Introduction to posts and collections
The sharing of local information is what differentiates Houfy as a "market network" versus a standalone "marketplace" (ex: listing site).
Layman terms: Marketplace + Social Network = Market Network. Houfy is so much more than just a place to list and book properties.
Once you begin to think of Houfy in terms of a market network (with thousands of owners/travelers sharing local info), you'll begin to see the potential power of Houfy. Not only will Houfy be "interesting" to site users–but interesting to search engines (Google/Bing/Yahoo,etc.) as well! Relevant content = higher search engine rank = more traffic = more bookings.
Before diving straight into writing, I suggest first spending a few minutes learning the basic concepts of Houfy Social. Once you understand the difference between Posts and Collections (and the purpose of each one), you'll find that sharing info on Houfy is actually quite simple!
Let's Start With the Social Jargon
- Houfeed = your houfeed is the continuous stream of Posts published by you, and your Followers/Friends. You will see this as soon as you log into Houfy.
- Follower = a member who sees your Posts/Stories in their Houfeed. Any member can follow any other member
- Following = members you follow to see their Posts/Stories in your Houfeed
- Friend = a member who is "following" you, and you are "following" the member back
- Log into your Dashboard.
- Click on your Profile Pic.
- Click the drop-down menu next to More.
You can now view your Friends, Followers, or the members you are Following.
Publishing on Houfy
- Post = similar to a blog post
- Collection = a compilation of related posts. You can attach collections to your property listings.
When should I write a post?
Most of you are currently using Houfy Social to create useful collections for your guests. Think of a post as being similar to a blog post, article, or more detailed/useful information.
Posts allow many options in regards to formatting. You can embed links, videos, pics, bold, highlight, italicize, underline, make headings, number items, etc. In essence, a post allows you to create pretty documents.
So take all those old "things to do" and "places to eat" Word documents and turn them into pretty Houfy posts. Travelers can comment on them, share them on social media, and bookmark them into their own collections for a future trip. Not to mention your guests will appreciate you have all of this info handy for them!
What Is a collection?
A collection is just a collection of related posts. Think of it as organizing information into folders. You might have a collection called "Best Hiking Trails near Lake Lure," "Top 10 Breakfast Spots in Asheville," or "Rainy Day Activities." Collections appear under your profile, and can be set to public or private. You might be creating a collection for your own vacation and bookmarking others'posts. Be sure to set to private if you prefer the public not view it.
When creating collections for guests, you will make these public and attach them to the appropriate listing. Ex: your "Best Food Trucks in Asheville, NC" collection likely wouldn't be attached to your listing in Spain. On the other hand, a collection about "How travelers can save $$$ on vacation" may be attached to all of your listings.
No one is going to force you to create posts and collections if you don't want to. If you need help getting started, go ahead and start converting your arrival info into Houfy posts. Then compile them all into a Welcome Arrival Collection for your guests. I email all of this info directly from Houfy as soon as guests make a booking.
I love being able to provide digital collections for my guests
How do I find my houfeed?
- Please log in.
- Select Menu > Houfeed.
What happens to content (posts, pictures) that I delete from Houfy?
When you choose to delete something you shared on Houfy, we remove it from the site. Some of this information is permanently deleted from our servers; however, some things can only be deleted when you permanently delete your account.
How does "write a post" work?
Writing a post looks a LOT nicer than a regular post. We use regular posts for quick references.
At Share a story you can add multiple links, pictures and format text.
For example: Select text or right click..
Or let's try adding embedding a link:
And there is the preview of the embedded link
Add an image: Click on plus or drag drop..
What can you do with this?
An example might be: Guide: Summer Activities. You would like to add all the golf courses near my place in 1 post. Write a story would be a great way to create this article. Another story you could add to Summer Activities might be about best hiking trips nearby.
For Guide B: Restaurant Guide, Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner or Italian/Top 10 restaurants could be 4 stories collected into the Guide. 3 best restaurant places, 5 Lunch, 8 Dinner places to go to etc.
Once clicking post, you will see this pop up:
You can tag the story and make it private if you choose to.
I am using "story" to write this document for your information. I will file in Houfy Help Guide Social. This to find the story back easily. I can edit this story whenever I want.
Best practices for writing a post on Houfy
Houfy is a market network for property owners, agents and managers. All members can publish posts on Houfy and, as long as it’s not in violation of our rules, have the potential to find an audience and indirectly your listing(s).
We care about quality. We want you to put your best work on Houfy, and in the future we will feature posts we think are great. To help you understand what we mean when we say “quality,” we’ve written up these guidelines. They are based on what we believe might work best for readers — which means they should work well for you, too.
1) Plan: Always keep in mind you can "bookmark" your posts to a collection (For example: Plan to make a Guidebook: Activities near your home)
2) Do: Start writing a story: for example about your favorite Golf-courses, contact info, green fees and other relevant information.
- Write a clear headline. Readers have a split second to decide if they want to read your story. Just like pictures on your listing. It is the number 1 selling point. Put a good, descriptive title and subtitle on your story.
- Your story should contain original insight, ideas or perspectives. What would your clients want to hear?
- Put a nice image on your story — just make sure you’re not violating someone else’s copyright.
3) Check: Look out for typos and formatting. Put care into your work. (We will monitor/edit and make sure the editing mode looks close to similar as to the published story)
4) Act: Publish your story, bookmark your story in a guidebook (or create a new one) and optionally add the guidebook to your listing.
5) Share your story by e-mail or on social sites.
