January 22

iGMS Review 2020: The Good & The Bad…

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iGMS REVIEW 2020

IGMS is a tool used by Airbnb Hosts and large scale property managers alike to automate many of the repetitive tasks of Airbnb hosting.

It also gives hosts the opportunity to list their properties on a number of different booking platforms, whilst controlling the entire process seamlessly in one place.

It's a promising software solution, that offers a lot, but how good is it really?

In this review of IGMS I'll be giving you an honest breakdown of all it's features... the good and the bad!


FEATURE BREAKDOWN & REVIEW OF IGMS

Effectiveness

Works perfectly every time.

Price

Amazing pricing offers.  Free for up to 4 properties.

Ease of use

After initial set up, very easy to use.

Support

Support chat & email.

  • Free for up to 4 listings
  • List property on multiple booking platforms
  • Unified inbox and calendar
  • Feature rich
  • Financial reporting
  • Many features not available on free version
  • No phone support
  • User interface a little dated and confusing
  • Hard to navigate


Summary: IGMS is a solution for Airbnb hosts looking to automate away many of the mundane tasks of hosting, eg. Guest messaging, reviews, team reminders etc. and also cross promote their listings to a wider audience via multiple booking platforms.


Note: More Product Reviews

You're reading one of my reviews of Airbnb Property Management Tools. Here's a list of the other tools I've published reviews on:

What is IGMS - in a nutshell

IGMS is property management solution for Airbnb hosts and large scale property managers.  

It works by creating a connection between itself and Airbnb (and many other booking platforms, but more on that in a minute), which enables IGMS to control -- and automate -- multiple different tasks that not only save time, but also a lot of money too.

The value in a tool like IGMS comes from the time savings it can offer by harnessing the power of automation, plus it's ability to increase efficiencies when managing multiple properties on multiple platforms. 

In this review of IGMS I'll do my best to highlight the good, and the bad, to help you make an informed decisions when selecting the best Airbnb property management software for yourself.

Is IGMS everything it promises to be and more?

Let's find out...



Getting Set Up

Getting set up with IGMS is a two-stage process.


Stage 1.

The first stage of the set up process is to connect your Airbnb account to IGMS.  Step one of this process is relatively straightforward.


connect airbnb account to igms

To get the integration process started, click 'Connect Account' under the Airbnb logo.


enter airbnb credentials into igms

Enter your Airbnb credentials into the form provided and click 'Link Account'.

The connection process may take a few minutes to complete, but once it's done, you can move onto stage two of the set up process.


Stage 2.

Ok, with the first part set up complete the initial connection between your Airbnb account and IGMS done.  There is another step however, and this is one stage of the on-boarding process which I find particularly confusing, and even a little daunting.

Let me explain.


stage two integration igms

You'll be greeted with a page like above prompting you to complete the integration process.  Click on the "Complete Integration" button to move onto the next step.


change email address igms

In order to complete the integration process IGMS requires you to change your Airbnb email address to the one provided by them.  

They say this change is needed to prevent any delays of incoming messages and new inquiries, which is fine, however, changing something like this creates massive friction (and unease) in the on-boarding process.

Once the email change has occurred the integration is complete and your IGMS account will be working perfectly, however, with many of the competing services managing to obfuscate this process this is definitely somewhere that IGMS could improve.

With all that being said however, once you've completed the integration process, you'll never have to worry about it again.

Building Your Automated Messaging Sequence

In my opinion the biggest value proposition of Airbnb management software like IGMS is it's ability to automate much of the repetitive tasks of hosting eg. Guest messaging, review, team reminders, etc.

With the biggest timesaver coming from automating guest messages.

With that said, lets take a look at how IGMS handles this process.


How to create message templates in IGMS

For such a fundamental feature I sure did find it hard to locate where exactly the message template builder was located.  However, after much Googling and searching I finally found where this feature was located.

How to locate the message template builder:


how to find the template builder igms

Click on the "Properties" tab on the left-hand menu bar.  Find the listing you want to build the messaging sequence for, and click "Edit".


message templates igms

Under the "General" tab, scroll down and click the "Customize" button.


message template builder igms

Finally, you are now in the message template editor.  

Unlike many of the other services in this space, IGMS doesn't provide any pre-written message template examples which I think is a shame and something they definitely could improve upon.

So, unless you've got any templates pre-written (you can grab my full sequence here for free), you're going to have to start from scratch.

Here's how you do it...


writing your first message template igms

First up you're going to want to give your template a name.  Pick something that's representative of the stage at which your guest is at through their booking journey. 

From there, jump into the text box provided and start writing your message template.  Use the image above as a reference.

