EP125: Save Time and Improve Your Listing’s Performance with Smartbnb

EP125: Save Time and Improve Your Listing’s Performance with Smartbnb

EP125: Save Time and Improve Your Listing’s Performance with Smartbnb

In this episode of the podcast, Jasper chats with Pierre-Camille Hamana, founder of smartbnb, an application that provides value to Airbnb hosts via automated messaging. Smartbnb gives superpowers to superhosts, improving response times and listings placement!

Pierre explains how his own experience as an Airbnb host lead to the development of smartbnb, the flexible functionality of the application, and the freedom smartbnb allows its users. Listen in to learn how smartbnb can make your Airbnb venture easier and more profitable!

Some of the topics covered

How Pierre’s experience as an Airbnb host inspired smartbnb

  • Airbnb is a quality marketing and design product, but lacks features
  • He found the messaging aspect to be draining

How smartbnb creates personalized messages at scale

  • Hosts schedule automated messages
  • Shortcuts create custom messages including the guest’s first name, the city they are traveling from, etc.
  • Availability and price inquiries are answered immediately with the total price in the guest’s currency
  • The multilingual platform supports 29 languages and initiates communication in the language the guest viewed the listing
  • Messages are sent to guests based on their time zone

The market monitoring feature of smartbnb

  • Airbnb promotes hosts who convert inquiries into reservations
  • Improved response times provided by smartbnb help hosts climb to the top of the results page
  • Smartbnb users receive daily reports re: their placement in search results

The value of the app’s option to add team members to notification system

  • Cleaning staff, concierge receive notice of bookings
  • Concierge, drivers alerted when flights are delayed

Pricing and the configuration process

  • Smartbnb offers a 14-day free trial
  • Cost contingent on number of listings
  • Base plan includes two listings for €15/$18
  • Sign up with your Airbnb account at smartbnb.io and receive a 14 day free trial
  • Most configure within an hour

What’s next for smartbnb

  • Pierre is working to add support for WhatsApp

Connect with Pierre, founder of smartbnb

www.smartbnb.io

twitter.com/smartbnbhq

facebook.com/smartbnb/

Resources Mentioned

Free Listing Report

 

Connect with Jasper

Email: jasper@getpaidforyourpad.com

Twitter: @GetPaidForUrPad

Instagram: @GetPaidForYourPad 

Facebook: www.facebook.com/getpaidforyourpad

This episode is sponsored by Hostfully.com where you can create a custom digital guidebook for your guests!

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Complete Transcript for Get Paid for Your Pad Episode 125

Jasper:

Welcome to Get Paid For Your Pad, the definitive show on Airbnb hosting, featuring the best advice on how to maximize profits from your Airbnb listing, as well as real-life experiences from Airbnb hosts all over the world. Welcome.

This episode is brought to you by Hostfully, a company that helps you make beautiful guidebooks for your listing. Make your own at hostfully.com/pad, and a special for Get Paid For Your Pad listeners, you’ll get a free guidebook consultation after you make your guidebook.

Get Paid For Your Pad, Episode #125. Welcome, everybody, all the way from Cali in Columbia. Today I’m talking to Pierre from Paris, and Pierre has designed a really cool application that I’ve been testing out for the last couple weeks, and I definitely am convinced that it offers a lot of value to Airbnb hosts. And so, I’ve invited him on the show to explain to us what exactly the app can do and how it can offer value to Airbnb users. So, Pierre, welcome to the show.

Pierre:

Hi, Jasper, and thanks for having me.

Jasper:

How are you doing, and where are you?

Pierre:

I’m doing fine, and actually, even though I’m French, I’m actually now residing in Brussels, so I just wanted to correct that. I’m not an ugly Parisian. So, yeah, now I’m basically starting to launch smartbnb, which, we’ll go into that later, but which is a fantastic, I think, messaging service that can automate everything that you do in your messaging, from inquiry to booking, from check-in to check-out, and even the reviews if you want to.

Jasper:

Very cool. And you are working on this app by yourself, right?

Pierre:

Yes, absolutely. Yeah, I am working on that on my own, which, definitely, I probably I have a few issues, but I think the best advantage there is, that there is no meeting to discuss about things. There is just one priority and only one, which is to make a great product that is workable for everyone and that can basically fit into every possible scenario. And that’s what I’ve been working on since February, obviously, February of last year, with a progressive release of features. And now, yeah, I’m starting to see something that works quite nicely, I think.

