Hostfully Guidebooks: Review & Best Alternative in 2022

As a short-term rental manager or vacation rental owner, you’ll already know that vacation rental welcome books are fast becoming a must-have.

But the days of giving guests a dog-eared paper guidebook, static PDF, or clunky in-house tablet are over. (See our YourWelcome tablet review for more on the downsides of in-room tablets.)

Instead, digital is where it’s at. You may already know that Hostfully Guidebooks is one of the most well-known vacation rental tools designed for the specific purpose of creating digital guidebooks. But being well-known doesn’t mean it’s right for your operation.

So how do you know if Hostfully is the best option for your business? This Hostfully Guidebooks review is designed to help.

Offering your Airbnb, VRBO or guests great property information and local recommendations will instantly give you authority, and professionalism—giving a positive first impression and ensuring guests feel cared for from the moment they book.

That’s why we’ve taken a look at some of Hostfully Guidebooks’s biggest features, to make sure you have all the info you need to make a great decision.

Plus, in case it’s not quite right for you, we’ve also looked at the advantages of RueBaRue, an alternative with extra features that might suit your needs better. Read on to discover how.

RueBaRue is a great alternative to Hostfully Guidebooks that allows you to send your digital guidebook to your guests via email or SMS, and manage your guest communication from a team SMS inbox. Book a demo personalized to your rentals to see the platform in action.

What is Hostfully Guidebooks?

As its name suggests, Hostfully Guidebooks is a platform designed especially for creating guidebooks for vacation rentals, by the property management system (PMS) creator of the same name.

It enables hosts to create easy, professional-looking digital guidebooks in minutes. It also allows you to categorize your information into sections, such as Arrival, House Manual, and Where to Eat.

It’s built by Hostfully, so it integrates well with the Hostfully PMS, but it’s a separate product and has become a leading solution for digital guidebooks in its own right.

Simple and focused, it is trusted as a high-quality guidebook creation option made with specific vacation rental needs in mind.

Hostfully Guidebooks screenshot

Caption: Hostfully Guidebooks is made by the PMS company of the same name


How much is Hostfully Guidebooks?

Hostfully Guidebooks pricing is split into two sections; Individual, and Business, and there are a lot of different options depending on the size and scale of your business.


  • Premium, free. Includes one guidebook, home information, check-in and check-out details, WiFi, and property address. Unlimited local recommendations, and customer support; plus online, offline, and print access.
  • Power Host, $7.99 per month billed annually, or $9.99 billed monthly. Includes everything in Premium, plus: extra print templates; an admin dashboard; guest email address capture; extra terms for guests; your own logo, color, and profile image; and 14 language options including Spanish, French, Italian, Russian, Chinese, and Hebrew.


  • Prime, $19.99 per month annually, or $24.99 billed monthly. Includes everything in Power Host, plus the option to edit multiple guidebooks at once using templates, a comprehensive admin dashboard, and the option to remove sponsored recommendations. For businesses with 1-5 listings.
  • Prime Plus, $44.99 per month, or $49.99 billed monthly. All features of Prime, plus up to 10 guidebooks, a free onboarding call with a Hostfully product expert, and integration with the Obirental PMS. For businesses with 6-10 listings (which unfortunately means that someone with six listings has to pay the same as someone with 10).
  • Professional, price on request. All features of Prime, plus scalability across hundreds or thousands of listings, a dedicated account manager, a custom domain, premium support, custom features, done-for-you onboarding, quarterly reporting/insights, extra training, and the chance to access new features early. For businesses with more than 10 listings.

Hostfully Guidebooks review: The pros and cons



Hostfully Guidebooks does what it says on the tin. It allows you to create a beautifully designed guidebook that’s:

  • Designed to be emailed to all of your guests, ahead of check-in.
  • Viewable as a simple mobile-first website.
  • Easy to divide into sections, including arrival/check-in instructions and directions.
  • Got a category for local recommendations to great places to eat, drink, and visit, populated on an interactive map of your vacation rental area.
  • Able to use Google Maps to pinpoint locations and add details.

Caption: Hostfully Guidebooks works on mobile and laptops


Sending a digital guidebook via email means that guests can check it out from all of their devices and carry it around with them, meaning the information is less likely to be left unread on a kitchen table or forgotten at the key moment.


But, while these are undoubtedly great features, Hostfully Guidebooks is limited compared to some alternative options. This is because it doesn’t:

  • Allow you to send your guidebook directly to your guests by SMS (only by email).
  • Offer some key revenue-boosting features, such as upselling opportunities or the ability to offer your guests the option to extend their stays.
  • Provide a team SMS inbox so more than one person can reply to incoming messages.