Next: What other Activities near your home are available for your guests/clients? Maybe your guests would want to know more about Horse-riding / Sailing / Snorkeling etc. Here again you can write stories and collect/save/bookmark these to the Guidebook Activities.
You can repeat above for restaurants, events, attractions, frequently asked questions etc.
In short, do your best work. People like to read things that are just good.
Edited Sept 30, 2019
How does import story work at Houfy?
We have made importing a story on Houfy extremely easy.
Houfy is a social platform, a publishing platform and a market place. We call this combination a "market network"
The idea of Houfy is to share local information around your property. You can do this in the form of "guides". Guides are collections of stories and posts and can easily be added to your listing(s).
For example: Restaurant guide - includes:
- stories or one story about: best breakfast places near your property
- another story about: Top ten lunch places
- and another about: Best dining nearby
I have no time to do this! OK. Do not worry, you do not need to make guides and stories.
Do your guests ever ask you how to check in or where they can buy groceries nearby? You most probably have a standard e-mail ready to respond to the most frequent questions. At Houfy you can answer these questions in the form of stories and guides. This would/could make the user/guest experience a tiny bit more pleasant; and this is our idea.
Many of you have your own website, you do not need to do anything, just forward the guest to your site and let them figure it out there.. Correct, however: at Houfy we are creating a "standard" template for all stories and guides, no different colors/font sizes etc. Just like you listed your property on Houfy on our advertising platform, like this you can list your information on Houfy as well. This information will be filtered in the near future for guests to easily review. Just like guests filter at our advertising platform search where they want to stay.
I'm sure we will see many errors with the import story as we are just "launching" this. Please inform us in our facebook group and we will try to fix or in some cases it will not be possible. Why? Simply because there are 1000s of different templates of websites with different coding.
Step 1: Log in > Menu > Stories > Import Story >
Step 2: Go to your site and copy a url of one of your website pages
Step 3: Paste at "Import Story" - depending on the amount of pictures the timing can differ from a few seconds to 15+ seconds. We are currently working on adding video's, so if you have video links in a page, these will not show just jet
Once the story is imported, you can edit, change, add links, embed and much more. Once OK, click "post" top right.
Your story will now appear on our Houfy homepage "logged in". We will be filtering out this information in the future.
Click on the story and view it. You might need more spacing between pictures and text. Click on the little menu icon and edit the story. Post again.
Once all OK, you can "bookmark" the story to a guide. (In this case, I am writing a story about How to Import and I will bookmark this to Help Guide Social) - (Just like you are making stories about restaurants, attractions, check in instructions etc., I am making stories how Houfy works.)
I will be editing this story as we go the next few months, I am sure there will be quite a few changes.
Also: We will be adding or giving you the option to add your listing to the bottom of a story..
Thanks T & S
Writing posts in Houfy for listing independence
Why do we write posts (I.e. Blog)? Hint: Listing independence.
It used to be you could have a property listing and if the listing site had a lot of traffic your listing would be found.
This is no longer the world in which we live. More and more the deck is stacked against us. You have to pay more and you have to play by the listing company's rules or be an exemplar host as determined by listing companies. Don't play by their rules, they will "bury" your listing into oblivion. Btw - ask anyone, it is easy to come into the crosshairs and have your listing suspended, even for a simple misunderstanding.
Our properties are just a commodity to the listing companies. It is like going to a large university and you are known only by your student number.
I feel the OTA's are orchestrating a hostile take over of my personal property and business. They want to control how you do business, how you interact with guests, when and how you receive money.
Most of us on Houfy should be on a mission toward becoming listing independent. What does that mean? It means no longer solely reliant on a large listing company to get prospective guests looking at your listing.
I see Houfy as becoming our best friend and instrument toward this aim. You need an independent listing. Check. You need your own website presence. Check. You need a platform to create engaging content about you as a host, about what makes your place special, about the location to give prospective guests a sense of place. Check. And collectively, the listing, content provides an ability to interact with guests and take reservations. Check. Check.
And is Houfy your only friend? No. You make more friends with other tools and resources too. And you introduce your friends to make even more friends. What I mean is you take the content you are writing on Facebook, your own blog on your website (I.e. your friends or other property support sites) and you do things like import a post in Houfy to ensure you have content there about giving vacationers a sense of your place and location.
The more you are engaged in posting stories/posts in multiple places, the more likely it is a post (I.e. Blog post) that gets indexed by the search engines. And get ranked high enough for some of your content you begin to drive traffic to your own listing. Drive enough traffic you begin to get inquiries. And with enough inquiries you begin to get your own bookings. And what a feeling that is!
As you progress on this listing independence journey, you will no doubt realize how many other things you can do with content. You can reshape it; re-package it into ad campaigns or online newsletters. You will find that a group of posts (I.e.posts. 😉) are similar. Maybe they can be put together in a collection (I.e. collection. 😀).
And imagine you can enable this content as part of your property listing built right into Houfy (without being flagged as a trouble maker and suspending your listing like the big listing companies).
My Houfy property listings are now fully embedded in my website (see above link). I still have my own blog on my website but that's great too. It isn't either this or that. It's all of the above. I even created an ad on the homepage for Houfy, which I'm calling "Powered by Houfy." I'm linking to the Houfy sign up page. I'm setup to accept payment through Square and I have tested the experience from end-to-end as guest and as host and it works seamlessly.
More and more I focus on ensuring my content is good original content. I work hard to include meaningful videos and eye-catching photos. Don't just insert a link to a video and think that's content. I am looking at what is getting searched and writing strategically for generating traffic as well.
