Has anyone migrated their normal HA/VRBO account to PM status in order to have an API connection and process their own payments? I've been invited to do this by HA/VRBO but I would like to have more info before I do.
The recent HA/VRBO changes make me think this might be a good idea, but I've already been converted to the new payment system and returned to "on time" (early) payments with them (which I had for years with Yap) so I'm not as desperate as I might have been were I on delayed payments.
I have 7 listings, process direct payments through Stripe and list on VRBO/HA/Air/Direct/Houfy.
Maybe this is a question for Paul or Chris?
Maybe there are help articles I should be reading first but a lot of what i came up with was dated when I searched.
A couple points to consider as you make this decision:
- We've heard from some users that, when they converted to the new payment system and returned to "on time" (early) payments, their fees increased. So if you have your own card processor and use them instead, your net card fees may go down, saving you money. This is less true for Stripe, but processors like Lynnbrook are often considerably less expensive. We recommend doing some research and the math.
- If you use your own card processor, you'll also have to both collect and remit all applicable taxes. In many cases, HA/VRBO does this for you if you are using their payment system.
Thank you for the feedback and suggesting those points to think about.
I've already been migrated to HomeAway's new in-house processor (Hyperwallet) rather than Yapstone, and I'm seeing a standard, flat 3% fee. I did not accept Yaps offer to get early payments with a 6% fee on their payment platform.
I will look at Lynnbrook for direct bookings to see what rate I can get there.
I already collect and remit all taxes so this won't be a change for me.
Is there a help article I could read to see more about how this would work on the integration/API side? Right now I use channel bridge and ical sync. My understanding is that if I go to PM status at HA, I will be able to use an API connection to integrate listings and process my own payments directly. Still looking for more details on that migration process.
The article is in draft right now, but here's the basic info on the API vs platform modes and what changes...
Right now you're on what's called the HomeAway/VRBO "platform" mode, where HomeAway payments is the merchant of record and collects the payments on your behalf. HomeAway also offers API integrated/Integrated Property Manager (IPM) mode for accounts with at least 5 properties. With API integrated mode, you're the merchant of record and all payments will be processed through the credit card processor you have connected to OwnerRez. It's a little less publicized because of that 5 property restriction, and you have to go through the IPM team to get your account set up that way. If you don't have a credit card processor yet (or are on PayPal which doesn't support processing cards directly), we recommend Lynnbrook Group.
You also get a bunch of automation with the API mode as well as being the payment processor/merchant of record. Once the API connection is in place and running live, OwnerRez will drive all updates to your HomeAway account. Any changes made in OwnerRez - for property content photos, amenities, rates, rules - will always overwrite whatever is in HomeAway. And when you login to HomeAway, their system won't let you make updates there. They will direct you to use OwnerRez instead. Bookings from HomeAway/VRBO websites will automatically be pushed to OwnerRez for processing.
If you don't have property content (photos, amenities) in OwnerRez yet, you would need to do that first. You can use our Import From HomeAway or Import from Airbnb pages to suck in a bunch of content from your live listings. Look for those tools on Tools > Import/Export page. Or use the links on the Properties menu.
We also have a Tools > Listing Quality Analyzer that will show you all the problems/holes with your listings and the recommended course of action.
Don't be worried about overriding blank or empty content - that won't happen. During the process of connecting the API, a HomeAway integration specialist will be assigned to you, and you will not be able to move forward until they verify everything.
FYI, There are two limitations that we're aware of on the API vs. platform: bookings must all be instant book via credit card (no invoice or 24 hour review), and because it's instant book there's no way to customize a quote. Instead you would alter the booking charges and payments after it comes in if you need to adjust amounts. With the API integration you have full control over charges and payments for HomeAway bookings just like you do on direct bookings in OwnerRez.
HomeAway is able to take your existing listings and convert them to API mode while retaining the listing numbers, reviews, etc. The ranking will be the same for API integrated as the platform side.
Excellent overview. I'm in the queue for IPM team at HA/VRBO, but as you probably know, they've had a rough week so I'm not sure when I'll hear from them.
I do have 2 lingering questions.
1. Are there any cost/fee differences I need to be aware of on the OR side?
2. Once the HA/VRBO IPM team has set up the integration on their end, what is my next step with OR? Will I need to contact someone at OR to complete the integration or does that happen on the back end, direct between HA/VRBO IPM and OR and nothing needed by me?
Yep, big week for them, heh.
1) No, no cost differences on the OR side -- the API integration is part of the channel management package. And there's no differences on the HA side either -- you'll pay the same subscription or PPB fee.
2) You can actually add the channel now (and you need to before starting the integration process with them). This is in Settings > Channel Connections -- click "Connect a Channel" and then under the API Integrated section connect new HomeAway type channel.
The IPM team at HomeAway will work through the process with you, reviewing your listing and doing any merging of listings etc that needs to be done and they'll get you live. We will be available if there are any questions, but most of the work is on the HomeAway side.
How long have you been waiting since the PO order went in for the rep to call you. He indicated to me that once the PO went into the queue he had 2 days to complete it. I am just trying to time this with my busy schedule.
Once you get everything signed, the integration tends to go pretty quickly.
I signed my PO on August 28 and just went live today.