, Modify or Delete Accounts. A Current Balance for the account is automatically calculated.

Beside the Check # field is a Cl option which signifies that the check has cleared the bank. The Account Register report lists checks that have cleared (the Cl checkbox has been clicked on the Expenses record) as [C] and not cleared as [ ]. You can use this feature to reconcile your checkbook or account statement.

Above the Check # field is a Print button. When clicked a new Check Printer window opens where you can print your checks on any blank check. For more information click Help in this window.

Click Expense Report to generate a regular expense report, a Tax Form Report or a Property Management Invoice. With Expense Report selected, you have many choices and can select one or more Expense types, Payees and Accounts. With Tax Form Report selected you have fewer options, but you need to Select an Owner, and can choose a range of Dates by using the menu or the Start Date and End Date fields.

With PM Invoice selected, you need to Select an Owner and a range of Dates, specify a Management Fee, and choose More Options. Click Help for more information. Only records in Rental Expense Tracker and Other Income Tracker with the Add to PM Invoice option enabled will be included in the PM Invoice when the Include Marked Expenses or Include Marked Income options are enabled. You will probably always want to Include Income Info. You do NOT need to Select Bldg(s) or Select Unit(s) unless you ONLY want to include SOME of the units owned by the owner, instead of all of them.

If you want Other Charges from Reservation Tracker to appear in the PM Invoice, go to Reservation Tracker, click Add Other Charge, select the charge and click Description. Then enable the This charge is to be included in PM Invoices option.


Tips on using Other Income Tracker

Other Income Tracker is used to keep track of income that is not included on a Invoice Creator record such as vending machine income.

1) Click New to begin. You will be asked if you want to Duplicate the current record or transfer just the Source/Account information. Or you can start with a blank record.

  • If you choose Duplicate or Source/Account you will be asked for the new income Amount.
  • If you create a new blank record you will be asked to choose a Source of the income, an Account, and then a new income Amount.

Click Add/Select Source and then Create Source to add a new source to the list.

2) Choose a Source and an Account from the lists or create new ones.

3) Enter the Income Amount. You can enter the Tax Type and the amount of Tax Collected.

4) Select a building or a unit to apply the income to by clicking Select Bldg or Select Unit.

There are two miscellaneous fields you can use for any purpose. One is in the upper right hand corner and the other is below the Source field. Click the Change button above either of these fields to modify the label for the field on all the records.

You can specify the type of income and record a check number if appropriate by clicking the How button. The choices of Cash, Credit Card, Check or Other will appear. Click the How button again to hide these options.

Use the Account Register button to view income and expenses for any Account. An identical button is provided in Rental Expense Tracker. See the Account Register section above.

Click Income Report to generate a list of Other Income Tracker records to print or save.


Tips on using Asset Tracker

Asset Tracker is used to keep track of all the appliances, furniture, etc. that are rented with the unit.

1) Click New to begin. You will be asked if you want to create a record for a similar asset, or if you want to start with a blank record. If you choose Similar Asset, the Asset Description, Make, Model, etc. and Purchase Price fields will be copied to the new record. You will then be asked to enter the Serial Number. On a new Blank record you will first be asked to enter an Asset Description.

2) Fill in the Make, Model, etc. field with a more detailed description of the asset, and then record the Serial Number, if there is one. You can also keep track of the date Purchased, the Purchase Price, and eventually the Date Sold and the Sale Price.

3) Select the building or unit the asset belongs to by clicking Select Bldg or Select Unit.

4) Enter any Notes about the Condition and Repairs about the asset.

You can create an Asset Report that lists all your assets which you can Print or Save as... to export to another program.

A list of assets for each unit is maintained in Vacation Unit Tracker's Asset section.


Tips on using Work Order Tracker

Work Order Tracker is used to keep track of repair or maintenance work orders.

1) To begin, click New and enter a brief Work Order Description. You can use the Find WO button above this field to locate other work orders in the database.

2) The Issue Date is entered automatically. Click Add/Select Issuer to create a new issuer (usually your name) or to pick one from the list.

3) Select a Priority for the work order. The Work Order # is automatically assigned, but can be changed if you wish. Select a Job Type (the choices are Cleaning, Electrical, Install, Painting, Plumbing, and Repair). You can add other Job Types by choosing Add Type. To remove a Job Type from the list, select it and then select Delete Type.

4) Click Add/Select Vendor to add or select a person or company to do the work. After determining who is available, you can agree on and enter a Start Date, Start Time, and either the number of hours the job is likely to take, or an End Time.

5) Select a Unit or Building by clicking Select Bldg or Select Unit.

6) Add any Notes to Vendor about the job and then click Create Work Order at the bottom of the screen. Click View Work Order to see previously created work orders. You can Print or Save As... work orders for future reference.

You can View Work Orders along with other Schedule Tracker records in the Monthly, Weekly or Daily calendars.

7) When the job is complete, enter a Completion Date, any Notes Regarding Repairs, the Labor Total, Materials Total, Taxes and Total Amount paid. You can also record the Vendor's Invoice #. Click Add to Expense Tracker to create a Rental Expense Tracker record for the Total Amount.

Create a Work Order Report that lists all your Work Orders for any range of dates, and for any or all Units. There are a variety of Options and ways to sort the report. Click Help for more info.



There is much more information about each component of the software available by clicking the Help button in that component or window.

If you have any questions or comments about the software, feel free to contact us.