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Introducing OwnerRez Channels

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You may have wondered why it's been so quiet around here recently. We've been hard at work on a huge new feature: direct channel integration!

We've had two-way iCal sync and inquiry parsing for years, which provides the basic availability updates and inquiry quoting and auto response.

Direct channel integration has so much more potential: updating channels with rates, listing description, amenities, photos, receiving bookings with full financial and guest information, two way messaging with guests... and the list goes on from there.

In typical OwnerRez fashion, we evaluated the third party channel manager options and ended up developing our own direct channel sync engine which powers all of these integrations. There are four reasons we chose to build it ourselves instead of teaming up with a channel manager partner to save time:

  1. We directly control and are responsible for the integration with each channel. This means that we can deliver our trademark power and reliability rather than having to play telephone through a third party to get to the channel.
  2. Channel managers are EXPENSIVE! Some charge 3-5% of the gross booking total on top of the already large commissions that each channel charges. As vacation rental owners ourselves, we know how steep of a price that is. They justify it by saying, "just build it into your rates", but that means your booking volumes go down. Building direct integrations takes longer but lets us price on a simple per-property flat rate (see below).
  3. Many channels require a minimum of 5 properties to access any direct integration. For smaller folks, we've developed a channel bridge tool that links into the same channel sync engine but bypasses the 5 property limit.
  4. The promise of being on "hundreds" of channels rings hollow. The key is to be on the big 5 or 10 channels in your area and the rest are a distraction. More channels means more work and more things that can go wrong -- even with a channel manager you still end up running around doing little one-off fixes... and you end up being limited in pricing and policy decisions to what is supported by the lowest common denominator channel.

You've seen a lot of "coming soon" language on OwnerRez this year, and we recently centralized the direct and synced channels into a main Channels area. All of that is currently free while we're in beta. Synced channels (iCal and inquiry parsing) will always be included with the base OwnerRez subscription. As of 1 December, direct and channel bridge channel integrations will become a premium feature, which will cost $9.99/mo for the first two properties and $1/mo for each property after that.

Here's what the premium channels feature will include as of 1 December:

  • Booking.com rates and availability push and booking and credit card processing integration
  • TripAdvisor listing content (description, photos, amenities), rates and availability push, booking import, and inquiry import
  • CanadaStays listing content, rates and availability push and booking import
  • VRBO/HomeAway channel bridge booking download with full charges, payments, and guest contact info
  • Airbnb channel bridge booking download with full charges, payments, and guest info

As a bonus for our customers, whether you've new or have been with us for years (those of you around since 2009, thanks for making this all possible!) we're waving the $9.99 fee for the first year for anyone who signs up by 1 December. You'll just pay a flat $1/mo per property for premium channels until December 2019.

We've got great plans for more channels and more channel related feature throughout the rest of the year and into 2019.

As vacation rental owners ourselves we're salivating over the possiblities and can't wait to get all of this stuff done! The current roadmap starts with booking.com content push, then into VRBO/HomeAway and Airbnb content push (both via channel bridge for everyone and direct integrations for 5+ property users). After that we'll branch out into additional channels like Expedia and Agoda, and then fully integrate seamless messaging through all sources (channel direct, SMS, email, phone, etc).

32 Comments (add yours)

Tim
Oct 11, 2018 8:16 PM
Joined Oct, 2018 49 posts

Sounds great! I'll be waiting anxiously for the ability to push rates to AirBNB and VRBO

BlueMtnCabins
Oct 12, 2018 3:19 PM
Joined Jun, 2016 1125 posts

sounds great

BlueMtnCabins
Oct 12, 2018 3:20 PM
Joined Jun, 2016 1125 posts

Where is sign up form?

JTVRs
Oct 13, 2018 6:19 PM
Joined Jun, 2018 385 posts


>>>> The promise of being on "hundreds" of channels rings hollow. The key is to be on the big 5 or 10 channels in your area and the rest are a distraction. More channels means more work and more things that can go wrong -- even with a channel manager you still end up running around doing little one-off fixes. <<<<

I SO AGREE. A VR owner being on Booking.com, HA family, TA family, AirBnB... Is full usage of these not going to bring you 95+% of the bookings? I follow their forums some and the constant problems and complaints. Communications that were lost, misunderstanding, new features, double bookings, wrangling with CS over problems or reviews...

So trying to get 5% more bookings and the potential complexities/problems of 50 more little sites? If you are on BringFido, aren't they likely also to select the Pet friendly places on the major OTAs? Doesn't the LGBQT market really strongly use the major OTAs more than MisterBnB? You are already getting a lot of the specialty market in the big OTAs. Besides, some of those small sites (like BedAndBreakfast.com) will probably be absorbed anyway.

I would only really be interested in additional things like PPC type ads or Social Media campaigns that bring people to my site without introducing breakable functionality between me and the customer.

