3 months ago . 4 min read

What is this Houfy site?

Many of you might wonder what Houfy is all about and why Houfy is any different then any other new vacation rental websites you see..

I will try to explain as good as I can in a short version .. I will edit this document once in a while.. to show you examples etc.

In 2014, I came up with an idea to create a "market-network", a social site combined with marketplaces. In Houfy's case this market-network is being made for "properties".

1) Marketplaces: You can buy/sell & rent properties using online marketplaces. (Think: Airbnb/Expedia/Tripadvsior/Booking - Zillow/Realtor) - To add your listing to Houfy: the process is really simple for Homeaway/VRBO & Airbnb listings: Try this link

2) Social Networks: Combining best elements of Social Networks to easy share local information around your property. (Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/Instagram/Medium/Quora/Tripadvisor forums)

We are currently very much in the development stages. This project is large.

Marketplaces:

I wanted to create an Airbnb/Homeaway direct for owners to rent and a Zillow/Realtor to sell directly.. (The vacation rental part of our site is working quite well, with options to include direct payment through Stripe and Square)

  • no commissions
  • no hidden phone numbers/emails/websites in our messaging system


What is this social site?

For my rentals I thought it would be practical to have certain "Guides/Collections/Libraries" added to my listing, or links for my guests to review. Many guests ask me the same questions all the time: What can I do nearby? Where should we eat? When can we check in? What events are taking place? How do I get there? Who will welcome me? How practical would it be to just send a link.. In this case a Houfy link to a guide.

Most of us create "standard" e-mail replies to these questions. However: Many restaurants change/codes change/ things to do change; so: I thought of making a site where I can easily change/edit "my guides and posts/stories". (This is actually "a story" I am writing right now..- so also useful for Houfy - I am explaining you right now..)

What if your neighbor next door also lists on Houfy and does the same, adding guides/stories and you "follow" him.. and you see some restaurants he recommends which you did not, then we have an interesting site, where we share good local information. (You can just add his/her recommendation to one of your guides - no need to re-write anything) A lot more practical than Facebook/Pinterest/Instagram or Twitter.

These guides can be easily added to your listing on Houfy and improve SEO for your Houfy listing. (At a later stage we might show listings with guides higher up in the search results)

Some of our members have made some terrific guides for their guests to read:

Xaman ha 7101 Caribbean Beachfront - Playa del Carmen
Condo in Playa del Carmen. CHECK OUR WEBSITE FOR MORE CUSTOMER REVIEWS AND INFO AT http://caribbeanbeachfrontcondo.com/ This oversized corner unit has extraordinary views of the Caribbean ocean. We are loca...


Tiki House Pensacola Beach - Pensacola Beach
Vacation Home in Pensacola Beach. With over 3000 sq ft of room with a HUGE 1600 sq. ft. recreation room to spread out, Tiki House has it all! Steps from the beach! Beach and Gulf views from nearly every room and ...

FYI: Our properties are located in Breckenridge, Colorado. A small mountain/ski town with many, many restaurants, 100.000s of visitors & many management companies (all competing for google pg 1) and all sharing similar information..

How can I, with my site or in any way possibly compete with them?

This is why Houfy is interesting: next to our cottage we have restaurant a, b, c; to get ski tickets, you go to site xyz and to rent equipment go to shop a or b. Member M, who also has a listing on Houfy might suggest restaurant d, e, f as he/she is on the other side of town and suggests to rent equipment from store g or h. This will be much more useful information than given by the management companies fighting for the 1st spot on Google.

Imagine going to Breckenridge, staying at our cottage and having a perfect guide for where to eat/get breakfast/buy ski-tickets and rent equipment. My guests will not need to go to any other site (Google/Yahoo etc). The same will be true for Member M.

Real Estate:

For real estate sales: it is exactly the same. Who do you use as a plumber/electrician/closing company etc. Is this 5-6% commission the realtor charged justified for the "showing" and "referring" to the notary or closing company? For us at Houfy: Real Estate for sale has pictures/a Price/sqft/ and some basic details.. very similar as to vacation rentals. How about 1 site for all? I will get back on this one.

SEO

All these posts/stories/guides are being indexed by Google and increase traffic to Houfy. 1 listing is 1 page for the Google's "spider"; 1 post/story or guide is also 1 page/url for the "spider". Writing interesting stories on Houfy will help you, your listing, other listings and Houfy. We currently have about 3000+ listings with 50000 + posts.. Houfy could become "known" for the place to look for good local information and hey, maybe to book direct as well..

Pricing:

Houfy will stay free to list your property. Once we get our members actively involved on our social site and we see serious activity on Houfy, we will start charging fees for certain services on our site (For example: adding a special and showing on top of search results or for "featured" listings). I have mentioned many times: our intention to share Houfy ownership as well as any news/activity we see. We do not have any secrets. Our main objective is to make Houfy work perfectly for you and for all of us.

Marketing:

Please understand: We do not have the Billions of $ needed to market Houfy. Asking you for certain $ a month will be "wasted" funds in my opinion. Houfy will have much more impact if you help us sharing local places around your property. Creating guides/stories/articles and sharing this information on social sites might be quite powerful. I strongly believe this syste might work in the long run.

Swapnil and I will continue working on Houfy full time to make the user interface perfect for all of us, vacation rentals, small hotels, for sale by owner, long term rent etc. Hopefully later in 2019 or in 2020 Houfy will get better "known" and we can "compete" a tiny tiny bit with the big players out there.. We are still very much in the development phase and need to grow our inventory with "perfect listings" (Updated pricing/calendars/pics etc.)

We will be "hiding" listings which our not acceptable to our "to be made" standards per April 1 2019.

Thanks T & S

Written: Jan 15th 2019 - Edited Feb 26, 2019

If you have questions: please e-mail us: info@houfy.com

If you already are a member of Houfy: Join

Say Yes to Houfy
Say Yes to Houfy has 698 members. This FB Group is for anyone interested in Houfy. This group is intended to get updated Houfy information, ask...


01-19-2019 2:27 PM

"What if your neighbor next door also lists on Houfy and does the same, adding guides/stories and you "follow" him.. and you see some restaurants he recommends which you did not, then we have an interesting site, where we share good local information. (You can just add his/her recommendation to one of your guides - no need to re-write anything)." -- I'm confused on this. I'm following someone nearby and I don't see how this is working for me to share one or both of their guides with my listing.

01-19-2019 2:41 PM

You can click on the bookmark of his post and add his/her post to one of your guides.

01-19-2019 3:07 PM

I can see that posts like this one have a bookmark, but the guides do not.

01-19-2019 6:31 PM

A guide is a collection of posts Mitchell, no need to bookmark guides.

01-20-2019 4:04 AM

Mitchell - look at the first post (Vail resorts epic pass) in this guide(Ski Rentals & Tickets): Guy Schlacter posted the post and I added it to my guide - there was no need for me to copy this information and start a new post..

03-15-2019 3:08 PM

It helps if you think less of your neighbor as competition and more as a community member. If all our competition disappeared, so would the renters. They all want choice.

Keep in mind that there are more than enough renters for both of you. And houses are different with different amenities, size, style, and appeal.

By sharing information you increase the likelihood that you will get noticed and you will have more information available. It makes you look confident as well.

If someone calls me to inquire, and I don't have the dates available, out of their budget, too big or too small, etc., I always recommend a neighbor's home. It builds good will. And I have often then heard, "I hope we can stay with YOU next time!"

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