Like most digital tools, Hostfully Guidebooks has a few simple integrations to enhance its functionality and play well with other digital platforms. For instance, it integrates with:

  • Google Maps and Photos, helping guests to reach your location easily, and pinpoint exact places and recommendations.
  • Obirental PMS, so long as you’re on a Premium Plus plan.


Unfortunately, Hostfully Guidebooks doesn’t:

  • Benefit from the same long list of integrations as Hostfully PMS.
  • Integrate with as many PMS providers as some alternative guidebook tools (such as RueBaRue, of which more below). This can mean you’ll lose a lot of time inputting data manually, rather than importing it automatically.

User experience


A key benefit of Hostfully Guidebooks is its simplicity. This means you can:

  • Create a free account and theoretically make your first guidebook in minutes.
  • Search for local services and pull in all the information and photos automatically, making adding recommendations easy.
  • Create a simple and clean final product.
  • Use images and an attractive layout for guest recommendations, making your property, business, and guidebook look great.
  • No separate app to download; everything works within a responsive browser. This reduces the friction for guests and means they will be much more likely to see and use it.


Yet, there is always a learning curve with any new platform. With Hostfully Guidebooks, these include:

  • Some users on the GetApp review platform report that it can be quite complicated and confusing to understand in the beginning, as it has lots of moving parts.
  • The use of the terms Cards, Guidebooks or Decks, and Templates, which are all slightly different and are included in the final product differently, may be a challenge to figure out at first.
  • It’s only free for the first guidebook.
  • You still have to pay for multiple guidebooks for different properties and to use any of the advanced features, such as multiple languages or to have your own custom URL.

Customer service


The ease of getting help if and when things go wrong, or you need some assistance with set-up, is important when considering any new piece of software. For Hostfully Guidebooks, this includes:

  • A chat feature on the Hostfully website and users can email too.
  • Reasonably fast email responses from the customer service team.


Some of the downsides of this type of support:

  • The online chat function says that its usual reply time is “a few hours”, which may be frustrating if you want an answer to a specific question in a hurry.
  • As well as the chat, users are then generally advised to email instead, which, again, may not be too helpful in the event of an urgent query.

The best Hostfully Guidebooks alternative in 2022: RueBaRue

If you’re not convinced that Hostfully Guidebooks is for you, because you’ve seen a major sticking point for your business, or because you need more guest communication features, then here’s a great alternative that might work better.

Caption: RueBaRue could be a great Hostfully Guidebooks alternative for you



Just like Hostfully Guidebooks, RueBaRue enables you to:

  • Create a tailored, well-designed digital guidebook for your guests for each of your properties regardless of the booking platform.
  • Include helpful directions and check-in instructions ahead of time.
  • Include the best of local recommendations.

But RueBaRue goes so much further than a simple guidebook and also prioritizes easy and streamlined guest communication.

This includes:

  • The option to send your guidebook link via SMS—so it doesn’t get lost in your guest’s overflowing email inbox—and chat easily and quickly without needing another app or email system.
  • A team SMS inbox that allows you to delegate texting to your staff and enables your team to respond to guest texts promptly and seamlessly. Your staff can stay in touch with guests through a guest messaging app available on iPhone and Android and respond to queries on the go.
  • An upselling tool that allows you to offer guests the option to extend their stays (check in a day early or check out a day late). This helps to boost your occupancy and revenue, as well as increase the likelihood of better vacation rental reviews at the end of your guest’s stay. Read more about our extend guest stays feature.

Easier and quicker communication means better service and happier guests.

You can even send guest surveys and feedback forms by email and text too, making them super-easy for guests to answer. (See how well RueBaRue compares to other communication tools on the market in our Hostfully vs TouchStay vs RueBaRue comparison here).

Caption: RueBaRue offers extra communication tools



One of the major advantages of RueBaRue is its considerable list of integrations, from Google Places to a wide range of major PMSs. Integrations include:

  • Google Places. RueBaRue enables you to pull all the major details from local sites and ensure guests can interact with the recommendations.
  • Google Maps. Provides automatic distance calculations from your rental to local attractions and recommendations.
  • Many popular PMS platforms. Import your property information, booking data and guests’ details automatically, so you can create digital guidebooks with ease, schedule automated messages and send guidebooks by email and SMS ahead of time.

Caption: RueBaRue integrates with a wide range of tools and PMSs


User experience

RueBaRue aims to simplify and improve the vacation rental communication and guidebook creation experience for both hosts and guests.

As hosts, you can make well-designed guidebooks with great functionality, and send them seamlessly in minutes; and your guests will have easy and clear access to a professional, digital product.

