About Hosting on Houfy
There are 2 ways to do this:
1) Log in > Menu > My Listings > Edit listing > Verifications: add your video url & select youtube/video link or other
or: and VERY practical:
2) Create a "Houfy guidebook": Guidebooks provide a helpful way to group related posts and or stories together (in this case videos), and to quickly inform readers what the posts & stories are about. Guidebooks make it easier for people to find content in a grouped form.
- Log in > Menu > Guidebooks > Create a guidebook
Name the guidebook, add a description, picture, location etc. You can always edit/remove the guidebook
- Create a post and add the url of the video you wish to share. (A post is a simple post; you can add text/pictures & 1 url)
- Or much better: Write a Story and add as many urls as you wish. (A story is much more than a simple post; you can embed multiple url's as well as add highlights and change formats) - This page you are reading right now is made with Write a Story - in this case about How to add a video to my listing(s)
- Post the post or story to the Houfeed
- After posting, Bookmark the post or story to the "video" guidebook you made earlier
- Last step: add the guide to your listing(s): Menu > My listings > Guidebooks > and change from NO to YES
Preview your listing and your guide should show with the post(s) or story(s) in there
You can make guidebooks about anything: Activities - Events - Restaurants - Weather - Video's etc. Think what you would like to know when you visit a place. Wouldn't it be wonderful to have a perfect set of guidebooks (recommendations) from the owner ready for you to explore.
At Houfy you can easily edit the guidebooks, posts and stories whenever you want. Try something new at Houfy and have look at some popular guidebooks to give you ideas.
Thank you, T & S
First method: Log in>Menu>Manage Listings
- Pull up your listing (you do not need to be logged in).
- Scroll to the bottom.
Hosts can create a personalized web address to direct people to their listing with a custom link.
A custom link gives you a better chance your guests remembering and finding your listing in the future. As a result, you can capture more repeat bookings and grab the attention of new guests.
Log in > Menu > My Listings > Custom Link
Another way would be to go to your profile:
Menu > Profile > View Profile
Yes, seasons can be copied to new listings.
1) Create target listing (=New listing - by importing from Airbnb/Homeaway)
2) Go to my listings > select listing with seasonal rates > copy
To list: Menu > My Listings > List
Reasons why listings are hidden:
- The host has hidden the listing
- Listings with an expired "cut off date" will move from completed to "in progress".
- Listings with less than 5 pictures will show "in progress"
Please consider updating your "Cut Off date" at: Menu > My listings > Edit > Pricing >
And or adding more pictures. (5 minimum)
Log in>Menu>Manage Listings>List
Houfy is a platform designed to take full control of your property(s). Your place Your rules.
Houfy is work in progress and is still very much being designed as we write this. Houfy is a project FREE for anyone to use and does NOT charge fees/listing fees/commissions. Houfy does as of right now NOT earn any funds and does NOT have the 100s of Millions needed to market listings worldwide.
Houfy is a grass roots movement to promote direct bookings without "service" fees/commissions.
This requires owners and managers to promote their listings themselves.
Why do some members get bookings and others not? Here some examples:
- Updated price/pictures/text ----------> Outdated pictures/pricing/text
- Updated Calendar -------------> Outdated calendar
- Connected to Stripe/Square --------------> Did not connect a payment method
- Use the Houfy booking/messaging system -----------> Forward inquiries to my own website
- Market my Houfy listing ---------------> I do not market/share my Houfy listing(s)
- Spend 15-30 minutes a week on Houfy --------------> Hoping something will happen
What can you do?
Spend a little time on Houfy and share your listing socially/with friends/previous clients. Find out what others are doing to get bookings and Houfy dances in our Facebook Group. Ask questions and GO For IT! 🙂
Larger properties booked for family or group gatherings usually require stricter policies.
Owners or managers often require:
- A larger reservation deposit due (50% or more due at reservation date)
- An earlier balance payment due date before the arrival date (90-60 days before arrival)
- And stricter cancellation policies
Rebooking larger properties often requires more effort for owners/managers compared to smaller properties.
At Houfy as an owner/manager you can set your own policies:
My Listings > Edit > Settings > Payment information
HOUFY is currently free for basic listings.
Featured listings & Last minute specials
A featured listings or last minute specials significantly increase your chances to be seen. You can expect to pay around $3 to 4 a day depending on your location. You will have to keep renewing your bid monthly if you want to hold onto the benefits of the upgrade.
- Your listing will be highlighted in another color that stands out.
- Your listing will be shown at the top of the search results as well as being amongst all the other properties, meaning double exposure!
- Featured listings and last minute specials improve attention and click-throughs by 50%.
