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.ownerreservations.com/support/articles/vrbo-messaging
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.
That is wonderful news! Thank you for relaying it. Wish I was there.
As someone who gets a fair amount of VRBO guests, I am very happy that it looks like this could be a reality in the not so distant future. Thanks for sharing.
I'm also having this issue. I have the e-mails set up but the guests just don't read them. I have spoken to VRBO and there is a way to automate messages within their messaging system but it seems that OwnerRez integration stops this from being possible.
They have recommended I call the Integrated Property Manager support department to see if I can get them to do fix it. I'm going to call on Tuesday so I'll let you know. I'll also let them know if it isn't sorted soon I'll be snoozing my listing on VRBO as without automation it isn't worth it.
I auto send from OR a generic text to the guest after the email had gone out reminding them to check their email to help alleviate this.
I do the same as Brandon, for a variety of reasons, I prefer to have all communication. be direct via email & when a booking happens, I message guests to check their email with. an explanation.
How do you do the text step?
Vrbo is saying this will be available sometime next year.
I’m still using Hospitable to push messages to VRBO; $12/month. Despite educating guests the reasons why they should check for email messages, they only seem to check the one with the RA and then continue with communication via the VRBO app. I believe they assume it’s more legit since they booked through VRBO. I’m considering adding verbiage to my booking confirmation email to educate them even further - that VRBO passed the booking to us, and we are now the merchant of record (not VRBO); however it may confuse them even more when VRBO starts prompting them to review is as the host after checkout. Nonetheless, for now, I’ll stay with Hospitable (and email).
If that works for you, awesome! I'm a big believer that folks should do whatever works for them.
The one piece of advice that I keep seeing all over the place (and that makes sense to me) is to keep the communication, if possible, inside the platform. In other words, communicate through Airbnb/VRBO messaging system so IF you have to talk to customer support, they can see what happen. Email is great, and I use it as a backup but it is outside the platform, and you get into she said, he said situation.
So on my computer, I keep a browser tab open with VRBO messaging page next to OR page. A bit annoying, I can live with it if I have to, and right now seems that I have to until VRBO folks get their act together and get that API done.
Just my personal opinion, not trying to tell anybody how to run their business.
I'm a big believer that folks should do whatever works for them.
The one piece of advice that I keep seeing all over the place (and that makes sense to me) is to keep the communication, if possible, inside the platform.
I agree. Let people talk to you however they want. Keep it on the platform if possible in case of an issue.
OR needs to consolidate ALL comms within it and then send our messages to the guest in the same way that the guest communicated with us.
Direct message in Airbnb
Direct message in VRBO
Until OR has this functionality it will not be nearly as useful as it could be, especially when it comes to teams.
The way I understand VRBO API Integration is that VRBO is totally out of the payment processing. So, they will not advocate for you. You will need to advocate through your Payment Processor if there is a dispute with a charge. VRBO doesn't have anything to do with disputes.
I ask all AirBnB guests to put a credit card on file with OR for the soft hold security deposit. Then, I talk to them after their stay if there are issues. I have only had problems once where the guests won't pay when I reach out to them and plead my case about damages or extra cleaning needed.. So, I don't ask AirBnb to get into any disputes.
I use email for all communications. If they reach out to me through one of the platforms, I answer in an email. That way if they come back, maybe they will book directly .
The way I understand VRBO API Integration is that VRBO is totally out of the payment processing.
I talked to hosts that don't use OR (or any other channel manager), and they tell me that their VRBO setup allows VRBO to handle payments fully. OR doesn't seem to have that option. Assuming for a second I wasn't lied to or wholly misunderstood, it may be a limitation of OR or the VRBO API such that we can't just have VRBO handle payments, and we need to use a different payment processor.
Either way, there's much more to our guest interaction than payments. Just a simple example that comes to mind: you get penalized by VRBO if you cancel on a guest. If your communication is over email and the guest is been challenging, it is hard to prove that you canceled because the guest is been difficult and he/she doesn't want to cancel as a result you are forced to cancel on them (or they prove to be a scammer, or they refuse the pay the remainder....etc.)
That way if they come back, maybe they will book directly .
Makes perfect sense. If you handle payments, you have the contact info from there and you can use that for direct messaging outside the platform.
And again, all this is my personal opinion that I offer for the sake of argument, not to tell anybody how to handle their business
I can’t imagine why you would not want to handle your own money. That is 3/4 of the advantage of being a PI. Just my opinion.
We are diverting from the original request. But...
I like to have our money in hand when the booking takes place. I can do that with API integration. Otherwise I have to wait until Vrbo pays out, I also take the payments for slightly less than the 3% Vrbo effectively collects. The 0.5% advantage adds up.
Collecting the funds puts US totally in control of the booking. Most importantly, WE make the decisions around cancellation and refunds, not some large company whose main goal is booking fees. They are nowhere near as bad as AirBNB, but they still have goals not directly aligned with ours as owners.
In the event of a chargeback, we can fight it directly. We have the evidence to prove everything went as promised and same person signed the renter agreement as presented payment. If VRBO takes the payment, you are just another piece of paper and cannot really be involved in defending your hard earned dollars.
Lastly, it moves the guest relationship more firmly to us and reinforces that Vrbo is just an advertising platform. We can use the contact info to try and get the guest to book directly with us, or at least with us through an OTA.
I originally had a full integration with VRBO through another platform and they did not take payments on my behalf. Then when we moved over to Owner Rex ( for better service ) they could not integrate me right away as they were "too busy" so we just listed on them independently and they took the payments and paid us when guest was in residence.
Now they have agreed to do the integration thing for us and will not do the payments as its a separate entity within their system they say. I think this is better for us as I get the payments up front and less hassles tracking them, arguing over them or cancelling them.
Can't wait, this is a big feature we're missing currently :(,
it doesn't help that VRBO's push notifications for bookings/messages doesn't work, so we have to constantly monitor our email, to know when we have any VRBO action going on..
Are you already integrating with staging endpoints and they'll be ready for production sometime soon? Or did you mean that OR will begin working on the integration sometime in 2023 after Vrbo exposes messaging endpoints?
We cannot begin development until Vrbo provides documentation about what their interface will be, which AFAIK has not yet occurred. So basically, your second guess is correct, except that we are in the beta program so would likely be able to begin before they're completely finished, which will speed things up.