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Thoughts on Digital Guidebooks/Manuals?

Hi guys. We are currently waiting on our application for an STR license to be approved by the city. While waiting I’m trying to get a house manual/guide put together and was wondering if anyone uses one of the digital guidebooks that are available? I’ve been looking at Touchstay, Coral, Hostfully etc. I’ve searched old threads but it seems like the topic hasn’t really come up in a while. I really like the idea of giving a guest something digital that they can access before arrival or pull up on their phones while out exploring the city. If anyone has any experience using this type of service, I would love to hear your thoughts. Is it helpful? Is it worth it? Do guests comment on it? I would be interested in hearing any pros/cons to this type of thing. Thanks in advance. I’ve learned so much from this forum.

I use Houfy for my guides. Free to join. Guests can join Houfy for free too. And they can write their own guides if they want. I have only had Houfy members comment on my guides so far. But once it starts gaining traction travelers will begin to comment.

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Cool. I will look into it. Thanks.

@nolabelle

You can also make “private” guides that the public cannot view, and you can send your links to guests or only people who you want to view them. Example: create a “welcome guide” for check - in, directions, cabin supplies, departure checklist, house, info etc. Here is my check-in “story” - I could have inserted pics and may go back later one day to do that.

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I used the guidebook facility on Airbnb - it’s really useful and includes maps for each place you recommend. And prints off really well.

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BTW -this is a waaayyy better example of the endless possibilities you can have in a welcome guide for your rental. Mine is still a work in progress.

Just an FYI - you are never required to list your rental, etc. on Houfy in order to use it’s social site. And you can share them with anybody - not limited to guests on just one platform.

I guess I’m a Luddite. We have a paper Guide Book/House Rules book with all sorts of interesting things for guests to read and see.

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We have a paper House Manual which includes info about our house and interesting things to do in the area. Not sure if guests use it very much, but several times we have found it open to the “Check-out” procedure page, which I always send to guests electronically on the morning of check-out.

I personally like a book that I can leaf through page by page, but others do like digital info.

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You seem a real advocate of Houfy @cabinhost. Have you got shares in the company :slight_smile:

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Nothing wrong with that @KenH . Most of my guests say they prefer a paper copy.

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I use the Airbnb house manual and online guide book plus the printed version. Most of my guests are young and I often get asked for personal recommendations before they stay. They prefer to use the online guide book.

I dislike that with Airbnb you can’t share the guide book with other properties, every time you have to load it up on a new listing and it takes ages.

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I absolutely love Houfy and my instincts over the years with listing sites/OTAs, etc. have been spot on. You are welcome to join the Say Yes to Houfy FB group and learn more about it. I think you will be very impressed with the owner.

And the idea of Houfy being a future member owned site is definitely on the table.

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No thanks.

However, I agree @cabinhost - for those interested in Hourfy their FB group is a much better forum for discussions around how it works and the benefits of using it.

@KenH We also have a paper guidebook, although I do send them the PDF via e-mail prior to their arrival. That way they can have it on their phones and I have links for everything so they can click to find out more information. I did have a Coral account and use their printout for the house manual, but I haven’t logged into Coral in a long, long time. I didn’t even know they still existed.

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Thanks Ken. I definitely want to have a physical manual as well! I love to flip pages and look through books myself. I was just thinking of a digital in conjunction in case people preferred it. My thinking is that if it is something that can be sent ahead of time people can be planning ahead of their visit with a better understanding of the area. It also might be handy to have on their phones while they are out exploring the city.

Out of curiosity, what made you shift away from using Coral?

@Poppy, that changed just this week. At least here it did. Click on your photo in the upper right hand corner of the dashboard (on a laptop). Click “My Guidebook” in the dropdown. You can now add one guidebook to multiple listings. You can add a cover photo. It is suddenly much, much better.

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Thanks so much for letting me know. Last time I needed to do it I phoned them and they told me it wasn’t possible, but that was a while ago.

The fact that it wasn’t working a lot of the time. I hadn’t even logged into the site for awhile as it had been so unstable. I do like it though!!

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Formerly called coral.life they shifted over to https://app.mycoralguide.com… It works much better now. I have guest regularly say they love getting the house manual electronically before their stay.

It’s still a work in progress (particularly the local attractions), but here’s mine in case you’re interested: http://guest.tips/7LDdwpOge1YK

We also have a very comprehensive printed manual available for guests… so they can use whichever they’re most comfortable with. :slight_smile:

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