Airbnb Tools For Hosts: Manage Your Airbnb Business Efficiently
Hosting on Airbnb can be a lot of work. As a host, you play all the different roles that hotels hire separate people for: the concierge, the administrator, the receptionist, the manager, the list goes on and on. Fortunately, you're don't have to assume all these roles. In recent years, an eco-system has developed around Airbnb, full of startups that provide a wide range of services to help Airbnb manage their listing and improve their results.
This page provides an overview of all the different apps that are out there, so go ahead and check out the apps that and find out what works for you. Below is on overview of all the apps per category. Further down this page you can find the apps that I think everyone should have and more details about the different apps.
Automated Pricing Apps
Automated pricing apps offer the best opportunity to improve the results from your Airbnb listing in my opinion and I think it's almost a no-brainer to sign-up for one for two reasons. First off all, smart pricing will almost certainly increase the revenue from your listing. Secondly, by updated the prices of your listing multiple times a day, your ranking in the Airbnb search results will improve which will give you more visibility and thus more bookings.
Automated Airbnb Pricing solutions use data to determine the demand for your Airbnb listing. They use data relating to other Airbnb listings in your area, flight data and hotel occupancy rates. They have sophisticated algorithms that use all this data to then determine the optimal price point for each day.
One of the best aspects of pricing apps are that they connect directly to your Airbnb listing and update the prices for you. This means you never have to worry about your prices anymore. You still have some control over your prices though. You can set a minimum and maximum price for your listing if you prefer.
1. Beyond Pricing
Beyond Pricing is the first automated pricing app that focussed on Airbnb hosts. The recently won the 2016 Start-up & Innovation award at the Eye For Travel TDS America conference.
The app connects automatically to your Airbnb listing. It updates your prices on a daily basis, using a sophisticated pricing algorithm.
Prices are calculated using a vast array of data, such as hotel occupancy, flight data and prices of other Airbnbs in your area.
Watch the video tutorial
I personally use Beyond Pricing and I love it. The app has improved my income, saved me time and it keeps my calendar updated at all times.
I've interviewed the CEO and co-founder Ian McHenry, you can listen to the interview by clicking the link or just look for episode 35 of the Get Paid For Your Pad podcast in iTunes or Stitcher.
PriceLabs is another automated pricing app. One of it's best featured is the fact that PriceLabs is available worldwide. Unless your listing is located on a private island, you probably will be able to use it.
What's great about PriceLabs is that it is available in areas that none of the other pricing apps cover.
Another difference is that PriceLabs charges a fixed price per month, instead of the 1% of revenue that the other apps charge. The price goes down per listing for multiple listings and hosts outside of the US and Europe get 50% off.
Wheelhouse is an automated pricing app that works similar to the other apps. What I really like about Wheelhouse is that they offer a lot of different ways to personalize your pricing strategy.
Wheelhouse (formerly known as Pricemethod) is another automated pricing app. I interviewed the co-founder and CEO Andrew Kitchell in podcast episode 71 (listen here).
I haven't personally used Wheelhouse myself. Like most pricing apps, Pricemethod charges 1% of your Airbnb revenue for a single listing. For multiple listings, the price goes down.
A major reason why travelers prefer to stay at Airbnbs over hotels, is that they want to have a more local experience. They want to live like a local. This is why one of the best things you can do as a host is to provide your guests with local recommendations.
There are many ways you can provide information to your guest. You can write emails, send messages, word documents or a PDF. But by far the most professional, elegant and efficient way is to provide your guests with a beautifully designed online guidebook.
Sounds great, but not everyone is a designer, including me. But don't worry, there are a number of apps available that can help you put together an amazing guidebook with very little effort.
Hostfully provides beautifully designed online guidebooks to their members. This is how it works. You easily compose your own personal guidebook on the Hostfully website. When you're done, you can provide your guests with a unique URL that they can access on any device. Your guests can access the guidebook on web, mobile and even print it out. That's it, your guests now have all the information they need to make the most of their stay.
I personally use Hostfully and I highly recommend it. I've gotten great feedback from my guests, it saves me time and it makes me look professional. It may even help me get more bookings as I've included a picture of my guidebook in the photo section of my listing.
The basic version is free, the PRO version costs $9.99 per month.
Touch stay works very similar to Hostfully. All your content is stored in one single online location. Their mobile web app packages that content in an easy and beautiful way. You can share your guest welcome book by sending guests a link. They don’t need to sign up or download an app.
I haven't personally used Touchstay, but the guidebooks I've seen look very good. They also provide some interesting functionality, such as the ability to add TripAdvisor reviews to your inside tips as well as using Google Places to add your local tips.
Unlike Hostfully, there is no free version and subscriptions start at $6.99 a month.
Automated messaging apps do pretty much what they say they do: they send automatic messages. This not only saves you time, but it also guarantees that your response time is always super fast, which improves your listing's search rank.
Here's how it works. You connect your Airbnb listing to your messaging app and you pre-compose a number of messages to send, based on different events. For example, you can send an automated response when you get a booking request. Something like "Thanks for your inquiry, I'll get back as soon as I can."
You could also automatically send a message one day before your guest checks in, to provide check-in instructions or directions for example.
The main concern that I've seen amongst hosts who consider using a messaging app is that they worry that an automated messages comes across as not personal. However, these apps provide short codes like #guest_name# and many others that you can use to ensure that your guests will feel like you're messaging them personally.
Smartbnb is an automated messaging app. The app can save you lots of time by sending messages to your Airbnb guests on your behalf, even when you're asleep. This will guarantee a perfect response time, which can help improve your listing's search ranking. It comes with a lot of smart features, such as language recognition, flight delay notifications, and even customized responses.