So up, up and away (insert Houfy superman photo)!
Helpful Tips and Common Mistakes to Avoid When Writing Posts
Writing Houfy posts is easy once you get the hang of it–it's even easier to get started on the wrong track. There's no need to go down the same bumpy road some of us already walked! To speed up your learning curve, I've compiled this list so you're not figuring things out alone, and can avoid a "Post clean-up" later down the road. I highly suggest spending 3 minutes reading Introduction to Post, Story, and Collection before continuing.
1) A post is not a collection. A collection is not a post. These terms are NOT interchangeable.
This is the number one thing that confuses people the most. A post and collection are two different things. Posts can be bookmarked (saved) to collections. Don't use the collection's "description box" to write about your favorite hiking trail. The description box is used to briefly describe the kinds of posts that can be found in the collection.
Publish a post about the hiking trail. Then bookmark the post to your collection. Even if you only have one hiking trail to put in your Hiking collection, it should be added as a post. Unlike posts, "collection descriptions" do not show up in anyone's houfeed–not even your own.
Note: If you've never seen your own posts in your houfeed, it's likely because you're writing collection descriptions. Cut/paste the text from the descriptions and create posts out of them.
2) Start following other houfy members as soon as possible.
Begin interacting and using Houfy Social. Following people exposes you to various writing and organizational styles of other members. No one is going to think you're a stalker! Just search for the member's profile in the Houfy search bar or check out the list of people I am following.
I suggest reading the All Posts feed instead of only your own Houfeed. Many of you only see what Thijs posts from Houfy, Inc. because you're not following anyone else. The All Posts feed shows posts currently being published by all members. The more people you follow, the more ideas you'll have when creating your own collections.
Begin to comment and ask questions on others' posts. Share them! In turn, this will encourage other members and travelers to follow suit. Whenever I notice I have a new follower, I always follow the person back (including my own guests) to see what kinds of content they may be writing about. More followers = more people who read and share your Posts.
3) Ctrl + Z Might Be Your New Best Friend.
I didn't discover this time saving keyboard function till long after I began writing posts. For the minority who may not know this, Ctrl + Z is your computer keyboard's Undo function. Post is easy for me now, but I used to struggle when I would accidentally delete my photos all the time. Ctrl + Z does work, and it has absolutely changed my life.
5) Pixabay is great for Stock photos.
If you're like me and hardly have any pics of the places you're writing about, Pixabay is a great resource. I wish I had known about Pixabay when I first started writing.
I played around with Shutterstock and other sites, but complying with their rules seemed like more trouble than they were worth. And the lesser known free sites didn't have much photo inventory. All of the pics in this Story are from Pixabay. The site is really easy to navigate. I highly recommend it.
6) Posts should be revisited from time to time.
Some establishments will close, have a change in management, or change the services offered. In areas where mom and pop places often shut the doors before closing time, it's best to link to the amt the bottom of your Story. That way travelers know to always check their hours before driving out.
Notice within this post I suggest checking the food truck's facebook page for their schedule, and at the bottom I link to their storefront location. For long standing businesses with consistent year round hours, I will include more detail of open/close hours within the post.
7) Don't forget to embed your Houfy listing at the bottom of each post.
You are missing opportunities if you're not! Every time your post is shared by guests, travelers, and other Houfy members, they'll know you also offer lodging. Remember, many people who entered Houfy Social via a post don't even realize they are on a site that also offers accommodations (unless they happen to notice the lodging tab at the very top).
For people with multiple properties, there's a Houfy link that lets the traveler see all of your Houfy properties in one glance, including those you have For Sale.
Embedding our Houfy listings also brings uniformity to our posts, and helps to develop brand recognition for Houfy. Think of it like putting a Houfy stamp at the bottom, right before you hit Publish now.
Eventually, people will recognize these posts and associate them with Houfy. Look at the very bottom of this post along with the tagline.
Learn how to create beautiful posts.
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How to Use All of Story's Formatting Options
How to Use All of Story's Formatting Options
Engage more readers with aesthetically pleasing and easy-to-follow content. Not only should your Stories be well-written, they should be visually appealing as well. Utilizing all of Story's formatting options increases the chances of gaining followers on Houfy–and in turn, the likelihood your Stories will be shared on social media.
To begin writing a Story:
- Log into your dashboard.
- Click on Profile Pic in upper right corner.
- Click on Stories.
- Click Write a story. You will see the screen below. The plus sign allows you to type text.
Put some thought into your Story's title. Choose an interesting, concise title that communicates to the reader what the Story is about.
Tip: If your cursor is placed before the first letter character of the title and you hit the backspace key, the title font will shrink. To change it back to the default large font, select the text and click H3 on the editor toolbar.
- In order to begin typing text, you need the plus sign to appear. Hit the enter key or place your cursor on a new line to make it appear on the left. Now begin typing.
Add Images, Embed Links, and Separator
- Click the plus sign to expand the toolbar.
To add an image (like in the beginning of this Story), click the image icon. Then drag and drop, or upload a pic from your computer. Your Story's cover photo pulls from the first image in your Story. You can also add text to the bottom of your pic like this:
- To embed a link such as your property listing, a youtube video, etc., click the embed link icon.
Then copy/paste the URL/website address, and hit the enter key. (Sample embed links are at the very bottom of this Story).
- To add a Separator (the 3 dotted line you see below) click the toolbar's far right icon.
- To begin typing text again, close out of the toolbar by clicking the X on the left.
