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Google Vacation Rentals Now Available for All!

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The wait is over! Maybe you missed the most exciting part of our March 13th release with 21 updates, but it's not too late to read all about how Google Vacation Rentals is now available for all! Oh, and we tweaked some guest Booking.com billing messaging and fixed some bugs, too.

New Features

Google Vacation Rentals Now Available for All!

It happened! πŸŽ‰ In case you missed the forum announcement, Google Vacation Rentals (GVR) is now available for all users!

No more beta group, no more having to request to join. You can now connect and configure GVR directly in your channel settings.

If you're wondering what this is all about, here's a quick recap. For several years now, billions of travelers have used Google for flight and hotel planning. Google shows flight and hotel results directly in their search results, and a special Google Travel dashboard shows travel-related search options. Google recently added vacation rentals to the same Google Travel interface, and OwnerRez was approved as a vacation rental software partner. The integration was complex and took a year to finish, with a special beta group helping us test along the way. Now that the integration is finished, you can join at any time.

When you configure the GVR integration, you can select where you want guests to go when they book - your OwnerRez hosted website or a new OwnerRez-provided global landing page - both of which create direct bookings, not bookings created on Google. Google does not have a dashboard for hosts or any mechanism for guests to book on their side. Also, all bookings are commission-free as Google does not charge a fee for listing your properties or click-throughs. That's right, you end up with totally-free direct bookings by using GVR!

Wondering what your property could look like on GVR?

Google Vacation Rentals Example

When the guest clicks on either the "Website" or "Visit Site" buttons, they will be taken to the property's default URL as defined inside of OwnerRez on the General Info tab of each property. Note that this may be different than the landing page you configured. The landing page is only used when the guest checks availability or rates and then requests to book that in GVR.

Can't wait to get started? First, you'll need to decide if you want to direct potential GVR guests to your own hosted website (if you have one provided by OwnerRez) or to the new global landing page.

If you choose a hosted website, potential GVR guests will be sent to your property's booking page, prepopulated with the dates, group size, and other information guests requested on the Google side.

OwnerRez Hosted Website Book Now Webpage

Don't have an OwnerRez hosted site? No problem. The new OwnerRez global landing page is available to all OwnerRez users regardless of whether they have a hosted website or not. As with the hosted website, the global landing page is prepopulated with the dates, group size, and other information the guest requested on the Google side. Here's an example of how that looks:

The guest is shown a clean, focused interface that shows them their trip details, property, and price, and pushes them to move forward and book.

Does this snazzy new landing page look familiar? It should, as it's based on our work on the redesigned Guest Review and Guest Travel Insurance forms. If you want to add your logo or other brand information, you can do that using the header/footer options in the Settings > Themeing > Forms section.

If you're curious, GVR integration took about 15 months of development to get to this point, with many starts and stops along the way. It differs from our other channel integration in several significant ways, but we stayed the course and are proud to have reached this point.

We want to thank the 200+ users (and their nearly 2,000 properties) who participated in the GVR private beta. Your participation proved to be invaluable throughout this process.

Wondering about how "worth it" it is to join GVR? During the beta period, some users had great success, with a couple getting as many as 70 bookings! πŸ€‘ That type of traffic is not typical for everyone, of course. Still, we are seeing really great signs across the majority of our customer base that there is positive, measurable activity. Google's massive size means that it can potentially send you a lot of traffic. And with it being free and a direct-booking result, there's no downside!

Read our Google Vacation Rentals Overview and Setup & Connecting support articles to get started today!

Enhancements & Tweaks

Send Billing Info to Guest System Message as Channel Message for Booking.com

Following February's Platform Email Addresses No Longer Imported for Airbnb, Booking.com, and Vrbo API-connected Bookings release, OwnerRez no longer uses platform email addresses for API-connected channels that have channel messaging (Airbnb, Vrbo, Booking.com). However, Booking.com guests who experienced credit card failures did not receive any OwnerRez system message notifying them of that with instructions to rectify.

