Hostfully Guidebooks: Review & Best Alternative in 2021

As a short-term rental manager or vacation rental owner, you’ll already know that vacation rental welcome books are fast becoming a must-have.

But the days of giving guests a dog-eared paper guidebook, static PDF, or clunky in-house tablet are over. (See our YourWelcome tablet review for more on the downsides of in-room tablets.)

Instead, digital is where it’s at. You may already know that Hostfully Guidebooks is one of the most well-known vacation rental tools designed for the specific purpose of creating digital guidebooks. But being well-known doesn’t mean it’s right for your operation.

So how do you know if Hostfully is the best option for your business? This Hostfully Guidebooks review is designed to help.

Offering your Airbnb, VRBO or Booking.com guests great property information and local recommendations will instantly give you authority, and professionalism—giving a positive first impression and ensuring guests feel cared for from the moment they book.

That’s why we’ve taken a look at some of Hostfully Guidebooks’s biggest features, to make sure you have all the info you need to make a great decision.

Plus, in case it’s not quite right for you, we’ve also looked at the advantages of RueBaRue, an alternative with extra features that might suit your needs better. Read on to discover how.

RueBaRue is a great alternative to Hostfully Guidebooks that allows you to send your digital guidebook to your guests via email or SMS, and manage your guest communication from a team SMS inbox. Book a demo personalized to your rentals to see the platform in action.

What is Hostfully Guidebooks?

As its name suggests, Hostfully Guidebooks is a platform designed especially for creating guidebooks for vacation rentals, by the property management system (PMS) creator of the same name.

It enables hosts to create easy, professional-looking digital guidebooks in minutes. It also allows you to categorize your information into sections, such as Arrival, House Manual, and Where to Eat.

It’s built by Hostfully, so it integrates well with the Hostfully PMS, but it’s a separate product and has become a leading solution for digital guidebooks in its own right.

Simple and focused, it is trusted as a high-quality guidebook creation option made with specific vacation rental needs in mind.

Caption: Hostfully Guidebooks is made by the PMS company of the same name

Credit: Hostfully.com/Guidebooks

How much is Hostfully Guidebooks?

Hostfully Guidebooks pricing is split into two sections; Individual, and Business, and there are a lot of different options depending on the size and scale of your business.

Individual:

Business:

Hostfully Guidebooks review: The pros and cons

Features

Pros

Hostfully Guidebooks does what it says on the tin. It allows you to create a beautifully designed guidebook that’s:

Caption: Hostfully Guidebooks works on mobile and laptops

Credit: Partners.Hostfully.com

Sending a digital guidebook via email means that guests can check it out from all of their devices and carry it around with them, meaning the information is less likely to be left unread on a kitchen table or forgotten at the key moment.

Cons

But, while these are undoubtedly great features, Hostfully Guidebooks is limited compared to some alternative options. This is because it doesn’t:

Integrations

Pros

Like most digital tools, Hostfully Guidebooks has a few simple integrations to enhance its functionality and play well with other digital platforms. For instance, it integrates with:

Cons

Unfortunately, Hostfully Guidebooks doesn’t:

User experience

Pros

A key benefit of Hostfully Guidebooks is its simplicity. This means you can:

Cons

Yet, there is always a learning curve with any new platform. With Hostfully Guidebooks, these include:

Customer service

Pros

The ease of getting help if and when things go wrong, or you need some assistance with set-up, is important when considering any new piece of software. For Hostfully Guidebooks, this includes:

Cons

Some of the downsides of this type of support:

The best Hostfully Guidebooks alternative in 2021: RueBaRue

If you’re not convinced that Hostfully Guidebooks is for you, because you’ve seen a major sticking point for your business, or because you need more guest communication features, then here’s a great alternative that might work better.

Caption: RueBaRue could be a great Hostfully Guidebooks alternative for you

Credit: RueBaRue.com

Features

Just like Hostfully Guidebooks, RueBaRue enables you to:

But RueBaRue goes so much further than a simple guidebook and also prioritizes easy and streamlined guest communication.

