Smartbnb Review 2019 – The Good & The Bad… [plus tutorial]
SMARTBNB REVIEW 2019
Smartbnb is an automation tool for small time Airbnb hosts and big property managers alike. It can help automate guest messages, reviews, cleaner reminders and much more.
It's the leader in it's market, but how good is it really?
In this review of Smartbnb I'll be giving you a breakdown of all it's features... the good and the bad!
FEATURE BREAKDOWN & REVIEW OF SMARTBNB
Works perfectly every time.
Not the cheapest, but very affordable.
Ease of use
After initial set up, very easy to use.
Support chat & tickets. No phone support.
- Very affordable
- Reduces guest communication drastically (95%+)
- Easy to use
- Robust & reliable
- Industry leader
- There are cheaper alternatives
- No phone support
- No pricing tier for single listing hosts
Summary: Smartbnb is a solution for Airbnb hosts/property managers wanting to run their guest communications and operations at scale.
What is Smartbnb - in a nutshell
Smartbnb is an automation tool that takes care of the day to day running of your Airbnb account and all operations.
It sends out automated messages to your guests, auto reminders to your cleaner, and much more.
Smartbnb makes your job as an Airbnb host easier by automating much of the process.
Smartbnb automates these 3 hosting tasks:
Automated guest messaging/communication
Smartbnb can automate the entire Airbnb guest journey, from start to finish, seamlessly, whether you own just the 1 property, or 100.
Used effectively, it can reduce a hosts workload by upwards of 95%...
...without looking like a robot!
It doesn't stop there though, as this is just scratching the surface of this powerful piece of kit.
In this review of Smartbnb I'll be highlighting the good, and the bad, plus I'll also be teaching you exactly how to set up an account effectively to get the software purring like a dream.
If you value your time, and you want to streamline your Airbnb business, then you're going to love this tool.
Smartbnb Tutorial Video
Getting set up
Go to https://smartbnb.io
Click 'Try free for 14 days' button.
From there you'll be taken through a series of multiple choice questions. Complete these and continue to the next step.
Enter your Airbnb login credentials and click 'Continue'.
Smartbnb must create a connection with your Airbnb account in order to operate successfully. This process takes roughly 60 seconds.
Once your account has been activated you’ll be re-directed to the Smartbnb dashboard.
Building Your Automated Messaging Sequence
Before you can begin sending automated messages with Smartbnb, you first need to set up 'Messaging Rules'
Click the 'Heart' icon, then select 'Messaging rules'.
Smartbnb comes with a tonne of different pre-written templates that are great to get you started, but I find them a little bit lacking in personality, so you’ll want to go in and edit the messages to give them your own voice.
They also have pre-set scheduling (this is the pre-defined timings that each message must get sent out to your guests) that doesn't quite fit my flow, so I opt to change these presets too.
I recorded a video explaining the exact messaging sequence that has allowed me to automate 95%+ of all guest communication - Watch it here >>
The 'Messaging rules' are split into four different levels.
Before Booking - messages sent before a guest finalises a booking
As the name suggests this section is for all messages before a guest actually books.
These messages can be programmed to send out for:
- Requests to book
- Checkpoints - An automated message sent to users without sufficient ID
Smartbnb allows you to go full automation on its ass here, but this is one area I choose to take a little manual control of personally.
Call me old fashioned but I like to manually engage with any new inquiries until a booking is confirmed.
For that reason I don't have any automated messages set before a booking has been made.
Before Check-in - messages sent before a guest arrival
All messages within the 'Before check-in' section can be sent from the moment a guest has booked, right up until check-in.
This is where you really begin to see how effective Smartbnb can be.
Taking the time to set this up properly right from the beginning will save you an enormous amount of time and effort down the road.
My setup looks like this:
I have 3 messages that I send to my guests at different intervals before their stay:
- New Reservation - Sent immediately upon booking confirmation
- Check-in Instructions - Sent 4 days before check-in
- Pre Check-in House Manual - 7 hours before check-in
It's worth paying close attention to the timings of my messages here. I've spent a long time refining it, and this particular sequence works very well.