- Chances to be seen on our homepage and/or destination pages if available.
Embed tools package (TBA: Approx: $139 per year or 13.99 per month)
Get included in weekly Houfy e-mails - To be programmed
Website creation - (TBA: Approx: $139 a year or 13.99 per month) - Click here to view samples.
Please be advised we are improving Houfy daily. To learn more: Join us @ Say Yes to Houfy on Facebook!
To add your listing from Airbnb or VRBO use this link:
With a little due diligence and homework, you can save yourself the embarrassing predicament of being scammed. But if you are, it isn't necessarily all your fault. Scammers are smart, crafty, and innovative. I have often thought that if they put as much thought and effort into a legitimate enterprise as they do into scamming people, they would find honest success. Read below for information from some the country's leading consumer advocates to help you avoid being taken advantage of by crooks.
WIRE TRANSFER? O.K. or Not O.K.
Clark Howard gives advice on scams. Be wary of wire transfers. But keep in mind some legitimate owners may still use them. Never wire money to ANYONE you have not met or trust completely. You will NEVER get it back, EVER. And the police can't help you. Be your own judge.
CRAIGSLIST OR OTA? Which is legit?
Even on OTAs the house can be a scam.
It cost nothing to list on Craigslist. So it is a favorite and low risk choice of scammers. Right after purchasing our Vacation Rental, and talking to renters that had booked with the previous owner, I was asked, "Will there be a bunch of people showing up everyday saying they rented the house while we are there?" I was appalled! How horrible for the guests AND those cheated out of their vacations! So I asked a few questions and found that all of those scammed originated on Craigslist.
After some quick searching, I found our rental listed at least 3 times, by 3 different scammers.
I began a long and never-ending campaign to fight back. We continue to win each battle, but it takes time and effort that many don't have. Be aware that on Craigslist, the rental opportunity may or may not be real! These scammers even set up fake recommendations, and use the real owner's name and rental agreement. Anything you have thought of to verify, they have too.
Some more advice from the pros:
- Talk in PERSON or ON THE PHONE! Don't rely on text or email or messaging systems. Scammers don't want to talk to you. They can't answer questions about the house without research and it is hard to pretend they are someone else over the phone. And if they won't talk, walk away. Many sites like Expedia group sites (like Vrbo and HomeAway) and AirBnB don't allow you to speak with owners until you book. That is one reason they only allow using a credit card to book. It doesn't always protect you, but can help you recapture funds if you act fast.
- Use a credit card. But be aware of credit card fraud. To protect yourself, never give out your credit card number. Insist on using a 3rd party processor like PayPal or Stripe. But even scammers know this and use credit card processors. They just act quickly to move money from account to account so that the fraud can't be traced or the money recaptured. Check with your credit card company for their policies and do your checking up with owners as soon as you can connect. If they ignore your requests to talk, cancel and call the credit card company quickly to recapture the charge.
- Once you get connected, ask questions about the property you can see in pictures on the listing or on Google Maps. If the "owner" can't answer without hesitation, or puts you off (while looking it up online), be suspicious. Simple questions like, "How many can the dining room table seat?" or "How many burners does the stove have?" can be answered easily by the real owner, but maybe overlooked by a scammer. Ask several questions that you already know the answer to.
- Use a legitimate site to book. Houfy verifies owners, but not all do. Even Vrbo and AirBnb don't always verify the owners. A new listing with no reviews and many unprofessional typos can mean that it hasn't been verified yet. Always be careful. Look at reviews, and judge if you believe they are legitimate or fake. Many rentals have a website or Facebook page too. Check the internet for the real site by searching by image. Right click on a picture and you may search everywhere the image shows up. If other sites have different owners listed, or different numbers, contact them all and alert them. Legitimate owners will get the fakes removed.
- Avoid being scammed by a real owner, but a misrepresented listing. Reviews are essential in this. Everyone has heard of the shipping crate that was advertised as an AirBnB in Amsterdam. Close ups shots of nice bedding, with no outside shots, meant that it appeared to be a nice place to stay. But do you really want your "private bathroom" to be a porta-potty? Pictures can be deceiving. Look at them with a skeptical eye. And ask questions.
- Most owners are real and their properties are too. But occasionally you may run into an unscrupulous owner who doesn't follow best practices. This means the owner may change pricing once you arrive and demand more money, try to put you in a different condo or home than was advertised, or change the terms of the rental. Having a rental agreement that lists the terms of the rental, amenities included and the address and/or condo number is essential to protect you. If they don't have one, or their listing doesn't specify the number, ask for verification BEFORE you finalize your reservation. Some owners of multiple properties or property managers have been known to use their BEST properties as bait. Be sure the property you are renting is the one you think you are renting. Of course, things happen and a property you rented may be unavailable due to accident or repair issues. But the honest owner or manager will always contact you immediately and offer either an upgrade, or refund with their explanation. If you feel scammed, notify the platform you used and leave an honest, factual review.
