HostAI: Save Time Boost Listings & Improve Guest Satisfaction

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In this podcast, Liam and Host.AI CEO Cole Rubin discuss how AI transforms hospitality. Host AI automates guest messages, enhancing responses and saving time. Cole assures that AI improves job roles and addresses concerns.

He shares his real estate background and Host AI's inspiration from guest messaging challenges. The tool's simplicity, control options, and urgency tagging system are highlighted. API integration with PMS like Guesty and HostAway is emphasized.

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[00:00:00] Liam: Is there any fear that we should have around AI in general? Is there any, what would you answer to that person? I think

[00:00:05] Cole: it's, it's not replacing jobs, it's enhancing them, improving the quality of the responses for the guests, as well as streamlining operations.

[00:00:15] Liam: Having a blast,

[00:00:16] Cole: going to get it on the Boostly podcast.

[00:00:18] Boostly like Bruce Lee, cause it's so hard and the T is loose leaf. Making up those rhymes, don't write it, just do it loosely. If you want my respect, you better book directly. Um, here are the words in the podcast. That's what comes next.

[00:00:31] Liam: Welcome back to the Boostly podcast. This podcast gives you the tools, the tactics, the training, and most importantly, the confidence.

[00:00:39] So you can go out there and get more direct bookings and we're doing the spotlight series. So this is where we look at businesses, services, and things that you as a host should be aware of. And. If you're not aware of them, you certainly will be shortly. So for the next sort of 20 or 30 minutes, we're going to dive into a business and we've got a very special guest to talk to us about it and you'll hear this everywhere at the moment, and we've been hearing it for a while, but AI is changing the future.

[00:01:05] It's making our businesses easier. And today we've got a guest who's talking all about it. AI. So let me welcome Cole Rubin. He's the CEO of host. ai, sorry, host AI. This is going to be a really exciting podcast. I've been really excited and looking forward to this. So let's welcome Cole along. Cole, thank you for joining me.

[00:01:23] Cole: Thank you, Liam. Thank you, Mark, too. Uh, excited to dig into host AI.

What is Host.AI

[00:01:27] Liam: Awesome. Um, Host AI. I mean, let's start with the, the most basic question. What, is host AI?

[00:01:34] Cole: So host AI is a tool that integrates into your PMS to help you automate guest messages, save time for you and your team as a host, boost SEO with fast reply times, as well as improve guest satisfaction with quick, accurate responses.

How was Host.AI Born?

[00:01:51] Liam: Amazing, amazing. So basically it helps hosts in several different ways. What did you do before this and how did Host AI get born? Before

[00:02:01] Cole: this, I've been involved with real estate from a pretty young age, from around 19 years old, studied real estate in college, was on a more corporate commercial real estate path and kind of.

[00:02:14] After college got involved in investing in short-term rentals fell in love with it, uh, doubled down on it and was eventually able to quit my 9 to 5 solely on Airbnbs was managing others and, uh, found. Guest messaging was the most time-consuming part of the whole operation until AI technology came around the only other way to outsource.

[00:02:38] This was with virtual assistants, other employees, you had to train them, you had, they're expensive, they needed sleep. So you needed kind of two people to have 24 7 coverage. So, there was not anything to solve this problem until AI technology came around. With my co-founder Slash CTO, we built a very rudimentary version of the product, was using it on my listings and it was working well.

[00:03:08] So we put our heads together and figured out how we could bring this to the market. And we did that through these PMS integrations.

[00:03:14] Liam: Is there any fear that we should have around AI in general? Is there any, what would you answer to that person? I think

[00:03:20] Cole: it's, it's not replacing jobs. It's enhancing them, improving them.

[00:03:25] The quality of the responses for the guests, as well as streamlining operations. Now, uh, a messaging agent doesn't have to look through the PMS and an external database to find an answer to a question. Host AI aggregates all that, populates an answer pretty much instantly, and they can simply just approve the message and carry on with it.

[00:03:47] Their other work. It saves them a lot of time, makes current employees more efficient as well and creates better responses for guests.

How does it work?

[00:03:56] Liam: How does it work? So I'm a host myself. What have I got to do and how involved have I got to be with, with host AI?

[00:04:02] Cole: Super simple to set up. You'll go to hosta. app. Make an account.

[00:04:07] You'll connect your property management software, just copy and paste the API key over and import all your listings. Doing that will pull all your listings, all their information, all your notes, and your calendar availability. So guest asks, can I extend my stay two nights? We can check your calendar and answer that instantly.