Formatting Text and Inserting Hyperlinks
Select the text you'd like to format, and the editor toolbar will appear above the text.
- H3 = increases text to large font
- (") = turns text into a blockquote - (eliminates the need for quotation marks when quoting another source) typically used when quoted text/excerpt is longer than four lines.
- UL = adds bulleted list to text
- OL = adds numbered list to text
- Check mark symbol = adds boxes before text (can click box to add a check mark inside)
- B, I, U = bold, italicize, underline
- Hi = highlights text with color like this
- Link icon = turns text into a clickable link (hyperlink)
Drafts are frequently saved automatically (about every 5 seconds). Unfinished Stories can be found under Drafts. Once published, the Story moves from Drafts to either your Published or Private folders. To locate your folders, go to Profile Pic>Stories. You will see them on the left.
Drafts and published Stories can be edited anytime. Pull up the draft/Story. Click Menu icon in right corner. Then click Edit.
When your draft is ready to be published, click Menu>Edit (in screenshot above). Then click Publish to bring up the Prepare your story for readers Pop-up window.
You can add up to 5 tags and change them later. Who should see your Story in their houfeed? Select Only me, Public, or Friends. Click Publish now.
You should now see your Story in your own houfeed.
Helpful Tips and Common Mistakes to Avoid.
Houfy Social Help Guide.
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FAQ and troubleshooting for post and collection
Updated March 8th, 2021
Q: How long should my post be?
There is no exact length and will vary depending on the topic. Keep in mind even very engaged readers will reach the fidgety "abandon article point" around the 7 minute mark.
TIP: See if it makes sense to break up a long post into several smaller posts. Then hyperlink them all to each other.
Q: Is there a way to save another member's collection to my listing?
No. Only posts of other members can be saved to your collections.
Q: Help! I created a collection and I don't see it on my listing. What am I missing?
- First make sure the collection is set to public (not private). All public collecitons show under your profile homepage.
- Attach the collection to the properties where you want it to appear: Manage Listings > Collections.
- Confirm at least one post is saved to it.
Q: Help! I saved my post to my collection, but when I click on the collection, the post isn't there.
- You might have saved your post in draft mode and never published it. Your post is in the collection, and will appear once published. Go to your posts and see if it's under your Drafts folder. If it is, click the posts's edit button (3 dots on top right) to bring up the Publish tab.
Click Publish button. Once you click Publish now, it will appear in your collection (since you already saved it).
- Check to see if your post has a title. Posts without titles will not appear in collections.
- Check to see if the post is set to private. Private posts need to be sent directly to the recipient. Only public posts can be viewed in collections.
Q: Help! I just wrote a new post and am trying to add it to my existing restaurant collection. I can't figure out why there is no way to add it.
Are you trying to add a post from the collection's edit button? If so, you're just not in the right place. Use the post's save icon instead. You should be able to add it to your collection now.
Hot Tub Rules
Hot tubs are wonderful amenities. We want our guests to enjoy the hot tub and be able to enjoy without interruption their entire stay. With weekly chemical balancing and cleaning, the hot tub should remain sanitary for you use. But abuse or misuse can result in an unusable or unsanitary mess! Make sure you know and follow the rules.
No Children Allowed
A hot tub is not a kiddie pool. Use by children is prohibited. Use by pre-trained toddlers and infants, even with swim diapers, is not only dangerous for the child but will make the tub unusable very quickly.
Unlike a swimming pool the amount of water is quite limited and any contaminates can quickly overwhelm the chemical and filtration system. Once chemicals are depleted from any organic matter (urine, body oils, algae, food or drink) the hot tub, due to the higher temperatures of the water, will allow bacteria to grow and will become smelly and unusable.
Even just leaving the top off and allowing the chemicals to evaporate can, overtime, do the same thing.
Do not use if intoxicated. The heat intensifies the effects of alcohol and can result in injury or death.
Beaware of the maximum occupancy. The larger the adults, the fewer persons it holds. Occupancy is measured in volume and the number given is only a guide, so use common sense. If there isn't a seat for you, the tub is full.
No children without adult supervision, and keep the cover latched when not in use. And never put babies in the hot tub!
Do not set temperature above 104 degrees. A good temperature for the first time user on a cold day is 100 degrees. Increase the temperature as needed. Always turn it down to to 95 after leaving, if planning to return. Or turn it down to 80 if you are finished for the day or night. Running the tub at a high temperature will deplete the chemicals even if no one is using it.
Do not use the tub if the jets are not circulating or while turned off. The circulation runs the filter and allows the tub to clean while in use. And never enter the hot tub if it has a foul odor or the water is a strange color.
Don’t Damage the Hot Tub
Shower before entering. This is not just to remove algae from you and your bathing suit, but to remove oils and soaps from them as well. Fabric softeners, hair conditioners and products, lotions and oils will clog the filter and keep the tub from adequately cleaning itself. A special visit from the pool pro will be required at the least. Often if the damage from oils, bath soaps, and suntan lotions is extensive, the tub will have to be drained and refilled before you will be able to use it again. This process takes 24-48 hours.
No foreign objects, toys, jewelry, food or bath products. A simple earring or hair tie, if lost could damage the pump and circulation system. Food and other organic material depletes the chemicals needed for bacteria prevention. Bath products, especially lotions, oils and soaps, are not broken down by chemicals. The tub does have an ozonator to eliminate soaps and oils, but the process can be overwhelmed with 7 people's lotions, a bath bomb, or soap from skin and suits. If the tub has bubbles that do not disappear after being turned off you should allow the tub to run on a low setting for a few hours. If a foul odor or sticky bubbles occur or continue, we will have to have the pool pro take a look at it. If it is found that bath products, suntan lotions or other misuse was the cause, you may be charged for the service.