- If it is too good to be true, than it is too good to be true. Use open records and internet searches to find the information you need to verify the address, identity, and quality of your prospective rental. But most of all, verify the good deal is still inline with the market. When a scammed guest showed up to our rental during prime rental season, they thought they had gotten the deal of a lifetime. They saw it listed for five times what the scammer was asking for. They communicated by text message with him and thought he was just a compassionate and caring person who wanted to do them a huge favor. They traveled 1,500 miles, across the country, to show up to a home that wasn't available. Their "good deal" meant they were out the money they paid, and ended up paying even more to find accommodations. Not a deal at all. They had a fake rental agreement, copies of emails through Craigslist, bank wire receipts, all brought with them due to a "gut feeling" as the scammer was no longer returning calls and the number was no longer in service. The police were unable to help. Do your homework and trust your gut.
If you are looking for a great vacation rental, for the best price, use Houfy. There are no service fees and you have direct communication with verified owners.
Ask yourself this:
"What percentage of bookings will be generated solely by my own website in one year, two years, three years?" Only a handful of hosts can truthfully say 100% of bookings will come from their own website. The majority will continue to rely upon the OTAs (online travel agencies).
Airbnb will likely move hosts to a 15% commission model–and we all know Vrbo follows whatever Airbnb does. Booking.com charges a minimum of 15%; that doesn't even include the host's credit card fees.
TripAdvisor quietly adds up to 16% extra to the owner's nightly rates. Expect the major OTAs (online travel agencies) to eliminate traveler service fees altogether, with all of them charging a minimum of 18% (to include credit card processing).
Now, think about this...
IF your website only generates 50% of your bookings, which platform do you want to supplement the other 50%? One that wants a 15% cut of your revenue and overrides your own policies?
It's always been touted to never send a traveler to a 3rd party site, only to book your competition instead. But Houfy is different. It's not just a listing site–it's a movement.
Think long term. Start promoting your preferred booking channel in tandem with your own website brand.
Unlike the OTAs, Houfy isn't out to exploit owners. Instead, Houfy has given us the freedom to take back control of our properties. Align yourself with others who share a similar vision and goals.
Each new person (traveler or host) who joins Houfy, brings us all one step closer to breaking free of the OTA chains. Collective efforts always outperform individual ones. But in order for people to use and add their inventory to Houfy, they first need to know it exists.
Tell Both Hosts and Travelers About Houfy
Talking about Houfy shouldn't be reserved for just your hosting groups. In order for Houfy to succeed, it needs the inventory...right?
The more inventory, the more travelers will shop on the site. And the more likely they will use the site again in the future.
With the recent industry explosion, almost everyone knows of a friend, family member, or co-worker who is also a host. You never know when a traveler inquiring through your own website is also a host themselves. Or maybe your incoming guest lists their property on another platform.
Many hosts advertise their availability in facebook book direct groups. Imagine if all of us posted something like this:
Book Great Retreat Cabin directly on our website or on Houfy's book direct market network. SAVE BIG and skip the excessive traveler fees from those other sites.
Other owners and travelers would repeatedly hear the name Houfy and eventually check out the site. This is the quickest way to help add inventory to Houfy, while simultaneously promoting your own brand. It's a win-win!
Start to view each traveler and guest as a potential opportunity for another property to be listed on Houfy. And who knows–that next traveler may be a realtor with 50 properties to add.
Houfy Members Are Not the Competition
Begin to think of other Houfy members as your allies. The real competition is the OTAs–not each other.
A traveler has already found your website and was interested enough to send an inquiry. What are the chances your property perfectly meets the needs of their group? I don't know about you, but I don't always hear back from travelers after answering their questions.
Maybe my place wasn't in their budget, they needed more bedrooms, or just preferred a location closer to downtown.
By not providing travelers options, they'll likely find their way to one of the listing sites you don't want to be using in the future. Wouldn't you rather a Houfy member receive the booking, versus a host on Airbnb?
And even if your property is the perfect match, most people still shop around just to see what else is out there.
Don't be afraid to direct your website inquirers to shop around on Houfy in case your property doesn't meet their needs. Chances are they'll return to book your place anyway. Plus, they'll appreciate you shared helpful tips of how they can save money–even if they didn't choose your property this time.