Once your message is complete, click save.


IGMS -- DYNAMIC VARIABLES 

Dynamic variables are little snippets of code that can dynamically pull in information about your guest and their booking, into your message templates.  

The dynamic variables look like this: {{guest_first_name}}

Use these dynamic variables within your message templates to make them more personalised, and intimate.


Automating guest messages with IGMS

The last step is to set up the automation triggers to send these messages to your guests.


automation triggers igms

Toggle the "Automation" tab to "ON" to bring up the triggering options.

The trigger you set for your message will depend on what stage your guest is at in their booking journey.  

For the example above "Booking Confirmed" you'll want to select the trigger "Upon Confirmed Reservation" tab from the options.


Automation settings igms

Here you can adjust the delivery settings for your message templates.  

Although the delivery settings are a little limited, there's still enough options here to build a decent automated messaging sequence for your guests.

All in all, although not very intuitive, with a carefully crafted messaging sequence the system is robust enough to do an adequate job, albeit a little confusing to set up.

If you stick with it, you should be able to get it to perform as you'd like with a little tweaking here and there.


I recorded a video explaining the exact messaging sequence that has allowed me to automate 95%+ of all guest communication - Watch it here >>


Automated Reviews 

IGMS gives you the ability to automate the reviews you send to your guests, however, unfortunately this option isn't available as part of the free package -- you'll need to upgrade to Pro to activate this feature.


How to automate reviews on IGMS


how to automate reviews on igms

Click on the "Reviews" tab on the left-hand menu bar.

From there you can proceed to create your review template.  

You'll notice that you must set your template with pre-programmed star ratings.  For ease of flow, set all of these to five stars, and select "YES" when asked whether you'd recommend this guest.

Notice also that you have the ability to use dynamic variables within your review templates too, so be sure to make use of them too.

In order for the review engine to kick into gear you'll need at least three saved review templates ready to go.  Once you've got your templates pre-loaded into the system, IGMS will use it's randomiser function to rotate through each of your review templates to make it look more natural.

At first glance, I thought that this was all of the functionality available within the review engine, and I presumed it was impossible to set the time delay between a guest leaving and the review being published...

However, on closer inspection, hidden away in the Profile >> Settings >> there is an area that will let you set the timing.


activate automated reviews

Although I struggled a little to find all of the settings I needed, in the end I managed to achieve the results I was looking for. 

Overall, I think the review engine is robust enough, and simple enough for most hosts/property managers to make work effectively.  

Managing Team Members And Assigning Tasks On IGMS

To get the most out of a system like IGMS you're going to want to use it to automate away many of the team delegation tasks that can become difficult as an Airbnb host.  

I'm talking about things like cleaner reminders, check-in/check-out reminders, laundry notifications, etc.

Thankfully a system like IGMS can handle much of this for you, and what's more, it'll do it on time, every time.

Lets take a look at how to set this up.


Adding a team member to IGMS


add a new team member to igms

Click on the "Team & Members" tab on the left hand menu.  Then click the "New Member" button.


new team member details igms

Fill out each of the fields with all the information needed eg. Phone number and Email.  

Once all the details are in you can select how you'd like your team member to be notified either by email, SMS, or both.

Once that's done, click "Permissions" in the top menu.


setting permissions on igms

As the name suggests, this is where you can set the permissions for your team member. You can adjust the permission settings to allow or disallow a team member to access certain areas of your dashboard and certain information.

Go through each of these as you add each new team member to set the appropriate access restrictions.

Also, at the top you'll notice that you can assign a "Primary Role" to each new member, so don't forget to do that too.

And last but not least, there is the "Access" tab which you might want to check out.

The "Access" tab is another layer of filtering and assigning permissions to team members in bulk using things like labels, or assigning team members to specific properties.  

This area is above and beyond the use cases that I'll ever need, however, I'm sure for property managers controlling hundreds of listings, this additional filtering option could really come in handy.


setting up access igms

Assigning tasks on IGMS

Now that you have all of your team members added into the system with the appropriate permissions and notification settings, now it's time to assign them some tasks. 

From what I can tell, the ability to automate the assignment of tasks has been removed from IGMS (not sure quite why), either that, or it was impossible to find.  

For that reason, I didn't think too highly of the task management capabilities of the software. 

Nevertheless, where automation isn't present, let me show you how to manually assign tasks to your team...


add new task to IGMS

Click on "Tasks" then on the 'New Cleaning" button.


assign task to a property IGMS

You'll be greeted with a pop-up screen where you'll need to choose a property to assign the task to.  Click on the appropriate property to select it.


assign task to a team member

Before you go filling in any information you'll want to assign the task to a team member first.  To do that, click on the "Any Team Member" link.


assign task to cleaner igms

Click on the team member you want to assign the task to.


adding instructions to team tasks igms

Now all that's left to do is select a date, and add instructions.