No glass ever. We provide acrylic drink ware for the home to help keep the hot tub, pool and our guests safe. If glass breaks in the hot tub, it is nearly invisible and very difficult to clean out.
Be careful with the cover. Unlatch and lift off cover carefully to avoid damage to the cover. Never sit or stand on the cover or sides of the tub. Watch the video below for a quick how-to use the cover.
Do not use if you have a medical condition or are ill. Always check with your doctor if you are pregnant, under a doctor's care for any condition. And don't use if you have any open sores, wounds or cuts. The harsh chemicals can cause damage, you could allow bacteria to enter your wound, or if contagious you could sicken others in close proximity to you. Chemicals take time to kill pathogens, and the crowded nature of a hot tub doesn't allow you the time necessary.
Hot tubs are not toys. Please always follow the rules and make sure your entire group know and adheres to the rules as well. Failure to comply with these rules could make the hot tub unusable during your stay. If re-sanitization or repair of hot tub is required due to renter misuse, renter will be charged for the extra pool pro visit, and repairs.
A hot tub is a must have amenity during cooler weather. If you are looking for a vacation rental, you can search using the filters and amenities that are most important to you at Houfy. Go ahead! It is time to Houfy!
Using, Sharing, and Linking to Others' Content
Stories: Are they Yours, Mine, or Ours?
There has been some question and confusion about what is the best, and appropriate, use of all the great content being generated on Houfy by so many talented users. On Houfy, we are united by our content. The goal is for everyone to share their own content and others' content on their listing. Why?
I had an expert in a class on SEO, Search Engine Optimization, describe the net like a spider web. The internet search engine results that come with increased connection and interlinking through SEO, Search Engine Optimization, come from the places with the most and best activity. If you think of the the search engines as spiders crawling along the web, on the threads that link us together, you can visualize how Houfy will benefit. Each strand that connects us to each other and to other sites (tourism, Facebook, , restaurants, attractions, and more) makes a knot of activity that is attractive to the search engines. So if I link to outside sites, and you link to me, I am also linked to the sites YOU are linked to. If you can get others to link back to you, it just makes the knot stronger and more attractive.
Herein lies the problem though. If someone just cuts and pastes the content, and make it their own, they have tipped-off those spiders that the content in it is just a ruse. It isn't "quality." Or if you link to something that is no longer available or a broken link, it can hurt as well. And they will pass right by. They are attracted to unique content, pictures, graphics, relevant keywords and LINKS! Houfy posts are copyrighted and protected. Keep that in mind.
Stories for "Use"
I have started making Houfy Generic posts (stories) for all the Houfies out there to put in their own guides. This is not just for those who don't like to write but want to add content to their Houfy listing to help guests. These stories have outside and back links that will help with SEO. It is for all Houfies to connect and contribute to the marketplace and help get the Houfy brand out into the greater vacation rental market. But "using" these posts does not mean copying and pasting. It means linking or referencing them.
These generic posts do not have a link to any specific listing, but link back to the Houfy main page. By using or linking these Houfy Generic posts by adding them to a guide, you are uniting and connecting us all. Don't worry that they don't have your listing on them. They are either in YOUR guide, or in your own story. We have to get away from the idea of competing against each other. Like those extra properties that the OTA puts at the bottom of your listing description, they are there to help SEO! Don't worry about the competition. The real competition are the big OTAs. Not each other. When Houfy wins, you win!
Find help with stories, posts, guides and more at Houfy Help Social.
How Can You "Use" Others' Stories?
To add a story to a guide (or bookmark it), you click on the "flag" icon at the top and check off the guide you want to add it to. Any Houfy post someone writes and you see can be added to your guide. Or you can copy and paste the URL to link to it and build a story around it. To do this, use the "+" and link button to have a link with a thumbnail, or highlight text and add it as a link in the text.
What works best, depends on you and your comfort level with writing stories. If the post is one you or your guests could benefit from and would work in one of your Guides, you can simply click on the flag and add it to your own Guide. Yes, the post may have a link to someone's property in it, but they did write it after all. Stop worrying about competition and start focusing on community. This is the beauty of a marketplace. You aren't alone and you will certainly attract more people by being a part of it.
Another way to use a post, is to allow it to be a source piece for you. Maybe it has some good points you wish you had thought of. Write an abstract of the post, a summary, and provide the link as reference for reading more, as a thumbnail link or as a text hyperlink. This is great for people who want to share the info, but don't need the whole post or don't have the time for full research.
If you feel you can do better, use the piece as research instead. Read through it, write it in your own “voice” and use your own pictures and add some links of your own. You can even use the same links someone used, but in your own format. If you really like the way the original author worded something, put it in quotes and attribute it to them with a link to the original post.
If you have already improperly used someone else's story, graphics, or art put it on your to do list to correct. Rewrite the story in your own words, add a reference link to the original story if you quoted the material. Or just delete the story and add theirs instead.
Check out Bridget Johnson's story on Posts, Stories, and Guides.
How can I contribute? Connect, Share, and Grow!
If you write a Generic Post, and don't have your listing linked to it, you can tag it when you post it with “Houfy Generic.” People can then search in the search bar for “Generic” when they are hoping to find something quickly to send to a guest or to add to their own Guide. But always add a link to the Houfy home page to redirect people to where to search for a vacation rental. Adding your own listing isn't "generic." Adding Houfy.com will also result in the cool Houfy logo appearing. Use the separator text feature to set it apart at the bottom for a more polished look.
