My biggest hesitation with OwnerRez is communicating with guests.
Airbnb makes it really easy. Most people have the app installed with notifications for everything. SMS and E-Mails further alert you. I have some helpers (co-host and cleaner) who get all the messages (without financials) and can jump in for an emergency or if I'm unavailable or on vacation. It doesn't seem OwnerRez solves this problem so I'll continue communicating with my Airbnb reservations through Airbnb.
When someone books directly through my website, how can I smoothly communicate with them while providing access to others? Do I assume they'll reply to the automated e-mails? Should I push them to communicate through other channels for support?
Guests want QUICK responses to their questions and constantly refreshing OwnerRez and checking the CRM tab at the top seems like a terrible way to respond to guests as quick as possible. What works for you?
How can I give messaging access to co-hosts and cleaners, allowing us to stay on the same page without giving them full account access?
Yes, my experience is that people who book through non-Airbnb channels do receive and view the emails that OR sends to them.
I don't know what you mean about constantly refreshing the OR CRM tab. When a guest sends a message, it goes to your email, not the OR CRM tab. (The only thing that shows up in the OR CRM tab right now is Airbnb messages, if you have Airbnb connected via API, but you can also receive those via push notification in the Airbnb app, too--I mostly use the Airbnb app for that because of the lack of a mobile app with push notifications on the OR side.) So as long as you have your email set to push alerts to your phone, you're good there.
I do find that people who send emails (direct bookings and Vrbo bookings) tend to be less expectant of an immediate response than Airbnb guests. So if you can respond to emails within an hour or so, that's generally good enough to present yourself as a responsive host.
The last question is sort of moot at this point because at this point, only Airbnb messages get routed through OR's messaging center, so as long as your co-host has access to your Airbnb messages through Airbnb, there's no need for them to view messages in OR.
Thanks for the follow-up, Chris!
FYI - we hope to have Vrbo messaging integrated in OR in the next couple quarters. It's right around the corner according to our Vrbo contacts. (Ask them that on the webinar tomorrow!) 😆
Thanks for your detailed reply, Chris L.
Long story short: I should communicate with guests via E-mail for Direct Bookings.
I guess guests will just have to deal with responses being slower. Sometimes it takes awhile for my business e-mail to route to my Gmail. Maybe that's the problem I need to solve. Or maybe giving myself a longer leash with guests is a welcome change.
Alternatively, what about adding a "chat" feature to the direct booking website with push notifications to mobile? Could also be used to help increase booking inquiries (ex: Olark): https://www.olark.com/
Still wondering: how do you give access to your co-hosts and cleaners so they can communicate with guests as guests as necessary? I could make a "team" email account and help them set it up to route emails to multiple people, but then they'd get EVERYTHING including payment confirmations etc...
The "team" email account is actually the best approach at the moment. They won't necessarily get payment notifications though - you can use a different email address for your main login (that gets the system alerts and messages) vs the one used as a return address for emails sent to your guests (that they'd likely reply to).
Wait, you can?? This has been a long-standing thing I’ve been meaning to put a feature request in for. Where is that setting??
Two way to do this...
You can also create a secondary Theme (or 3 or 4 if you want) that has a different Email Address field and then assign that as the theme for all properties. The Theme itself will be used the From address by default for whatever properties are assigned to that theme.
You can also do this via email templates. You can set the From Address to anything you want and, if it's a Verified Email Domain, the system will use it as the actual FROM header on the message. To do this for all geust messages, you would need to change every system message to use an email template and put in your custom From Address.
Ack. I might still put in the feature request, then. :P
Have there been any additional updates around VRBO messaging app integration? I'd say we're at the end of the next couple quarter timeframe now.