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VRBO's New "Security" Feature

Status: Closed 7 Votes
Marina's Edge Re
Mar 12, 2015 5:25 PM
Joined Oct, 2012 206 posts

VRBO just disabled the ability to automatically pass the real email address into OwnerReservations. Getting the real email address is pure gold from a marketing perspective.

Would it be possible to force the "real" email address when someone is booking so we have their real contact information for future interactions? Is there any other way to get the real email address into the inquiry (I notice it is available from VRBO's site).

I really don't want to be at the mercy of VRBO to contact my guests!

Chris Hynes
Mar 13, 2015 10:12 AM
OR Team Member Joined Oct, 2012 1400 posts

HomeAway sent out an email to that effect, but we're not seeing it implemented in practice, at least for most people. Are you actually seeing the email address blocked when you get the inquiry in OwnerRez?

We're working on a new "Property Manager" integration with HomeAway via their API. That should solve all of these issues, including a full inquiry API channel, calendar sync, and integration of HomeAway Book Now with OwnerRez. I don't have a firm date yet, but we're projecting feature complete by the end of the month.

I can put you in the beta group for that if you're interested.

Marina's Edge Re
Mar 13, 2015 2:18 PM
Joined Oct, 2012 206 posts

Yes, the email addresses are blocked.

I'd love to be in the Beta Group to experiment!

Chris Hynes
Mar 13, 2015 6:47 PM
OR Team Member Joined Oct, 2012 1400 posts

OK, I'll keep you posted.

We've had reports from people who were able to call VRBO and get the email proxying and obfuscation turned off. That's worth a try, all though it may take going through several people over there to get it done.

Lou & Brenda Z
Apr 26, 2017 11:10 AM
Joined Apr, 2017 4 posts

Has this happened.

Chris Hynes
Apr 26, 2017 12:02 PM
OR Team Member Joined Oct, 2012 1400 posts

VRBO isn't accepting us to their "PM" integration right now.

What we do have is integration via email parsing (so anything they send you in the inquiry email will show up in OwnerRez). We've also got integration via two way calendar sync, so bookings created in VRBO will show up in OwnerRez and vice versa.

Lou Z
Apr 26, 2017 1:16 PM
Joined Apr, 2017 1 post

Hi Chris,

thanks for the reply. So, can I limit the vice versa ? I don't want owner rez to update vrbo ...


Chris Hynes
Apr 26, 2017 1:40 PM
OR Team Member Joined Oct, 2012 1400 posts

Yep, we don't do anything automatically to VRBO.

The inquiry import is done via email. Here's an article on that: https://www.ownerrez.com/support/articles/inquiry-import

The calendar import and calendar export are done via iCal and you can set up one without the other. Here's an article on that: https://www.ownerrez.com/support/articles/calendar-sync

Often what you'll do is to set up a booking import from VRBO and only update availability back to them, not all booking info. If you follow the instructions in that article, that's what you'll get.

Bruce I
May 30, 2017 10:36 AM
Joined Apr, 2017 9 posts

I tried to specifically send a lead from HomeAway my e-mail...4 different times! Each time I thought I had removed tags that HomeAway would recognize, and each time they figured it out and sent ------@---.com to the lead. Very frustrating! Some way to go direct would be very helpful!

Chris Hynes
May 30, 2017 11:35 AM
OR Team Member Joined Oct, 2012 1400 posts

They've locked things down hard on all avenues, particularly if you only have one listing or on pay per book.

I can't recommend trying to get around the blocking because that's part of the agreement with the listing sites. Sometimes they just don't support what's needed to communicate with the guest and get locked in. I have heard of people messaging leads using search terms for their website or their website name. I.e. "search for craggy cabins" or "go to craggy cabins com (put together with dots)".

Tammy P
May 30, 2017 10:09 PM
Joined Feb, 2016 5 posts

We have noticed that our link for the ownerrez quote is now also being blocked. Is there no way around this either?

Jun 1, 2017 10:33 AM
Joined Oct, 2016 29 posts

Tammy P said:

We have noticed that our link for the ownerrez quote is now also being blocked. Is there no way around this either?

I immediately reply with a request to get a valid email to send the guest additional info on booking and suggest we have a discounted rate available.

Glenn Moore
Jul 17, 2017 3:20 PM
Joined Nov, 2012 78 posts

Aside from the inability to send a quote, have they locked down the ability to send an email through their 'walled garden'? For example, AirBnB has a walled garden and I never do see the guest's real email. (mind you I do get their phone number that I can text to... which technically does bypass their 'wall'). Regardless, when I get a booking from AirBnB, I am given a special AirBnB email address that I can use. I use OR to manage the reservation and send several emails to the guests automatically regarding access codes, cleaning, etc. I am aware that any site links will be stripped away and do not have them in my email templates to the guests. It works for me.

Is VRBO doing essentially the same thing? If so, then I have no real problem with it. Sadly I have given up quite some time ago on doing quotes and payments out of OZ. The triggered emails are what I now pay for. If VRBO blocks all emails, even from OR, then I too am hooped.

Right now, on VRBO I do not see the renter's email address until he/she books. After that it is revealed to me and I update it in my booking. It is a real email address. I guess they haven't fully built the 'wall' out to my part of the woods yet.... Mind you, I have not moved to the pay per booking model yet.

On a second topic, has anyone moved to the pay per booking model? Is it worth it?

Jul 18, 2017 7:42 AM
Joined Oct, 2016 29 posts

Glenn Moore said:

On a second topic, has anyone moved to the pay per booking model? Is it worth it?

As my annual subscriptions expire, I am switching to PPB. The way I see things, VRBO is now the same as AIRBNB so why pay the $399. I'll use that 399 for other advertising options and grow my website.

Chris Hynes
Jul 18, 2017 8:21 AM
OR Team Member Joined Oct, 2012 1400 posts

I haven't heard any plans from VRBO to remove the renter email address after booking. We'll see if they stick with that, or if that, too, becomes something that goes by the wayside with them.

Sam Westcott
Jul 18, 2017 8:31 AM
OR Team Member Joined Dec, 2009 240 posts

Prediction.... As long as VRBO and Airbnb get paid, and the money flows through them, they won't ever care about locking down the email address/phone number. It's not really possible anyway. They have to give you a phone number for the guest for emergencies and such, and as soon as you have that you can always call the guest and get the email. But I doubt they would want to limit the email address either - that just puts more of a burden on themselves for all the messaging and communication bandwidth. They'd just as a soon have you deal with the guest's messages. But they're going to get paid first - that's what it's all about.