Some Ideas to Connect - Make a Guide for That!
I have a Favorite Beach Drink Guide. I have added many posts that aren't mine to it. People who rent our beach house, might see your recipe and want to rent yours next! That is fine with me, especially if you are reciprocating by adding my recipe to your own Guide.
This Guide is made up of other owners drink "posts" and "stories" with recipes!
Facebook and Houfy! Be a booster, not a buster!
Since people don't know Houfy as well as other sites, they may be skeptical that it is real or reputable. When you see someone's Houfy listing promoted on Facebook, “Like” it or comment to let others know you know and approve. Remember that once they are on Houfy, they might find you next! And when renters start seeing the Houfy site and name frequently, they are going to recognize its legitimacy. That helps us all.
Make a Guide - Add a Story - Write a Story!
Start being a contributor too! Start by making a Guide for yourself to save your favorite stories and story ideas in. It can be private, only for you. Or make a Guide for Owners that includes useful information and How-To's you find you reference often. Then make a Guide for your guests.
Guide and Story Ideas
Be part of the community and support each other. Write something and make a Guide about anything! A welcome guide, a weather guide, a restaurant guide, an amenities guide! I even have operational manuals for appliances in a guide. Then write a story and add it to your guide.
Need Ideas? Go to Houfy Social and click on “Popular Posts” or “Popular Guides” to see what is working for others. Read and be inspired!
Good luck writing, sharing, posting, and supporting Houfy and your fellow Houfies! And watch us Grow!
To find some suggestions on what works, check out the Top 10 analysis.
Houfy is the place to go to book direct and connect with owners, destinations, and your own travel potential!
A Story about Stories
Do you want your Houfy listing to stand out? One of the many advantages of Houfy, is for owners to use the Stories and Guidebooks functions to create a personal resources for your guests. Many of us have a Welcome Book at our rentals but Houfy Stories and Guidebooks put your best information at your guests fingertips as they are still making their vacation plans. Wondering how to get started with Stories and Guidebooks? Here are a few tips for your success.
Stories vs Guidebooks
Think of your stories as various chapters of your guidebooks. Here you can categorize your articles (stories) into chapters (guidebooks) into topics such as: Welcome, Check In/Check out, FAQs, Local Information, Things to Do, Restaurants, etc. You can have a Guidebook called “Things to Do” and then have multiple stories featuring the various activities you would recommend for your guests. In this example you can see I have a Guidebook called “Welcome” with stories that include “Furnished Items” and "Emergency Contacts". Don’t forget, you can publish one story to multiple guidebooks. Maybe you write an article (story) about a great new restaurant in your area. You may want to publish it into a guidebook for “restaurants” and also in a guidebook you have called “local information.”
How do I start?
Start with the material you already have created in your welcome book. I took the pages I created for my welcome book and turned them all into Stories, adding pictures and website links to enhance the presentation online. That is jut the beginning. Think about the questions your guests ask you. Think about the questions you had when you first visited the area. Write about your own experiences. Once you get started you will not have a lack of information to share in stories and guidebooks. You will lack in the time to create everything you know can be useful.
Be authentic and write your own stories
Chances are you have seen other websites that have articles that highlight your area. Use them for inspiration but DO NOT JUST POST THEIR LINK. You can easily embed a website into your story but doing so without your own content is pure plagiarism and a misrepresentation of the author of the original article, without the owner's consent. The best time to add a link to another website is when you want to send the guest to the direct information. For example, in this story I have written my own article about excursions in The Riviera Maya, Mexico. These are my own articles about my own experiences or my personal research. When writing about a specific location that has it’s own website, embed a link to that website. What I clearly have not done is I have not created a story with just a link to someone else’s article, thus making it look like the article was created by me in a Houfy story.
How do I get my guests to see my stories?
Many people are not yet familiar with the Houfy platform. When you have a guest you direct to Houfy for their booking, upon confirming their booking, send them a message, telling them about your guidebooks and stories. Tell them to check them out as they are planning their vacation. Welcome their questions and suggestion for other stories. Did they ask a question that wasn’t in a story?...That’s your next story topic. Your guests, especially those who like to research and plan, will love your guidebooks and will let others know how helpful they were. The story and guidebook features within Houfy will truly set your listing and the Houfy platform apart from all others.
Facebook is pulling in an old picture on my Houfy post/listing
Every once in a while you may post a Houfy post, Houfy listing, a blog post, etc. on facebook, and it doesn't pull in your most recent featured pic. This is unrelated to Houfy, it's a facebook issue.
The facebook debugger tool will usually fix this right away. Basically, facebook needs to "scrape" your post again in order to recognize the latest pic.
In this video, Mariah from Mariah Magazine Web & Strategy Studio does an excellent job of explaining why this happens, and walks you through how to use the debugger tool. It's a 3:18 minute video and well worth the watch.
If you don't care to understand why facebook does this and just want instruction on the tool, fast forward to minute 1:18.
If you have more questions, please join our facebook member group
Can I rotate pictures in stories on Houfy?
Select stories > drafts or published > select story > edit
Click on the picture you need to rotate > rotate picture and save & replace
How do I delete a post?
- Menu > Posts
- Click the Post's drop-down menu (Circle with 3 dots).
- Click Delete.
- Click Yes to confirm.
Can I save another Houfy member's post to my collection?
The purpose of members writing posts is so they can be shared.
How do I create a collection?