This includes:

Easier and quicker communication means better service and happier guests.

You can even send guest surveys and feedback forms by email and text too, making them super-easy for guests to answer. (See how well RueBaRue compares to other communication tools on the market in our Hostfully vs TouchStay vs RueBaRue comparison here).

Caption: RueBaRue offers extra communication tools

Credit: RueBaRue.com

Integrations

One of the major advantages of RueBaRue is its considerable list of integrations, from Google Places to a wide range of major PMSs. Integrations include:

Caption: RueBaRue integrates with a wide range of tools and PMSs

Credit: RueBaRue.com

User experience

RueBaRue aims to simplify and improve the vacation rental communication and guidebook creation experience for both hosts and guests.

As hosts, you can make well-designed guidebooks with great functionality, and send them seamlessly in minutes; and your guests will have easy and clear access to a professional, digital product.

The RueBaRue user experience includes:

Customer service

RueBaRue aims to offer a high level of customer service, and strong communication channels to hosts.

Users can get quick chat support with a real-live human (as opposed to a bot!) via the RueBaRue website, which differentiates between people who are ‘just browsing’ from existing users, so agents can offer the best help for your needs.

Price

RueBaRue’s pricing is super-flexible and allows hosts to choose the exact number of properties they operate, to avoid having to pay for guidebooks that they don’t need.

(This is in contrast to the Hostfully pricing structure, which means someone with just six properties has to pay the same as someone with 10.)

RueBaRue pricing works on a flexible, sliding scale depending on the precise number of units.

There are also volume and seasonal discounts available to businesses.

Vacation rental managers can also choose between two ‘package’ plans:

What do property managers say about RueBaRue?

Property managers and hospitality brands already using RueBaRue say that it allows them to save time and money, and give guests a truly home-from-home experience.

Rumbling Bald Resort on Lake Lure, in North Carolina, said that the platform helps them to “save time and money by going digital and giving guests the information they need to plan their vacation before they arrive”. They also said it was a “great product”, with “great service”.

Another happy client, Beachcomber Vacation Homes, a vacation rental business in Arch Cape & Cannon Beach on the Oregon Coast, said that RueBaRue helps guests feel at home quickly. They said: “People want that local experience when they come here. Our RueBaRue guides help us provide that.”

And Island Breeze Vacations, which operates vacation rentals in the Florida Keys, said that its “guests are loving the digital guestbooks” because of the local recommendations and user-friendly integration with Google. It said: “The Google links that let them view nearby restaurants and attractions are amazing.”

The best Hostfully Guidebooks alternative: Making the right choice for your business

Depending on your business needs, we think that both Hostfully Guidebooks or RueBaRue could be a great choice.

While Hostfully Guidebooks is relatively simple to use and starts with a free plan; RueBaRue offers much wider guest communication options, the capability to send SMS messages, schedule emails, and provide easy upsell opportunities, and has a super-flexible payment structure so you only pay for what you need.

If you’re not sure if Hostfully Guidebooks does everything you need it to, and you’re interested in a guest communication portal that offers a range of extra services as well as the all-important guidebook, then RueBaRue could be the exact alternative you’re seeking for your vacation rental business.

Hostfully Guidebooks RueBaRue
Pricing Free for one guidebook.

Basic features for 1-5 listings from $19.99.

Price on request for more than 10 properties.

Starts at $9.99 per month for one property.

$549 per month for 100 units.

Pricing on a precise sliding scale up to 100 properties.

Sending methods Email only SMS and email
Integrations Hostfully PMS, Google Maps, Obirental PMS for Premium Plus plans. Google Places, major PMSs including LiveRez, OwnerRez, Lynx, Guesty, Homeaway, and more.
Online chat + customer service response time A few hours response time, or email Immediate response time, or email
Extra communication features X Instant team SMS chat
Extra upsell options X Extend guest stays

RueBaRue is a great alternative to Hostfully Guidebooks that allows you to send your digital guidebook to your guests via email or SMS, and manage your guest communication from a team SMS inbox. Book a demo personalized to your rentals to see the platform in action.

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