Vacation rental management software tools are used to streamline the process of running vacation properties. These solutions usually offer basic features like a channel manager, rate management, direct booking websites, analytics, and more. Whether you have a handful of properties or a large portfolio, this type of software can make the process of running rental properties much easier.
This article will discuss the major differences between Hostfully and Smoobu, two popular VRMS tools. We reviewed both tools firsthand and found that overall, Hostfully is better for larger businesses, while Smoobu is great for someone on a search for budget-friendly software. Throughout the article, we’ll make recommendations to help you choose which software would best benefit your business.
All of our recommendations are based on research, product demos with the software companies, and dozens of hours spent hand-testing the vacation rental management tools. More details regarding our research process can be found on our vacation rental management category page.
Hostfully & Smoobu Comparison Summary
Hostfully was rated higher than Smoobu because, though it’s much more expensive, it offers more functionality. We created this comparison because both are very modern tools with digital guidebooks, which is a fairly unique feature to these two software tools. However, we found them to be best for different customers.
Here's a breakdown of our review criteria and how Hostfully and Smoobu ranked in each category:
|Criteria||Analyst Rating||Features||Usability||Pricing||Customer Support|
Between the two, Hostfully is stronger in terms of its Digital Guidebooks and bookings tracker. This is an end-to-end solution that touches on almost all aspects of property management, from guest messaging to review management. It’s also much more expensive than Smoobu, with pricing starting at $79 per month with a $400 implementation fee. There’s no free plan and no free trial available.
Smoobu, on the other hand, is particularly strong for API integrations with regional online travel agencies (OTAs) in Europe. It’s therefore a better choice for those with properties in Europe. Overall, it’s a mid-tier option with a modern dashboard to track rental performance. Its main drawback is that the websites can be finicky, though this was an issue that was resolved quickly. Pricing begins at $23 per month and ranges up to $200 per month for around 30 properties; overall, it’s much cheaper than Hostfully. There’s a limited free plan.
Here’s are a few quick points to summarize who we recommend each tool for:
- You have over 10 properties to manage or you’re a large management company
- You have a higher budget to spend on a VRMS solution
- You want more advanced and customizable Guest Guidebooks
- You own or manage properties in Europe
- You’re looking for a more budget-friendly option that allows for more flexibility
- You prefer a tool that’s easier to set up and utilize
Table of Contents
- Hostfully & Smoobu Comparison Summary
- Who Should Purchase Hostfully?
- Who Should Purchase Smoobu?
- Hostfully & Smoobu Price Comparison
- Hostfully & Smoobu Feature Comparison
- Bottom Line
Who Should Purchase Hostfully?
Hostfully’s a valuable tool for anyone looking to scale their vacation rental management business. Management companies will find it easy to manage properties for many different owners due to Hostfully’s user portals, where you can give access to specific listings and data to different users. While both Hostfully and Smoobu offer guest guides, which are digital guidebooks sent to guests, we found Hostfully’s to be much more advanced and customizable.
We found no specific software issues during testing. Therefore, the main drawbacks to using Hostfully are the price and the learning curve, which will likely be steep for the average user. The Starter plan doesn’t come equipped with full API integrations with the major channels, which means that the pricier Pro or Premium plans will be the best bang for your buck. Compared with Smoobu, it’s better suited for those with larger property portfolios and larger budgets.
Who Should Purchase Smoobu?
Those with any number of properties will benefit from using Smoobu. Due to the fact that Smoobu’s customer support hours are best for European timezones and there are API integrations with many small European channels, it’s also great for hosts in that region. Hosts in North America or other regions will benefit as well, since Smoobu has API integrations with worldwide OTAs as well. Pricing is fair, and while it wasn’t rated quite as highly in our category, it’s still a decent, mid-tier choice.