As soon as a guest books they are entered into this sequence.
Now if you've done a good job with the copy within your messages, your guests should have everything they need to know (and more) to ensure a seamless check-in experience.
All without you lifting a finger.
SHORT CODES - what exactly are they?
The short codes are ways to dynamically insert data into your messages. Things like guest name, address, check in time, house manual.
Using short-codes within your messages will make your messages more personalised.
A list of the short-codes available within Smartbnb:
Staying - messages sent during a guests stay
This section is for all messages sent during your guests stay.
This is a good chance to touch base with your guests to make sure they have everything they need.
It's also where you should send check-out instructions too.
*I try not to bombard my guests with too many messages, especially during their stay. For that reason, I only have one message programmed to send here.
After Check-out - messages sent once a guest has left
Ah, the old 'bum-lick' as I like to call it.
This is where you should send a thank you message to your guests.
If you're like me and you're forever putting-off writing guest reviews, then you'll be pleased to know that Smartbnb has thought about people like me and has automated Airbnb reviews built in.
Here's how it works...
Create a set of review templates (preferably 3+) with the use of dynamic short-codes.
These reviews are then systematically rotated. Effectively, this means that you'll never have to write reviews again.
Reviews can be scheduled to send at different times. Anywhere from - Immediately up to 14 days after check-out.
I recommend scheduling reviews at least 3 days after check-out.
This allows time for feedback from your team should you need to override the automation process and write your review manually.
Questions - an AI solution to FAQ's
Smartbnb now offers an AI solution for answering frequently asked questions.
Questions about things like:
- Early Check-in
- Late Check-out
To set up 'Questions' effectively, you first need to activate a new question.
Click on the 'Questions' link, then click on a sample question eg.'Wifi' to edit.
The example questions are used to help train the AI to recognise instances where questions related to your rule occur. Add any example questions you can think of here to help improve its accuracy.
To activate the system to auto send responses to these questions, you first need to create a template message, and add a 'new rule' with associated conditions.
To begin that process click on the 'Reply to questions about' link.
This is where you can now build a message template response to send.
Underneath the message builder there is a drop down menu to select the 'timing' of your reply.
There are two options:
- Prepare Answer - This will prepare the answer and send you a notification to confirm whether or not to send the message.
- Send Immediately
Select the appropriate timing for your preference.
There are two more menu options to further refine the 'question rules'
The first is 'Settings'.
There are 3 options to further refine when to send the message.
- Before reservation is excepted
- Before check-in date
- While the guest is staying
You have the option to select just one, or multiple. The nature of the question will dictate the settings you choose.
The second menu option is 'Scope'.
This is where you can further refine the rule by limiting the rule to: Specific platforms, Specific hosts,
- Specific platforms
- Specific hosts
- Specific properties
The 'Scope' section is mainly targeted to hosts that manage multiple listings. If your a small time host managing a single property you can ignore this section.
Operations - managing team and reminders
This is the section where you manage your team, and all their tasks.
Think of this section as the 'staff area', where everything is coordinated to ensure a seamless guest experience.
Task Rules - set it and forget it
Task rules help you to automate the workflow of your team. They help to coordinate your team for tasks like cleaning, maintenance, laundry etc.
Each task is automatically assigned to each new reservation (once you set it up). This task can be sent to your team automatically via notification or iCal update, or can be processed manually.
There are four different types of 'Task rules' you can use:
- Cleaning (before check-in, after check-out)
- Check-in (before check-in)
- Check-out (before check-out, after check-out)
- Maintenance (before check-in, after check-in, before check-out, after check-out)
How to add a new 'Task rule':
Click the 'Task Rules' menu item, then click '+ Add New'.
A pop-up window will appear with the four different types of 'Rules' available. Click to make a selection.
Go through each section to construct the task as you'd like it ready for your team, and click on the toggle icon to save and activate.
I've got to admit I find these 'Task rules' to be a little confusing.
With only the label being editable, I'm not quite sure how the person receiving the task notification will know exactly what needs to be done.
