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Getting started with Airbnb?

Rich S
Nov 23, 2019 8:34 PM
Joined Dec, 2018 301 posts

I've only used OwnerRez and VRBO for the past year (for 3 units, about 140 bookings total)

I now want to put one of the units on Airbnb, mostly because I have a friend with the same kind of unit at the same location (studio) who says he rents a ton more on Airbnb.

Wondering what steps I should be taking .... specifically:

1) I've likely made changes to my descriptions at VRBO which have not been updated back into OwnerRez. Is it feasible (safe?) to pull the vrbo listing details back into OR, and then just push them to Airbnb? Or should I just work within Airbnb. Would be nice to have all the details kept in one place so they are identical.

2) With only one unit on Airbnb, can I still use the new fancy API the OR team created? And avoid the need to use channel bridge?

3) Assuming I *can* use the new API, I figure a booking on Airbnb will instantly (seconds) be reflected in OR, but will it then instantly (via iCal) be pushed back to VRBO or will that take up to 30 mins? I imagine bookings on VRBO will take up to 30 minutes to sync (via iCal) with OR and then would instantly be pushed to Airbnb. I doubt I'd have many issues with (nearly) simultaneous bookings on the different sites, but just wanting to understand the mechanisms involved to be safe.

4) I imagine there are lots of other details to watch out for, such as ensuring my rental agreement is clearly reflecting the correct source (Vrbo vs Airbnb) using custom fields, instead of some hard coded text that would be incorrect.

Anything else I might not be thinking of?

Chris Hynes
Nov 24, 2019 11:05 AM
OR Team Member Joined Oct, 2012 1400 posts

Some answers on this:

1) Yes, you can pull the VRBO descriptions into OR using the import listing tool. If you already have photos you might want to skip that part of the import so it doesn't duplicate them, but the listing descriptions will overwrite.

However, also keep in mind Airbnb uses slightly different fields as well. The biggest difference is that they don't have one big Description field like VRBO. Instead they have a short description field and then other fields for things like the space, neighborhood overview, etc. Here's how those all match up: https://www.ownerrez.com/support/articles/channel-management-api-integrations-property-field-differences

2) Yep, Airbnb API can be used with one property -- no minimum limitations there. That does everything except for payment info -- detailed payment info isn't currently available to us via API so you still have to run channel bridge for that.

3) Correct, Airbnb bookings are entered into OwnerRez immediately. And as soon as we see a booking from iCal we will also update that unavailability on to the Airbnb calendar. You do have the iCal lag because that's not immediate, but on the OwnerRez side once we do have the info its updated to channels within a minute or two.

Really the only way to get round that is to go API on VRBO as well -- I've heard some folks creating combination properties to get to the 5 property minimum for integration.

4) There is a {BSOURCE} field for the listing site name. Depending on how detailed your agreement is, you can either have paragraphs referring to "if booked on VRBO" etc. Or you could create different renter agreement versions for different listing sites.