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Direct Booking Communication: E-Mails, Notifications, Alerts, and Co-Hosts

WaterfrontGem
Apr 2, 2021 8:40 PM
Joined Jun, 2019 7 posts

My biggest hesitation with OwnerRez is communicating with guests.

Airbnb makes it really easy. Most people have the app installed with notifications for everything. SMS and E-Mails further alert you. I have some helpers (co-host and cleaner) who get all the messages (without financials) and can jump in for an emergency or if I'm unavailable or on vacation. It doesn't seem OwnerRez solves this problem so I'll continue communicating with my Airbnb reservations through Airbnb.

When someone books directly through my website, how can I smoothly communicate with them while providing access to others? Do I assume they'll reply to the automated e-mails? Should I push them to communicate through other channels for support?

Guests want QUICK responses to their questions and constantly refreshing OwnerRez and checking the CRM tab at the top seems like a terrible way to respond to guests as quick as possible. What works for you?

How can I give messaging access to co-hosts and cleaners, allowing us to stay on the same page without giving them full account access?

Chris L
Apr 6, 2021 3:00 PM
Joined May, 2017 206 posts

Yes, my experience is that people who book through non-Airbnb channels do receive and view the emails that OR sends to them.

I don't know what you mean about constantly refreshing the OR CRM tab. When a guest sends a message, it goes to your email, not the OR CRM tab. (The only thing that shows up in the OR CRM tab right now is Airbnb messages, if you have Airbnb connected via API, but you can also receive those via push notification in the Airbnb app, too--I mostly use the Airbnb app for that because of the lack of a mobile app with push notifications on the OR side.) So as long as you have your email set to push alerts to your phone, you're good there.

I do find that people who send emails (direct bookings and Vrbo bookings) tend to be less expectant of an immediate response than Airbnb guests. So if you can respond to emails within an hour or so, that's generally good enough to present yourself as a responsive host.

The last question is sort of moot at this point because at this point, only Airbnb messages get routed through OR's messaging center, so as long as your co-host has access to your Airbnb messages through Airbnb, there's no need for them to view messages in OR.

Paul W
Apr 6, 2021 3:37 PM
OR Team Member Joined Jun, 2009 829 posts

Thanks for the follow-up, Chris!

FYI - we hope to have Vrbo messaging integrated in OR in the next couple quarters. It's right around the corner according to our Vrbo contacts. (Ask them that on the webinar tomorrow!) 😆

WaterfrontGem
Apr 6, 2021 5:26 PM
Joined Jun, 2019 7 posts

Thanks for your detailed reply, Chris L.

Long story short: I should communicate with guests via E-mail for Direct Bookings.

I guess guests will just have to deal with responses being slower. Sometimes it takes awhile for my business e-mail to route to my Gmail. Maybe that's the problem I need to solve. Or maybe giving myself a longer leash with guests is a welcome change.

Alternatively, what about adding a "chat" feature to the direct booking website with push notifications to mobile? Could also be used to help increase booking inquiries (ex: Olark): https://www.olark.com/

Still wondering: how do you give access to your co-hosts and cleaners so they can communicate with guests as guests as necessary? I could make a "team" email account and help them set it up to route emails to multiple people, but then they'd get EVERYTHING including payment confirmations etc...

Ken T
Apr 6, 2021 9:20 PM
OR Team Member Joined Aug, 2019 1689 posts

The "team" email account is actually the best approach at the moment. They won't necessarily get payment notifications though - you can use a different email address for your main login (that gets the system alerts and messages) vs the one used as a return address for emails sent to your guests (that they'd likely reply to).

Chris L
Apr 6, 2021 11:38 PM
Joined May, 2017 206 posts

Wait, you can?? This has been a long-standing thing I’ve been meaning to put a feature request in for. Where is that setting??

Paul W
Apr 7, 2021 10:31 AM
OR Team Member Joined Jun, 2009 829 posts

Two way to do this...

You can also create a secondary Theme (or 3 or 4 if you want) that has a different Email Address field and then assign that as the theme for all properties. The Theme itself will be used the From address by default for whatever properties are assigned to that theme.

