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Introducing OwnerRez Channels

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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)

Oct 11, 2018 8:16 PM
Tim says:

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

Oct 12, 2018 3:19 PM
BlueMtnCabins says:

sounds great

Oct 12, 2018 3:20 PM
BlueMtnCabins says:

Where is sign up form?

Oct 13, 2018 6:19 PM
JTVRs says:

>>>> 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.

Oct 16, 2018 9:36 AM
Paul W says:

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.

Oct 16, 2018 9:46 AM
Paul W says:

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:


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.

Oct 16, 2018 9:54 AM
BlueMtnCabins says:

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.

Oct 16, 2018 9:57 AM
Paul W says:

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.

Oct 16, 2018 10:17 AM
JTVRs says:

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

Oct 16, 2018 10:24 AM
Paul W says:

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.

Oct 25, 2018 11:54 AM
Daniel says:

Awesome! Than you!

Oct 25, 2018 12:31 PM
BlueMtnCabins says:

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

Oct 25, 2018 2:02 PM
Bennett J says:

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.

Oct 25, 2018 2:14 PM
Maged says:

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).

Oct 26, 2018 6:49 AM
Chris Hynes says:

@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!

Nov 19, 2018 8:11 PM
Julie B says:

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

Nov 21, 2018 6:34 PM
Chris Hynes says:

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.

Dec 5, 2018 7:41 PM
Terry L says:

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.

Dec 6, 2018 12:28 PM
Chris Hynes says:

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

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

Jan 17, 2019 11:10 AM
BlueMtnCabins says:

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

Jan 17, 2019 11:12 AM
Rich S says:

Awesome thought @BlueMtnCabins - I'm in same boat (2 properties now, 3rd this summer)

Jan 18, 2019 7:51 AM
BlueMtnCabins says:

I used channel bridge to push rates to VRBO. Says successful, but so far I do not see updated rates on VRBO? Or is there a time lag?

Jan 18, 2019 10:53 AM
Chris Hynes says:

The rate push only goes to their nightly rate model (not the old seasonal rates). Which are you on?

Also make sure you're on the latest version: https://www.ownerreservations.com/support/articles/updating-channel-bridge-to-latest-version -- we just pushed up a fix today where an older version was setting a 14% weekly discount -- now it only pushes rates, not the weekly discount.

Jan 18, 2019 5:50 PM
JTVRs says:

ugh, you responded to a question I had recently, but I do not remember how to search the forums themselves.

Previously, I asked about combining my VRs, both on my hosted website and on the OTAs. for example, I have two 5-bedroom (attached to each other) townhomes. I would like to offer them both together as well as a single 10 bedroom VR. I would do the commission model on HA/VRBO.

On the channels and channel bridge, how would it handle having (lets call these) Property A, Property B, and Property "A+B"?

Jan 20, 2019 9:29 AM
Paul W says:

Hi Ross,

That will work - having channel bridge pull across - for combination properties as long as you have the same listings on the channels, and typically most users do that. So if you have properties:

Property A
Property B
Property AB

You would have listings on VRBO and Airbnb for the same thing. Property A might be "The Green Room at Luxury Villa" where Property ABC is "The entire Luxury Villa".

Feb 1, 2019 12:30 PM
Tufan B says:

Do you intend to add Expedia to the channel manager?

Feb 1, 2019 2:35 PM
Chris Hynes says:

You'll be able to distribute to Expedia through our HomeAway integration.

We're planning on direct Expedia integration eventually, but that's a good deal farther out.

May 21, 2019 11:22 AM
Michel O says:


You should extend to Expedia asap. It is going to be a big player here in Europe.

Extension from Homeaway to Expedia is very limited and can not make complex settings. Homeaway is not a real competitor to booking.com. Expedia IS a real competitor and sales VR rooms with its travel packages, so it brings very good customers.

Today I have to put rates manually in Expedia:(

Please, it is very similar to BCOM to implement so please GO ON :)


May 21, 2019 12:17 PM
BlueMtnCabins says:

Michel O said:


Homeaway is not a real competitor to booking.com.

Maybe in Europe. In my US market booking .com brought TWO bookings between TWO properties in about 10 months. That is it. Very unimpressed and will dump them after the last guest's stay is over. If you have a property on Homeaway/VRBO with Instant Book, it is already listed on Expedia. Also not impressed, as Expedia vacation rentals listings look like booking dot com vacation rental listings which is crummy. No real descriptions, etc. USELESS.

May 24, 2019 6:42 PM
JTVRs says:

My neighbor's guest house only uses booking.com and gets a lot of bookings.

VRBO, ABB, BDC, etc seem to be regional. Wise for host to try them all and see which works

Jan 21, 2021 10:43 AM
Lisa PAGBeachHou says:

I am not seeing you listed in Agoda as a channel manager when selecting the drop down list?

Jan 21, 2021 6:44 PM
Paul W says:

Hi Lisa,

We do not support Agoda in our channel manager system.

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