Please note that in 2024 there are many very fine options that vary in price with different offers. After reading this review, please visit some other reviews I’ve made:
Guesty For Hosts YouTubel Tutorial (for STR hosts with fewer than four rentals)
Hostfully PMS Review (very robust system)
Guesty For Pros Overview Video (the market leader and expensive)
I plan to release tutorial videos for iGMS, Host Tools, and Owenr Rez within the next few months. If there are other PMS that you would like me to review, post them in the comments below.
This is the best, most thorough, and only brutally honest Hospitable review online because I’m an active user and always critical. All of my managed properties on Airbnb use Hospitable. I’m very intimate with how the system works and have contact with the Hospitable team, including Pierre, the founder.
Hospitable (formerly Smartbnb) is compatible with both Airbnb and HomeAway/VRBO. I have been using Hospitable since 2016 and I like it because it offers almost all the functionality of Guesty, the market leader, for a fraction of the cost.
If you decide to use Hospitable, please consider using my message templates specifically designed for Hospitable. They are designed to deliver information to the guest exactly when they need it which increases their satisfaction (ie reviews) and increases your review rate (90% of my guests review my properties and the average on Airbnb is 70%).
But, let’s get into the specifics…
It is always daunting to learn a brand new piece of software, but this article will provide you a perfect overview so you can master it in half the time. If you are already familiar with similar software (AvivaIQ, Guesty, iGMS etc.) this article will highlight the differences unique to Hospitable. One thing to note immediately is upon account creation, templates are already setup for you in the Messaging component (ie the ‘meat and potatoes’ component).
Let’s start with a few unique features to Hospitable…
Heartbeats – Hospitable will send Airbnb a signal letting them know your calendar is up to date. Having an up to date calendar positively affects your search rank.
Market – Sends you a daily report letting you know where your listing ranks in your relevant market. I wish there was an option to send this report on a weekly basis. Here’s an article on how to read this report.
Here is a screenshot of the report related to a property I manage:
Stealth – If you would like to unlist during certain hours of the day, this feature automates that process for you while allowing you to remain listed on the weekends. If this feature does not make sense to you, it is probably a good thing 🙂
Checkpoint – This functionality is only applicable if you have the following Airbnb setting turned on. Airbnb has recently changed the user interface for some hosts so it may not appear on your profile as is shown below, but the option allows you to require a guest to verify their ID prior to sending you a message.
It fixes a loophole of Airbnb which does not notify the host when a guest has paid for a booking but has not verified their profile. The reservation is not presented to the host until the guest verification is completed. If the host is not informed, they cannot help guide the guest through the verification process, but the calendar is blocked for up to 12 hours. Not good! This feature 1) notifies the host of the booking and 2) starts a conversation with the guest to help them complete the verification. As always, this can be fully automated.
I do not use this feature because I do not require my guests to have a verified ID prior to booking. This allows me a larger pool of potential guests but increases my risk. I consider myself an expert at being able to identify bad Airbnb guests so I do not feel the option is needed in my case. If you do, this allows you to send an automated message informing the guest of your requirement and giving them info on how to complete the ID verification process.
Hospitable Listing Section
Showcase of all your listings and the ability to edit all text, list/unlist, change settings, etc.
How are you enjoying my Hospitable review? Let me know in the comments.
This is the ‘meat and potatoes’ component and where you will spend 85% of your time. It has five message flows that I will explain below.
Hospitable Messaging – Events
The events message flow relates to the below ‘events’:
I use it for inquiries, requests to book, reservations, and pre-approvals. It comes pre-populated with templates you can alter for your needs or delete. When adding any additional messages, a template is not populated.
You are able to automatically pre-approve all inquiries in this section.
Hospitable supports 29 languages and allows you to create a template in any of them. The software automatically detects the preferred language of the guest and sends the appropriate template. On one occasion, my guest was replied to in French, but the message he sent was in English. If you only speak one language, I suggest you delete French which is the only pre-loaded template other than English.
Don’t miss my latest Hostfully review and tutorial!
One section that continually and momentarily confuses me is the way each message is associated with a listing. As you can see from the screenshot, I have each message applicable to four listings, but the column represented by the bed symbol shows me the cover photo for one of the listings with a ‘+’ sign to indicate the message is being used for many listings. Then, to the right, I see ‘2’ which would seem to tie to the number of listings the message is associated with, but it is actually telling me the message is available in two languages. I continually scroll over the ‘+’ when making changes to ensure the message is still active for the appropriate listings.