One of Smoobu’s main drawbacks is that you can’t automatically import listings from OTAs the way you can with other VRMS tools— rather, you have to configure properties one by one, which is tedious. We were also unable to test the direct booking websites when we used the tool because all the sites were down. We like the variety of integrations and that hosts aren’t charged commission fees. It’s going to be a solid option for you if you have any number of properties and are satisfied with an affordable, middle-of-the-road option.
Hostfully & Smoobu Price Comparison
Hostfully is more expensive overall. Pricing begins at $79 per month and there’s a $400 implementation fee unless you sign an annual agreement. Smoobu, on the other hand, is more flexible, with prices starting at $23 per property.
Hostfully Pricing Details
Hostfully’s pricing details are outlined below. Pricing begins at $79 per month for the Starter plan and Guidebooks are free for one guidebook.
|Individual: Power Host|
|Business: Prime Plus|
Smoobu Pricing Details
Smoobu is much more budget-friendly with prices starting at $23 per month. There’s a basic free plan as well as a 14-day free trial, which gives much more flexibility for hosts who would like to try a software before buying.
Hostfully & Smoobu Feature Comparison
|HomeAway/Vrbo API||Yes (only for five or more listings)||Yes|
|Tripadvisor API||Yes (only for five or more listings)||Yes|
|Direct Booking Website||Yes||Yes|
|Property Management Features||Yes||Yes|
|Automated Guest Messaging||Yes||Yes|
|Task Management||Yes||Yes (Ultimate Plan only)|
|Owner Access and Reports||Yes||Yes|
|Robust Integrations||Yes||Yes (stronger)|
Hostfully's Top Features
Hostfully’s top features are the Digital Guidebooks and pipeline view features. There’s a long list of other features like a centralized calendar, review management, and more. A few of these features will be described and we’ll give some examples of what the tool looks like.
The pipeline view is Hostfully’s bookings tracker for all properties managed within the Hostfully dashboard. The pipeline view displays quotes, holds, impending arrivals, and current stays for all properties. This dashboard-style view also shows the number of leads, conversion rates, and the total amount in sales.
Hostfully’s centralized calendar displays booking information gathered from all API-synchronized OTAs. It’s largely the same as Smoobu’s centralized calendar, as both show which channel the booking came from and allows users to drill down into each booking to see guest information, details, and more.
This feature, Hostfully’s best, enables hosts to create digital guidebooks that are provided to guests during check-in. As displayed on the left in this image, you can include a huge amount of information like directions, parking information, local recommendations, house information, and more.
The Guidebooks offered by Hostfully are stronger than those offered by Smoobu due to the depth of customization that’s offered. Because of this, the Guidebooks feature also comes at a much higher price.
Smoobu's Top Features
Smoobu’s top features are their digital guidebooks, which are great, though not quite as strong as Hostfully’s. Smoobu has a much wider list of API integrations with OTAs and will therefore benefit owners who need to list properties across more channels. There are also many available integrations with external software vendors that offer services like check-in automations, property maintenance, and more.
The Smoobu dashboard is particularly strong among VRMS tools. There are statistics regarding occupancy rates, portal distribution for bookings, and a six-month overview of bookings. There’s also a brief glance at the centralized calendar and some other brief statistics.
To make messaging easier, Smoobu allows you to auto-populate data regarding each booking into messages. For example, you can put a placeholder in message templates that will fill in correct information about the guest’s name, booking details, length of stay, and more. This feature is strong and works about the same as it does in Hostfully.
Integrations and Other Features
Smoobu offers a great list of integrations which, much like the channel integrations, consist of worldwide companies as well as regional tools. The integrations range from luggage storage companies to online check-in and payment solutions. Smoobu’s other features include direct booking websites and digital guest guides, which are not as advanced as Hostfully’s.
Hostfully is a great choice for big management companies and anyone looking to provide a great guest experience. It’s advanced, pricey, and full-featured. Smoobu, on the other hand, is best for European property owners or managers. It’s also the more cost-effective solution and has more API integrations offered in the channel manager.