Experience the difference of "Elite".

VRBO Native Messaging in OwnerRez via API integration

Status: Released 227 Votes
Shawn H
Jun 7, 2023 11:22 AM
OR Team Member Joined Aug, 2021 192 posts

Hello all - great news to share today! Vrbo Messaging is now live as a Public Beta! You can see messages in OwnerRez before the guest books and reply and also after a booking comes in.

Bonus: included also is the creation of inquiries in OwnerRez (without the need to use Email parsing). So you can reply to inquiry messages but also view Inquiry details if they submitted an inquiry for your property. If you use Vrbo email inquiry parsing, it will match with that and only create 1 inquiry in OwnerRez.

We took an extra few weeks because we wanted to be able to add in the bonus. Thanks for your patience! Enjoy!

Read more in the new Vrbo Messaging support article: https://www.ownerrez.com/support/articles/vrbo-messaging

Joel P
Jun 8, 2023 11:01 AM
OR Team Member Joined Oct, 2009 116 posts

It's a bit complicated under the covers, but this will generally work for all new bookings from June 7. In some cases it will also send to pre-existing bookings, but I would not count on this yet. Until we import historical messages from Vrbo it will be hit or miss.

We recommend keeping your email triggers in place for Vrbo bookings alongside any new Vrbo channel triggers you'd like to add for the present. We will announce in our change log and blog when historical messages have been pulled in, at which point you can more safely rely on Vrbo messages only.

Ken T
Feb 1, 2023 12:36 PM
OR Team Member Joined Aug, 2019 1406 posts

At present, the best solution would be to reply in Vrbo's own messaging system using their own tools.  Once integration with Vrbo's internal messaging system is available, there will be more options, including potentially automated ones.

Home Suite Stays L
Feb 22, 2023 2:55 PM
Joined Feb, 2023 6 posts

I just moved over from Guesty for Hosts (formerly YourPorter).  I've always been able to see and respond to VRBO messaging through that channel manager.  Why isn't OwnerRez able to do it also?

Brandon B
Feb 22, 2023 2:58 PM
Joined Jun, 2021 17 posts

The million dollar question!

Short answer is that VRBO doesn't allow it for OR at present.  Someone else with a better scoop on it can elaborate but there was supposed to be some movement on it recently (i.e. VRBO telling OR that they're working on it).

 

Shannon W
Feb 23, 2023 11:04 AM
Joined May, 2022 3 posts

Is there an estimated or target time frame for this functionality?

Ken T
Feb 23, 2023 11:55 AM
OR Team Member Joined Aug, 2019 1406 posts

Not really... Vrbo has said they are working on it for a year now.  When it's done, we'll implement it at our end as a high priority.

Thais & Rodney M
Feb 23, 2023 12:03 PM
Joined Jul, 2022 4 posts

Not really... Vrbo has said they are working on it for a year now.  When it's done, we'll implement it at our end as a high priority.

by Ken T – Feb 23, 2023 4:55 PM (UTC)

Would it be possible for OwnerRez to do a temporary integration with VRBO existing messaging system? Why Hospitable and other PMS companies are able to integrate with VRBO but not OwnerRez?

Home Suite Stays L
Feb 23, 2023 12:16 PM
Joined Feb, 2023 6 posts

Just spitballing a possible workaround, but I get VRBO messages sent to me via email, what if there was an OwnerRez email inbox I could forward those emails to and then they would be added to my CRM inbox. This would actually be great for other non-integrated message sources as well to get everything added to one unified OwnerRez inbox. I'm new to OwnerRez so maybe this is something that has been mentioned already.

PacViewLodging
Feb 23, 2023 12:18 PM
Joined Sep, 2019 74 posts

It does seem strange that with OR status as an Elite connectivity partner with VRBO cant get it but Guesty, Hostfully, etc... have it - unless they are kludging it together in some way?

sunchic vacation
Feb 23, 2023 12:22 PM
Joined May, 2021 20 posts

Agree, there are several PM systems that surface VRBO messaging and have for some time. Seems like there's a distinction between the systems I'm aware of that do this are not Integrated partners, but rather, VRBO natively invoices the customers versus how OwnerRez is integrated and we invoice the users. Might be related. But, Hospitable, iGMS, Guesty for Hosts, and some free tools I've used are pulling it off. Clearly a agap.

BlueSky Getwaway
Feb 23, 2023 12:49 PM
Joined Mar, 2022 33 posts

I moved from Guesty because of all glitches and poor support, I'm happy with OR overall and the support is superior,  but really do miss guesty's inbox, the ability to sms and auto message to VRBO at no extra charge.

I rarely use OR inbox unfortunately it just doesnt do what I need, I have Google voice # and get my notifications there, and then check my email, Airbnb and VRBO and answer directly in their apps. Or my GV#, I hate that I'm paying extra money to text a guest just to check their email and not to respond to the sms auto number. I feel it's all over the place and not truly unified.

Ken T
Feb 23, 2023 12:59 PM
OR Team Member Joined Aug, 2019 1406 posts

There are plans to develop what's commonly referred to as a "unified inbox", but there are a very great number of pieces to that, as well as serious support concerns if we're handling all your email in both directions.  I'm not personally convinced that function would be as useful as many of our clients believe that it would be, but we'll find out - it will happen eventually for sure.

