What is Hostfully? Simply put, Hostfully is an online, electronic guidebook for your Airbnb property that you can send to guests ahead of time. It’s a simple link that you message your guests, and then they have your guidebook information at their fingertips.
How is an electronic guidebook better for Airbnb hosts? One of the best reasons to get an electronic guidebook is that it cuts down on unnecessary messaging both before and during their stay. No more questions about restaurant recommendations or the closest grocery store, and no more guests asking about parking information three months in advance…you send them the guidebook ahead of time, and it answers all their trip related questions! You can include both pictures and videos, so guests see exactly how to turn on the TV and dishwasher without having to message you at midnight. Although this information goes unread in my Airbnb house manual, for some reason guests will actually read it on Hostfully.
It is also extremely affordable – as in FREE! Your first guidebook is no charge, and Airbnb Babes readers can get two months of Power Host or Prime for free! Just go to Hostfully.com and enter Airbnbbabes into the coupon code to receive your special offer.
Here is what the Hostfully guidebook looks like to a guest:
On the left, the guest will see all of your check in details, including directions, wifi, and house information. All of the recommendations are sorted into categories and displayed on the map, along with a pin for your property.
Ready to make a Hostfully guidebook for your property? The interface of this guidebook software is extremely user friendly, so just follow these 6 steps:
1. Create a guidebook
Before you can make pages, you need to make the guidebook. On the first page, click “guidebooks”.
From there, you will see this screen:
This will be displayed on the map with all of your recommendations, so guests find it easiest if you use an exterior picture to differentiate it from other places on the map.
Once you verify that the address matches the map, hit save and continue. Now you are ready to make the “cards”, or the pages of the guidebook.
2. Arrive and Departure Cards
One of my favorite parts about Hostfully is that they walk you through the process. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel…they have a guidebook outline already prepared to ensure you don’t leave anything out.
Click the plus sign next to the card, and it will take you to a different screen where you create that card (page). This is under the check in card:
You can also add additional notes on how to enter the property, and pictures. Again, really, really awesome because the folks at Hostfully have thought of everything. At the end of the card, you can click which guidebook you want the card to appear in.
The rest of the arrival cards are equally intuitive and thorough. You don’t have to stress – just follow the template!
Pro-Tip: in the direction card, include a referral link to your Uber or Lyft account. They save money on their first ride to your house, and you will get an affiliate commission.
3. House Information
*One thing I did wish Hostfully included was a template for house rules and information. It would be helpful for new hosts to know what is generally included in these cards. For example, a selection of common house rules and comment box for you to add your own, or frequently asked guest questions. They are also lacking a neighborhood card. Detailed information about the immediate neighborhood around your listing helps your location score – guests don’t know what an awesome neighborhood they are in unless you tell them where to go!
I include the following cards in my house information:
- House rules
- Useful tips (To see what I wrote for house rules and useful tips, scroll down to the end of the article)
- Neighborhood (for more about what to include in the neighborhood section, check out How to Make a Kickass Airbnb Guidebook). Like I mentioned above, I highly recommend adding a neighborhood card to highlight what is in walking distance of your Airbnb. Location is a star rating factor, and the more guests know about your location, the higher your rating will be. Think about information you need when traveling, and not necessarily the exciting stuff…where’s the closest pharmacy? Grocery store? Jogging trail? Neighborhood dive bar? How do guests get into and out of the main tourist areas?
- FAQ: what do guests struggle with at the property? Instead of having to answer messages or go over and show them, you can add video or photos. Some examples of common guest questions are: how to use the television, dishwasher, manual garage door, sleeper sofa, etc.
- Added Value: lowering your price is not the only way to increase your value rating. Guests appreciate insider knowledge and trip advice. Here, you can create sample itineraries (romantic weekend, family time, girls’ night out, nature loving, foodie, etc). You can explain how guests can receive local business discounts through your partnership. Include seasonal suggestions. Add links to local tourism websites and Facebook pages.
- Plug your up sell: increase your revenue by highlighting any additional services you provide (artwork for sale, airport pick ups/drop offs, souvenir baskets,…for more ideas on how to up sell your Airbnb, check out this article)
For most of these cards, an icon card will be sufficient. For instructional cards, use of a video and/or picture would be really helpful to guests.
This is where you get to really show off your knowledge of the city! It’s a great excuse to visit your favorite local businesses…after all, you’ve got to double check that the happy hour specials are as great as you remember 😉
*I do wish you could add more details on the first section of recommendation card, and I would like to be able to add more than one picture. It would also be helpful for the recommendations to have multiple tags, like kid friendly, family friendly, date night, girl’s night out, vegan/vegetarian, outdoor, etc. Then guests could search for activities that fit their specific needs.
That being said, Hostfully has some really cool features for their recommendations cards. They saved me a LOT of time.