To remedy this, we've added the first system message that goes out via channel messaging (instead of email) for this exact Booking.com scenario. Again, this is needed for things where you don't have the guest's email yet, but they need to receive information to complete their booking.

Booking.com Channel Message to Guests Who Experienct Credit Card Failure

We're looking into adding other system messages to be sent automatically via channel messaging for other situations.

Bug Fixes

Fix for Airbnb RTB Option. Some listing channel settings were incorrectly set to Instant Book, which affected users who attempted to but were unable to set their Airbnb API connection to Request to Book (RTB). We resolved those listing channel settings to allow users to select the Airbnb RTB setting in their Airbnb API connection.

Fix for Deleting an Airbnb Channel Can Get Guest and Thread Participants Stuck. Airbnb API-connected users who messaged with guests in OwnerRez and subsequently disabled their Airbnb API connection encountered their Airbnb messages getting stuck in the "queued" status after their Airbnb API connection's reactivation. OR corrected this glitch, and Airbnb API-connected users can message guests in OR after their Airbnb API connection's reactivation.

Fix for Guest Conversations Being Mixed. Due to a bug, some guest conversation feeds were getting mixed up. We resolved this issue so that channel guest conversation IDs will always get attached to only the correct booking to ensure that guest conversation feeds are correctly reflected.

Fix Inquiry Triggers Executed Outside of After/Before Boundaries. Incorrect logic caused message templates to be sent in error for some inquiry triggers. OR fixed this bug, and inquiry triggers will send message templates correctly as configured.

Fix Query Timeout on Booking Grid Search When Filtering by Deposit Status. Filtering by deposit status on the booking grid search sometimes resulted in timeout errors. We corrected this issue to ensure that the filtering process on the booking grid will occur promptly.

Fix Search Widget Date Fields, When Configured to Show Results on a Different Page and Custom Account Datetime Format is Used. Custom account Date and time formats in the Search widget failed to display correctly when the search results were configured to display on a different page. OR fixed this bug, and any custom account Date and time formats in the Search widget will display correctly when the search results are configured to display on a different page.

Fix Viewing of Booking Messages. Some channel messages encountered triggers that linked incorrect IDs on the booking messaging tab, resulting in 404 errors when clicked on. We resolved this glitch, and channel messages will have the correct IDs on the booking messaging tab.

Fix for Vrbo Message Threads. Some Vrbo guest conversation thread merge events failed if the thread feed contained no reservation information. OR corrected this issue, and Vrbo guest conversation thread merge events will allow empty reservation information to process correctly.

Canceled Bookings Should Allow Rule Updates. The Change Rules and Reset to Property Rules buttons were not correctly displayed during the booking cancellation process. We resolved this glitch, and the Change Rules and Reset to Property Rules buttons will be correctly displayed during the booking cancellation process. 

Google Vacation Rentals:

  • Bookings Shouldn't be Calendar-linked Bookings That Block Changes. Google Vacation Rentals (GVR) bookings could not be changed without unlinking them from the channel because they were incorrectly calendar-linked. OR fixed this bug, and GVR bookings will allow for booking changes and not blocked due to being calendar-linked.
  • Cap Availability at 999 Days in Feed. Due to a GVR limit, property future availability is limited to 999 days or less. Properties with future availability configured to more than 999 days will have future availability capped at 999 days for GVR.
  • Remove Branding Editing and Errors. Unapproved GVR Brands generated widespread errors. We determined that adding GVR Brands will no longer be available for new GVR API-connected listings, and previously approved Brands will not have the ability to be edited by the user. OwnerRez will look to add this back in a future release, but we wanted to get Google Vacation Rentals released widely for all without these hurdles.
  • StayDates are Computed for Rate Modifications and Promotions But Not Filled In. StayDates that included specific dates or a period of time with a start and end date, such as seasons, were calculated but not included in the feeds sent to GVR. OR fixed this issue, and calculated StayDates will be included in the XML feeds sent to GVR.
  • Property Sync Messaging Clarifications. The property sync messaging language displayed on GVR API connections confused users. To clear up the confusion, we've removed the paragraph on the message page that starts with, "You can publish..."