Hospitable Messaging – Questions
The questions flow is Hospitable’s beta test with artificial intelligence. Based on answers you prepare to common guest questions (parking, discounts, etc.), the software will edit your message templates to include those answers only when a guest asks.
I found the setup a bit involved for the level of value provided. In one instance, my discount answer was added to a message when it did not make sense (see below). I suggest skipping this section until the kinks are worked out unless you have many listings and find yourself repeatedly answering the same questions.
Here are the questions you can setup with Hospitable:
Hospitable Messaging – Reservations
The reservations message flow communicates with the guest before, during, and after a reservation. This means when creating templates, you will send it based on check-in or check-out time.
Examples of mine are check-in message, check-out message, and review request. Without going through all the functionality here, I am satisfied with this section and I consider myself a robust host informed of all the options.
Hospitable Messaging – Team
This message flow is meant for service providers, namely cleaners or check-in people. I send a message to my cleaners whenever a reservation is confirmed, altered, or canceled. First, you add your service provider on this tab. Then, you create the message.
Here’s what Hospitable has to say about this flow:
Hospitable Messaging – Reviews
Hospitable will automatically review your guests based on a pre-loaded template you can edit. You are allowed to add many review templates and customize each by adding the guest’s name. You also specify when the review is to be posted.
If you want to leave the guest a negative review, you will need to remember to log in to Hospitable and edit the review related to the particular guest before the system auto-posts it. You can also activate a ‘bad’ review mode which delays the posting until the last moment. As you can imagine, this feature is awesome 🙂
How are you enjoying my Hospitable review? Let me know in the comments.
You know how frustrating it is to call customer service only to know more than them? Not here! Pierre personally responds to some of your chat requests. I love this feature because there were a few times during setup and then ongoing for the first few weeks where I had a question before I could continue. Pierre or the knowledgeable customer service team often responded right away, but no less than a few hours later no matter the time of day. Look for this icon in the lower-right corner of any page:
- Option to manually activate the software – Hospitable automatically starts sending messages for any activated listing. Although this saves time, it is something to be aware of as I got myself into minor trouble because of it. I cohosted a listing briefly and I went through numerous iterations of turning off various automated messages in various modules in the system until they were all off instead of clicking one switch to turn off all messages, review posts, etc.
- Option to turn off emails – Because Hospitable starts working as soon as you signup, they send you an email for every action. So, expect a bombardment of emails related to Hospitable. There is no way to turn off the emails, but I created a Gmail filter to automatically archive them.
My Overall Thoughts On Hospitable
Hospitable has been a market favorite since it was introduced, and for good reason. There are many satisfied Hospitable users.
I like that the system is setup and turned on from signup. Just beware of this, too! The message will start sending right away so review them.
I like that the pricing is fixed instead of percentage-based like some of the competition. Regardless if a reservation is for $100 or $1000, the software does no additional work so you should not pay additionally for a higher reservation.
I like the chat box, especially during setup when it can be frustrating to learn new software. Over the years, this has become less reliable and efficient as the business has grown.
If you signup for Hospitable, I would appreciate you telling them that I sent you. I receive no commission from their company, but the mention will earn me some goodwill which I appreciate.
If you are tired of managing your own STR, visit Belo: Airbnb Property Management, the property management side of my business.
Hospitable Review – Other Notes
- Create new email addresses in seconds to use with Hospitable and Airbnb. The emails will automatically forward to an account of your choosing.
- This is most useful for Airbnb property managers.
- Connect with MailChimp to automatically add prior guests to an email list. As Airbnb uses reservation specific emails, Hospitable has designed a process to message the guest asking for their real email which is then added to MailChimp. This is all automatic. You can then target your prior guests with future deals.
- Connect multiple Airbnb accounts to one Hospitable account
- You must familiarize yourself with short codes unique to Hospitable. A short code allows you to personalize messages with the guests first name and much more. Usually, you use the same few short codes over and over.
- You can create your own custom short codes
- You can simulate any message template within the ‘edit’ message page to see how a live message would look to a guest. So don’t worry if you’re not sure about a short code usage, you can test it here!
Anything to add to my Hospitable (formerly Smartbnb) review? Let me know what you think in the comments section below.