You can enter the name of your favorite restaurant, and the address, phone number, and website will automatically pop up for you.
Then, Hostfully will supply you with pictures of the restaurant. !!! Definitely my favorite feature of this. Finding or taking pictures for each individual recommendation was the most time consuming aspect of creating my guidebook. The fact that Hostfully does this automatically seals the deal for me.
You then have a short space to put the main idea of the restaurant, and a second longer space where you can include more information. The first space should have the highlights, or why you would recommend a guest go there. The second space should give a better idea of the business. To make your guidebook really stand out as a guest favorite, include details that only locals know. Why would you take your friends from out of town to this place? Some examples of this insider information could be: happy hour times, where to find free parking, your personal favorite dish/drink, a secret about the establishment, what kid-friendly activities they have, how much it costs, student nights and other discounts, something interesting about the place, or if it is open late night. You obviously don’t know all of this about every place in town, so crowd source this information with Facebook and Yelp reviews.
You only have to input the recommendation information once, and you can reuse the cards across all your guidebooks – also saving time!
5. Host Introduction and Branding
Not many hosts use this page in their guidebook, assuming it’s not that important or the guests will have already looked at their Airbnb profile. However, I ALWAYS tell my clients to include an “About Me” section, WITH pictures.
Learning about their host makes a guest feel connected to you and see you as a real person. While it’s easy to be upset at a big, faceless hotel chain, it is much more difficult to leave a bad review to a real, like-able person. Include a welcome message about yourself, and any personal details (if you feel comfortable sharing) that would get people to like you more 🙂
This section is a great place for additional marketing. Provide guests with your social media names, private website, and encourage them to sign up for your email newsletter. You can add a plug for any experiences you host or additional services you offer.
6. Review, Publish, and Share with your Guests
After you have entered everything, preview the guidebook and make sure everything looks right, Hostfully will give you a unique url to give to your guests.
The information on the Hostfully site is not indexed by Google, so it won’t appear in any search engines. Hostfully is working to make their site even more secure, but still don’t recommend sharing any extremely personal information (like lockbox codes).
Share your Hostfully link in your “Thanks for booking” saved message template. Some guests haven’t used Hostfully before, so we include a few words about what to expect:
“We are proud of providing an excellent customer service for years, which means that the majority of our reviews are 5-star. To keep offering the same high-quality service, we made a personalized guidebook with all the information you need for your stay including: check-in, check-out, local recommendations, how to use our amenities, transportation instructions, etc. We hope our guidebook answers all your inquiries.”
Overall Impression and Review of Hostfully
I have made my own guidebooks from scratch for years, and have always received compliments on them. However, they took forever to make, and anytime a restaurant went out of business I had to change the whole layout. I suppose I could have sent the guidebook via an email attachment, but I don’t think many people would have looked at it. If you can’t part with an old school 3-ring binder guidebook, you can still print out your electronic copy!
There are some things I wish Hostfully would add to their cards, but those are very minor details. Overall, I am very happy with the service Hostfully provides. It is a beautiful, user-friendly, customized guidebook that guests love. I can honestly say that using Hostfully has increased my guest satisfaction and overall reviews, and has set me apart from other Airbnb hosts in my area. This all adds up to increased revenue, which has allowed me to reach my goal of financial independence sooner.
But don’t just take my word for it…check out these guest reviews!
For a limited time, Airbnb Babes readers can get two months of Power Host or Prime for free! Just go to Hostfully.com and enter Airbnbbabes into the Hostfully coupon code to receive your special offer. It is pretty generous of the folks over at Hostfully, so head over and sign up before time runs out!
We have over 400 reviews, and at least half of them mention our guidebook. Do you have any additional tips on building a guidebook for guests? Comment below!
Have questions about using Hostfully with your Airbnb guests? Ask the Airbnb Babes!
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*Here is what I include in our house rules and useful tips:
Please leave all spaces as you found them: clean and put away dishes
Clean up after pets if applicable. Pets are not allowed on beds.
No smoking or vaping inside the house.
No illegal drug use or underage drinking allowed.
Keep food in the kitchen and dining areas.
Respect our neighbors by limiting noise between 11 pm and 7 am.
Keep doors and windows locked when you leave the property
Do not park in the driveway, as it is shared with our neighbors.
**The tub has been recently refinished so please be gentle! Don’t place things with sharp edges in the tub, or leave bottles on the edge of tub for an extended period of time, or use any cleaners on the tub.
Extra toilet paper is located in the front hall closet, along with a vacuum and broom/dust pan if they are needed.
Paper towels, cleaning spray and garbage bags are located under the kitchen sink.
Full garbage bags can be placed in the garbage cans outside on the right side of the house
Towels are located in hallway closet
Extra toiletries are located in bathroom closet
Additional pillows and linens can be found in the bedroom closets