Limit Line Item Pivot Report to 10K Rows. The Line Item Pivot Report will now be limited to 10,000 rows at a time for memory optimization.

Listing Quality Analyzer Shows Errors for Surcharge That Is Excluded From Channel. The Listing Quality Analyzer (LQA) incorrectly displayed surcharge errors for listing channels excluded from the surcharge. OR fixed this bug to ensure that the LQA no longer returns surcharge errors for listing channels excluded from the surcharge.

Report to User When an Unsupported Currency is Configured on an Airbnb Property. Notifications to Airbnb API-connected users who configured unsupported currencies failed to be sent. We resolved this glitch to ensure Airbnb API-connected users receive notifications regarding unsupported currencies.

Reuse Code From Existing Lock on the Same Integration. Property door lock integrations that had one failed door lock code and one successful door lock code experienced failures for both door lock codes. OR fixed this bug to enable the reuse of successful door lock codes from existing doors that are part of the same door lock integration.

When Editing/Reactivating a Booking, Clarify Damage Protection Default. Bookings for properties with Damage Protection (DP) enabled did not have DP added by default when a canceled booking was reactivated, nor was there any warning callout regarding the DP. Or resolved this glitch, and DP-enabled properties will have a DP warning callout when a canceled booking is reactivated.

44 Comments (add yours)

TreasureIsland
Mar 18, 2024 7:41 PM
Joined Jul, 2020 14 posts

"Users can apply Discounts and Surcharges to only Google Vacation Rentals by navigating to Settings > Surcharges > Additional Guest Fees > Change > Criteria > Listing Sites > and selecting Only Google Vacation Rentals. "

When you say "Only" this makes it sound like we have to select "Only" Google Vacation Rentals, like creating different D's & S's specifically for GVR only, which is confusing.  I'm sure I'm just making this complicated.

If we currently have it setup as Criteria > Listing Sites > All, (which includes GVR), can we just keep it this way??

Ken T
Mar 18, 2024 10:22 PM
OR Team Member Joined Aug, 2019 1702 posts

If we currently have it setup as Criteria > Listing Sites > All, (which includes GVR), can we just keep it this way??

Sure - the example was if you wanted to have a surcharge that applied only to Google.  If you're content with a surcharge that applies in every case, that's just fine.

TreasureIsland
Mar 18, 2024 11:11 PM
Joined Jul, 2020 14 posts

That’s what I was hoping you would say. As always Ken, thank you.

Matt K
Mar 21, 2024 11:36 AM
Joined Dec, 2020 20 posts

What are the chances that we can set the cancellation policy to generate from the OR settings for each property instead of the generic "Relaxed, Moderate, Strict, No Refund" settings?

Anne S
Mar 21, 2024 11:57 AM
OR Team Member Joined Sep, 2022 133 posts

What are the chances that we can set the cancellation policy to generate from the OR settings for each property instead of the generic "Relaxed, Moderate, Strict, No Refund" settings?

by Matt K – Mar 21, 2024 3:36 PM (UTC)

Great question, Matt. Remember, GVR does not host a live booking engine but rather displays your property listing information from OwnerRez on GVR.

Without passing some cancellation policy information, GVR would assume that you always offer full refunds. Ultimately, all GVR bookings are direct bookings and are subject to your property's cancellation policy. It's probably best to set your "GVR cancellation policy" to a stricter policy than you actually have letting you have the option to be less strict on a case-by-case basis for these direct bookings.

V H
Mar 21, 2024 12:10 PM
OR Team Member Joined Apr, 2023 4 posts

If we currently have it setup as Criteria > Listing Sites > All, (which includes GVR), can we just keep it this way??

You can, but keep in mind that some surcharges may not work on Google the same way they work on other channels. That is why differentiation may be important. You can set 2 surcharges : one  for Google vacation rentals "only", and another for  "everything but" google vacation rentals to account for those differences. 

T3 Management
Mar 21, 2024 7:49 PM
Joined Apr, 2021 4 posts

It seems like linking GVR to our OR hosted website is the better way to go, rather than using the GVR platform. 