The process is a little more laboursome than I'd like, however, with a bit of dedication you should be able to create a workable system for you and your team. 

I'd love for this process to be a bit more intuitive, but with a small investment of time you can soon find your way around fairly easily.

Unified Inbox

One of the great things about property management software is the ability view all messages, for all listings on one easy to read user interface.  

The more properties you have, the more messages to display, so this is a place where simplicity and clarity is super important.


unified inbox igms

My initial reaction to the unified inbox wasn't great.  It felt a little dated, cluttered and confusing if I'm honest.  Not ideal if you're managing a big property portfolio.


unified inbox display page igms

When you click into a guest message you're greeted with a display like this, which feels very cluttered once again.  In comparison to the UX of the native Airbnb app, I think IGMS is still a long way behind.

With all that being said, it still does the job of unifying messages in one place which is a big plus and a vital part of any Airbnb management software worth it's salt.

Multi Calendar Display

If you're managing a number of different properties it's handy to have display where you can see the real-time availability, price, and upcoming bookings.  

This is an area that I think IGMS does very well in.


multi calendar setup igms

It's pretty much got everything that you need in one dashboard, with the ability to change pricing and availability built in which I think is a great feature.  

And, for the property managers managing large portfolios I think this multi-calendar view would be really helpful.

Reports

I'm a bit of a reports nerd so maybe I'm a bit biased here, but I do like the fact that they offer a lot of reporting features so that you can keep track of your income and expenses.

 

reports igms

Each of the reporting sections goes into detail, with downloadable .csv files too, which makes it super easy for accounting and tracking purposes.  

If I had to be picky though I'd like to see the addition of some graphing elements in there too.  Obviously they aren't essential, however, if you're a visual learner like me, displaying information within graphs and charts can really help.

Unfortunately (although understandably) though, some of these reports are only available with the Pro Level subscription.  So you'll need to upgrade to get access. 

IGMS Pricing

Ok, so lets now have a look at IGMS's pricing and see if it stacks up.


IGMS pricing

IGMS rolls with three different pricing options, each of which give you access to all of the Pro features:

  • Channel Manager
  • Unified Inbox
  • Multi Account management
  • Automated messaging
  • Task managment
  • Multi Calendar
  • Co-hosting management
  • Automated reviews
  • Financial reporting
  • App and mobile notifications
  • Key exchange management
  • Mobile app

The only difference between the packages is the way that you're charged.


Flexible

The flexible package offers a unique pricing option (for new users only), whereby you'll only be charged for successfully booked nights. The fee for this service is $1 per night.

This could be a good option for smaller hosts that only want to pay for the actual nights booked, for extra control of expenses.

*It looks like this offer is only around for a limited time, so it may not be available by the time you read this.  Click this link to see if it's still available.


Pro

A more traditional payment approach, the Pro plan will cost you around $30 per month, per property, with a 33% discount for those that pay for the full year up front.  


Enterprise

For the big hitters managing a portfolio of over 50 properties, they offer an enterprise level service which I'm sure will see lower prices and increased levels of service too.


IGMS Free Version

As mentioned earlier, they do also offer a free (limited) version of the software too for hosts with up to four properties.  


IGMS free plan

Although many of the best features don't come with the free version it still offers a decent amount of functionality, and will be a considerable improvement for hosts that aren't implementing any automation at all.


Conclusion…

Before I started this review of IGMS I had a little bias as I really wanted to like IGMS, before even testing it.  

I wanted to love it, I really did, but in the end I just found it a little too confusing.  

I think what struck me first was the need to change my email address (which kind of freaked me out a little), and then I just found the UI a little dated, and the UX a bit confusing.  

All that being said though, it has pretty much everything you need to automate your Airbnb business at scale.  All of the core features are there.

Plus, unlike many of it's competitors it offers a free version for "Minnow" hosts like me, so hats off there too.

So, to round up, IGMS has everything you need to operate your Airbnb business at scale, it's feature packed, a little confusing at times, but a solid solution all in all.

If you have any further questions, chuck them in the comments.

Peace out.
Rowan.

About the author 

Rowan Clifford

Hey, I'm Rowan.  I'm a bit of a nerd, and froth a little too hard when it comes to Airbnb. And, I LOVE anything that makes my life as a host easier and more lucrative (which is pretty much exclusively all I write about on this blog). Tools, tips, tricks and sneaky hacks are my kinda thing...

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