I think this area could be made much more effective with a manual text area that can describe in detail the task at hand.
Team - adding team members
This is where you can enter the details for all the members of your team so that Smartbnb can automate the notification process.
To add new people to your team...
Click on 'Team' menu item then '+ Add New'
Add team member details, then select the appropriate 'Role'.
Once you've added the details, now Smartbnb can now automate the communication process between you and your team.
Notification Rules - team email & sms reminders
This particular feature has saved me the most amount of stress...
It sends out automated reminders to your cleaners and anyone else in your team for that matter.
Reminders can be either:
Reminders are essential in making sure your team is informed. However, reminders are extremely time sensitive. Too early and they'll get forgotten. Too late, and it's well, too late.
This used to drive me nuts. So much so, that I wrote a whole post about how to set up auto-reminders to your cleaner.
I hate to admit it, but I have forgotten to send out reminders on more than one occasion in the past. I haven't missed a single one since using Smartbnb.
Here's how you set it up.
Click on 'Notification Rules' in the menu bar, then select '+ Add New'
A pop-up window will appear.
From here you must select the type of notification you want to create.
There are three different types of notification:
- Notification for an event - New reservation, New alteration, New cancellation, New inquiry.
- Schedule a Reminder - Before check-in, After check-in, Before check-out, After check-out.
- Notification for Tasks - Notify your team for New tasks assigned, Updated tasks, Cancelled tasks.
This is where you get to build up each notification you want to create.
The settings here are super flexible, and there's a lot of power packed into this feature.
This feature allows you to select:
- How you want to notify your team mate.
- Exactly when you want to notify them.
- Who to send it to.
- What message you want to send them.
I get pretty creative here and have over 20 different reminders set up to fire to different members of my team.
Here's a couple of examples of the reminders I send to my team:
Email Reminder - 2 days before check-in
Check-in Reminder For: %check_in%
SMS Reminder - 7 hours before check-in
Check-in Reminder For: %check_in%
Super quick, and super simple.
I use email for pre-reminders, and SMS for last minute reminders.
Since implementing this double reminder system (SMS + Email), I've not once had any problems with tasks getting missed.
Airbnb Search Ranking Reports
If you’re serious about monitoring and improving your Airbnb Ranking (and you should be), then you’ll seriously dig this feature.
It's called a 'Market Report'.
In the 'Market Report' you’ll find the exact ranking position for your property for every variable for the next 30 reservation possibilities, plus a rundown of who your main competition is, their nightly rate and their number of reviews.
The Smartbnb app will send out this daily ranking report to your inbox.
Your report will look a little like this.
Having these Airbnb ranking reports delivered to you daily allows you to continually check how you’re ranking, and it makes you super nimble for any price changes or listing alterations you may need to make.
Manage Everything In One Place - the Smartbnb inbox
Smartbnb has integrated Airbnb's inbox into their dashboard in a super simple, and very intuitive way.
With this integration happening within the Smartbnb app, there's no longer the need to login to Airbnb whatsoever.
The UX is great, and overall is a much better experience than Airbnb natively IMHO.
What don't I like...
There's not much I don't like about this tool, but here are a few things I think could be improved on.
- No mobile app - There's currently no mobile app for Smartbnb, for that reason everything is done on their desktop site. I think a native mobile app would be a very valuable addition to this software.
- No historical ranking metrics - With all that killer data from the Market Report, I’d like to be able to harness this and plot my progress over time on a graph so that I have historical data to compare to.
- Poor guided set-up - I find the guided set-up process to be a little bit lagging and confusing.
I've been travelling for the past 4 years (oftentimes in countries with drastically different time zones), and in that time I've relied heavily on Smartbnb to run my Airbnb business effectively.
I hand on heart, don't think I could operate like I do without it.
It's not the cheapest tool that offers this type of service on the market, but when it comes to automating so much of the hosting process and so much on the line, I'd happily pay the extra for top quality.
In my opinion, this is by far the best automation tool for Airbnb on the market right now.
There's currently a 14 day free trial available for all new users (no credit card needed). To access the offer Click Here
Hope you like it as much as I do.