What, Who and Why Houfy?
Houfy is the largest book direct vacation rental site for homes, condos, cabins, apartments and rooms with 55,000+ properties worldwide. Easily find vacation rentals and properties around the world with no booking or service fees. Save money by booking your vacation home directly with hosts.
What does Houfy mean?
HOUFY derived its name from “HOUse For You”
Our mission is to connect people with places.
What makes HOUFY different?
- Houfy is a market network, combining the best elements of social networks and marketplace features on one platform.
- HOUFY grows with its members. Houfy is a movement of like minded members that grows and evolves organically as members add listings and destination information.
- Houfy is free. Houfy provides a free listing to hosts, connects hosts directly with guests, and charges no service fees for the host or guest.
- Houfy connects owners (hosts) directly with guests. We’ve created a platform where people can connect directly with property owners (hosts), managers and agents. This allows for more open communication, and an improved experience for hosts and guests alike.
- Houfy builds technologies and services to promote places & grow businesses for our members.
Houfy provides tools to build and elevate its members e.g. Houfy maps, user-generated content tools to create posts and collections, dynamic SEO to promote properties, payment processing, website integration widgets for calendar, price quotes, and more.
- Houfy is a fun and social community. Travel is all about experiences with friends and family. On Houfy, members can share their experiences and travel tips in the form of posts or create travel communities around similar interests and needs on the houfeed.
- Houfy is easy. With Houfy you can easily set up your Airbnb or Vrbo listing with one click and sync’ your calendars across multiple vacation rental sites.
- Houfy is secure. Houfy uses identity verification tools to promote a safe and trusted marketplace.
- HOUFY is built and running on industry-leading technology.
What is a market network?
Houfy is a market network connecting people with properties directly.
A market network is a new business model of an “enabling economy”. The key attributes are:
- Combine the main elements of both social networks and marketplaces
- Use software to focus action around longer-term projects and relationships, not just a quick transaction
- Promote the service provider as a differentiated individual, helping to build long-term business benefits
- A market network elevates the person, their reputation, and their value.
Market networks have stronger retention and engagement. They represent a different way to do business compared to sites like Airbnb or Uber that simply aggregate demand. In that model, neither the seller nor the customer matter. An Uber driver doesn’t know the customer and the customer doesn’t know the driver. They may never connect again.
To learn more, please join us at:
Thijs H. Aaftink (Creator and Owner), originally from the Netherlands, born in the US, known as T or Tice; started the Houfy project in 2014 with the idea to share local information close to home connected to marketplaces for the real estate and travel industry.
Swapnil Chavan (Lead Programmer), from Pune India. Studied computer science and has been working for Houfy since 2015. Swapnil lives with his wife and child in Pune.
Who owns Houfy?
All shares are owned by Thijs H. Aaftink
Will Houfy sell ownership to raise funds?
Currently there is no reason to raise funds. Our costs are limited and manageable for the foreseeable future.
Will Houfy be partially member owned?
We are looking at options for member ownership. This will take time incl. changes with the Securities and Exchange Commission. We will update as soon as we know more.
See minute 4 of this video..
To learn more: please join Say Yes to Houfy Facebook Group
Our mission is to connect people with places
Vision: Imagine a worldwide AIRBNB looking site for anything related to properties with no booking or service fees. This can be from marketplaces (Real Estate and Lodging) to local activities and information around these properties provided by our members. (A true local information sharing platform with clear and transparent pricing and communication)
How should the site look like:
The success of Airbnb is tremendous. Use a similar system. Simple, 21st century. (Real Estate sites are “old fashioned” and only Airbnb seems to work well for the next generation - you will most probably see Airbnb enter the Hotel scene very soon)
Why the Travel industry?
Try finding a place to stay for your next holiday in Breckenridge, Colorado. You will most likely end up on: booking.com, airbnb.com, vrbo.com or tripadvsior.com - you might look on google and search a few property management companies on the first page. Most likely, you will choose one of the larger four OTA’s (Online Travel Agencies) and book “instant”. You are paying 12-20% fees for this service. I believe the future will look very different. People will be able to pay direct much easier than in the past. (Bitcoin, Paypal, Apple Pay, Square, etc.) Is 10%, 15%, 20% a fair price to pay for the OTA’s services?
Why Real Estate?
Try finding Real Estate for sale in Marrakech (Morocco)? or Playa del Carmen (Mexico)? You will end up at many, many different websites and see different listing prices for the same property? You will see 100s of different agents with different websites and all with different opinions about their market.
Some of these issues we see worldwide. (Imagine just 1 site, where all listings are listed) Do you really need a real estate agent in the future? Should it not be a “showing” agent?
What is the price for the agents showing services? 3%, 2%, 1.5%? Will real estate offices exist in the future? Like travel agencies did in the past?
Why a social site?
Late in 2013, I started managing the inquiries we received from Airbnb and VRBO for our properties in Breckenridge, CO. and responded by e-mail, (lengthy informative ones). It became clear, we needed a website for each property. (Imagine a marketplace, like Airbnb or Zillow where I update information “linked” to my website). The social site was needed to easily update local information as well as invite friends/clients. Each post on social sites is a webpage and “indexed” by Google. This will help Houfy be found in the future when prospective users search for local information. The Houfy community is now a place where members can find and share travel tips & travel guides.
Houfy & Just Cause
What is Houfy's "Just Cause"?
Houfy's just cause is to create one platform for property Owners, Managers & Real Estate Agents to share properties online and connect directly with their clients, guests & buyer with no service fees for the host or guest. Houfy aims to eliminate online middlemen fees & reduce agent commissions.
Houfy is in the process of creating a movement of like-minded individuals who believe online commissions are too high. A movement only exists when people are inspired to move, to do something, to take up the cause as their own.
As of the end of 2021, Houfy has grown to be the largest book direct vacation rental platform worldwide with 55k listings globally, 8k in the US.