[00:04:27] We pull the pricing guest asks. How many, how much is a stay for X to Y dates, six months in the future? We can answer that. Um, you'll go in to host AI and connect an external database. If you have that, whether that's, a notion file with extra info, Google sheet, air table, et cetera. So the more info we can feed into host AI, the more it's going to be able to answer, and the more it's going to be able to automate.

[00:04:55] If it doesn't know something, it's not going to make an assumption. So the more we can feed it, the better it's going to be. And then you'll set your, the handful of settings we have in host AI. Not too much can connect it to SMS, Slack or WhatsApp to respond to things host AI doesn't know. You'll get a Slack notification, WhatsApp text or normal text.

[00:05:17] Hey, there's an urgent message at this property. We need your help responding and you'll text back and host. I will learn from that instance and facilitate sending that message off to the guests for you. So it's kind of like setting it up on the web app and integrating it into your existing tech stack through Slack.

[00:05:36] WhatsApp SMS, and you kind of just have to step in when you're needed. How

[00:05:41] do

[00:05:41] Liam: we police the answer? There's, there's a certain level of control as hosts that we like to have. How can we be sure that the answer given is going to be the right one? And is there any control we've, we've got over that?

[00:05:51] Cole: If you want to control it, you can set autopilot off where all non-urgent messages will be one click approval. So you get to just in Slack, click a button, approve the message, and it'll go to the guest. So you still maintain full control over it. What the guest is

[00:06:07] Liam: getting, if, if it gets asked questions, then that it doesn't know what would, what would happen if it's

[00:06:13] Cole: something that if like a guest asks, Hey, where's the closest vegan restaurant?

[00:06:19] That's something that we could find on the internet. So it would do a call and answer that. But if it was something nuanced to the property, like, Hey, where's the toaster in the kitchen? It's not gonna know that from, any data you have in the PMS. It's just going to ask you, Hey, where's the toaster in the kitchen?

[00:06:38] You're going to say it's in the left cupboard next to the fridge. And then host, I learned from that. The next time a guest asks is where's the toaster. It knows if it doesn't know something, it's not going to make an assumption. It's just going to lean on the safer side. Ask you. And then over time, when all the little quirks and nuances come up for each property and you've responded once, you have a fully trained model on the house.

[00:07:02] What

[00:07:02] Liam: is the kind of X factor for, um, host AI? We

[00:07:06] Cole: have developed this. Urgency tagging system where we're not trying to say we're going to automate 100 per cent of guest messages because we believe some stuff shouldn't be automated. Like when a guest is unsatisfied or something's broken, AI should not respond to that.

[00:07:23] AI should tell the host something's up. So the host can fix the situation in real life and then respond to the guest. Um, and this system we developed is fully customizable. For example, if you wanted to tag. All wedding and corporate retreat requests are urgent. You could do that. So host CI knows whenever someone asks about that and knows not to speak up.

[00:07:46] And then aside from that, we've just focused on having the highest quality messages created compared to the competitors. Um, we're really, that's the core feature we're focusing on right now is just best quality messages. And, uh, we've, we've tested a couple of others and. They do a good job, but I think we're pulling the most data from the PMS where we know calendar availability pricing, and we just can respond to more questions than the rest.

[00:08:15] Liam: One of the things you mentioned earlier on, is the PMS connections. Um, you mentioned API and this is something here at Boostly. Because we love direct bookings and we're always talking about how important having an API connection to your direct booking website is just as important for your messaging through host AI.

Talk to us about API

[00:08:34] Talk us more around, uh, around that API and, and the sort of PMSs which, which it works with. Is there any kind of limitations at the moment?

[00:08:43] Cole: We currently are integrated with Guesty, HostAway, HostAway is coming soon. Um, they're all on our roadmap to work through. We're kind of just going for the. The one with the most users works our way down.

[00:08:56] Um, the one limitation for integrations is we need a messaging endpoint to send and receive messages. There are a couple of PMSs out there that don't have those yet. Um, they're working on it. But, um, It's not done yet. Um, so that is one limitation. And then things we're pulling from the P-M-S-A-P-I are pricing calendar availability, all the listing details, and your custom fields.

[00:09:24] And the big one is access to the unified inbox so we can send in and receive messages.

[00:09:29] Liam: Having a

[00:09:29] Cole: blast. Gonna get it on the Bruce Lee podcast. Bruce Lee. Let Bruce Lee 'cause it's so hard on the tea's loose leaf, making up those rhymes. Don't write it, just do it loosely.