1. Create a Host Tools Account
Host Tools is a channel manager that will automate repetitive tasks like messaging guests, texting cleaners about new cleanings, setting smart lock door codes, syncing prices and availability across channels, and more.
Create an account to start your 14-day free trial here.
2. Connect Channels
Host Tools needs access to your listings so the first step is to connect your channel account. Connect your Airbnb, VRBO, Booking.com, and Houfy accounts so Host Tools can automate across all channels.
All listings are imported as "disabled" by default. Once you follow the steps below to set up your listings, you can enable them so that Host Tools can start automating your listing for you. Check out this article for more information about the difference between disabled, enabled, and hidden listings.
3. Link Listings
If you list a property on several channels, you will need to link those listings on Host Tools. By linking your listings, you are telling Host Tools which listings from different channels are for the same property. Then, when you get a booking on one channel, it will update your calendar on all other channels. This will also be helpful because it will automatically apply the same message rules or pricing rules to all your linked listings and prevents you from needing to create them multiple times. This also makes sure that Host Tools only charges you for one listing, instead of for each channel the listing is advertised on.
4. Choose a Price Source and Minimum Nights.
The first step in setting up Host Tools is to select your "price source." This article will go over the different price source options and what they mean.
5. Choose to Enable or Disable Your Listing.
All listings are imported as "disabled" by default. When the checkbox next to "enable listing" is unchecked, the listing is disabled. When a listing is disabled you can modify its settings, create pricing and messaging rules, block dates and do everything else you would like to do to set it up. However, Host Tools will not automate or send any data to the channels, and you will not be charged for this listing. This is the perfect way to configure a new listing and to make sure you have everything set up the way you want before making it live.
If you want all the changes you make to be pushed to the channels immediately, you can enable your listing.
Important things to note
Host Tools only downloads reservations from channels, it does not download blocked dates. If you have blocked dates on your channel calendar they will be overwritten by Host Tools when it synchronizes. When Host Tools synchronizes your availability, it uses all the reservations from all your linked listings and blocks those dates across all the linked listings. If you have dates that you have manually blocked, you need to block those dates on the Host Tools calendar.
Do not add iCal links for channels that are connected (Airbnb/VRBO/Houfy/Booking). This can cause issues with availability syncing. iCal links should only be used for channels that are not integrated with Host Tools. To sync availability with other channels we do not integrate with (Expedia, Agoda, etc), or with your personal calendar, you can import/export reservations with iCal links.
1. Automate Messages
The first step in automating your short-term rentals is putting your guest communication on autopilot. Host Tools will send automated messages for you based on unpredictable events, such as a new booking, or scheduled events, such as 1 day after a guest has checked in.
2. Automate Pricing
Host Tools has a very powerful and flexible pricing tool. It is rule-based meaning you build your pricing strategy by creating a list of rules. Each rule is applied in order from the top down. That means that one rule can override another rule if it’s farther down on the list. Pricing rules can change your price, min night requirement, or availability.
Set your source or base price in the listing settings. You can set your base price using a static value or copy your prices from a linked listing or use prices from your PriceLabs account.
Set your minimum price in listing settings. This is the lowest Host Tools will ever set your price.
Create pricing rules or set prices directly on the calendar.
Pricing rules can do three different things: change your prices, set your minimum night requirement, and set your availability.
You can also change prices directly on your calendar.
To set prices directly on the calendar, select dates on your calendar and type in a price for all the channels or for just specific channels.
Check to make sure prices are correct
There are a few different ways you can check your prices on Host Tools to make sure they are correct. You can view your pricing calendar, the price graph, or from the pricing page select a date and it will show you how that price was calculated. There are more detailed instructions here.
Log into VRBO, Airbnb, or other channels to check if your prices and blocked dates have synced.
Host Tools will automatically sync prices every six hours.
You can click “Sync Prices” above your pricing graph to have it sync immediately. It can take up to 5 minutes for prices to sync.
If you are copying prices, you might need to sync your prices twice because Host Tools needs to download the prices from one listing and then save them to the other listing which will require that the tool synchronizes twice initially.
3. Automate Smart Locks
Host Tools integrates with August locks.
Explore More Features
1. Listing Groups
Making a “Listing Group” is useful for creating a turnover calendar or for creating one messaging rule that works for a group of listings. If you have several properties that are in the same building or city, they may share the same cleaner and have many of the same messages.
2. Turnover Calendar
A turnover calendar is a calendar you can share externally with members of your team such as your cleaners or managers. The calendar can be viewed by anyone with a unique link, it does not require a sign-in. It shows the listing name, address, check-outs, some guest information, and whether or not it is a same-day booking.
3. Multi-User Management
With Host Tools' multi-user management feature, you can invite people to create their own user accounts. You can also grant different levels of permission depending on what you want them to be able to see and do.
4. Link Rooms to Whole House Listings
It is easy to link listings together that you rent out in different combinations.
5. Download the App
Host Tools has a mobile app for both Apple and Android to help you manage day-to-day tasks on the go.