The RueBaRue user experience includes:

  • Layout and text customization.
  • The option to include text, videos, and PDFs.
  • Customizable, personalized URL.
  • Mobile and desktop-friendly design.
  • Simple back-end platform, allowing guides (and email/SMS messages) to be created in minutes.
  • Digital guidebook scheduling by email and SMS (meaning the guidebook is more interactive and portable).
  • Combining all the features within the same dashboard.
  • Easy SMS communication with the guest.
  • No separate app to download for guests; everything works within a responsive browser. This reduces friction, so guests will be much more likely to see and use the guide.
  • Separate areas for the property guide from the destination guide, meaning you can make sure guests are aware of the vacation rental house rules and crucial info (such as check-in information, Wi-Fi password, or even the coffee machine user guide), and also send them local recommendations.

Customer service

RueBaRue aims to offer a high level of customer service, and strong communication channels to hosts.

Users can get quick chat support with a real-live human (as opposed to a bot!) via the RueBaRue website, which differentiates between people who are ‘just browsing’ from existing users, so agents can offer the best help for your needs.


RueBaRue’s pricing is super-flexible and allows hosts to choose the exact number of properties they operate, to avoid having to pay for guidebooks that they don’t need.

(This is in contrast to the Hostfully pricing structure, which means someone with just six properties has to pay the same as someone with 10.)

RueBaRue pricing works on a flexible, sliding scale depending on the precise number of units.

  • Starts at $9.99 per month (or $99.90 if paid annually) for one property.
  • $299.50 per month ($2,995 per year if paid annually) for 50 units.
  • $549 per month ($5,490 per year if paid annually) for 100 units.

There are also volume and seasonal discounts available to businesses.

Vacation rental managers can also choose between two ‘package’ plans:

  • Starter ($9.99 per month, $99.99 if paid annually). This includes digital guestbooks, local area guides, and SMS automation.
  • Professional (starts at $79.90 per month, $799 if paid annually). Includes 10 properties. Includes everything in Starter, plus Extend Guest Stays, Guest SMS messaging, Alerts, Five-star review and survey capability, guest dashboard, and iPhone and Android app for property managers.

What do property managers say about RueBaRue?

Property managers and hospitality brands already using RueBaRue say that it allows them to save time and money, and give guests a truly home-from-home experience.

Rumbling Bald Resort on Lake Lure, in North Carolina, said that the platform helps them to “save time and money by going digital and giving guests the information they need to plan their vacation before they arrive”. They also said it was a “great product”, with “great service”.

Another happy client, Beachcomber Vacation Homes, a vacation rental business in Arch Cape & Cannon Beach on the Oregon Coast, said that RueBaRue helps guests feel at home quickly. They said: “People want that local experience when they come here. Our RueBaRue guides help us provide that.”

And Island Breeze Vacations, which operates vacation rentals in the Florida Keys, said that its “guests are loving the digital guestbooks” because of the local recommendations and user-friendly integration with Google. It said: “The Google links that let them view nearby restaurants and attractions are amazing.”

The best Hostfully Guidebooks alternative: Making the right choice for your business

Depending on your business needs, we think that both Hostfully Guidebooks or RueBaRue could be a great choice.

While Hostfully Guidebooks is relatively simple to use and starts with a free plan; RueBaRue offers much wider guest communication options, the capability to send SMS messages, schedule emails, and provide easy upsell opportunities, and has a super-flexible payment structure so you only pay for what you need.

If you’re not sure if Hostfully Guidebooks does everything you need it to, and you’re interested in a guest communication portal that offers a range of extra services as well as the all-important guidebook, then RueBaRue could be the exact alternative you’re seeking for your vacation rental business.

Hostfully Guidebooks RueBaRue
Pricing Free for one guidebook.

Basic features for 1-5 listings from $19.99.

Price on request for more than 10 properties.

Starts at $9.99 per month for one property.

$549 per month for 100 units.

Pricing on a precise sliding scale up to 100 properties.

Sending methods Email only SMS and email
Integrations Hostfully PMS, Google Maps, Obirental PMS for Premium Plus plans. Google Places, major PMSs including LiveRez, OwnerRez, Guesty, Homeaway, and more.
Online chat + customer service response time A few hours response time, or email Immediate response time, or email
Extra communication features X Instant team SMS chat
Extra upsell options X Extend guest stays

RueBaRue is a great alternative to Hostfully Guidebooks that allows you to send your digital guidebook to your guests via email or SMS, and manage your guest communication from a team SMS inbox. Book a demo personalized to your rentals to see the platform in action.

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