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.
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 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 and preview a template from the Text editor box, and choose where / how you want to send the message as with the Send option:
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, 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)
If the guest hasn't signed up for the Guest Portal yet, then email messages will be sent to the guest's email in the lead details. If the guest responds from their email, it will not go back into the Inbox. So please encourage all guests to sign up for the Guest Portal.
If PMs choose this field
Forward all emails from inbox to agency emailin 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.
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:
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.
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).
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.