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Messaging automation for HomeAway/VRBO


#1

Hi there!

It’s been a long time since I have created a topic on this forum. This is essentially where I have launched Smartbnb about two years ago, and this community has provided me with very valuable feedback on Smartbnb. I have been quite busy in the past few months on recruitment and product development and today is one of the few launches we are going to do in the next few weeks. I wanted to share this with this community.

Our first feature request has always been to automate messages on HomeAway. This is the second distribution channel of our users, and we felt we needed to support them in their growth. We have been testing it in private beta for a month now, and we are just today releasing it to everyone.

We are not charging any HomeAway listings for now while the integration is is beta, while we will be releasing more features over the next few weeks to really make it easier to host on Airbnb and on HomeAway. Feel free to create your account on Smartbnb.io if you are interested :slight_smile:

Cheers! :bowing_man:


#2

Lest anyone think they need to flag this as spam, I’m letting everyone know this post is okay.


#3

@smartbnb.io -
For those of us with whose primary platform IS HA/VRBO, and haven’t paid much attention to your services before because of that, can you briefly outline why we should look into your services?


#4

Good to see you here again, Pierre :slight_smile:


#5

Great news, @smartbnb.io!!


#6

Hi there, I’m excited to hear this because I use your service. However, I current have to turn off my VRBO listings because wheelhouse (dynamic pricing) doesn’t support VRBO yet. Now only if you can help your friends at wheelhouse with integration, then the whole eco system with VRBO would make sense. :slight_smile:


#7

I’ve been using Beyond Pricing for both my Air and HomeAway listings of the same property and I had NOT been using Smartbnb’s automated messages although I was using it for market analysis. I wasn’t using it because I am split almost down the middle platform-wise and having a regular method for every guest is helpful for me. Now that both are supported I think I will leap in. For me it will be a challenge to make the messages feel personalized, which, frankly, I spend a lot of time doing. I think it shows and it makes a difference, especially in how people view my property.


#8

here you go. This one might help


#9

No, thank you. Not design. The content personalized for each guest based on what it is they have mentioned and told me. Frankly, I don’t think it can be automated. But then again, not every message sent to a guest needs to be personalized.


#10

Hmm, individually targetted one-off emails… I think it will be a bit challenging to reach that point. Not from a technical standpoint, but form UX side of things, you’d first have to collect such personalized detail and then match it to your specific audience and communicate it back. Generally, I’d be careful not to deliver a message that is individualized down to the specifics of a person I can see this go wrong in multiple directions.

There are excellent resources to find out how to formulate your message for maximum conversion and satisfaction. That can be a good start if this is your target for sending out email. good luck :v:


#11

Hi,
We used Beyond Pricing for the first 6 months and we found it not suitable for our area which is extremely seasonal. That’s why we had to give it up and move to wheelhouse, which offers customized base price by month. In addition, Airbnb and VRBO have different service fees. Do you set VRBO base price to be just a little bit higher to make up for that?

Regarding personalized message, I felt the same way at first but once I used automated message, it allowed me to do way more other things and not having my thoughts constantly interrupted by booking welcome, etc. However, I make sure that I always check guests’ message to make sure that their questions are being answered. The formula that has worked for me is 80% automated message (welcome, check in instruction, guest books, review) and 20% personalized (where to hike, early check in request, etc).


#12

Ok, 80% is solid if we’re talking about small-mid scale. For the 20% and faq part you could score that by using chat Robots with ML so that it learns over time and covers all intent, but that ’s way too much overkill If we’re not talking about +500k subscriber, but still 60% engagement rate is always tempting. We have a few bots at rapitt, but they’re specialized for host/provider signup. Maybe we could experiment someday and have one designed for such particular use case. Could become a good weekend experiment.


#13

Chats? Bots? ML? Is that supposed to be mailing list?

See maybe that’s the difference. What I do is hospitality, not marketing.

I personalize my messages because it makes a difference in the guest/host relationship AND in a hard-to-quantify, but real outcome: how they treat my home.

Among whole-house hosts I am almost a lone voice on this forum in advocating this, but my advice is often the OPPOSITE of many here who want to strip away personalization, both of the spaces and the communications. Buy ikea! Don’t use nice things! Don’t give them an extra cup! Automate all your emails, so you have time to do other stuff! Good lord.

It is the hospitality business and I make sure my emails are professional, warm and friendly, but they communicate in subtext that this is my beloved home and I am honored to share it with you, but you are not coming to a hotel room.

My long time cleaner has told me that of all her clients - all doing short term rentals - I am booked more AND people leave my place in better shape. “I don’t know what you’re doing differently, but whatever it is, it works.”

If you all are high volume hosting your investment properties than my way is not for you, but personally, I think Airbnb is the poorer for it.


#14

All that is NOT to say that I am not excited for @smartbnb.io ‘s addition of HomeAway. @smartbnb.io is more than automated emails - and those DO have a place. I just don’t think they should - and could - replace real communication with real people.

Pierre by the way, is an old time member here who has shared some great insight into Airbnb’s back end.


#15

I’m with you…

Like x 100.


#16

@jaquo and @CatskillsGrrl - count me in your camp, too. Maybe the difference compared to a lot of other hosts is that we rent out our entire second home to people that come to vacation - and our price is high.

We market ourselves as taking care of our guests - not just a place to sleep. We’re a destination, and many of our guests spend a few days of their stay just enjoying our home. I spend a lot of time answering their questions before and after they book, and consider it as helping them have a great vacation, not as bothering me.


#17

It’s funny that you should say that because when guests first arrive here they sometimes tell me about the excursions they plan to take and where they plan to go.

Then when they leave I ask them if they did and they say that they just hung about here enjoying the place :slight_smile:


#18

Oh, I often hear the same thing!


#20

Hi, Sorry, I was a few days away and reading this just now. Actually, when reading your message it makes much more sense to me what level of personalization you’re trying to reach and why it’s necessary. I agree on the touch of real-life interaction has a far greater lasting effect than any nicely formulated automatic message. We’re here to learn this from you and I’m grateful to have been able to understand what you mean.


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