A collection is a group of similar posts, or you might only need one post in your collection. This local information is helpful to travelers when choosing where to stay. You can create a collection about hiking, museums, restaurants, etc.
- Collections can be set to private or public.
- Public collections appear under your Houfy profile.
- You can also attach a collection to any of your listings.
To create a collection please follow thses steps:
- Click on the + icon on the top bar
- Select Collection
- Choose a title that describes the types of posts in the collection.
- Select an Industry. (Real estate is for properties listed for sale on Houfy).
- Select a Category.
- Type in the city and select a Location from the drop down menu.
- Set to Public or Private.
- Click Continue or click on Photos in left menu.
View the collections on your profile: Menu > Collections
How to add a post to a collection
I created a “things to do” collection and I’m trying to create one “post” a day 5 out of 7 days of the week but how do I put the post in the collection?
View the post and click on the 3 dots (top right) -> Select Save
You will see a pop up and select the collection you would like to show the post in or create a new collection.
How do I save a post to a collection?
- Go to the post you'd like to save.
- Click the post's drop down menu. (Circle with 3 dots)
- Save to one or more existing collections.
How do I delete a collection?
To remove a collection from Houfy, please follow the instructions below:
- Log in
- Click X in top right corner of collection to be deleted.
How to create a guidebook and add to your Houfy listing(s)
We suggest you to first read this document in its entirely before starting to write a story or crate a guidebook.
Houfy is a new concept called a market network. Market networks combine elements of social sites with marketplaces. (Think Facebook/Pinterest/Twitter combined with Airbnb/VRBO/Zillow/Realtor)
What and How to create a Guidebook? A Guidebook is a collection of stories.
Stories about restaurants, breakfast places, cheap eats, top restaurants, nearby restaurants etc. can be collected into a guidebook (Restaurants) You could make another guidebook about activities nearby.
The stories can be saved/bookmarked to a guidebook.
How to create a guidebook:
Remember: A Guide is a collection of Stories.
How to add a guidebook to my listing?
Menu > My Listings > Guidebooks
If you have any questions, please ask below.
I have my own website with guides about activities, events and our favorite restaurants. Why would I add these to Houfy?
Houfy is a new concept. An advertising platform combined with a network, you could call this a "market-network".
Under a normal "old fashioned" way of thinking: A marketplace gets known by being marketed to consumers. All sellers on the marketplace pay a to be on this marketplace in the form of a yearly/monthly fee or though commissions. The owners of the marketplace use ad-words on Google, Facebook marketing campaigns, TV ads, Highway Billboards etc. to get the buyers come visit.
Successful online marketplaces for Vacation Rentals, Hotels, Shared Spaces are currently the "Big Four" - Airbnb, Expedia Group (Homeaway/VRBO), Tripadvsior (Flipkey), Booking .com. Smaller new marketplaces try to enter the market by using listing fees and hold campaigns on social sites.
I'm sure you listed your place on one or more of the big four is to sell your place. They have the buyers and an immense inventory to offer. The buyers look at pictures/price/availability and decide. Currently, the buyers want fast check out! We are all very much in a rush! We need to get home from work, watch our favorite TV show, respond to e-mails oh, they call them notifications now .. on WhatsApp and Twitter. I bet you are in a rush too and can't wait to stop reading this lengthly doc.
OK: You listed on 2 marketplaces, made your own website, promote it on Facebook and you are trying to get direct bookings. In some "State Facebook groups" you try to list your own website as often as you can hoping for that one direct booking.
Look at your place being the banana. You can stand on the street and try selling it. Or you can go to the marketplace and give it to the seller to sell it for you. Where will you have better chances? Selling it with the marketplace however will cost you and or your guests a %.
The Houfy network: This is the complicated part. Please go get a drink and relax.
You might have noticed on Houfy, especially lately, quite a few posts/stories/articles fly by about Houfy/Julie/Bob etc. (I was testing and actually, I am organizing our Houfy guides)
Houfy is a publishing platform.
Just like Houfy guidebooks, you can do exactly the same for your place, make a restaurant guidebook. Ok 85% of you have this already on your own website. Let's say you can import articles and edit this information on Houfy. You create a guidebook "Restaurants" and add 3 stories in there, best for breakfast/lunch/dining, by bookmarking them to the guidebook. You attach this Houfy guidebook to your Houfy listing (Edit listing > Guidebooks). Suddenly our advertising platform at Houfy becomes more interesting than the "older fashioned" ones. Buyers can look at the pics/price/availability and guidebooks!
Houfy the network:
Let's say you are with 20 members in your community and all upload/import your own guides to Houfy from your own websites. You can follow the 19 others very easy on Houfy. Profile/Follow. (Like "twitter"). Currently not very well visible on Houfy, we will make your "Newsfeed/Houfeed" of followers. This means a new restaurant opens in town and member 12 writes about it. (You get an e-mail from Houfy/notification - "to be made" - Member 12 posted ..) You can add his/her story to your restaurant guidebook by clicking the bookmark. You can also view their guidebooks and bookmark some of their articles/stories to your guidebook(s).
Oh, member 12, shared this news on Facebook in a local group and it got shared again by others, the post ended up at client 93 who became a member of Houfy and booked & paid directly with Member 6 out of your group of 20. (this is where things can go "viral")
Imagine inviting your own guests, I am sure they visit other places as well.. or do they only go to your rental every year? Now imagine, they also start following you and get a notification when you publish a story. And, wouldn't it be nice for them to see Houfy and be able to rent directly from other members? Those members (guests) also added local information for other guests to review!
