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What is a Unified Inbox and Why is it Important?

What is a Unified Inbox and Why is it Important?

If you're a seasoned vacation rental host or property manager you’ve probably heard the term Unified Inox. The unified inbox is an important feature within vacation rental software that allows you to connect the inboxes of different sales channels such as Airbnb, VRBO, Booking, and Expedia. In conjunction with your channel management system (CMS) you’ll be able to more effectively list on multiple online travel agencies (OTAs).

Unified inboxes and guest communication software has a number of benefits including:

  • Reducing the need to login and out of accounts
  • Allowing for easier and better monitoring of guest communication
  • Enabling the connection of multiple accounts, of the same OTA, such as multiple Airbnb accounts
  • Creating templated and automated messages
  • Assigning limited views and guest conversations to team members
  • Adding notes on reservations visible to your team
  • Snoozing, starring, archiving, marking as unread, and filtering conversations
  • Widening options for guest communication while maintaining an accurate transcript

What does Unified Inbox Mean?

A unified inbox is a central inbox that combines messages and/or emails from multiple sources. Within the vacation rental software industry, unified inboxes are features used to allow hosts to centralize messages from guests that booked on different online channels.

Hostaway’s inbox can receive messages from all major OTAs (Airbnb, VRBO, Booking, Expedia, and Tripadvisor). Additionally you can even connect multiple accounts of the same OTA. For example if you operate more than one Airbnb account, you can connect them all.

Should I Use a Unified Inbox to Manage my Vacation Rentals?

Unified inboxes are a necessary tool for property managers listing on multiple sales channels and/or operating multiple accounts of the same channel (example more than one Airbnb account). If you list on more than one channel and/or use more than one account you should be using a unified inbox.

A unified inbox removes the need to continuously log in and out of accounts. Guest communication across channels is hubbed within your property management system (PMS). This provides a number of advantages to track communication, save time, and assign tasks.

How can Unified Inboxes be used to Automate Guest Service?

Within Hostaway you’re able to automate the majority of guest communications by building custom field templates and scheduled messages. Developing a strategy to automate guest check in, checkout, and confirmation messages is a crucial step in providing timely, thorough, and professional guest service. Hostaway users use template and scheduled messaging to automate approximately 90% of conversations.

With inbox automation, message templates, and schedule management Hostaway users automate approximately 90% of all guest messages. Fields, triggers, and conditions can be used to personalize conversations, define schedules, and customize messages.

Did You Know: Hostaway has the largest list of trigger events and fields within the industry. Since the Hostaway inbox revamp there are 72 possible trigger events, 65 standard fields, plus unlimited additional fields when using Hostaway’s custom fields! When combining triggers, fields, and conditions there are literally an infinite number of customizations that can be built.

inbox revamp

How Can I Use a Unified Inbox to Manage Tasks and Teams?

The inbox within your vacation rental software is the place your team will be spending most of their time. Assignment of guest communication can be done by both defining user permissions and using the “assign conversation” feature.

Hostaway’s inbox has features above and beyond competitors that allow hosts to better track, manage, and delegate guest management. Within Hostaway’s inbox you can assign conversations, add notes, star guests, snooze messages, mark messages as unread, archive, and filter.

How Can I Message Guests via Text/SMS, Email, or Whatsapp?

There are instances when you may want to message your guests off-platform. How do you go about doing this while maintaining an accurate transcript of your conversations? Within Hostaway’s guest messaging system you can choose from one of four different communication methods: text/SMS, Whatsapp, email, or within the sale channel app (ex Airbnb).*

Alternative messaging methods can allow hosts to better tailor their service to individual guests all while maintaining communication on one central inbox. This flexibility is a powerful tool in developing a relationship with guests and controlling the guest experience.

*Messaging methods may be limited based on the sales channel.

What are the Changes in Hostaway’s Inbox Revamp?

  1. An updated and responsive UI that covers most mobile devices. See guest info, messages and reservation info at a glance
  2. Faster thread loading times and automatic refresh
  3. Mark conversations read or unread
  4. Snooze conversations for later viewing
  5. Archive conversations
  6. Send messages via SMS or Whatsapp
  7. Leave notes for your staff in thread
  8. Assign conversations to users and notify them
  9. Stop a scheduled message
  10. Change the schedule of a message
  11. Automation based on guest stay duration or payment success/fail

Ready to find out how Hostaway can transform your business?

Hostaway is proud to support thousands of Property Managers and Airbnb Hosts Around the world. We take pride in being Top Ranked in Vacation Rental Software Review Sites: Capterra, G2, Software Advice, Trust Pilot, to name just a few! Check out our reviews and read the Hostaway Case Studies from real successful and growing Short-Term Rental Managers!