Introduce Departing Guests to Houfy
Have you ever had a repeat guest contact you but the dates were already taken? I have. But often repeat guests don't reach out once they see the dates are not available. Or, maybe their group is larger this time, and they need an extra bedroom you can't provide anyway.
Travelers often book multiple vacation rentals throughout the year and use the same platform they booked through last time.
When thanking your departing guests for choosing your property, tell them they can save money by either booking directly on your website, or directly on Houfy. This conveys that Houfy is a marketplace to find other properties as well.
When they go to book their next vacation, hopefully they'll remember you mentioned Houfy doesn't charge traveler fees. I don't get many repeat guests, so my departing guests' "next" time may be a booking for your property on Houfy.
What Goes Around Comes Around
All of us will have our turn benefiting from another member who recommended Houfy. You may receive a booking because of me. And vice versa, I will one day receive a booking because of you.
But if I only promote my own website, and my neighbors only promote theirs, the only people hearing about Houfy are those in online forums and friend circles.
Promoting Houfy alongside your own website, in no way takes away from you building your own unique brand. There's room for both. And travelers will remember both brands!
But no one benefits (except the OTAs), when we keep Houfy a secret for fear a traveler might book our competition.
While most reservations will go smoothly as planned, there may be times when you'll be asked to produce a signed Rental Agreement. Even hotels have you sign an agreement at check in, at the same time they ask for your ID and credit card. Agreements can be signed manually or digitally–and both methods are legally upheld in the courts.
Most owners allow guests to reserve dates by clicking "I agree" to their online sample contract, along with a partial or full payment amount. Then the reservation is officially confirmed, as soon as the signed agreement is returned.
Know Your Local Laws
If you aren't already familiar with your local laws, go ahead and start learning them now. A short term Rental Agreement will differ from a long term tenant lease. First, find out if a Rental Agreement is required for short term rentals in your area. Your local laws may require specific information to be included in the agreement.
For example, North Carolina is governed by the North Carolina Vacation Rental Act. This Act spells out owner obligations, guest protections, and what clauses must be included within the agreement. Regulations will vary among different states and jurisdictions.
If you ever need to sue a guest in court, or are named as the defendant in a lawsuit, the first thing the attorneys or judge will want to see is the Rental Agreement. If your insurance company becomes involved, they too will ask for this information and will review your agreement's clauses and disclaimers.
This is why it's highly recommended to have an attorney draft your agreement, as they can review your insurance policy and determine the types of language your agreement should contain.
Assuming you have the proper liability insurance, it's also important to speak with your insurance company to determine what required documents are needed if you ever need to file a claim. Will your insurance company pay out a "loss of income" claim based on past reservations printouts? Or will they require an actual signed agreement between you and the guest?
An attorney is well worth the cost–and a solid Rental Agreement along with the proper insurance, can actually dissuade potential lawsuits.
Credit Card Dispute
If one of your guests ever files a credit card chargeback, you may be asked to produce a legally signed Rental Agreement. Often times, credit card companies will not acknowledge a "click to accept" (checkbox) as a legitimate cardholder signature.
Additionally, you may be asked to prove the cardholder is the same person who signed the agreement. This is why it's a good idea to always ask for the cardholder's ID after booking.
The card companies also have specific policies of how the merchant (you) must present certain information to the cardholder. For example, they may require that the guest's initials or signature are close to the stated cancellation policy, and may not consider a single signature on the last page to be sufficient.
Depending on the chargeback person assigned to your case, the checkbox acknowledgement may be acceptable, but why take the chance?
Not only should local law and insurance requirements be considered, but the card companies' policies as well. Below are sample agreements that other Houfy members have given permission for anyone to use. Feel free to take parts from any or all, and customize your own.
Do not rely on any of these samples as "legal documents" that will meet all of your needs. It's also a good idea to take notes of applicable sections you like, and bring them to your attorney for review.
- Manage Listings
Another way is to preview your listing and scroll down to the bottom of your pa
If logged out or wish to see another member's listing views: Click on the listing and scroll to the very bottom to see total views.
After Clicking the Sign up to earn points link, recipient will be directed to the main sign up page.
- Click top right down arrow to display Drop-down Menu>Refer & Invite>Refer Hosts.
- Copy URL link and send directly or click Share button.
There are several ways to share your link from Houfy.
If sending via email, the recipient will receive this.
What Can Someone Do With Points?
Nothing at the moment. Houfy is currently running tests to see what works and what doesn't. There may be future opportunities to use points for things such as having your property featured for a short period of time, etc.
New Host Getting Started Checklist
Invite Friends, Family, and Guests to Houfy
You can see the number of views you have had of your Houfy listing near the bottom of your listing page.
You can also set up Google Analytics to track and get more detailed Houfy activity and insights.