Jasper:

Yeah, I have to say, I was surprised when you told me that you work on this by yourself because it looks very professional, it has a lot of different functionalities, and so I figured there’d be a whole team of programmers behind it. But, knowing that it was just you, you know, just sitting behind your laptop in a little room somewhere, sweating away, I can only imagine that it must have been a lot of hours of sweat that you put into it.

Pierre:

Quite a lot, yeah, I would have to say. But, you know, there is always this motto that is used around: “If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together,” which is a South African proverb. And everybody ends up by saying, “Well, you have to find someone to go along with you to be a great project,” but personally, I don’t know, maybe it’s in my nature, but I always paid more attention to the first part of the sentence. And I think the point of a start-up is really that things should go fast. I’ve been trying to work on other projects with other people, but there was always a little bit of friction, depending on the service and depending on the product. So, I think, yes, there is an army of programmers behind, but there’s just one body, and yeah, not a lot of sleep. That’s the thing that matters.

Jasper:

I can imagine. I can imagine. So, let’s talk about the app itself. So, first of all, why did you decide to build this app?

Pierre:

Well, because I was an Airbnb host myself. I mean, my story’s that I was trained to be a lawyer. That’s why I went to Brussels. I’m actually specializing in European law, and when I was looking for a job, I started considering, what was actually my dream, which was always to create a start-up, build a software, which is something that I’ve always done. And to fund my first project, I basically started renting out my flat on Airbnb with a private room, and then after a few months, I realized that, actually, the experience on Airbnb, especially for Airbnb hosts, was not really optimal and that there was a lot of things that could definitely be improved.

I think Airbnb’s a fantastic marketing and design product that was able to create an entire market out of something that, before, had very little value, but I don’t think it’s a technological product in itself. It doesn’t leverage technology to achieve the goal that is has decided to pursue. So, I said, “Well, Airbnb doesn’t seem to be doing that, so why not do it myself?”

Actually, the first thing I wanted to do was really more something about guests themselves, to help them find a place that really would match their expectations and what they would like to have, so for example, listings with only positive reviews where the host has never cancelled, etc., providing more options to guests to find a place. But, the problem, obviously, with this approach is that I quite struggled to find any kind of business model, because in the end, even though I love playing in coding, for me it’s like a game, I would really enjoy to make a little bit of money out of that.

So, quite quickly and pragmatically, I went more into the direction of hosts, and quite frankly, after hosting for other people in my private room and couch, I was a bit drained, really, by the amount of messaging that I wanted to send out to my guests to make sure that they would have the best experience. It was quite repetitive for me, and at one point, it was a completely… It was a well-done routine, and I started wondering, “Well, why isn’t there something out there to help me do just that?” And that’s when I started digging around and coding for smartbnb, which is as it should be, an automated tool to really give superpowers to Superhosts.

So, I started in May, then, to provide some features to fix a few things that I would go around to Airbnbs that was checkpoints, which we got back later. And then, to basically provide a little hack for the ranking of your listing in search results. And then, in August, I released messaging. And then, from then on, I kept on iterating and providing more features all the time to solve the problems that are faced by hosts themselves.

Jasper:

Right. So, the app provides, really, a lot of functionality. It’s very flexible. You can do a lot of things with it, and that’s what I think is really cool about your application.

Pierre:

Yeah. I mean, I think you can provide a fixed approach that would make everyone unhappy. I’m more in favor of providing a very flexible approach that would give more powers to the hosts. So, yes, you have a very flexible way of organizing things. You can create templates for each listing. You can create a template for each possible event that is going to happen, so from inquiry, pre-approval, a new request to book that is received, a new reservation that is accepted. You can schedule templates that are going to be anywhere in time between 20 days before the check-in and 20 days after the check-out even, if that’s your thing. And, clearly, the way I wanted to do that is that it should make everyone happy and there should always be a way to achieve what you want to have as an experience because, fundamentally, communication is deeply personal.

So, it’s kind of contradictory in terms to promote automation while, at the same time, saying that it is deeply personal. I think that it’s deeply personal to you, and you have some things that you really want to say to every possible guest that is going to enter your space, but automation is there to help you be more personal at scale, which is not being drained by the fact that you have to remember to send that message, and that that message is going to be personal, is going to relate to the guest without you having to do anything, for good, unless you really want to. Is that okay?

