Hostfully vs TouchStay vs RueBaRue: Which Guest Communication Tool Is Best?

With remote check-ins now the norm for many vacation rental property managers, good communication with guests has never been more important.

As you know, when you're not there personally to show your guests around, it's even more crucial to communicate your warm personality, stress-free hosting skills, and local know-how.

You also want to make the whole process easy, friendly, and seamless; and answer guests' frequently asked questions quickly and helpfully—without adding hours of extra messaging and email admin to your to-do list.

hostfully-vs-touchstay-vs-ruebarue

That's why finding the best guest communication and guest book tool is so necessary. But with so many different options on the market, it can be overwhelming to know which is right for you and your guests.

With our digital guestbooks, local area guides, automated SMS function, and extended guest stay feature as standard, RueBaRue is a great option, but how does it compare to other tools out there, and how can you know which is right for you and your business?

That's the question we'll consider in this blog post.

We'll cover:

  • A comparison of three great guestbook and communication tools: Hostfully, TouchStay, and RueBaRue.
  • Details on price, features, functionality, and onboarding, so you don't have to test them all yourself.
  • Which tool might work best for your short-term rental.
  • How to get started improving your guest communication today.

RueBaRue is an easy-to-use tool that allows you to communicate efficiently with guests, streamline your processes, save time, and increase your revenue – and it takes minutes to set up. Book a 30-minute demo to see RueBaRue in action.

Hostfully vs TouchStay vs RueBaRue: Features

Hostfully Features

Hostfully-website

Hostfully's Guidebooks—as it sounds—aims to offer a well-designed, digital guidebook for your short-term rental guests.

It includes a welcome note and contact information from the host, plus photos and descriptions of the recommended sites.

  • Guests don't need to download a separate app to view the guidebooks, and the link opens in any browser on any device. Guests will appreciate this – who needs another app on their phones that they may never use again?
  • Allows you to send guidebooks via a unique URL by email, but not yet by SMS. Yet, sending by SMS is a good option to have, because emails can get lost, guests may be avoiding their inbox when on vacation, and SMS is more direct and immediate - especially if guests don't have an internet connection when traveling.
  • Allows you to reorder local recommendations and add your own, so you can tailor each guidebook personally and accordingly.
  • Can include a property manual and house rules, which are central to offering guests a professional and secure stay.
  • It enables custom branding and logos, so you can personalize the books to your own style.
  • Gives you the option to offer detailed instructions and directions to enable self check-in, which is great for contactless arrival and gives guests the freedom to arrive when they choose—a feature that is becoming more and more expected and appreciated.

But while Hostfully is a well-rounded guidebook tool, it doesn't offer any opportunities for property managers to increase their profits by adding an additional revenue stream (through extended guest stays), unlike RueBaRue, which has this option as standard – and which we'll cover below.

TouchStay Features

TouchStay-website

TouchStay offers guests a simple-yet-comprehensive digital welcome book which can offer guests the answers to their most frequently-asked-questions, and recommendations for the best local places in the area.

The aim is to offer seamless guest experiences for better reviews, which then lead to more bookings and more revenue.

  • Again, there is no need for your guests to download a separate app, and it works on both mobile and desktop, making it easy for guests to access quickly and seamlessly.
  • Easy sending options allow you to send guest guidebooks via SMS, so they have them at their fingertips without needing to log in to their email account.
  • Integrates with tools such as Google Places and TripAdvisor, to make it simple to add local tips and reviews.
  • Includes the option to add pre-arrival information for easy guest check-in and arrival, so guests can get access to your space quickly and easily.
  • Offers the option to print or create as a PDF, which can provide a great backup to have physically in your space.
  • Multiple languages, using Google Translate, or its own multi-language, integrated option, so you can easily accommodate international guests in their own words.
  • Accessible offline - great for guests who are arriving from abroad, for example, and so may not have instant internet access.

However, TouchStay is missing a few features that we think are really useful.

Unlike RueBaRue, there is no option for guests to extend their stay (and therefore increase your revenue) within the platform as standard, no guest messaging app for property managers to enable fast responses to guests from anybody on your team, and no direct integrations with your existing PMS to send personalized messages to guests.

RueBaRue Features

RueBaRue-website

Credit: RueBaRue.com

RueBaRue enables hosts to communicate everything the guest needs to know as seamlessly as possible, including a guide to the property, plus a separate local area guidebook, frequently-asked-questions, and extended stay options.

