Here’s what makes it better than other vacation rental software solutions like Your Porter or Smartbnb.
We often get asked how Host Tools compares vs other platforms when it comes to automated messages and channel management. In particular, two competing platforms customers bring up often are Smartbnb and Your Porter. All three differ considerably, when it comes to pricing, features and their strengths and weaknesses.
We wrote this article to help you decide which tool works best for you as a vacation rental host.
Your Porter vs Smartbnb vs Host Tools Review
If you spend hours replying to guest queries, scheduling cleanings, updating multiple calendars, adjusting your rates, and taking care of other mundane operational tasks, you’ll never have time to focus on improving your business. That’s the problem that Host Tools can solve for you.
It has no learning curve, it’s fuss-free, it’s inexpensive and it’s made for hosts who don’t want to deal with complicated tools.
By syncing your calendars across all your channels to avoid double bookings, supporting you with your Airbnb pricing strategy so you never leave money on the table, and taking care of your guest messaging so you can save time while being an attentive host, Host Tools can become a great partner in running your short-term rental business.
The chart below compares Host Tools vs Your Porter and Smartbnb. For a deeper look at the key differences between each software, continue reading.
Airbnb channel managers
Monthly price per listing*
Airbnb, VRBO, Booking.com
Smart lock support
*The prices listed are for the first listing, billed monthly. Your Porter and Smartbnb offer discounts if you have more listings.
**Your Porter has 2 pricing plans: Pro Host ($9.00) and Expanding Host ($7.00). The price can be lowered by purchasing a yearly subscription. However, it does have a 2-listing minimum, hence the pricing listed here.
Host Tools pricing
Host Tools is the budget-friendly option currently on the market, costing $5.00 a month per listing.
Whether you have one listing or more, Host Tools is less expensive than its counterparts.
And, it has the longest trial period. 30 days is more than enough time to decide if you like using a tool or not!
Your Porter pricing
Your Porter has two pricing plans: Pro Host ($9.00) and Expanding Host ($7.00).
The price can be lowered by purchasing a yearly subscription. However, Your Porter has a 2 listing minimum, so the lowest fee you can pay if you choose monthly billing is $18.00. Larger property managers can get discounts after the twentieth listing.
Your Porter’s free trial is 21 days.
Smartbnb has a $18.00 monthly starting rate for up to two listings. If you have more listings, you can get discounts.
Smartbnb has the shortest trial period of the three tools, clocking in at only 14 days.
Prevent double bookings with a channel manager and availability syncing
The Host Tools channel manager connects to Airbnb and Vrbo via API integration, allowing you to sync your calendars and availability
This way, you never end up with conflicting calendar information on different channels, and you can prevent double bookings.
Host Tools also supports iCal import: if you advertise on channels other than Airbnb and Vrbo, you can connect them to Host Tools via iCal links and keep your calendars in sync. Same with direct bookings sites: you can connect those to Host Tools via iCal, too.
Smartbnb, on the other hand, does not let you import/export iCal calendars, which means that it doesn’t work with direct booking sites or any channels other than Airbnb and Vrbo.
Additionally, Host Tools also has a unified inbox so you can manage all your messaging from one place, and a multi-calendar so you can easily browse bookings across all your channels.
Here’s what our users are saying
I switched from YourPorter because they were requiring me to enable instant booking on my listings with their connection to Airbnb. The move to Host Tools was very easy.
Airbnb and VRBO are where we get all of our bookings, YouPorter doesn’t support VRBO and Host Tools does.
Optimize your rates and increase your revenue with a smart pricing tool
Pricing is a huge part of vacation rental marketing - but keeping your rates competitive at all times is impossible if you’re adjusting them manually.
To solve this problem, Host Tools has its own pricing tool that automates your rates through Airbnb and Vrbo - a feature that neither Your Porter nor Smartbnb has.
Host Tools has a rule-based pricing tool that is both sophisticated and easy to use. This way, you can get granular without having to spend hours adjusting your rates. There are lots of options to fine-tune your pricing, including:
Host Tools lets you save pricing templates, so you don’t have to start all over again each time you want to apply the same pricing rules.
And, you can also copy prices from Airbnb to Vrbo. This is especially useful for hosts who use a dynamic pricing tool to set their prices on Airbnb. Host Tools lets you apply pricing rules on top of the rates you copy from Airbnb, so it’s easy to make up for the extra 13% that Vrbo charges in fees.
"Host Tools was recommended to me by another STR manager who had recently moved over from Smartbnb. I liked Smartbnb but needed pricing and the ability to sync with other channels."
- Patrick Levie
Automate messages and reviews for more bookings and better guest experience
The Host Tools event-based messaging automation tool is easy to use and can save you lots of time on guest communication.
You can create an automated message is five easy steps:
Define a message rule
Select a trigger
Pick a message template
Personalize message with tags
Refine rule settings
Once you have your message flow set up, you can email, text, or message guests in-app while you sleep.
Unlike Host Tools, Smartbnb only sends in-app messages through Airbnb and Vrbo, and doesn’t have the option to send emails or texts.
With the Host Tools messaging tool, you can send automated messages not only to your guests, but also to coordinate your cleaners and service providers. This makes cleaning management streamlined and easy - once you set it up, it requires zero effort from your side.
And let’s not forget about review automation - Host Tools lets you automatically review guests and send them automated messages asking for a review in return. This is key since reviews are instrumental in getting more bookings.
Host Tools is the only channel manager on the market to offer smart lock automation.
Automate smart locks to save time and streamline your self-check-ins.
The feature, launching soon, will allow property managers to send unique smart lock codes based on the guest's phone number from the Host Tools platform.
It will also serve as a new trigger for automated messages so you can improve your guest communication. You can get notified when a guest uses their unique code on the lockbox and send them a welcome message as soon as they check in.
Host Tools will be working with August Smart Locks, one of the most popular smart lock companies in the US.
The smart lock automation feature greatly increases your property’s safety and saves you lots of time. No more in-person key handovers!
Host Tools has unrivalled customer support. Whatever issue you may have, you can speak directly with the tool’s developer: Tom Krones, Founder of Host Tools.
You can get help straight from the short-term rental host who developed the tool, instead of speaking to a customer service agent who may not be able to help you.
This, coupled with the fact that Host Tools has a minimal learning curve - unlike Your Porter and Smartbnb - makes for a seamless and stress-free experience.
I tried Smartbnb and Host Tools at the same time but I liked Host Tools interface better. Tom was always available and able to answer all my questions right away.
- Kathy Leung
Curious to know more? Try Host Tools now for free!