Jasper:

Yeah. No, it’s very cool. Let me just talk about some of the functionality that’s there. So, I’m looking at the back end of the application right now. First of all, it has Events, which are New Booking Inquiry, the New Pre-approval, New Request to Book, or New Reservation. So, basically, the way it works is that when one of those four events happens, you can send an automated message to your guest, and you can use all sorts of short codes in your message. So, you can use, for example, the guest’s first name, so that way it still comes across as personal. And, in fact, there’s no way that the guest can know that this is sent by an automated system because nowhere does it say, you know, “message sent by smartbnb” or “automated message” whatsoever, right?

Pierre:

Yes, absolutely. I mean, that’s really to the point, is to create something that could never be thought as really automated. The point is that the guest should be surprised by the fact that they received a reply very quickly, but then cannot blame it on any kind of piece of software because it perfectly relates to the situation. So, that’s what I mean when I say ‘giving hosts super powers’, that it really is a supernatural ability that makes perfect sense in the context.

Jasper:

Right. And there’s a lot of these short codes that you can use. There is, for example, the name of the city where the guest is traveling from, so if you want to say something like, “Hey, I hope you had a great flight from…” or “great travels from…” whatever your city is, then you can do that. The country, the city where your listing is located, your listing name, the room type, the neighborhood, the address – there’s all sorts of stuff that you can put in there, so that way you can make the messages look very personal because people won’t really expect that, right. People won’t expect that if you use their first name and you use the name of the city that they’re traveling from, they’re going to assume that you wrote the message yourself.

Pierre:

Yeah, that you put your work into this.

Jasper:

Yeah, exactly.

Pierre:

Absolutely. And it really matters, also, in the business perspective, because when you think about it, I mean, and that’s definitely my experience as a host, when do you receive inquiries? In my experience, it’s always been about two situations – is the place still available, and what is going to be the price? And with those short codes, you can definitely confirm that the place is available from the check-in date to the check-out date, which is something that they filled in in their inquiry.

And, I think, what’s even more interesting, which is something that you cannot do yourself as a host, is to immediately confirm the price of the reservation in their currency. So, if you are hosting in New York and you have someone coming from Paris, you will give them the rates, total, all fees included, and the guest would see the rates in euros. And, vice versa, if you have an Australian going to the U.S., or a U.S. person going to Australia, you’re going to have the rates confirmed in their currency. And that’s where, actually, automation can really help drive your sales and help in your conversion rates. That’s because, obviously, that’s a question that is fundamental to your guest, and they have the confirmation very quickly without you having to do anything with that, but that is deadly accurate and that will definitely help your guests make a decision to book your place.

Jasper:

Right. This is actually one of two things that I noticed about your app that I think are really cool, and that have definitely really helped me, because this is something that I struggled with. People always ask, “What’s the total price?” and I can’t see it because I can only see what I get, and so, somehow, I have to go into the breakdown of the costs and just calculate it myself, which is obviously really annoying. So, I think this is… I love that feature. I love that feature because I don’t have to think about it, and the guest automatically gets the price in their own currency.

And now that we’re talking about my favorite features of your app, I might as well name the second one, which I think is really cool because, well, there’s a little story behind this. A few months ago, I had a French guest, and this person…

Pierre:

Sorry for that. I shouldn’t say I’m sorry for that, but, I mean, I live in Brussels in Belgium, and I’m French, and clearly, I mean, I realize I’m going… Go ahead, go ahead, but I know where this is going.

Jasper:

Well, you probably can guess. This particular guest was not very proficient at the English language, and what was even worse is that this person was really asking a lot of questions in French. And so, you know, my French is not so good, and so I had to spend quite a lot of time in Google Translate. At some point, my mom even helped me because she speaks French really well, to provide enough information. And then, as a thank you, the guest ended up giving me a three-star review because, I don’t know, there was something wrong with my apartment. I didn’t even understand what it was because it was in French. But, anyway…

Pierre:

Yeah, but, in any case, if I can reassure you, I think five-star reviews from a French person is absolutely impossible, and I’m French myself. I can definitely understand why. You would have to offer a fireside type luxury thing at the price of €30, $30 per night, and clearly, without having any kind of question of, “Why is it so cheap?” No, no, there is no French person that has ever given me five-star reviews.

Jasper:

I know. It’s so funny because…

Pierre:

I can say it; I’m French.