As far as other systems that "integrate" with Vrbo internal messaging, our understanding is that they do this unofficially by what amounts to screen-scraping.  Not only is this inherently unreliable, as Vrbo could change their screens at any time, it is also fundamentally more complex.  Since Vrbo has announced their willingness to set up a proper integration designed for that purpose some years ago, it makes much more sense to just use that and do it right.

Of course, nobody anticipated that it would take as long as it has.  But at any given time, it's "a few more months".  So we continue to wait for it.  Hopefully not too much longer!

Craig
Feb 23, 2023 1:05 PM
Joined Jun, 2022 3 posts

I fully agree!

I've been watching this topic go no where for a while. The fact that so many other management systems DO HAVE Inboxing for VRBO, etc. makes me wonder about pointing the finger at VRBO as the route of the problem. 

I am considering dropping OR because of the Inbox difficulties and up charges to get basic reporting & SMS. I don't like the extra charges for the basics, it feels dishonest. 

 

Craig

 

Francis D
Feb 23, 2023 1:10 PM
Joined Aug, 2022 1 post

Yeah, it's a big problem. I'm looking at paying an additional $500/mo for Hospitable's inbox or switching to Guesty. 

Brandon B
Feb 23, 2023 1:23 PM
Joined Jun, 2021 17 posts

I love OR and it's robust features, reliability and everything in between and use it seamlessly across 6 properties.  VRBO messaging, to me, is the ONLY thing it's missing.

That said, I use Hospitable for the VRBO messaging since VRBO app is TERRIBLE (really, just a terrible platform altogether but I digress...) but I was wondering if OR has pursued an API relationship with Hospitable that might be faster than working with VRBO.

The thinking/flow would be something like this:

VRBO message from guest >> Hospitable >> OR CRM

It might not be as fast as a direct API connection between VRBO and OR but it would do the trick.

Has that been explored as potential workaround?

Ozark Stays
Feb 23, 2023 2:01 PM
Joined Aug, 2020 19 posts

Hey Ken, Justus from OzarkStays here. My retort regarding the usefulness of a unified inbox is that we desperately need a central thread to keep up with all of the comms flowing throw OwnerRez. Let me paint a picture for you of what all is going on in my account.

We’ve got the following as far as connected accounts:

  1. ABB & VRBO for our PM clients
  2. My personal ABB & VRBO account
  3. My business partner’s personal ABB

Then you have email vs channel messages. It’s a lot of moving parts! Yes I get email alerts but the notifications on this Outlook app are heinously bad. And I can’t be logged in to more than one OTA account at a time on my phone via their native apps. I can bounce back and forth between the email and CRM inbox to make sure I don’t miss anything, but I shouldn’t have to.

I want two simple things:

  1. A single inbox for all notifications and messages
  2. An app with push notifications

I’m not sure why in 2023 we don’t already have a true ios app for OwnerRez and keep pushing this web app as a suitable alternative. (Because if it has some kind of capability to push notifications to me, that’s news)

The unified inbox is the same concept as the channel manager, we all want it centralized. OR is behind the 8 ball on this as compared to other PMS competitors. As it stands, I’m having to shop around services like RueBaRue to make up for OR’s shortcomings in centralizing comms. I appreciate that there are integrations galore, but I would rather not have to approach this in such a bolt-on type way and have 12 different tech stack subscriptions.

Craig
Feb 23, 2023 2:15 PM
Joined Jun, 2022 3 posts

Agreed!

Better comms and a good app would be very nice indeed. 

 

Ken T
Feb 23, 2023 2:21 PM
OR Team Member Joined Aug, 2019 1406 posts

There actually are plans to add push notifications to the web app - Google Apple has announced this will be added to versions of Chrome iOS to make this possible.

BlueSky Getwaway
Feb 23, 2023 2:40 PM
Joined Mar, 2022 33 posts

Thank you for explaining it better than I could!

I'm all over the place checking for messages, notifications. I just now got an email notification that a guest had texted to the OR sms number about 15 mins ago! (which I don't use other than to tell the guest to check their email and don't reply to this # it is an automated message. To please use my cell#) I'm thinking of dropping the sms feature all together because guests don't read not to reply to it.

If I did not see the email notification as quickly as I did, my guest could have been waiting hours for a response for help because I would not have seen the sms message since OR inbox doesn't really work for me visually as well so I don't really check it. I rely on email notifications, my GV #, Airbnb and VRBO's lousy app.

Hemang L
Feb 24, 2023 1:25 PM
Joined Feb, 2023 15 posts

Couldn't agree more. 

A unified inbox for all communications and a mobile app (feature-request) would be essential.

Chelsea V
Feb 24, 2023 3:16 PM
Joined Oct, 2021 5 posts

Yes on VRBO native messaging -- which they say they are working on; I understand this is a high priority for lot of people, but it's not a deal-breaker for my business. For me, OR and hospitable (the old smartbnb) have been the twin pillars of my tech stack for years.  No one software checks all the boxes for me.

 

As for an app, I may be in the minority, but I love the progressive web app because it has the exact same functionality as the desktop version. Notifications would be nice, though. But a stripped-down android app mainly for notifications might be more trouble than it's worth. I don't feel that strongly about notifications, but I get it that it's a big deal for others.