Paul W
Oct 16, 2018 9:36 AM
OR Team Member Joined Jun, 2009 832 posts

Hi BlueMtnCabins,

We don't have a signup form. We'll be announcing additional channels directly. The direct channel integrations already in place are able to be connected if you have a channel (eg. Booking.com, CanadaStays, TripAdvisor) account in place. Go to Settings > Channels > Connect to get started. TripAdvisor is in active development right now and will be over the next couple months. Content/rate/availability/rule pushing is out and working. The booking part is in active development.

Paul W
Oct 16, 2018 9:46 AM
OR Team Member Joined Jun, 2009 832 posts

I just noticed that the tile for TripAdvisor isn't showing, because we were working with a limited beta group for awhile, but you can start the process by using this direct link:

https://app.ownerrez.com/settings/channels/edit?listingSiteType=TripAdvisor

That will get you connected. Keep in mind that TripAdvisor must approve you first as a "PM" and convert your account over. Look at the Instructions tab after creating the channel and follow what it says.

BlueMtnCabins
Oct 16, 2018 9:54 AM
Joined Jun, 2016 1125 posts

I am on pay per book with Tripadvsior, will it follow the settings set on OR or will Ta settings prevail (i.e per cent of down payment) etc.

Paul W
Oct 16, 2018 9:57 AM
OR Team Member Joined Jun, 2009 832 posts

We push all rules, rates and content for the listing. So the payment schedule (eg. 50% due up front, rest 45 days before arrival) is one of the things we push across. The TA channel settings in OR have some of these things broken out on the channel settings area. The rest come from the property data under the property menu. There are some channel-specific things (house rules, cancellation policy) that are unique to the channel, so those things are on the channel settings.

JTVRs
Oct 16, 2018 10:17 AM
Joined Jun, 2018 385 posts

By "TripAdvisor", does that include Flipkey , etc?

Paul W
Oct 16, 2018 10:24 AM
OR Team Member Joined Jun, 2009 832 posts

Yes. TripAdvisor Rentals and FlipKey are the same thing now. If you have a listing on TA Rentals, it will show on FlipKey and their other family of sites. They merged all that a couple years ago and now it's the same account. Basically, you need to follow our instructions in contacting them and saying you want to be use OwnerRez as a channel manager and then TA will convert you over to a new type of account (your reviews will be preserved) and give you a new Account ID to use. After connecting the TA channel in OwnerRez, read the instructions tab.

Daniel
Oct 25, 2018 11:54 AM
Joined Jul, 2016 17 posts

Awesome! Than you!

BlueMtnCabins
Oct 25, 2018 12:31 PM
Joined Jun, 2016 1125 posts

saw announcement, but where is the "sign up" to have 1st year for a $1/mo?

Bennett J
Oct 25, 2018 2:02 PM
Joined May, 2018 1 post

Channel integration is great but with missing out on full integration with all the majors (ie VRBO and Airbnb) and the fact that this is new and not fully integrated, I'm going to wait. When you have full flawless integration with all the majors, I'll def be signing up.

Maged B
Oct 25, 2018 2:14 PM
Joined Mar, 2016 12 posts

That's great news. I love everything that Owner Rez has to offer. It always feels very turn key compared to other solutions and they know exactly what we need before we do ourselves. I've tested the Beta version of the Channel Management and it's already more polished than many of the"established" Channel Managers out there (I've tested a few).

Chris Hynes
Oct 26, 2018 6:49 AM
OR Team Member Joined Oct, 2012 1400 posts

@BlueMtn: To sign up for Channels, go to the Billing section in the dropdown menu in the top-right. Hit "Change Premium Features" and turn on "Channel Management". We'll do a sweep of everybody that has channels enabled at the end of November and then apply the discount that way.

@Bennett: We're hard at work on knocking out those channels! VRBO should be in around the end of the year, with Airbnb to follow shortly.

@Maged: Thanks for the kind words! We spend a lot of time to try and simplify and standardize these channels... glad everything is working smoothly for you!

Julie B
Nov 19, 2018 8:11 PM
Joined Feb, 2017 13 posts

Okay, I signed up... Now how do I turn on each integration?

Chris Hynes
Nov 21, 2018 6:34 PM
OR Team Member Joined Oct, 2012 1400 posts

Each one is different, and there are instructions in each channel as you add it, as well as links to step by step articles.

If you run into a particular snag, shoot us an email at help@ownerreservations.com and we'll get you sorted.

Terry L
Dec 5, 2018 7:41 PM
Joined Sep, 2017 8 posts

When you get the integration setup for VRBO users is there going to be an offer for the $1 per month for the first year. I am only on my own site and the VRBO site so there is no need for me to sign up now.

Chris Hynes
Dec 6, 2018 12:28 PM
OR Team Member Joined Oct, 2012 1400 posts

We have the channel bridge which is available now: https://www.ownerrez.com/support/articles/channel-bridge

The VRBO API based integration will require 5+ properties -- that's their minimum for hooking up an account, unfortunately.

BlueMtnCabins
Jan 17, 2019 11:10 AM
Joined Jun, 2016 1125 posts

if I were to ask VRBO to enable the channel (I only have 3 properties) what do I need to tell them? And magic words to make them recognize OR? I have heard they are budging on 5 property minimum requirement. TY