Related article: Understanding the Guest Portal

As communication between vacation rental agencies and their guests is key to optimizing the guest experience, property managers using the Hostfully Platform can rely on a world-class communication layer called the Hostfully Inbox.

As for any of the features provided by the Hostfully platform, the Inbox is optimized for teams and allows multiple team members to participate in any conversation with guests, across the supported channels.

You will receive a notification from Airbnb and direct reservations for new message received. For VRBO, their messaging API is not available for development yet and as soon as it is, we will start building the integration. For Booking.com, the messaging API is currently in progress and once the feature is ready, we will make a public announcement. In the meantime, you can still communicate with guests from VRBO and Booking.com via email (see the Demo video here).

Content:

Accessing the Inbox

To access the Inbox, simply click on the Inbox top menu on the Hostfully PMP user interface.

or from the Lead's Details UI, click on Send Message

Below are the main parts of the Inbox:

  • Sort / Filter bar on top

  • Message threads on the left column

  • Text editor / Templates in the center, with the thread's content below

  • Edit Lead information on the right column

The Sort / Filter / Search bar come with below options:

  • Status: Relevant, All, Quote, Booked, Cancelled, ...

  • Sort by: Most Recent or Arrival Date (reference)

  • Agent: you or your teammate, whoever the leads are assigned to

  • Channel: Hostfully, Airbnb, Booking.com, Vrbo, ...

  • Property: all the leads for a property

  • Search: via Guest name or Email.

If you choose a thread in the left column, the system will display all messages for this thread in the center (the most recent being at top), and give you the ability to draft and respond to messages right from the editing box above.

If you don't see a thread there yet, it means the thread doesn’t exist yet. There are two ways of creating a thread:

  • In the lead popup, click on Send Message.

  • In the Inbox Search box, search for the lead

With Inbox 2.0, you now can also:

  • Pick & Preview a template from the Text editor box

  • Choose where / how you want to send the message with the Send options

  • Send Airbnb messages with attachments (PDF / PNG / JPEG are supported)

    • attachments not supported for SMS or email

    • text / message can't be sent alongside attachments. They can be sent one after the other.

  • Inbox (guest portal)

  • Email (email address of lead)

  • SMS (Reference on using SMS)

  • Airbnb (Airbnb channel needs to be activated)

You then have all the lead details on the right column, like:

  • Current status of this lead / booking

  • The channel it's from

  • Stay details (Checkin-out date & time, Number of guest, Amount)

  • Actionable items just like what you can do from Pipeline. (reference)

How it works

  • For messages related to an Airbnb booking, booking request or inquiry, the messages will be sent back to the guest's Airbnb account directly.

  • For messages related to the Hostfully bookings or inquiries, the messages will be sent to the guest's portal. (invitation link sent automatically after confirming the booking, or after guest fills out the pre-arrival form)

Note:

  • If PMs choose this field Forward all emails from inbox to agency email in Agency Settings > Email Settings tab, guests' responses with go to BOTH inbox and agency's email. Otherwise, the responses will go to Hostfully Inbox only.

Message Notifications

When receiving new messages in your Inbox, the system will display a little green notification label next to the Inbox menu, showing how many new unread message you have in the Inbox:


To receive notifications (via Email or SMS) on new inbox message received, you can create a trigger as below:

and make sure in the custom template, the below variables are included:

  • [$NEW_MESSAGE_CONTENT$] : content of the message

  • [$INBOX_THREAD_URL$] : link to inbox thread of above message

Example:

Video instructions:

Besides, you will receive a notification from Airbnb for new message received. For VRBO and booking.com, their messaging APIs are not available for development yet and as soon as they are, we will start integrating into our Inbox.

Communication through the Hostfully Channel

Guests can communicate with Property Managers via the Guest Portal.

Currently supported channels

The inbox currently supports the Airbnb, and Hostfully channels, and will soon provide support for more channels. If your company website is integrated with the Hostfully platform, the Inbox will also be available for use through the Hostfully Booking Widget.

For Airbnb, we currently import messages sent by the main host and not the co-host yet. If you send a message to the guest directly on Airbnb using the co-host account, the message won't appear in Hostfully Inbox.

While we don't sync with Booking.com and Vrbo's native inboxes yet, our Inbox does work for Vrbo and Booking.com reservations via using email correspondence with the guest (like what's in the below video).

That also includes Vrbo's Booking Request. The message from incoming Vrbo request will show up in the lead's Notes section, as well as Inbox.

Demo:

Future developments

The Hostfully team is already hard at work improving this second version of the Inbox. The coming version will add more channels and a few more extra features.

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