Has anyone tried hostaway.com yet?

I’m considering giving them a try. They’re offering $15 per listing per month, which seems a reasonable price, and a rarity in this business. Similar services (what there are of them), all seem much more expensive. Of course, it’s not clear how long this price will last. :smirk: I might slightly prefer a percentage of the bookings system - having your service provider have some skin in the game is always a good thing. They are also offering a free trial, but that is not so important.

Anyway, if anyone has been giving them a try, feedback appreciated. Thanks.

I will soon use an other concurrent called outswitch

I’d love to comment but have to admit I would be highly biased :slight_smile:

A few of our current customers wrote reviews on Capterra so I’ll post those instead: http://www.capterra.com/vacation-rental-software/spotlight/152433/Hostaway/Hostaway

Just FYI, in chat on the hostaway.com site, Marcus informs me that after the initial 14 day trial period is over, and you agree to be a paying customer on a monthly repeating basis, they’ll give you three months for free. To be clear, we’re talking about a month to month commitment here.

I asked him about the existing $15 monthly price. He also said prices will not increase for existing customers. Of course, that’s not exactly enforceable.

He’s aware of this thread, so he can correct me if I make any mistakes.

Just for the record, I came across this in the “Terms and Service Agreement”. Not really sure what it means, but I thought I would post it here for the record. Seeing as that nobody actually reads the “Terms And Service Agreement”. Yes, I’m a freak. I’m also not clear why a service like Hostaway would care about a host’s insurance.

Insurance. Host agrees to carry at his/her own expense property and liability insurance, each in an amount not less than $500,000, naming Hostaway, in form and substance reasonably satisfactory to Hostaway. Host agrees to furnish Hostaway with certificates evidencing the existence of such insurance upon request. Host may be required to obtain and maintain additional insurance in compliance with applicable laws and regulations or under other agreements.

If Airbnb has such language in its agreement (and come to think of it, if it did, I wouldn’t know about it, because I don’t think I actually read it) then I think far less people would use it.

EDIT: Airbnb has a recommendation for insurance, but no requirement.

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That is AWESOME! Though it got me into the business, one issue I have with airbnb is they make it so easy to get into business that people can get into trouble, not really understanding that they have to pay certain taxes or be insured in a specific way.

I might check them out.

@Hostaways do you have anything in place that really makes the host stop and find out what taxes they need to pay?

I don’t think you can expect their help with this, any more than you can expect Airbnb’s help with it. And Airbnb is a lot bigger, and well established. This sort of thing is really the job of a local accountant. And a considerable headache, because often local government doesn’t know about it’s own taxes (or, more broadly, rules and laws). Strange but true, at least in my experience.

I don’t know - not that I’ve though it through or ever developed a platform, but something like Hostaway is doing - or a very clear form “Have you contacted your local government to ensure that this business is legal in your are?” “Have you done adequate research to learn just what taxes you will have to pay? Some possibilities are sales tax, occupancy tax, income tax, or VAT”

Just something more than “hey, by the way, there’s a possibility that you may have laws in your area”. “Or if you are hosting in your home, chances are very high that your current HO policy will terminate your contract”

Just a thought.

Hi @dcmooney,

Maybe I’m missing something, but I don’t see a substantative difference between your first version and your second version. :slight_smile: And I doubt a startup is in any position to advise on worldwide regulations. Airbnb is in a much better position, and as you are presumably aware, they do nothing of the kind. Not for lack of resources, presumably. I expect they just don’t want the responsibility.

Thank you for the feedback everyone. In many places the taxes and regulations are unclear, even when asking the authorities directly. As we have clients in so many countries and regions, we are not able to help them with legal advice. When we set up our business we made it clear for everyone involved what we were going to do and what we would not do.

We not not provide any consumer services like Airbnb does, neither do we provide guest leads for hosts like Airbnb does. Instead, we provide a software that aggregates and synchronizes information across several 3rd party services such as Airbnb and booking.com. The reason for our extensive terms of use are that many potential users might get the idea that are are in between them and the customer, which is incorrect. Instead, we are a gateway between the host and the sales channels.

Based on your feedback we will have a closer look at update our terms. Thank you very much for taking the time, we really appreciate it!

Wimdu? I don’t see it on the site.

@hostaways - I just looked at your website and I have absolutely no idea what you do!

