The ultimate guide to getting started with Houfy as a vacation rental host. Benefit from direct bookings and take control of your short-term rental business.

Houfy is a book-direct platform aiming to help hosts save money by listing their vacation rentals without service fees. Thousands of property owners worldwide rely on the app to rent their properties directly to travelers without middlemen.

Whether you're a seasoned host with an extensive portfolio of real estate properties or a complete newbie looking to make your first steps in the industry, Houfy is here to help. Although OTAs like Airbnb, VRBO, and Booking.com have transformed the short-term rental market in recent years, their hefty commissions and strict policies make it impossible for hosts to run a sustainable business.

Houfy was designed to encourage personal interaction among hosts and guests and facilitate transactions without grabbing profits from hosts' pockets. In this article, we've rounded our top tips for starting your vacation rental journey on Houfy to get the most out of the platform. Let's dive in!

Why Should Vacation Rental Hosts Join Houfy?

Here are the perks of joining the Houfy community:

  • Save on commissions for both you and your guests: as a Houfy host, you save 3%-15% on service fees, while guests save 15%-20% from booking fees on large OTAs.
  • Receive your payments directly: connect with Stripe or Square and receive payments at the time of booking.
  • Gain independence and maintain total control of your property: no more fearing OTAs' punishments for deciding to cancel a booking or getting penalized for not having flexible policies and instant bookings.
  • Communicate directly with prospective renters: use phone, text, or email to vet guests before they book and ensure your rental is a good fit for them.
  • Set your cancellation policies: Houfy doesn't override your cancellation — your property, your rules.
  • Create your book direct website: use Houfy's website builder with add-on widgets and link your Google My Business account or Facebook page.
Get Started With Houfy: Comprehensive Guide for Vacation Rental Hosts
Booking vacation homes directly with Houfy

How to List Your Vacation Rentals With Houfy?

As a Houfy host, there are two ways you can go about listing your vacation rental: import your listings or manually upload them.

Import Your Listings

1. Import Your Listing From Airbnb

Use Houfy's import tool to import your existing listing from Airbnb within 15 seconds. This will import your entire listing except for the Calendar and Rates. You just paste your Airbnb URL and let Houfy do its magic.

2. Set Up Pricing

You must set your rates to activate your listings on Houfy's social marketplace. You can do so from Log in > My Listings > Edit > Pricing. Houfy allows you to set three prices: base, seasonal, and calendar. Seasonal prices override the base ones, and the calendar overrides both.

For example, when a guest inquires about renting your vacation home in December, your base rate could be $100 per night. If they select dates between June and September, your seasonal rates will apply, and they'll be charged $150 per night. However, if you offer discounts or last-minute specials, your calendar rates will override both to increase or decrease your rates accordingly.

3. Import Your Calendar

To prevent multiple guests from booking the exact dates, you must sync your Houfy calendar with your calendars on other sites, including Google, Airbnb, HomeAway, and VRBO. You can easily do so by following the instructions in our calendar synchronization guide. You will only need to import your calendar once; moving forward, Houfy automatically syncs your calendars every 6 hours.

4. Sync Your Reviews

As a property owner, you know the difference reviews make in securing more bookings. Once you create your Houfy listings, you can easily pull your Airbnb or VRBO reviews from your existing listings into your new ones. This will allow you to maintain a reputation across multiple platforms without starting from scratch. Don't forget to periodically update the review sync on Houfy, as it doesn't happen automatically.

5. Set Up Payments With Stripe or Square

Houfy integrates with Stripe and Square, allowing you to accept payments directly from guests. The process of connecting them is straightforward. Log in to your Houfy account and go Menu > Manage Listings > Payments & Payouts. Choose your selected payout method, log into your Stripe or Square account, and you can start accepting deposits.

6. Verify Your Listings

For Houfy to ensure the integrity and credibility of hosts, the platform requires a one-time verification process accompanied by a small fee of $5.99 for unlimited listings. This includes government identification or other verified documents from hosts and checks conducted through third-party databases.