 

is this the consensus from those of you using GVR?

Sloanish
Mar 22, 2024 12:16 AM
Joined Jun, 2018 124 posts

Will GVR be available for those of us using the WordPress Plugin?

Thanks

Paul W
Mar 22, 2024 9:20 AM
OR Team Member Joined Jun, 2009 831 posts

It seems like linking GVR to our OR hosted website is the better way to go, rather than using the GVR platform. 

Hi Trinity. I'm not sure what you mean by "using the GVR platform".  Google does not offer any shopping-cart or payment screens on their side when guests go to book a property.  All booking traffic comes across to OwnerRez.  You can either use a OwnerRez hosted site or our new "global landing page" as discussed and shown above.  Both the hosted site and global landing page are hosted and run on the OwnerRez side.

Paul W
Mar 22, 2024 9:26 AM
OR Team Member Joined Jun, 2009 831 posts

Will GVR be available for those of us using the WordPress Plugin?

Hi Sloanish.  Just to be clear, GVR is available to all users right now, whether you use a WP Plugin website or not.  If you use a WP Plugin website, you'll need to use our "global landing page" option for the landing page that Google should use when referring booking traffic.

If you are asking if you can refer GVR booking traffc directly to your WP Plugin website (instead of the global landing page), we don't have an ETA for doing that at the moment.  We started building the GVR integration with that in mind - allowing custom websites - but it proved too difficult because of the "price accuracy" that Google enforces.  Custom websites (including both WP Plugins and widgets) have a very high rate of inaccuracy when it comes to price matches - this is for a variety of reasons that don't necessarily include actual pricing.  For instance, the style of the page (headline, photos, etc) can make price accuracy fail as well.

Matt K
Mar 22, 2024 10:29 AM
Joined Dec, 2020 20 posts

What are the chances that we can set the cancellation policy to generate from the OR settings for each property instead of the generic "Relaxed, Moderate, Strict, No Refund" settings?

by Matt K – Mar 21, 2024 3:36 PM (UTC)

Great question, Matt. Remember, GVR does not host a live booking engine but rather displays your property listing information from OwnerRez on GVR.

Without passing some cancellation policy information, GVR would assume that you always offer full refunds. Ultimately, all GVR bookings are direct bookings and are subject to your property's cancellation policy. It's probably best to set your "GVR cancellation policy" to a stricter policy than you actually have letting you have the option to be less strict on a case-by-case basis for these direct bookings.

by Anne S – Mar 21, 2024 3:57 PM (UTC)

 

I understand passing "some" information to GVR. I am more concerned with accurate information.

We have a minimum cancelation charge no matter what and have a policy that falls between the  "moderate" and "strict" options.

The only "stricter" option would be "no refund". We cut our own throat when we are forced to advertise a more strict cancelation policy.

Also, variability in our advertised policies causes confusion and an immediate point of potential conflict for both the guests and us as owners.

Lastly, if GVR simply "displays your property listing information from OwnerRez on GVR." Why couldn't the plain text of our cancelation policy be displayed?

Seems like a simple thing to ask for.

I'm sure it is probably something GVR would have to develope on their end but it would be far more accurate and consistent for both guests and owners/managers.

 

 

T3 Management
Mar 22, 2024 10:45 AM
Joined Apr, 2021 4 posts

Forgive the poor wording on my question.

of the two options:

1. OR hosted site

2. Global Landing Page

 

it seems like using the OR hosted site is the better option. Is that the consensus?

Paul W
Mar 22, 2024 3:32 PM
OR Team Member Joined Jun, 2009 831 posts

Forgive the poor wording on my question.

of the two options:

1. OR hosted site

2. Global Landing Page

it seems like using the OR hosted site is the better option. Is that the consensus?

It depends on what is important to you....

If you use the hosted site option the guest is shown your website/brand directly when they come over from Google.  If you use the global landing page, the guest will be taken directly to the quote/booking funnel and not see your website.