If the Academy Awards would exist for Airbnb tools, Smartbnb would have my nomination. It's the type of app that does more than you expect of it, and you wonder how it's possible. The app scans your guests' messages for words like "car" and "flight" to automatically send parking instructions or directions from the Airport. Getting this app is a no-brainer.
AvivaIQ is an automated messaging app for Airbnb hosts. The app connects directly with your listing and allows you to send pre-written messages to your guests. You can define exactly when these messages are sent, 10 minutes after check-in or one hour after check-out for example.
AvivaIQ allows you to add tags, such as the guest's name or the check-in date, so that you don't have to adjust the messages each time you have a new guest. To the guest, it will look like the message is unique.
I think AvivaIQ is a great tool. It's very easy and intuitive to use. It doesn't have all the functionality that Smartbnb has, but it does what it's supposed to do, and it's free.
AvivaIQ is made for hosts and by hosts, and the simple and efficient user interface will certainly appeal to a lot of Airbnb hosts.
When your Airbnb guest books your listing, he or she will get charged immediately. Airbnb holds on to the money until one day after the check-in date, after which you receive the money.
What if you could receive the money the moment you receive the booking? Well, that is now possible, thanks to the folks at Payfully. Here's how it works. Step one is to create an account and link it to your Airbnb listing to see your future bookings. Then you select the reservations you want to cash out in advance and you'll receive the money within 24 hours. Finally, when airbnb processes your payment (24 hours after your guest's check-in) Playfully will automatically debit your bank account for the same amount.
One way to use that money (if you don't need it to pay the bills) is to invest it back into your home. This way you make your Airbnb more attractive for guests and that could boost your business.
Your Welcome allows Airbnb hosts to provide their guests with a professional tablet. The tables is like a digital guidebook, you can add all sorts of information for your guests. In addition, the tables can also add a new revenue stream to your rental. Guests can use it to book services such as a late check-out, bike rental or a mid-stay cleaning.
I have yet to try Your Welcome myself, but it's definitely one of the more creative solutions I've seen. At $8 a month, my guess is that the tablet will probably pay for itself by making it easier for hosts to add extra services.
I normally don't go through the trouble of charging extra for late check-outs for example, but if I can easily add it to the tablet for and extra $20 or $30 then why not?
Properly allows hosts to create interactive checklists to show cleaners exactly what you want done. This is important, because an Airbnb turnover is more than just cleaning the space. It's making the space ready for the particular group of guests that you're hosting. You want to adjust the number of towels that you provide on the number of guests for example. If there is a baby in the group, you'll want to setup your baby kot.
In addition Properly also allows hosts to schedule their cleanings, and sync their bookings. All this in one app, and it's free. For now at least, they'll start charging soon.
I haven't tried Properly myself, as I have a person who manages my Airbnb listing and she knows exactly what to do. However, for hosts who works with multiple cleaners, I can totally see the value in this app. I interviewed CEO and founder of Properly Alex Nigg (listen to the interview) and he seems like a smart professional person so I expect good things. In any case, since it's free why not give it a try and see how it works.
Mashvisor is an investment tool that uses reliable data sources, such as MLS, Airbnb and Redfin, to make accurate projections about the potential income from properties all around the US.
Simply type in any city and immediately get an overview of the best investment opportunities. This way you can analyze areas that you’re not familiar with. You can see average income, home prices and Airbnb occupancy rates.
My thoughts. I think Mashvisor provides excellent information for those who are looking to invest in a property to rent out on Airbnb.
It saves investors a ton of time. Imagine having to do all the work yourself, going through dozens of listings trying to figure out the potential revenue.
At $23.99 a month, you can't really go wrong here, specially if you're looking to invest in multiple properties.
Keycafe is an app that hosts can use to allow their guests the convenience of a self check-in, using the existing keys. It's basically a lockbox service. An interesting service, specially now that Airbnb requires hosts to add a self check-in option to maintain their business travel ready status.
Keycafe offers a cheap and excellent solution for automated check-ins for hosts who can't or don't choose to use one of the keyless entry systems that are available today.
In the long run you'll be better off buying a smart lock, but if you're not ready to make that investment or your apartment isn't suited for one, Keycafe makes a lot of sense.
Online vacation rental management apps
If you don't have time to manage your Airbnb listing, but you don't want to pay the hefty fees that short term management companies charge (typically 20-30% or more), using an online management service is a good option. These companies can manage all the activities that can take place online, such as sending messages and coordinating cleanings and check-ins with your cleaner or check-in manager.
The drawback is that you still need to find someone to do the cleanings and check-ins, unless you choose to do keyless check-ins of course. The good news is, you'll be saving a lot of money, as online apps charge a fraction of what a full-service management company would, at around 3 to 5% of your Airbnb revenue.
Fantastic Stay offers a 24/7 guest communication service, along with several other services for a very reasonable price: 3 to 5% of the Airbnb revenue, based on the number of listings.
Fantastic Stay uses a team of experienced receptionists to answer all your guest's inquiries in four different languages - English, French, German and Russian. It uses a smart system to ensure that all questions are answered within less than one hour.
They can respond to messages in your name or start the communication by introducing themselves under their own names and then explaining that they help you (the host) with your Airbnb rental.
I think online management is a great solution for hosts who don't have time to manage their Airbnb listings. You get to keep much more of your revenue compared to a full-service management company.
Another advantage is that you still have things under your own control. You can provide Fantastic Stay with templates of the messages you'd like to send and explain them exactly how they should manage the communication.
Special offer: sign-up for Fantastic Stay now and get 15% off the regular price.
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