Which is better, iGMS or Smartbnb?
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Bottom line…if you have one or a handful of vacation rentals, we’d recommend iGMS. But if you have a larger number of listings (and especially for hosts that operate outside of the USA) or host a lot of foreign guests, we recommend Smartbnb.
Continue reading to learn the pros and cons for each of these channel managers…
Cost effectiveness, hosts with fewer properties
iGMS: Our top channel manager pick
iGMS just slightly edges out Smartbnb in this head-to-head showdown. I feel that they provide a better value and offer more comprehensive service than Smartbnb. They allow you to integrate across several platforms like Airbnb, Booking.com, HomeAway, VRBO, and more.
You’ll be able to view all your channels in one easy-to-use dashboard, and it is FREE for up to 4 properties (with slightly limited functionality). Note that iGMS does consider separate rooms in a house to be different “properties” if they are rented out separately.
Ready to get started? Come and get your iGMS promo code TODAY!
iGMS is best for…
We would recommend iGMS for smaller hosts that don’t list a huge number of properties. This is not to say that it’s not good for property managers or companies, quite the opposite in fact! But as far as value versus functionality goes, hosts who don’t feel comfortable shelling out a lot of money up front will get the best deal when they try iGMS.
iGMS offers payment processing as well, so if you list your property through your own direct booking site, you’re able to charge guests and handle payments within the platform. This is great for people who don’t want to put all their eggs in the basket of a third party company like Airbnb.
iGMS comes stacked with features that make it a real joy to use. We discussed payment processing briefly above, and I feel this feature is integral as more and more hosts branch out to independent websites for guest booking.
A channel manager at heart, iGMS streamlines bookings, communication, schedules and more into one master dashboard so you can operate your business seamlessly. The ability to sync up your listings across different platforms means you’ll no longer have to worry about accidentally double booking yourself, and the multi calendar dashboard helps you see what’s going on everywhere at a glance.
iGMS’s native smart messaging feature will help streamline your workflow even more. “One inbox to rule them all” might sound too good to be true, but with iGMS it’s possible! No more checking different websites and responding to emails in your spare time. See all your messages in one place, and use preset responses to make guest communication a snap.
Finally, you can manage cleaning tasks, schedule staff, create checklists, and assign specific roles to team members all within the program. This is a critical feature for anyone who employs help for their rental properties!
iGMS Value: Bang for your buck?
A big draw for iGMS is that you can use their service completely for free for under four properties. There are some functionality limits, and it only works with Airbnb listings at this time. Still, it’s great for someone new to channel managers looking to get their feet wet in a risk-free way.
If you list more than four properties or just want to take advantage of all iGMS has to offer, their Flexible plan starts with an ultra-low price that is charged per booked night. Because of this, you only pay for what you use, and the fee is so low that the service pays for itself with each and every booking.
The Pro plan costs a bit more and is charged monthly per property, but it does feature 24-hour email and chat support. This is great for high-volume rental operators or someone who isn’t as technically knowledgeable.
iGMS Ingenuity: A unique service?
iGMS offers a lot of the same thing that other channel managers do, but in what I feel is a much more accessible way. The low price combined with the multitude of features make it a unique product that I highly recommend.
Rental Recon Tip: Something I hear a lot from fellow hosts is “I only own one/two Airbnb(s). I can handle messages and other tasks myself. Why shell out for a channel manager?” Think of it like this: you wouldn’t try to run a company without accounting software, email servers, client databases, and more, right? So why treat your Airbnb hustle any differently? Channel managers are a relatively inexpensive way to elevate your hosting experience and take your side gig to the next level!
iGMS Customer Reviews
iGMS comes very highly reviewed by its users. They love the virtually risk-free pricing and how the features that iGMS offers rival their more expensive competitors. In fact, there isn’t much that iGMS doesn’t offer, but one complaint is the online-only support. If you use the Flexible plan, you’re promised a response within 48 hours which is sometimes a bit too long to wait for some issues.
All in all, I feel very solid about recommending iGMS. You can’t really go wrong with what they offer, especially at their competitive prices! If you’re looking for a risk-free way to try it out, they even offer a 14-day FREE trial on all of their plans.
Want to know more about how iGMS compares to another of its competitors, Lodgify? Click HERE!
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Smartbnb: Cutting edge channel manager
Smartbnb is another great channel manager with its own unique pros and cons. We recommend Smartbnb for hosts with a larger number of listings and especially for hosts that operate in foreign countries or host a lot of foreign guests. This is because they support messaging in over 29 languages, which is pretty awesome!
High volume of properties, foreign languages
Smartbnb’s messaging features are where it really shines. You can customize and automate an entire suite of guest messages for every situation imaginable, slashing your workload to a fraction of what it would be if you did everything manually.
They also offer the usual inbox management, calendar synchronization, and team management that we have come to expect out of channel manager services.
Smartbnb is best for…
To fully take advantage of what Smartbnb offers and to get the most bang for your buck, I would recommend Smartbnb for hosts who do a lot of messaging already. And I do mean a lot! If you host a very high volume of guests across several platforms and property locations (bonus if the guests don’t all speak the same language) Smartbnb is a great choice for you.
Smartbnb offers a slew of features that promise to reduce your workflow as a host. In fact, one reviewer states that by using this service they were able to cut a whopping 40-50 hours of work out! As they go on to explain, that’s the price of a full time employee that they were then able to reinvest in their business.
Automation of tasks is a great way to shorten your workday, and Smartbnb even allows you to assign times and lengths to tasks like cleaning, checking out and checking in. Once you assign these tasks to a person, they will get text or email notifications in advance so nothing ever gets missed or forgotten.
You’ll be able to see all your reservations on one concise page, and the syncornized calendar will prevent a double booking from ever happening again. Their Heartbeat feature will give your listings an automatic boost on booking site algorithms by signifying that they are “updated” every hour which is very unique!
Smartbnb Value: Worth the price tag?
Smartbnb charges by the listing as a monthly fee. The total price increases with the number of listings, but the price you pay per listing goes down. They only charge for “active” listings, which are listings which have had a booking in the last 30 days. This is great for managing places with a lot of seasonality as you only pay for what you use.
Smartbnb offers much of what we’ve come to expect from a short term rental channel manager. I like the extent of their messaging features, and the extra language support is really great if you need it. The Heartbeat feature is also something I haven’t seen before, and who couldn’t use a free boost in the listing rankings?
Smartbnb Customer Reviews
Smartbnb also comes very highly recommended from its users, and their site boasts lots of raving satisfied customers. If you want to learn even more about how people feel, check out my Smartbnb review!
At the end of the day, you really can’t go wrong with Smartbnb. While (in my opinion) it gives you a little less value than iGMS, it’s still a phenomenal service that seems to be constantly breaking ground on new and exciting features. Check out their pricing here…
Both iGMS and Smartbnb are high quality channel managers and either one will make your life as a host so much simpler. After all, they’re designed specifically to do just that! iGMS is the winner in this matchup for its value and great features, and we feel it better suits the needs of a majority of hosts.