I Haven't Received Crap From Houfy

Whenever I hear someone say: "I haven't received any inquiries from Houfy and I've had my property listed since xxxx date," right away I know the member likely falls into one of four categories:

  1. Is a relatively new member and hasn't yet had a chance to fully learn about Houfy.
  2. Has been listed for quite some time but doesn't actively follow the Say Yes to Houfy facebook group or is not in the group at all.
  3. Hasn't touched their listing since importing, and it's incomplete/out of date.
  4. They still promote listing sites like Vrbo and Airbnb.
I Haven't Received Crap From Houfy

For those who just joined and haven't yet had a chance to learn about Houfy, it's important to understand it's not intended to be the instant solution to your OTA woes (although some of us are receiving bookings). Rather, Houfy is a community of like-minded individuals educating travelers/owners about book direct, and the benefits of using Houfy.  And like most movements, change doesn't happen overnight. Meanwhile, here are a few simple practices to bring inquiries in more quickly. 

I Haven't Received Crap From Houfy

Don't Advertise a Crap Listing

Does your listing encourage travelers to make a reservation, or leave them questioning if it's a scam? Many owners imported their listing, and never looked at it again. Be sure your listing is fully complete and up to date.   

Are your Airbnb and Vrbo reviews both up to date on Houfy? 

If your last review is showing 2018/2017, travelers may think you haven't had a booking since and question why. If you haven't imported any reviews, go ahead and do so now. Then periodically update them to stay current. You can manually add reviews from other sites as well.

Are your calendars synced and up to date? 

If your calendar is empty and your listing instructs travelers to visit your website for availability, you'll likely never receive a booking through Houfy! Not only are you discouraging travelers from using the site, they'll wonder why you're directing them away from Houfy. 

Can travelers pay on Houfy just like they can on your OTA listings? 

If you accept credit cards on Airbnb, yet ask strangers to send you cash through Zelle, Venmo, etc. when they book on Houfy - expect travelers to hesitate (unless this is common for your market). Repeat guests already know and trust you. That's different. But a stranger comparing your Airbnb listing to the one on Houfy, may just book on Airbnb instead. Americans are warned to never send cash, and to always use a credit card for protection. Unless this is common for your market, consider allowing guests to pay by credit card if you allow it on all the other platforms.

Have you cleaned up your listing description since importing?

Many listings display odd references to Vrbo and Airbnb, and they make no sense to the traveler. They also instruct travelers to email them directly instead of through Houfy. Check the following:

I Haven't Received Crap From Houfy

Don't Do This Crap

Are you still advertising your OTA (online travel agency) listings in book direct groups? There is no need to direct travelers to your OTA listing to check out pics, calendar, and reviews and then tell them to PM you to avoid service fees. Just show them your Houfy listing! Travelers can already read your Airbnb and Vrbo reviews on Houfy. Let them look, pay, and book all in one place.

Linking to Airbnb from you website and facebook. If you're directing travelers to book you on Airbnb, then that's what they're going to do! Why not replace those OTA links with your Houfy listing link?

Never mention Houfy to departing guests. If you only message through the OTA platforms and never educate guests about Houfy, expect them to book on that site again.

Advertising your OTA listings to travelers is creating new customers for them. If you truly want bookings on Houfy, don't send them to book on Airbnb. After all–they probably had a great experience so will remember they had a "great stay with Airbnb."  Why wouldn't they use that site again? Nobody told them they could save hundreds by using Houfy.

I Haven't Received Crap From Houfy

Houfy will soon be cleaning up its marketplace and hiding incomplete listings. The sooner we all clean out our OTA links, the more quickly inquiries will come for everyone. 

Keep in mind, if the majority of members aren't telling departing guests about Houfy, and continue to promote the OTAs, it's going to take that much longer for travelers to learn about Houfy.

If your website, facebook, and Google business listing all link to Houfy, the higher the chances of receiving a booking. No one is saying you shouldn't promote your website–of course promote your own website! But if you never mention Houfy and only your website, expect inquiries to come later rather than sooner.

Why Should I Promote Houfy When I Have My Own Website?
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 be through their own website. The majority will continue to rely upon the OTAs (online travel agencies) to supplement much of their income.

Easy Tips for Marketing Your Houfy Listing
Once you've completed your rates and syncronized calendars, it's time to get started on promoting Houfy! This is a simple step-by-step guide in basic marketing of your Houfy listing. First Things First : Before marketing, be sure you are actually ready to accept a booking.

Where's My Stork?
Two years ago, not a week went by when I didn't read a forum comment like this: "Let's all band together and form our own site that's for the owners, and kick these OTAs to the curb! How dare they not allow me to communicate with MY guests.

© Julie and Houfy Inc, Published on: 07/30/2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this page's author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Julie and Houfy Inc. with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. For more information, please visit the Houfy's copyright and trademark policy
Last modified: 8 months ago
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