Not only does this ensure a safe marketplace for guests, but it also signifies a host's dedication to maintaining accurate and up-to-date listings. The process isn't automated and can take 24 to 48 hours. To speed it up, you'll need a complete listing, an OTA or homepage URL, a utility bill, a connected iCal, and - in some cases - a deed or insurance bill.

7. Add Profile Details

As a final step, you'll need to complete your host profile with your name, picture, and description, as well as verify your phone number or email. These are the first things potential guests will notice when trying to book with you, so you've got to create a positive first impression that inspires trust.

Get Started With Houfy: Comprehensive Guide for Vacation Rental Hosts
Houfy rental property types

Manually Upload Your Listings

1. Use the Self-guided Houfy Listing Tool

If this is your first time listing your property online, you must create your listing from scratch through Houfy's self-guided listing tool. After choosing whether you have a rental or a charter boat, you'll be prompted to fill in your property type, how many guests it can accommodate, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and location.

Houfy will then inquire about a listing name, headline, overview, and occupancy. It'll also provide a custom URL to promote your listing on social media, website, or business cards.

2. Upload High-quality Photos

The next step is uploading vacation rental photos to capture guests' attention. Hiring a professional photographer to take pictures of your rentals is always recommended, but if that's not possible, take a few high-quality pictures with your smartphone and ensure they're well-lit.

Make sure you upload the best and most accurate photos first. By default, the thumbnail photo will appear in search results, so you want to leave a lasting impression that'll urge guests to click on your listing.

3. Set Up Prices

You'll also need to set base, seasonal, and calendar prices for your listings. Houfy allows you to customize your pricing by considering taxes, pet-friendly policies, cleaning fees, additional fees, or security deposits. Moreover, you get to create early-bird, last-minute, or special discounts, as well as coupons for your marketing strategies.

4. Add Reviews, Set Your Rules, and Get Verified

Like the import feature, Houfy will also require you to sync your calendars to get verified. You can also import or request guest reviews to increase your listings' credibility. Finally, to start receiving direct bookings, you must set up your payments with Stripe or Square and add your house rules.

Get Started With Houfy: Comprehensive Guide for Vacation Rental Hosts
Houfy booking process without agent fees

Will Houfy Promote My Vacation Rental Listings?

Houfy doesn't actively promote listings — hosts must promote their listings themselves. The platform is a community of like-minded homeowners who support the direct booking movement. Unlike large OTAs, which require hefty booking fees, supposedly to promote listings, Houfy gets no commissions from your hard-earned money but asks you to market your properties.

However, Houfy allows you to showcase your listing in multiple areas on the platform via last-minute specials and featured listings to gain more visibility. The price is currently $1.29 per day with a minimum duration of 30 days for the extra promotion feature.

Where Can I Find Support for My Vacation Rental Listings?

If you're new in the Houfy community for vacation rental properties, you likely have many questions about listing your rentals and growing a successful business. The fastest way to receive support for your inquiries is by posting on Houfy's Facebook Group, where you'll receive answers from over 9,000 hosts actively participating in discussions.

Additionally, Houfy offers a thorough Help Center with answers to frequently asked questions, as well as an extended base of blog posts, helping you list and market your vacation homes effectively. Finally, you can submit your inquiry through Houfy's contact form and receive support for your case.

Get Started With Houfy: Comprehensive Guide for Vacation Rental Hosts
Houfy property for direct booking

Ready to Join the Book Direct Movement With Houfy?

If you're tired of passive business and sharing your profit with OTAs, Houfy is a booking platform that gives you more control over your properties and grows as you do—no more middlemen eating from your plate and no more faceless service for your guests. Benefit from a more hands-on approach to your business and stand out from the competition.

Ready to list your vacation homes with Houfy? Join a community of more than 15,000 hosts who took the leap before you, and start booking directly with guests from your own website. Get started today!

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Do You Own A Vacation Rental? List with Us. Your property, your rules.

Earn extra income

Earn money by renting out your home. Booking direct saves you and your guests service fees.

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