You can also do this via email templates. You can set the From Address to anything you want and, if it's a Verified Email Domain, the system will use it as the actual FROM header on the message. To do this for all geust messages, you would need to change every system message to use an email template and put in your custom From Address.

Chris L
Apr 7, 2021 10:33 AM
Joined May, 2017 206 posts

Ack. I might still put in the feature request, then. :P

Paul W
Apr 7, 2021 11:02 AM
OR Team Member Joined Jun, 2009 829 posts

Why won't the From Email Address on the theme work? You can set that even on the primary/account theme. No need to add a secondary theme.

Ozark Stays
Dec 31, 2021 11:43 AM
Joined Aug, 2020 22 posts

Paul,

Have there been any additional updates around VRBO messaging app integration? I'd say we're at the end of the next couple quarter timeframe now.

-Justus Smith

Mei
Sep 27, 2023 9:46 AM
Joined Sep, 2023 2 posts

hi everyone, just want to ask if there is a way to get notifications from ownerrez sent to my team as well? not just the host? thanks in advance

Downtown FL Trav
Oct 10, 2023 11:52 AM
Joined Aug, 2023 2 posts

So the only way to get alerts if Airbnb is linked through api is through email correct? I have 8 properties and people need things and answers right away. I get so many emails especially when sleeping. I would def miss things esp late at night if it’s only through email. Is there any other way?

Shawn H
Oct 10, 2023 3:15 PM
OR Team Member Joined Aug, 2021 221 posts

hi everyone, just want to ask if there is a way to get notifications from ownerrez sent to my team as well? not just the host? thanks in advance

by Mei – Sep 27, 2023 1:46 PM (UTC)

Team Alerts (for Staff users) is currently in testing!

Shawn H
Oct 10, 2023 3:24 PM
OR Team Member Joined Aug, 2021 221 posts

So the only way to get alerts if Airbnb is linked through api is through email correct? I have 8 properties and people need things and answers right away. I get so many emails especially when sleeping. I would def miss things esp late at night if it’s only through email. Is there any other way?

by Nicole S – Oct 10, 2023 3:52 PM (UTC)

Browser Push Notifications are currently in R&D (research & development). So that will help!

For now, if Airbnb specifically, you can stay logged into the Airbnb app on your phone to receive push notifications. The same applies for Vrbo using the Vrbo Owner app.

Downtown FL Trav
Oct 10, 2023 9:28 PM
Joined Aug, 2023 2 posts

So if I stay logged in to Airbnb can I still message guests on there? Will it send me their messages still? 

Shawn H
Oct 10, 2023 9:35 PM
OR Team Member Joined Aug, 2021 221 posts

So if I stay logged in to Airbnb can I still message guests on there? Will it send me their messages still? 

by Nicole S – Oct 11, 2023 1:28 AM (UTC)

Yep! And the messages will still come into OwnerRez, even your replies if you reply via the Airbnb app.

Kraig M
Nov 10, 2023 2:48 PM
Joined Oct, 2023 10 posts

So the only way to get alerts if Airbnb is linked through api is through email correct? I have 8 properties and people need things and answers right away. I get so many emails especially when sleeping. I would def miss things esp late at night if it’s only through email. Is there any other way?

by Nicole S – Oct 10, 2023 3:52 PM (UTC)

Browser Push Notifications are currently in R&D (research & development). So that will help!

For now, if Airbnb specifically, you can stay logged into the Airbnb app on your phone to receive push notifications. The same applies for Vrbo using the Vrbo Owner app.

by Shawn H – Oct 10, 2023 7:24 PM (UTC)

I'm just implementing OR and want to add that I'd love some kind of push notifications and/or badges for OR, especially in the progressive web app. This is the way I think most hosts and guests who use Airbnb and VRBO are used to being alerted to reservation requests and guest questions. Having a unified inbox on OR isn't super helpful if I need to keep VRBO and Airbnb apps installed for alerting purposes.