Jasper:

Yeah, you can say it. You can say it. But, you know, it’s funny because I had a conversation with somebody about getting five-star reviews, and one of the things that I noticed that you could use as a strategy… Because, honestly, like for me, almost every single time I have somebody from America, I almost always get a five-star review, like almost without exception, and the same is true for people from South America. But, the people that are the most critical are people from Europe, the people from really close by, people from Holland, people from France, people from Germany, people from Scandinavia. So, I think the best way to get only five stars is to just only host people from the U.S. or from South America.

Pierre:

Well, yeah, but they say ‘belong anywhere’, and definitely, it’s nice to travel somewhere in Europe. But, yeah, getting back to smartbnb, because we can, I’m sure, talk at length about this conversation…

But, so yeah, as you said, smartbnb is built to be multilingual. So, that means that if you’re… And the languages that are going to be used, if it is your variable, if you have given support to that, is going to be the language in which the guest has seen your listing. That’s the language in which Airbnb is displayed on their computer or on their mobile app. So, that’s why that’s a critical design made in Brussels, because Brussels, being trilingual between French, Dutch and English, there are always confusions about which language to use when you communicate with your guests for the first time. So, of course, more often than not, you just fall back to English without actually realizing that it was better and optimal to just speak French. I don’t speak Dutch, so that’s kind of an inconvenience for me and for my guests, as well. But, yeah, I think that’s a very neat feature, and it makes it work anywhere in the world.

I think, before, you had to basically settle on automating your messaging in English, and now you don’t have to with smartbnb. You can definitely automate all your messaging in French, in English, in Spanish, in Portuguese, in Chinese, in Japanese, all the languages in the world where you have guests, and the language that you are, of course, comfortable speaking in the first place.

Jasper:

Right, because I see a total of 27 languages that you support.

Pierre:

Yeah, absolutely, plus English and French, so in total, that’s 29, which are basically all the languages supported by Airbnb, plus one, I think, and I don’t remember which one it is… I mean, I don’t remember just now, but yeah, you can, if you have German guests, Greek guests, Icelandic guests, Japanese guests, Korean guests, Belgian guests, etc., etc., you can definitely offer them the messages that you would like to send them continuously, immediately, without having to think about it.

Jasper:

Right, and even if you don’t speak the language, it’s still kind of nice that the system automatically recognizes what language your guest speaks and, at least, sends the first message in their language. You know, I mean, afterwards, when you communicate with them more, you can obviously say that you don’t speak Chinese or Arabic, or whatever it may be, but I think it’s kind of cool that they get the first message in their language, at least.

Pierre:

Yeah, it’s the best first impression. We can definitely, I mean, from the guest’s perspective, you can definitely more relate to the host that way, and things are very clear from the beginning about the dates, the price, whatever you want to communicate.

Jasper:

Hosts, I can’t emphasize how important it is to share recommendations of things to do or eat near your listing beforehand. Your guests won’t have to go through TripAdvisor, Foursquare, or Yelp. They won’t have to scratch their head and think about possible places right in the moment. I’ve been using Hostfully to create an online and printable guidebook to show my guests my favorite coffee places in Amsterdam. They use my recommendations, and I’m getting fewer questions from my guests as a result. I’ve also included screenshots of my guidebook on my Airbnb listing as a way to differentiate my listing from others. So, make your own guidebook at hostfully.com/pad.

Jasper:

Right, exactly. So, those are definitely my two favorite features, the fact that you can use the total price that the guest pays, and that you can respond in different languages. I think that’s really cool. Let’s go through some of the other functionalities that you have on smartbnb.

Pierre:

Well, what could I say? Well, you can, in terms of events, you can, for example… I mean, these are features that are not necessarily for everyone, but you can, for example, if you make it a habit to always pre-approve your guests, you can, for example, set it as an option, so every time you receive a new inquiry, the guest is immediately going to be pre-approved. Again, that’s not a feature that works for everyone, but that’s a feature that was very requested in the last few weeks.

Jasper:

Right.

Pierre:

Another thing, that now Airbnb has definitely changed a little bit, their pre-approval process so that it’s only going to last for 24 hours, you can, for example, immediately send a message when that pre-approval has expired and automatically renew the pre-approval. So, that means that keeps your guests engaged and they can still book as long as you keep on pre-approving them. The only first renewal is going to be automatic. For the next ones, that’s going to be on yours, because you want to keep a little bit of control, as well, and I wouldn’t want to offer any kind of software that would spam the guests every day until the check-in date. But, that’s two small features that are still in the Events flow, so that is aimed at responding fast.