  • Creates digital guestbooks within minutes. Offer guests essential information guests need about their rental property including arrival times, door codes and house rules.
  • Creates local area guides and digital guidebooks within minutes. Offer your guests instant access to the best things to see, do and explore in your rental area right from when they arrive.
  • Sends area guides, guidebooks, and surveys to guests via automated messaging SMS (and/or email). This means that guests have the information they want wherever they want it, whether on their phones or other devices, and can carry it around digitally.
  • Enables instant communication via its own iPhone and Android app, to respond to guest SMS messages on the go. Guests are on their phones anyway, so communicating in this way is easy and straightforward. Guests are more likely to see and read texts, which are much more instant.
  • Avoids excess customer service calls, and the need to have extra customer service staff on hand in case there's a problem. This saves time and money and ensures customer issues are dealt with on the go and as quickly as possible.
  • Allows PMs to drive more revenue by offering guests the chance to extend their stays as standard. Property managers can identify gaps in their calendars and offer guests late check-outs and early check-ins—such as adding an extra day or two to a guest's stay—to generate additional revenue. All property managers need to do is find the gap in the easy-to-browse calendar, pick the guests who may be interested in extending their stays, and send them a simple SMS/email (based on a template).
  • Increases five-star Google Reviews with an integrated review filter, meaning you can address any issues guests may have had before any negative review surfaces.
  • Sends guest surveys automatically to generate great reviews and testimonials. Follow up with guests after their stay to continue the relationship ever after they check out. Get great reviews, testimonials, and/or useful feedback to enable you to continually improve guest experiences in the future.

Hostfully vs TouchStay vs RueBaRue: Onboarding

The best guest communication tools don't only provide great experiences for guests, they also make things easier on the host too, and allow you to set everything up as quickly as possible.

Hostfully Onboarding

How it works: Hostfully has its own onboarding service, which takes you step-by-step through the process of setting up the system—including importing data, training your team, and configuring the dashboard. Also includes templates for guides. It also includes:

  • Content add assistant: An "assistant" feature designed to help you set up your page basics quickly and easily.
  • Calendar synchronization. Hostfully can synchronize your calendar across channel partners.
  • Wide range of integrations, to enable you to connect with your existing tools. Major integrations include specific rental brands and OTAs such as Airbnb, Vrbo, Booking.com, and RemoteLock; but also admin and marketing tools such as Mailchimp, Stripe, and QuickBooks.

TouchStay Onboarding

How it works: TouchStay's guest books are formulaic in that they have set sections, which means that as a host, you can easily fill in each pre-set section step-by-step, such as Welcome and About the Home, Arrival Information, Safety Info & Rules, Practical Area Information, Food & Drink Guide, and So Long, Farewell for check-out and department information.

  • Fill-in-and-done forms: TouchStay offers text entry boxes to enable hosts to quickly and easily type in information in designated sections, without having to start from scratch each time.
  • Integration with some existing location tools: Uses the Google Places API to pull information from the local area automatically, such as restaurants, and local attractions. TouchStay also takes useful extra info such as opening times, and the places' website addresses.
  • Has its own blog and soon-to-launch podcast designed to help hosts maximize hospitality interactions and guest experience.

RueBaRue Onboarding

How it works: RueBaRue is designed to allow you to be up and running within minutes, using templates and pulling existing information from your other management and location tools; for as little repetitive, manual admin as possible.

  • Local and personalized area guides generated automatically: Local area guides can be populated with information in seconds, as content is sourced from Google, and hosts can simply add their own tips easily, saving you time.
  • Easy-to-use templates: RueBaRue provides templates for the digital guestbook so you're not starting from scratch, and can create guides to the property—including details such as check-in information and Wi-Fi codes—as well as local recommendations for activities, and food and drink.
  • PMS integrations: RueBaRue also integrates with many major Property Management Systems (PMSs), such as LiveRez, Streamline, Track, Escapia, Guestly, and OwnerRez, so you can pull information from there, and aren't forced to type in everything manually.
  • With PMS integration, you can start using all of RueBaRue's tools within 30 minutes as it pulls all your existing data, including the extended guest stays feature (which allows guests to add on days to their stay if there are free dates in your calendar), which is unique to RueBaRue.
RueBaRue-integration-partners

Credit: RueBaRue.com

Hostfully vs TouchStay vs RueBaRue: Pricing

Hostfully Pricing

Hostfully pricing is split between Individual and Business plans.

Individual plans

  • Free for one guidebook, with home information for check-in and check-out, directions, and Wi-Fi. This also includes unlimited recommendations, customer support, use on all devices, and offline access.
  • The paid-for "Power Host" version starts at $7.99/month billed annually, or $9.99/month billed monthly, for one guidebook. It includes everything in the free plan, plus an admin dashboard, guest email address capture, desktop device access, your brand design, multiple languages, and more. Offers a free 14-day trial.

Business plans

  • Business Prime costs $19.99 for 1-5 listings. Includes multiple guidebooks with templates, custom recommendations enabled, guest data collection, and logo branding.
  • Business Prime Plus costs $44.99 for 6-10 listings. Includes all the Prime features, across up to 10 Guidebooks and a free onboarding call when you join.
  • The Professional plan is for property managers with more than 10 rentals, and the price varies depending on the number of listings. It includes all of the benefits of Business Prime Plus, as well as a range of others, such as custom features, your own account manager, a custom domain, and more.

