Every short-term rental needs a guest guidebook. But what used to be a dog-eared, 3-ring binder can now become a spectacular, highly useful web-based product, accessible on a phone. David Jacoby, Airbnb Superhost and co-founder of Hostfully, traveled to Portland to meet with Debi Hertert and “Home Share PDX” Meetup group to talk about his product. Before the Meetup, Debi interviewed David for the Hosting Your Home podcast.
[0:01:34] Debi asked how David got started with Hostfully, and it turns out that Before Children, he and his wife went on a year-long, around the world journey, staying in 27 countries and 37 homes. It was 2010, so Airbnb had barely started, and none of their stays was in an actual Airbnb. Much of their trip was done via the couch surfing site. Deb asked if those were really couches…
[0:05:39] After the trip, David and his wife moved to San Francisco and bought a single-family home and remodeled it for a mother-in-law apartment for their family. They started renting the space out when his parents weren’t visiting, and have hosted 200 guests in 4 years.
He found that it was his personal experiences of hosting that led him to realize the pain of being in constant communication with guest after guest and answering all their questions that they had before arriving as well as their separate, unique set of questions while they’re actually staying with him. But he also realized the pleasure of being on the flip side like hearing from them that they went to his favorite local coffee shop or his favorite brunch spot.
“Sure, they went to Fisherman’s Wharf and they went to Alcatraz but it was staying in my neighborhood and going to the local places that I recommended that really is what made their stay memorable and unique”.
And he realized the lack of tools to help hosts be better hosts AFTER the reservation is made.
[0:08:32] Debi asked David about Airbnb’s own guest guidebook, and about “You’re Welcome”, a similar guest guidebook product. David had interesting comments about both, and pointed out the fact that Airbnb’s app only works for Airbnb guests – but many hosts use multiple platforms. And he likes the “You’re Welcome” app a lot, but described differences with it and Hostfully.
[0:11:15] It turned out that Debi had populated the Hostfully app, and had invited David to stay at her Airbnb while addressing the Meetup. Of course, she sent the URL to David and he loved it. He said it was the first time as a guest that he had received the Hostfully guidebook! Debi describes her use of the app and it being easy to use and to edit. David went into some considerable detail about it.
[0:13:32] David said Hostfully launched about a year ago and now has over 4000 guidebooks in 80 countries. He said that Hostfully offers one free guide book for each listing.
[0:14:16] Debi took the opportunity to quiz David about the politics of short term rentals in San Francisco. He went into great detail and said that the latest ordinance will likely mean that half, or over half of the current listings in San Francisco will be gone after the first of the year, enforced by an agreement with San Francisco, Airbnb, and HomeAway. The reason for the reduction is that the City requires hosts to live in the space they list, and currently many listings are not the host’s primary residence.
[0:20:48] Transient Occupancy Tax is also very much a goal. Debi was curious about David’s involvement with the San Francisco Home Sharer’s Democratic Club. David is on the Board and described the origins of the Club. Debi and David talked about the very successful Vendor Show they put on in 2017. It was well-attended and one of the Airbnb Founders even stopped by.
[0:26:34] Hostfully has written up the results of a study they did on hospitality, and it is available for free by going to hostfully.com/study There are a lot of tips there that all hosts can learn from. They surveyed over 50 rental management companies and studied the thousands of guidebooks that Hostfully supports. It’s a very cool opportunity to see what things like average check-in times, check-out times, amenities and info other hosts are providing.
David’s rental listing is at www.airbnb.com/rooms/2049955