And I think that’s something that should be discussed, as well, because it’s lightning fast. Airbnb is going to promote hosts that are able to convert inquiries into reservations, and is going to basically give leads to people who can make a sale. And one of the indicators that is taken into account by Airbnb’s search results is response time, is how active and committed you are to reply to the questions of your guests and to reply to their needs. That’s why it’s really fast, because it can definitely improve your search results. It can save you time, for sure, because you can respond to messages and answer the questions of your guests in your sleep, but moreover, it creates value because every time you’re going to receive a new inquiry, it’s going to reduce your response time and you’re going to be, basically, climbing your way up to the first page of the search results page. It can have quite a dramatic effect.

I mean, I’ve had, recently, a user from Prague who basically started using, who was maybe not even on the tenth first page, and who actually now is also always on the first page. Another user from Hong Kong, now, is basically secure on the first, or second at worst, search result, and I think that really matters a lot.

And that’s something, basically, that also I provide, is some kind of market monitoring tool that helps you watch your placement in search results. So, it’s not only about saving your time, it’s definitely about promoting your business and making sure that you get more leads, more inquiries, and eventually more bookings in store. What else? Well, you can also have, of course, a reservations flow, which is what you have when, every time you want to send check-in instructions, the first message in the morning to make sure that everything is okay, a message just before the check-out to say a few words and give some check-out instructions, and also a review reminder. The review reminder, for example, can be skipped if the guest has already left a review, so that you are not spamming them, asking them for a review even though they have actually already given them, so you actually are saying that you are using some kind of automated messaging, which is not the way it should work.

And, there is also a small neat feature that works in the background, and that is something that I’ve seen myself as a host. I’ve actually had quite a lot of people from the U.S. and also from China, and when you want to send some check-in instructions, making sure that they’ve got the address right and checking what time they would arrive, that means that if you don’t want to wake them up in the middle of the night, you always have to have some kind of world clock and know that, yes, you should probably send the message at 2:00 in the morning. I’m not planning on sending messages at 2:00 in the morning so that my guest would receive that message at the best time. I would quickly prefer a software to do that instead of me.

So, every time you have a check-in message, for example, I’m going to send that and calculate what is going to be the best time for the message to be sent in the first place, not only for it to not be sent in the middle of the night and wake them up, but really, so that the app could find the best window to make sure that you can communicate together on the last details of the trip. So, that, essentially, is made for peace of mind. That software can definitely calculate, even in the tiniest details, what is best for the experience of the guest first, and allow you to do stuff that you could not possibly do on your own and personally.

And that, definitely, can be felt, as well, for the guests. They are going to receive the message, basically, at a time when they are awake and when they can definitely respond to the question that you’ve asked directly.

Jasper:

Right, very cool. And then, there’s some other options. You can add team members. So, if you want an automated message to be sent to your cleaning lady when, for example, when there’s a new reservation, you can do that. And another feature is that you can add automated reviews, and I guess this is useful for people who manage multiple listings.

Pierre:

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, that’s not necessarily for everyone. I mean, personally, I did that, exactly… I’ve had a few users with tens of 50 properties and, obviously, they don’t have the time to clearly do the reviews on their own. But, personally, I would not use that unless, really… I mean, fundamentally, automation works great when everything is going great.

Basically, if there is something that goes wrong, you definitely, with smartbnb, always have the possibility of taking back control, so you always have the opportunity to formulate or delete a review. And, even better, if you have a bad review to write or you expect a bad review, you can delay the review until the very last second to make sure that your listing is not going to have negative reviews or reviews that you expect to be negative until the very last second. And I think that’s a neat feature for Airbnb hosts, to have this kind of defensive approach to their listing’s reputation.

And, for teams, right, yes, I think the team is also pretty neat. I mean, that’s the last thing that I’ve released and it can basically integrate with any, of course, cleaning staff and with any Airbnb concierge company. So, yeah, that’s definitely something that I’ve used myself when I rented out my full flat. I have a wonderful Airbnb concierge here in Brussels, and that’s something I could now use to inform him live that there is a new reservation, tell him about the dates, the number of guests, and then he has all the information required to prepare the flat by the date, and basically, that means putting your listing on autopilot. So, you’re putting your listing on autopilot and I think that works great.

