Hostfully Electronic Guidebook: A Vacation Rental Owner's Hands-On Overview

As Vacation Rental Property Owners, we are always looking to simplify and streamline day to day tasks while also improving the guest experience. One of the most significant opportunities for short term rental owners to reduce their menial tasks is using an electronic guidebook. By placing answers to guests' commonly asked questions in a handy online manual, owners will be free to pursue more useful endeavors. Below we share our actual hands-on experience with the electronic guidebook from Hostfully.

 
Hostfully provides an amazing electronic guidebook to save time for Vacation Rental Property Owners

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So Why Did We Invest in an Electronic Guidebook?


Several repetitive tasks are a part of every rental reservation that can drain an owner or property manager's time. Here are a couple of the biggest culprits.


Guest communication is essential. We believe in a personalized approach versus the canned auto-responses that the templates in the big listing sites offer. That said, messaging needs to be as concise as possible. Guests do not want to read a thousand-word email. We were guilty of this for a long time. By including only the essentials in our messaging and a link to the guestbook for additional rental information, we figured we could save time for ourselves and our guests.


Our guests frequently asked the same time-wasting area questions during their visits. We knew this was an area that must be addressed. How many times do you want to give out your WIFI password or explain how to turn on that smart TV? We figured that by putting answers to the FAQ's in an easy-to-finding format, we could save ourselves a lot of frustration.

 

Why Did We Select Hostfully as Our Guidebook?


While driving home from a rental condo that we have, I passed the time listening to an audiobook about, you guessed it, vacation rentals. I enjoy the content provided by Daniel Rusteen. I highly recommend that all short term rental owners and managers check out his book Optimize Your BNB. His knowledge is truly unsurpassed. I have listened to the audiobook several times as I am always looking for new ideas to improve our business. We have Superhost status on VRBO and are also Premier Partners on Airbnb, but there is still room to improve. Anyway, Daniel endorses Hostfully as his guidebook of choice, so we

thought we would give it a try.


Related Reading :5 Must-Have Money Making Books for Your Vacation Rental Property


Below is Daniel's review and tutorial of Hostfully. Please give it a listen to

hear from the creator of the guidebook.


 

To try risk-free visit Hostfully and enter the coupon code ALYJEL002. You will receive 2 months free with Guidebooks, and $100 off your Property Management Platform subscription with this exclusive offer for our readers.


 

Getting Started


Time to give this a try. The first thing we had to do was fill in the usual personal information. This step included naming our guidebook, adding a short "About Us" blurb, and uploading a quality picture of our property. We mirrored this information to what is on our listing sites not to confuse our guests.


We then updated our unit location information. We entered the address, and the editor auto-selected the correct location based on Google Maps. Very easy, and you can customize the location link if you choose.

 

Arrival and Departure


Hostfully uses what they call cards to display information for a given topic. A topic such as arrival information may contain a deck of individual cards with relevant information. These cards can all be easily edited.



The default Arrival Deck contain the following cards:

  • Check-In

  • Directions

  • Parking

  • WiFi

The Departure card allowed us to enter check-out information. The check-out time was clearly stated to avoid any confusion. This card allowed us the opportunity to remind our guests to take out the trash, turn down the A/C or heat, and lock the doors. Common sense stuff that is often overlooked.


Again, all of these cards could be edited fully, including adding pictures, videos, and translating them into multiple languages. We found the process to be straightforward, and we appreciated all of the available customizations.

 

House Manual


The House Manual is where you enter in your essential property information and answer your FAQ's. We took advantage of this section to create cards for all household items that we would otherwise be getting questions about during our guest's stay. Information for operating the Smart TV, resetting the WIFI, heating, and cooling tips went here.


We also included information about common areas such as the swimming pool. Pool hours and towel information were common questions that we provided an informational card for here.

 

Recommendations

The Recommendation Builder in the Hostfully Electronic Guidebook is a feature that adds local attractions for guest knowledge.

This section proved to be one of our favorites and most useful. Hostfully provides a tool that they call the Recommendation Builder. With the click of a button, the Builder creates recommendations based on proximity to the property. Examples would be restaurants, places of interest, and stores. Locations are plotted on the map and include fully editable descriptions, photos, and user reviews.


Initially, we were a bit concerned that the Recommendation Builder's geographic area was too small. Some of our favorite places were not included in the results. We quickly discovered that we could manually add new places by merely entering the name or address into the search box. Below is a summary of the Recommendations features.

  • Google-suggested locations depending on the proximity of the property

  • Integration with Google maps

  • Automatically offering Internet-generated photos

  • Support for videos, rich text, and more

  • Plenty of areas to get creative within the recommendation

  • Ability to tailor and create recommendations in 8 different languages

 


The Hostfully Guidebook Marketplace tab provides an opportunity for short term rental owners to sell goods and services from their guidebook.

Marketplace


The Marketplace is an optional tab of your guidebook where you can sell additional services or items to your guests to earn additional revenue. Typical offers include mid-stay cleaning or late check-out. You can also sell other amenities and local rentals.


We started by offering Duraflame fireplace logs to our guests. Although we provide free firewood to our guests, many of them still struggle to make a fire. Apparently, there are not a lot of Boy Scouts renting from us. The set-up was easy; we just loaded a picture and brief product description, entered a price, and linked the item to our Stripe payment account that we already use for our rentals.


We then added additional items such as and hand and toe warmers for purchase.

 

Customization


As stated previously, the whole guidebook is fully customizable to fit your needs. Have international travelers? No worries; the guidebook will automatically translate into twelve languages. Below are some of our favorite features to promote your brand:

  • Feature your unique logo on all pages.

  • Customize colors for categories and icons for categories.

  • Property-specific welcome messages to convey tone and unique feel. No more canned messages from VRBO.

  • Create categories that highlight the best aspects of your location and showcase your amenities.

  • Tailor recommendations to specific properties or guest interests.

 

Promote Your Listing


We also found that Hostfully provides promotional badges for listing sites and social media. Adding these items to our listing demonstrated our commitment to providing the best guest experience possible.

Hostfully provides promotional items to post on social media.
Hostfully Badges announce your commitment to the guest experience.
 

Pricing Options

Five price plans are available to choose from for Hostfully Guidebook clients.

With five packages available, Hostfully has something for everyone regardless of budget. They offer two Individual plans and three Business plans. One of the Individual plans is free and is an excellent option to see if the product is right for you. We purchased the $7.99 per month plan as we wanted some additional features. Business plans are great for Property Managers or Owners with multiple properties like plenty of options.

 

Summary


After setting up our guidebook and using it for several months, we are happy with the product and our investment. We have dramatically reduced the time that we spend answering questions and emailing instructions. We strongly suggest that any short term rental owner that wants to free up some valuable time and create an excellent product for

their guests give Hostfully a try.


To try risk-free visit Hostfully and enter the coupon code ALYJEL002. You will receive 2 months free with Guidebooks, and $100 off your Property Management Platform subscription with this exclusive offer for our readers.