On the home page it says:

            ***How it works***
            This is how we bring you more bookings for your vacation rental.
                        Step 1
                        Sign up
                        Step 2
                        Choose your channels
                        Step 3
                        Get more bookings

So I think you’re going to tell HOW it works - but instead all you say is that it works. You say sign up, choose your channels and then get more bookings. That doesn’t tell us HOW it works.

Then it encourages us to try it now for free - but I have no idea what I’d be trying!

“The reason for our extensive terms of use are that many potential users might get the idea that are are in between them and the customer, which is incorrect. Instead, we are a gateway between the host and the sales channels.”

So, in other words you can sidestep all the legal responsibilities. You are the proverbial “middle man”.

From the looks of it they are a middle man and they accept zero responsibility for anything. Why anyone would use them I have no idea. They function like Trivago or similar. If something goes wrong, you cannot expect them to intervene.

Why can’t you sign up on all these channels on your own? I have entirely no idea what they are offering? What do they do then? Having to name them as an insured on your homeowners policy is a joke! Is that what they are saying you have to do?

Airbnb seems to be spawning this giant community of sub start- ups, some of which seem entirely unnecessary.

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I have 15 listings, each of them on a variety of platforms. The coordination of calendars and reservations takes up hours each day (every single day without exception) and it requires immediate action when you get a booking. Not always a practical reality. It’s not like I can have them all the calendars synch together, there are so many existing variables that make that option a challenge. I’ve tried every way of calendar synching on my own and it’s always a clusterf*c# I have friends who are in the same boat and we often talk about the requirement for a multi channel platform - one that takes all of the info from the various platforms like Wimdu, Gaybookings, Airbnb, VRBO and feeds them into a mega calendar, but also allows manual over rides. I don’t want to give up the control of the booking process and that’s required by some sites, so I for one will be happy to explore any new option that has management software

Anyone that know outswitch?

Hello Superhostnyc,

We know the frustration you and your friends feel. To be perfectly honest, there isn’t a solution in the market that’s reasonably priced, easy to set up and does exactly what you describe. After all, what you ask for is a very simple idea: just manage all calendars and bookings from one place. This is what we are aiming for, and we currently offer our solution for free for 3 months (mail me at marcus@hostaway.com for more details as our website is being updated).

Here’s why it’s so hard finding a proper software, from the point of view of someone who is currently building one:

  1. The market is changing
    Channel managers for hotels have been around for decades and work fairly well. They are hard to integrate and require a separate PMS. They update rates and availability once a week, which isn’t a problem if you have 100 rooms in one location and most of the time you’re not sold out. With airbnb hosts, regardless of whether they have 1 spare bedroom or 100 different units, the challenges are entirely different. They cannot simply have a 20% occupancy like a hotel, because there is only one property per guest! Either it’s available or it’s not - double-bookings simply cannot happen. 1 week to update availability doesn’t work.

  2. IT
    For a hotel chain it’s relatively cheap to have a custom-built software and internal team of developers who can integrate with other systems, but the average Airbnb host cannot afford to employ an IT staff. Most systems are built by developers for developers, which is why they are so hard to take into use.

  3. Old technology and business models
    Airbnb changed everything. They removed the hassle of payments, reservations management, availability and security by allowing the owners to sign up themselves and have Airbnb take care of the rest. The other big players in the market such as Homeaway, Expedia, Tripadvisor and booking.com haven’t adopted to this mentality yet. They screen their potential users rather than letting the guests do the work for them. They want documents and proof that you can handle credit card information - something that is absurd to any airbnb hosts. They are improving, slowly, and it will take them a long time to get up to speed and truly attract airbnb hosts.

These are the main reasons why there isn’t a simple, easy-to-use and affordable alternative. At Hostaway, we are constantly helping our channel partners get up to speed on how to accept more “modern” hosts, but they are big machines that cannot change overnight. Homeaway is a great example where you speak to 3 different persons, each with their forms and paperwork, just in order to get set up. They only accept people with more than 5 properties for channel software. How many weeks do you spend on the phone with Airbnb to get listed? None. That’s a big opportunity for companies like Homeaway, if they wish to attract the new generation of hosts. I salute booking.com for accepting the airbnb model and they are working hard at serving the needs of airbnb hosts. Let’s hope others follow suit.

I tried them confusing interface and saw no value and tried to cancel account multiple times and had to dispute charges. . I WOULD STAY AWAY!!!

I looked at a ot of channel managers and choose hostaway, two months in and i am very happy, mainly because they understand this market and what hosts want. Customer service is great and looking forward to the WP booking widget in delevopement.