There are quite a few new members at Houfy and many might not really understand Houfy or who we are. I'll try to explain as clearly as I can below.
Who is Houfy: I, Thijs H. Aaftink, own 100% of Houfy Inc. A Colorado company. Swapnil Chavan is our programmer, located in India, and works mostly Eastern Time Zone, depending on where I am. I have worked with Swapnil for over 4 years now. Houfy costs about 50K a year and I am personally investing my funds in this project.
I am like most of you a homeowner, who rents out properties/ buys and sells properties. (I have problems with fees, real estate fees and not being able to really "know" who rents our places) + I wanted a simple system to share local information instead of e-mailing my guests links to where they need to go get this and that..
I also needed a website for my return guests or previous guests to save them the 10-15+% OTC fees as we now have very simple ways to accept payments directly. (This was not really the case 3-5 years ago, we needed the large OTA's)
What is Houfy? Houfy is market network. A combination of a marketplace and a social network (publishing network). This is something new.
Houfy is very much a project in the making. The basics for adding a listing on our vacation rental marketplace is working correctly, viewing your listing and the results on the marketplace work. (Marketplace)
Houfy is also a social network. You can publish articles/stories on Houfy and attach these to your listing. More than 50K urls are being indexed by Search engines. Houfy has around 4K completed listings. (Social/publishing network)
Why is Houfy free? about 2 months ago: I confirmed all listings on Houfy will be free. The reason is to disrupt the current systems in place. It is to disrupt the larger 4 OTA, Airbnb/Booking/Expedia Group and Tripadvisor, who charge fees directly or indirectly to market their business and all the smaller OTA's who charge listing fees mostly per year to market their business.
How will Houfy make money?
- Houfy can make money by "licensing" the technology to other sites. Destination sites/specialty sites. These sites would charge a fee to market your property and a fraction would go to Houfy for the use of the Houfy platform. (Powered by Houfy)
- Houfy can make money by creating connected websites for owners and managers
- Houfy can make money through advertising
- Houfy can make money by adding fees to members who wish to show their property as a special or in an e-mail campaign.
- There are numerous ways for Houfy to make money in the future. The basic listing on Houfy will stay free.
When will Houfy make money? I do not know. Maybe in 2020.
Are there any outside investors in Houfy? No. Cristina and I are the sole investors.
Will I sell Houfy? NO or Is Houfy a pyramid scheme? NO. Houfy has not received 1$ from anyone.
How long can you manage to keep the site up without earning any money? Most probably 5+ years. (2025) = total 600K investment - I have no clue what will happen the next years. I do know our technology is great and comparable to Airbnb/Facebook. Swapnil can explain in more detail the systems we use.
We intend to share Houfy ownership with Houfy members who actively participate in helping Houfy. Without your help we would not be where we are today. The more you share your listing, stories, guides and use Houfy for bookings, the more you help us, Houfy, all of us. We are actually calculating all the views you get on your stories/listings etc. These could be converted into ownership or exchanged towards "specials/e-mail campaigns etc.". (Unfortunately, I do not have more details right now. I will share when the time is right and when this will be clearer) - please look at this link and the video minute 4.
This group is to share successes, errors on Houfy, any questions you have related to Houfy. This is a wonderful group of homeowners/managers and guests. The sole purpose of the group is to make Houfy better. If you have questions about VRBO or Airbnb, please ask in those groups.
Sometimes we cannot reply or correct your problem immediately, sometimes we just fix and forget to inform you it is fixed.. Swapnil and I and many volunteers are trying our very best to answer you promptly. I'm a strong believer in customer service and I hope together with many of you we can answer questions rapidly.
Please be kind and nice! This is all we ask for.
What can you do? Study Houfy! Spend some time on Houfy, test Houfy, Share Houfy with previous guests, with people around you. Educate people about the fees they are paying. Review these 3 helpful guides: Houfy Social & Vacation Rentals FAQ & About Houfy
I hope I answered some of your questions.