Jasper:

Right, awesome. So, let’s talk about how people can sign up if they’re interested.

Pierre:

Well, I think the first thing, probably, before even signing up is taking a picture of your listing before, which is something you can do by ordering a listing report, which you can do on smartbnb.io/report, and that’s going to make it visible, exactly what is your daily rate, what is your position in search results today, and equally, what is your average response time.

So, this is something that I’ve done, actually, on you, Jasper. So, you had a very quick response time before, and now it’s basically fallen. So, you responded, I think, between two minutes on average, and now it’s basically below a second, just with the effect of smartbnb’s automated messaging. So, that’s obviously something that is definitely going to be useful for you to promote your listing in search results.

So, that’s the first thing, I think. Go on smartbnb.io/report. And then, you just have to sign up with your Airbnb account straight on the front page, and then it’s going to be automatically set up. We’re going to get the information from your Airbnb account, and pull the data from your Airbnb account, and start generating for the pulled templates for new inquiries, new booking confirmations, and also check-in instructions, check-out instructions, and the likes, so that you can start configuring and make it personal without having to reinvent the wheel.

So, yeah, I think that’s the first two things that you can do to start becoming a Superhost with super powers.

Jasper:

A Superhost with super powers, that sounds pretty good. Okay, so people can get their free report. It’s also something that, once you start using smartbnb, you get, I think it’s a… Is it a weekly report?

Pierre:

It’s a daily report.

Jasper:

It’s a daily report, okay.

Pierre:

It’s a daily market report because I want you to see that you are going to make improvements in your listing’s placement in search results. So, every morning at 7:00, you’re going to receive a daily market alert confirming your rates, your availabilities, what are the prices in your area, and most importantly, what is your placement in search results, which is something that is very appreciated by hosts because they only see it in green and going up, especially after every kind of action that we do. And that, I think, is really fundamental to the value that smartbnb aims to deliver, which is, making it a lot easier to be an Airbnb host, and moreover, making it even more profitable, making sure that managing your listing through a machine that you configure can actually provide more value than you would do if you were just doing it manually.

And there are plenty of reasons why it should not have worked, but the evidence is there that it does work, and clearly, the listings, I mean, my customers are very happy about that and can definitely see that they don’t have to be glued on their iPhone, on their laptop, to be waiting for inquiries and to respond to guests by the minute, etc., that they can just relax, and making sure that smartbnb’s configured appropriately for what they want to achieve, and then I deliver. And I think that’s fantastic.

Absolutely, I’m just like a small kid, probably, who’s just looking at his creation and just wondering, “Wow, it’s fantastic!” That’s clearly not how I behave in real life, but I think, now that I can take a step back on how it works, I think it’s, indeed, kind of amazing to have something that can be easy for everyone with a minimum time of configuration. Clearly, most accounts are configured within an hour, and that’s just because you have a lot of tools to help you out, not only with the pre-loading of templates, but also with simulations so you can make sure that messages, indeed, exactly reflect what you want to have, and that, indeed, listings managed with smartbnb are more profitable.

Jasper:

And, for people who want to sign up, they get a free 14-day trial, and after that, the price depends on the amount of listings. But, for one listing, on my screen it says €15 a month. Is that also $15 a month, or…?

Pierre:

Yeah, that’s €15 excluding VAT, and that’s $18 per month, which is basically quite similar when you look at the exchange rate.

Jasper:

Right.

Pierre:

And that’s for the first two listings, which is going to be the case of the vast majority of Airbnb hosts. And then, if you are lucky to have several properties to manage, there will be a small increment for any new active listings. So, you only pay for listings that are going to make money out of that, additional to the first two listings.

Jasper:

All right, so the first two listings are included in the €15 or $18 monthly payment. And I just noticed something that I hadn’t noticed before, it says ‘including unlimited flight tracking’.

Pierre:

Yeah, that’s something neat that I created last week, which is, yes, whenever you have a flight number that is in your conversation, I’m going to track that flight number and give you an update on the check-in day. We are not hotels, we are basically… I mean, I personally, I live in the place where my guests are, so I want to make sure that the organization is going right, and I know that, obviously, a lot of people also are waiting for their guests to arrive, which seems a little bit abnormal.

