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Airbnb Overview

Our Channel Management feature is extremely powerful and can greatly simplify your channel advertising. Learn how it works by reading our Channel Management Overview article.  The most powerful part of our Channel Management is the API Integrations we have with certain channel partners.

Before considering Airbnb API integration, OwnerRez recommends that all users read the following.

OwnerRez has partnered with Airbnb to provide an integrated API connection between the two systems. This allows OwnerRez users to easily distribute your existing property content, rates, rules and availability directly to Airbnb and receive back booking and guest information inside OwnerRez automatically.

Who can use the Airbnb API integration

There is no minimum number of properties required to use the Airbnb API integration.  It's wide open to all users!  Even small mom-and-pop owners with 1 property are welcome to connect. If you're wondering how this compares to other API channels, check out our comparison matrix of the technical differences between API channels.

We highly encourage all OwnerRez users, no matter the size, to use this API integration to manage their Airbnb listings instead of iCal sync (calendar import/export) and other manual syncing processes.  Our API integration supports all of the same functionality that can be found on the Airbnb platform including messaging, special offers and reviews, so there is no advantage in continuing to use the platform side.

What you can do with the Airbnb API integration

There are some functional limitations to the API side of Airbnb but they are basically the same as the platform side of Airbnb.  Moving to the API side will not change those limitations.  For instance, you may know that when moving to the API side of Vrbo, you are allowed to use your own credit card processing because Vrbo will pass the guest's card credit to OwnerRez when the booking occurs.  Airbnb does not operate this way.  Airbnb continues to be the merchant of record for all payments past, present and future.

Here is a list of all API functions, whether Airbnb API supports it and details about that support.

API Function Airbnb Description Caveats & Notes
Property Content Yes The descriptions, amenities, photos, location and layout (rooms) of the property are pushed automatically to Airbnb any time they change in OwnerRez  
Rates Yes Rent, fees, discounts and tax amounts are pushed automatically to Airbnb any time they change in OwnerRez  
Rules Yes Minimum night stays, restrictions (pets, max guests), cancellation policy, house rules, etc. are pushed automatically to Airbnb any time they change in OwnerRez Airbnb requires instant booking for API connected listings if any other channels use instant booking. You can set restrictions on verified ID etc. Or if you use Request To Book on all other channels you can use that on Airbnb as well.
Availability Yes The active calendar of what is already booked versus open and available is automatically pushed to Airbnb any time it changes in OwnerRez  
Reviews Yes Reviews that the guest writes on Airbnb are pushed to OwnerRez  
Bookings Yes Bookings that occur on Airbnb are automatically pushed to OwnerRez (without the guest's credit card)  
Credit Cards No Airbnb will not pass the guest's credit card to OwnerRez for processing, so it will not be stored on file with their booking in OwnerRez  
Guest Info Yes When the booking comes into OwnerRez, it includes the guest's contact information such as the real phone number and email address Email address is a proxy (pass-through) email address.  The guest's real email address is still not transmitted, even using the API.  Use this method to get it directly from the guest.
Quotes Yes The ability to send a different or custom rate (ie. "special offer") to the guest before they book on Airbnb  
Inquiries Yes Requests or general contact that the guest makes through Airbnb will be pushed to OwnerRez for response  

If you're wondering how these Airbnb functions compare to the other API channels, check out our comparison matrix of the functional differences between API channels.

Connecting the Airbnb API integration

Airbnb is one of the rare channels that allows self-service connections.  In other words, you can connect OwnerRez to the Airbnb API directly without having to ask permission or be approved by the channel.

We've written a detailed step-by-step connection document for the Airbnb API.  Please follow this closely as it outlines each step of the process with pictures and explanations for what you're seeing.

If you haven't already read it, please also take a look at our Preparing to go API document which discusses the steps you should take to get your OwnerRez data ready to be distributed to channels via API and the tools you can use in OwnerRez to look for holes and errors.

Create an Airbnb Email Template

Users should follow the instructions on the Request Airbnb Guest Contact Information support article to create an intial Channel Template to collect Airbnb guest contact information. Once your Airbnb guest contact information has been entered into OR via the intial Channel Template, users can coorespond with Airbnb guests via email and can create their own Airbnb Email Templates by following the Email Templates (OR recommended) support article.

While users can copy all of their email templates to create duplicate channel templates, it is not necessary, nor recommended because the more templates users have, the more confusion it may cause.