Suddenly Houfy becomes a true network!
These stories and guidebooks can easily be shared on Facebook with 2 clicks or e-mailed to your previous guests. (Liking posts doesn't do much.. it is the sharing of posts which makes the difference!)
The idea of Houfy is to share information around your place. As a market-network, Houfy will be much more powerful than the 100s or 1000s or 10000s + members trying to sell their bananas on the street by themselves. Houfy will not need to spend any significant funds on marketing the 'old fashioned" way, just because of the above mentioned. Google will start picking up on Houfy just because of its size, amount of social activity (in the form of url's/stories/posts etc).
I have written about Houfy destination managers - Let's say the 20 members get together and select 2 members each month to be the destination manager, selling the inventory/adding/checking, removing old bananas etc. Or just 1 member likes to do this "full" time. We will need you for this! (in the future)
Hopefully this explains why it is interesting to share local information/guides/activities on Houfy.
I'm in a few facebook groups and have followed them extensively. The amount of times people ask for what sheets to use for their rental or what new lock to use is amazing. The patience the members in these groups have for this is amazing as well. Imagine a simple Houfy story/article about which new locks are out there.. done. No more need to rewrite or comment about the sheets or locks.
I'm writing this right now with "Houfy-Story" - this is really practical, it autosaves and I can chose to post or leave as draft. I just need to file this (Bookmark), maybe in a Help Guidebook Social Marketing Guide. I'm sure I will edit this many times as we go and need to find this back in an easy way.
How to embed my Houfy guidebook on my own website:
The screenshots below show you how to get the iframe code for your guidebooks:
Menu > My guidebooks > select the guidebook you wish to embed.
Select Share & Embed as indicated below:
How do I share my Guidebook?
Click Share an select where/how you wish to share..
How do I share all of my guidebooks with one link?
There are two ways to do this.
- Click on your profile pic.
- Click Guidebooks under the cover photo.
- Copy/paste the URL in the address bar.
- Click on any one of your guidebooks
- Click View Guidebook on the left.
- Copy/paste URL as in the above pic.
How Do I Share Another Member's Guidebooks All at Once?
Pull up the member's profile.
Scroll down to the member's Guidebooks and click the Show all link.
There are two ways to do this:
1. Copy the URL and email directly.
2. Use the share icons at the bottom.
How to follow someone on Houfy?
Houfy is a social site and allows members to follow each other, become friends etc.
You can follow anyone, just like on twitter or many other social sites. (Search for a name in the search box, click and follow)
1) Posts or stories of members you follow will show on your social homepage. Currently all members follow Houfy (User: info@ Houfy.com)
- (Public) Posting or sharing a story can ONLY be seen by: members who follow you or members who search for your profile.
- (Private) Posting or sharing a story can ONLY be seen by you.
- (Friends) Posting or sharing a story can ONLY be seen by people who follow you and who you follow back.
2) Why? Houfy is being made to share local information around your place. Some members have created posts & stories and added to guides connected to their listings. (Hint: anyone who creates guides on Houfy might get priority on search results over others, currently set at city center). Following certain members might help you in getting ideas what to post/how and what kind of guides you can make.
3) We will be adding "invite" and "notifications" soon for guests/family members or friends to "follow" you.
Should I be following people on Houfy?
Absolutely! Start following other Houfy Members as soon as possible. You will be exposed to the various writing and organizational styles of other members. And the more members you follow, the more ideas you'll have when creating your own stories and guidebooks.
No one is going to think you're a stalker! Just search for the member's profile in the Houfy search bar. Not only should you be following others, I also recommend inviting your guests to follow you on Houfy too. First, let's get familiar with some glossary terms you'll encounter in Houfy Social.
Houfeed = the page you see as soon as you log into Houfy. Your houfeed is a continuous stream of posts/stories published by you, and your followers/friends
All Posts = this feed shows you all posts/stories currently being posted by all members
Post = content that is more conversation-like (Ex: asking for recommendations/advice)
Story = content that is houledge (Ex: sharing local knowledge or insider tips, that will help travelers with planning a visit to your area)
Follower = a member who sees your posts/stories in their houfeed. Any member can follow any other member
Following = members you follow to see their posts/stories in your houfeed
Friend = a member who is following you, and you are following the member back
But who should I start following?
If you don't already know members who you'd specifically like to follow, go to the All Posts feed. You'll see all the posts/stories currently being published by all Houfy members. When you see a story that interests you, just start following the author. It's a good idea to follow members with properties near your area, as you may want to save some of their stories to your own guidebooks.
Invite your guests to begin following you.
The more followers you have, the more people who will read your posts/stories and share them with their friends and family. I invite all guests to follow me on Houfy and read my guidebooks. I do this immediately after they book, no matter which platform they used to make the reservation. And long after their stay has ended, they will continue to receive my stories in their houfeed. This is a great way to keep them thinking about a return visit to my area.
Start having conversations.
Begin to comment and ask questions on other members' Stories. Share their Stories. In turn, this will encourage other members and travelers to do the same. Whenever I notice I have a new follower, I always follow the person back (including my own guests) to see what kinds of topics they may be writing about.
If you'd like to start inviting guests to follow you but don't know what to write, feel free to use the template I send right after someone books my property.
How do I search for a member on Houfy?
You can easily search for members or listings on Houfy by typing in the name in the search bar.
Let's do a search for Karen
- From the Houfy homepage or in your houfeed, begin typing the member's first or last name in the search bar.
- Click the see all results link to display more.