Going to your website means that the guest is shown your brand and web pages which gives them a good idea of who you are and what else you offer.  They might be more likely to return in the future if they remember your website.

However, going to the quote/booking funnel directly means they will be pushed to book with fewer distractions.  Sometimes, when guests visit a travel website, they click around and get distracted without focusing on booking.  The global landing page does one job - show the guest pricing and encourage them to book that property.

 

Paul W
Mar 22, 2024 3:34 PM
OR Team Member Joined Jun, 2009 831 posts
if GVR simply "displays your property listing information from OwnerRez on GVR." Why couldn't the plain text of our cancelation policy be displayed?

You can do this now.  Simply edit the description of your property to show the cancellation policy in the body of the description.

And if you want this to only show for GVR (and not the listing body on Air, Vrbo, etc) then create a description override just for GVR.

T3 Management
Mar 22, 2024 6:17 PM
Joined Apr, 2021 4 posts

Thank you so much for the detailed response!

Karen F
Mar 22, 2024 6:54 PM
Joined Aug, 2022 1 post

So if I already have a direct booking wordpress website not in OR, will I also need to create a landing page from OR to use for Google Vacation listing?  I also have landing pages through another platform so I wanted to better understand whether it will be possible to use any of these or if I have to create a new product.  Is the landing page for instance part of my subscription or will I have to purchase that separately?  Thanks!

JohnK
Mar 24, 2024 10:18 AM
Joined Dec, 2022 2 posts

Forgive the poor wording on my question.

of the two options:

1. OR hosted site

2. Global Landing Page

it seems like using the OR hosted site is the better option. Is that the consensus?

It depends on what is important to you....

If you use the hosted site option the guest is shown your website/brand directly when they come over from Google.  If you use the global landing page, the guest will be taken directly to the quote/booking funnel and not see your website.

Going to your website means that the guest is shown your brand and web pages which gives them a good idea of who you are and what else you offer.  They might be more likely to return in the future if they remember your website.

However, going to the quote/booking funnel directly means they will be pushed to book with fewer distractions.  Sometimes, when guests visit a travel website, they click around and get distracted without focusing on booking.  The global landing page does one job - show the guest pricing and encourage them to book that property.

 

by Paul W – Mar 22, 2024 7:32 PM (UTC)

Thank you for this insight. My tendency is to direct travelers to my OR hosted site. However, it sounds like maybe they may be more likely to book if not distracted by jumping to my site?  If this is true, I would rather get the booking now and convert them to my brand later.  But is true that it is more likely they will book if not "distracted"?  Do we have data that shows this, or at this early stage is it speculative?   Thank you!

JohnK
Mar 24, 2024 10:20 AM
Joined Dec, 2022 2 posts

also if I start with directing to my OR hosted site, can I switch to Google global landing page later?  And vice versa?  Is it an easy switch?

Anne S
Mar 25, 2024 8:33 AM
OR Team Member Joined Sep, 2022 133 posts

So if I already have a direct booking wordpress website not in OR, will I also need to create a landing page from OR to use for Google Vacation listing?  I also have landing pages through another platform so I wanted to better understand whether it will be possible to use any of these or if I have to create a new product.  Is the landing page for instance part of my subscription or will I have to purchase that separately?  Thanks!

by Karen F – Mar 22, 2024 10:54 PM (UTC)

Since your website is not hosted by OwnerRez, you'll only have the option to use the global landing page when configuring your GVR API integration, and it will be automatically created for you and hosted by OwnerRez. No, it is not possible to use landing pages from another platform. There are no additional fees outside of your regular subscription fees for the use of the global landing page. Hope this answers your questions, Karen!

Anne S
Mar 25, 2024 8:39 AM
OR Team Member Joined Sep, 2022 133 posts

also if I start with directing to my OR hosted site, can I switch to Google global landing page later?  And vice versa?  Is it an easy switch?

by JohnK – Mar 24, 2024 2:20 PM (UTC)

Good question, John! Yes, switching to the global landing page, or back to your OR hosted website, is always an option and available to you by changing your Landing Page selection on your GVR API Integration page.