Airbnb Host Fees

Many Airbnb API-connected users will choose the 3% split-fee pricing by selecting the Add Airbnb guest service fees to your price in their Airbnb Settings. You’ll pay a 3% service fee out of the price you set. Your guests will pay a service fee of up to 20%, which will be added to your nightly price.

However, some US-based "traditional hospitality" Professional Property listings, such as hotels, serviced apartments, boutique hotels, and bnbs, will be subject to Include all Airbnb service fees in your price aka the host-only fee model.  

OwnerRez has observed that even deactivated and Airbnb-disabled OR properties configured as hotels, serviced apartments, boutique hotels, and bnbs can force an account into an Airbnb Host Only fee model. Users can resolve this by deleting the affected properties entirely and reconnecting the Airbnb API connection.

Simplified Pricing

As of December 7th, 2020, Simplified Pricing (15% host fee) is the only available fee structure to all software-connected hosts on Airbnb globally (excludes US, Canada, Mexico, Uruguay, The Bahamas, Argentina and Taiwan).

Airbnb's fee structure, known as Simplified Pricing, deducts a flat 15% host service fee from each payout and charges no service fee to the Airbnb guest.

Simplified Pricing Examples

If your goal is to keep your final Airbnb host payout, users will need to increase their rates accordingly on Airbnb.

This is the formula to use:

New base price = (Current base price) X (1-previous host fees) / (1-new host fees).
Here our case, we have: New base price = Current base price X (0,97)/(0.85).
To simplify even more: New base price = Current base price X 1.1412.
  • Split Fee model (Before)
    Hypothesis: The guest paid an average 14.2% service on Airbnb. Also, let’s imagine that the guest has to pay a 10% city tax where the property is located.
    Current base rate: $200.00
    Host Payout (97% of nightly rate): $97.00
    Airbnb Commission (3% + 14.2% of nightly rate): $17.20
    City Tax (10% of nightly rate + fees): $11.42
    Guest Pays: $125.62
  • Host-only Fee Model (After)
    New base rate: $114.12 (i.e. $100 x 1.1412)
    Host Payout (85% of nightly rate): $97.00
    Airbnb Commission (15% of nightly rate): $17.12
    City tax (10% of nightly rate + fees): $11.41
    Guest Pays: $125.53

Your Airbnb Settings

Users can change their Service fees by logging into Airbnb and navigating to their Account > Payments & payouts > Service fee and switch the service fee tab to either:

If users have chosen to Include all Airbnb service fees in your price, in Airbnb, they should also select the Professional Hospitality Business = Yes option in their Airbnb API settings screen in OwnerRez.

Pros and Cons of Airbnb API

API integrations are extremely powerful and take can a lot of work off your hands, but they can also be limiting and come with compromises.

Using the Airbnb API will mean that your property changes - content, rates, rules - will all stay in sync from OwnerRez without you having to lift a finger.  If you've used our Channel Bridge tool in the past to push rate updates, you won't have to do that anymore.  If you've wondered "how long will it be until Airbnb calendar updates" when you get a booking, you won't have to wonder about that anymore either - no need to use iCal.

Other API integrations allow you to get the guest's credit card passed over to OwnerRez so that you are the merchant of record, but Airbnb API does not do that.  All payments will continue to take place on the Airbnb platform.

You will not be able to see the guest's real email address, like other API channels provide, because Airbnb only passes a proxy (pass-through) email address for bookings.  However, you can always request the guest's email address after the booking comes in by using our automated email templates and triggers.

Even though Airbnb passes the booking, guest and financial information to OwnerRez, they do not pass along payment or payout information, nor do they pass any information about resolutions or resolution payouts.  This means that you'll still need to use our Channel Bridge tool to download the full financial details for your bookings.

However, remember that the above limitations are the same for Airbnb whether you switch to the API or continue using the platform.  Nothing is lost or gained when moving to API - these limitations remain the same.  On the plus side, you'll be gaining the enormous benefit of managing property content, rates, rules and directly from OwnerRez without having to keep multiple channels in sync.  There is no restriction on who can join the Airbnb API, so go ahead and get started today!

Airbnb has special policies that apply to long-term bookings that are not supported in the Airbnb API which may allow Airbnb to ignore many OwnerRez settings that users may have set.  OwnerRez recommends that settings for long-term bookings (28 days or more) be made in Airbnb.