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Meet the Company taking on Airbnb—news article


Airbnb began bookings in 2008. In 2009 Airbnb hosts had 1400 New Year’s guests. For Houfy to have 3500 listings after about 18 months is pretty good.

Yes aspects of the site are clunky but much better than when I joined a year ago. We shall see what the future holds.

All businesses have growth & maturity cycles. Airbnb is trying to keep the growth alive by stepping out of its “rent a room or home” box.

There are dozens of.business strategies. My two business favorites are: 1 aggressive growth: change, adapt, grow or die OR. 2. Slow growth & Do what you do and do it better than any one else. I personally think they must strategically pick one. It appears Airbnb wants to go the aggressive growth path.

That leaves the “do it better than any one else” a void for an upstart like Houfy to fill. Houfy is barely out if beta testing. It will be an interesting ride.


Wow SMACKDOWN!!! Thread’s getting lively now!


@Annet3176 And just to add on to your comments…one thing that only people who are in the closed FB group can understand - is that Thijs and Swapnil can basically build anything. And Swapnil is amazing!!!

You need a pet fee? Done!

You need this? OK…easy. Done!

You need this? OK…on our list. Will be done next month after we are finished with a more urgent project!

I asked for a checkbox field where I could select 12.75% lodging tax till the end of one month, and then have my new reservations going forward be at the correct lodging tax rate. Done! No other listing site that I am aware of even does this. Most people need to back collect the new lodging tax difference on the far out future reservations.

When you think about the major OTAs and what thousands of owners have begged for …and I mean simple software changes - this two man team does it in no time.

And the fact that the owner has vacation rental properties and lists on the OTAs himself…makes it extremely easy to understand the needs of owners, and he already understands how the sites work. And that is why he won’t have ridiculous policies like letting guests cancel for being sick, bringing up to 5 infants free, allowing anyone to call their pet rat an emotional support animal and bring it for free, etc. Owners decide their own cancellation policies.

You are spot on with this!

People seem to forget that Thijs and Swapnil are working on various aspects of Houfy such as the social part, lodging, real estate, and other aspects all simultaneously. The vacation rental part was actually supposed to be done after the real estate section was complete. But priorities were shifted.

Not to mention the free tools you can use on your own website without needing to pay for widgets. Just sooo many things that the two of them are creating outside of vacation rentals.


I keep seeing the abbreviation OTAs in various threads. I don’t know what it means. Please help.


Is houfy in Australia?


@cabinhost do you know the answer?. I’m not as knowledgeable about Houfy as you


OTA = online travel agency. Booking .com, Expedia, ABB, TripAdvisor, Homeaway, VRBO. I am sure many others but when people in these type forums use the term it is mostly to refer to the big players.


Yes, available everywhere. Go ahead and import your listing. Takes less than 10 seconds to import the majority of it. Try it. Follow the screen shots.

Then follow the Getting Started guide I posted above. Don’t worry if you hardly see any listings in your area. If everyone waits until everyone else lists firsts, it’s just making the OTAs stronger and giving them more leverage to move full speed ahead…

Yet another amazing tool created by Swapnil and Thijs.


If someone brings a rat I’m sorry but I’ll be putting on my exterminator hat! :joy:


Sorry I think you have sent me previously and I didn’t get around to it. I kind of do rely on air and I’m not keen on having all my eggs in one basket. Will do


Well…no better time than the present so go ahead and click on the link and import it. :joy::joy::joy:


That was really easy. Will add more when on a computer. Thanks cabinhost


How many do you have?


Go ahead and join the Say Yes to Houfy FB group now. Lots of great discussion going on in there. And you can keep updated on everything. It’s an active group.


I repeat: I wish you all the best and that your dream or hope (or whatever you find to be an acceptable term) for Houfy comes true.


I have multiple rooms listed but one location


Cool! There aren’t that many listed as shared spaces, and I think a lot of people think it’s just for whole home listings…


That is just semantic posturing. Listing on Airbnb and other OTAs is free as well. Houfy totally leaves everything on the table, including future commissions!

Facebook makes money because people are willing to divulge everything about themselves on there, resulting in amazing data that fb then can sell to advertisers, politicians, etc. I doubt Houfy will be making much money this way.

Having said that, it is good to have options and maybe Houfy will turn into something viable to help people diversify their listings.


They aren’t free.

HA/VRBO = 5% commission or $499 annual subscription, plus a dynamic service fee to the guest

Booking .com = 15% commission

TripAdvisor = $699 annual sub with no guest fees, or no annual sub with up to 16% guest fees

ABB = up to 20% guest service fee with commission model optional for now

I know some people say that the guest pays the service fees and it doesn’t cost them anything. Others do believe the cost is coming out of their pocket. It’s been rehashed enough though.

Houfy will not be charging owners’ a commission of their booking.

Agree. It’s always smart to diversify unless you could do without the income. If anything, it’s a great way to send your departing guests your Houfy listing so they can book direct next time. And they can pay right on the platform.


‘Listing’ with the OTAs IS free. They do charge commissions/guest service fees, or whatever you want to call it. You do NOT have to pay anything to list/advertise your place if nobody books it (unless you choose the subscription option). And whether guests or hosts pay the commission is completely irrelevant in the grand scheme of things.

More semantics. Want to bet they will start charging guests or hosts commissions once they get more established? Nowhere do they say they won’t charge commissions, as far as I can tell, only that listings will be free forever.

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