So, yeah, when you have a flight, that’s taken care of. I’m going to send you an alert between half-an-hour and an hour-and-a-half, depending on the duration of the flight. If you have a concierge or check-in people that are registered with the team management, I’m going to send them that alert, as well. And even, there is this neat feature that issues… Because you still have to ask for the flight number, right, so when do you do that? Well, there is now something that is called ‘custom code’, which are basically great tools so that you can train your own chatbox with variables, depending on the profile of the guest, the duration of the reservation, the number of guests that are going to come there, the listing at stake. I mean, you have a lot of variables. I think you have about 130. And if the guest is likely to take a plane, you can include a short paragraph that is going to ask the guest for their flight number, and only when the guest is likely to take a plane. If the guest is not likely to take a plane because, for example, they live across the street, you won’t ask that.

So, that’s kind of the full package. You have the flight’s booking, you have the communication with check-in people and with your Airbnb concierge, so that they don’t get to wait for an hour or two, or even longer, at your place. And, you can also automatically adapt your messages to the location of your guests to make sure that, if they are taking a plane, you can ask them for the flight number.

Jasper:

That’s awesome, man. So, basically, let’s say that the flight is delayed and you have your check-in manager added to the team, then automatically, a message will go out to your check-in manager saying that the flight is delayed, and that the manager could expect the guests to arrive a few hours later.

Pierre:

Yeah, absolutely. And, you will receive, you and the check-in person, will receive the email until the situation is settled, until the flight has landed. So, for example, that’s a certain feature that people…

I also have some users who, for example, have provided a very luxury service, and also propose… I mean, that’s not necessarily luxury, but actually a lot of people do that… I’m just thinking out of this example, where you can rent out your limousine if you want to, and the driver can also be into this kind of check-in…we call it as a ‘check-in person’ and then be automatically updated on the status of the flight so that he doesn’t have to go to the airport before they’re getting there.

So, yeah, I think that’s kind of nice, as well. It’s the kind of tools I would have loved to have as an Airbnb host, myself.

Jasper:

Yeah, yeah.

Pierre:

Obviously, you can set up alerts on your own, but here, the advantage is really that you don’t have to do anything.

Jasper:

Right. And another thing you told me that is coming up pretty soon is support for the WhatsApp messaging platform.

Pierre:

Yeah, that’s something I’m working on right now. I think it’s taking a little bit longer than I wished, but in any case, it will definitely be more means of communication that will be added shortly to the messaging. So, at worst, simple text messages, but I would really like to have support for WhatsApp, if I can do that, very quickly.

Jasper:

Yeah, that would be great.

Pierre:

Which is going to be by the end of the week, by phone.

Jasper:

That’s great, because I communicate a lot with my guests on WhatsApp. It’s really good because people check their WhatsApp much quicker then they check their email or even the Airbnb messaging system, you know. People respond quicker, so I always add all my guests, if they have WhatsApp, which is, the majority of my guests do, actually, now. If they have it, I always add them a few days in advance, and I’ll just send them a message and say, like, “Hey, what’s up?”

Sometimes, I’ll send them a picture of where I’m traveling. They always seem to enjoy that. It makes it a little bit more personal and you can share pictures. I always take screenshots of some new places that have opened up. I take a screenshot on Foursquare, and then I send it to them, and I say something like, “Hey, here’s a few new places that have opened up recently that you might want to check out.” So, it’s a great messaging platform to make things a bit more personal.

Pierre:

Yeah, absolutely. And the thing is, it basically circumvents the limitations of Airbnb’s messages. You cannot send pictures, you cannot send documents, and you’re just limited to text, because, of course, all the messages that are sent through smartbnb are not emails, they are basically native Airbnb messages, so they are going to appear in real time in the Airbnb conversation itself. But, yeah, actually, WhatsApp is something that is easily requested, where basically it’s on the make and you have to provide this kind of messaging service, especially for communicating with teammates.

Jasper:

Yeah. Awesome, man. Cool. Well, I think we can talk a long time about all this stuff, but we’ve come to the end. So, thank you very much, Pierre, for explaining about your app. And for those who want to use it, smartbnb.io is where you want to go, and of course, you’ll be able to find the show notes at getpaidforyourpad.com/podcast.

Pierre:

Thank you, Jasper.

Jasper:

You’re welcome. Thanks. And thanks everybody for listening. Is there something you wanted to add?

Pierre:

No. I think it’s a great time to be an Airbnb host, to be honest, because you have a lot of tools that can be of help.

Jasper:

Okay, awesome. That’s a good way to end this episode. So, thanks everybody for listening, and we’ll see you next week.

 

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