    It starts from $75 per month for 15 listings, increasing by listing. A sliding scale on the Hostfully website can help you calculate your cost.
Hostfully-pricing-screenshot

TouchStay Pricing

TouchStay splits its pricing options into three categories: Owners & Hosts, Property Managers, and Hotels and B&B Owners.

  • Owners & Hosts: Starts at $99/year annually for your first property, $51 for your second, and $45 for each of your next three.
  • Property Managers: Between $2-$6 per property per month, depending on how many properties you have. Specific pricing on request from TouchStay.
  • Hotels and B&B Owners: Starts at $99/year, depending on the number of bedrooms. Again, specific pricing is only available on request from TouchStay.

A 14-day free trial is available for all options.

TouchStay-pricing-screenshot

RueBaRue Pricing

RueBaRue's pricing is specially designed to be flexible and adaptable for short-term property managers, and grows easily and predictably as your vacation rental business scales.

  • Starts at $9.99/month or $99.90/year for one property or unit, rising for each extra unit.
  • For example, 50 units costs $249.50/month, and $2,495/year. It's better value to pay per year—for example, you save $499 (2 months free) for 50 units when paying annually.

There are also plans that make it easier to see what you're getting as you scale up.

  • The $9.99 "Starter" plan includes one guestbook, one local area guide, and a text and email scheduler.
  • The $79.95 "Enterprise" plan includes ten properties, a dedicated SMS number and unlimited text messages—plus a series of other features such as extended guest stays, surveys, a guest dashboard, and the iPhone and Android app.

RueBaRue also offers a handy pricing calculator on its website (see the screenshot below), which allows you to check exactly how much you would be paying depending on the number of units you have. There's also an ROI calculator available, that simulates the potential return on investment when using RueBaRue's Extend Guest Stays feature.

There's also a free 14-day trial for each plan, with no credit card required, and there are no setup or integration fees on top either.

RueBaRue-pricing-screenshot

Credit: RueBaRue.com

Hostfully vs Touchstay vs RueBaRue: Comparison at a glance

HostfullyTouchstayRueBaRue
Pricing Free for basic features, for one unit/listing.

From $7.99/month billed annually for Power Host for one listing.

From $19.99 for Business 1-5 listings.

From $44.99 for Prime Plus, for 6-10 listings.

Free onboarding call for Prime Plus

14-day free trial.
Owners & Hosts: From $99/year annually.

Property Managers: From $2-$6 per property/ month, depending on size. Full quote on request.

Hotels and B&B Owners: From $99/year annually. Full quote on request.

14-day free trial.
From $9.99/month per property or unit for one listing.

$9.99 for Starter with one guestbook, one area guide, text and email scheduler.

$79.95 for Enterprise, with all Starter features across ten properties, plus more.

Property managers with a larger portfolio receive scale discounts.
Onboarding ease + time
Free onboarding call for Prime Plus
Custom branding, sync feature, onboarding training team available  templates for guidebooks. Fill-in forms and some location integrations such as the Google Places API. Draws on the power of major PMS and Google integrations to require as little manual admin as possible. Ready to go in 30 minutes.
Enables separate house and local area guidesXX
Enables guest communication via email and in-app SMSX
Includes a team SMS inbox, so guest messages go to entire team for quick, coordinated repliesXX
Offers new and unique guest books for every guest and/or propertyX
(only in Business packages)
Allows property managers to offer extended stays as standardXX
Integrates easily with major PMS platforms for easy onboardingX
Pricing easily viewed online and simply calculated by unit numberX
Especially designed and ideal for property managers with 50+ unitsX

So which guest communication tool is best for your property management business?

Depending on your business needs, any one of these options could be a great choice.

While Hostfully is great for smaller businesses wanting to keep costs low (as it has a completely free option), TouchStay offers a range of options for everyone from BnB owners to full-on property managers.

RueBaRue is perfect for property managers with 20+ units, who want to maximize revenue and fill up their calendars, use SMS tools for direct and easy communication, and get started with professional guidebooks in minutes.

Finding a communication and guidebook tool that works for you and your guests in today's on-the-go, on-demand, modern age can be a challenge, especially if you manage multiple properties and don't want to spend all day on behind-the-scenes admin.

But if you're looking for a platform that ensures guests can hit the ground running and get to know the area as soon as they arrive—with easy communication and everything they need at their fingertips, while massively reducing your own to-do list—you won't go far wrong with one of these top picks.

RueBaRue is an easy-to-use tool that allows you to communicate efficiently with guests, streamline your processes, save time, and increase your revenue – and it takes minutes to set up. Book a 30-minute demo to see RueBaRue in action.

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