A little over a year before VRBO was purchased by Expedia I had ventured into the vacation rental market with just one property. At that time 95% of my bookings came via VRBO, with the remaining 5% coming from Airbnb. The first year was very good. When ownership of VRBO transferred, my business dropped by nearly 70% and customer support became essentially non-existent. In my frustration with being subject to the whim of large corporations, I was determined to create a simple way for guests to book directly with me. I knew this would mean I needed a way to manage my calendar, present rates and allow online booking. For nearly a week I researched various vacation rental management platforms before deciding OwnerRez was the best fit. OwnerRez was fantastic, they gave me all kinds of tips on how to build my website, how to set-up a merchant account and how to configure OwnerRez to accurately reflect my intentions. Since onboarding with them I have watched them continually improve their platform, adding more capabilities, simplifying processes and generally adapting to the evolving vacation rental marketplace. Through it all, their interface has remained about the same and their amazing customer support hasn't changed a bit. Thanks to OwnerRez, my vacation rental is no longer dependent on large booking sites, though I do still take bookings via Airbnb and VRBO. More than 50% of my business comes directly through my website. I cannot recommend OwnerRez highly enough!
OwnerRez software is incredibly easy it is to integrate with a website. Thanks to this software, my guests can check availability, get quotes, book, and check reviews collected from several sights and right on my website. I've never had an issue with my website not performing correctly or with incorrect information being presented to my guests. For those who are curious about what the guest interface looks like on a self-built website take a look at TheRedwoodRetreat.com. All dynamic information on this website is provided through and controlled by my OwnerRez account. I have only the most basic layman's knowledge of web design, software interface and computer technology in general, yet I was able to build my own website through which guests can book directly with me. Beyond supporting website integration, OwnerRez has flexibility in almost all aspects of control, from rates and length of stay to seasonality and custom integrations with commercial booking sites such as Airbnb and VRBO. Their custom e-mail templates offer endless possibilities for creating great guest interactions, notifying third parties. I even use them to send myself reminders to give guests special offers when there are short gaps in my calendar. OwnerRez is constantly making improvements to adapt to the ever-changing vacation rental marketplace. Their help articles and customer support are insightful and provide step-by-step processes for some of the more complicated aspects of set-up.
There are still more features on OwnerRez than I actually use. This is not a 'con', but it is critically important to take the time to understand how you are supposed to do what you are trying to do when using OwnerRez. The vast flexibility of the program means there is plenty of room for user error. In most cases a warning will present if you create a clear conflict. But if you make an error in your rates and don't catch it, you may be giving a lucky guest a great deal without knowing it. OwnerRez has done a great job of providing well written, easy to follow help articles. My technique for making sure I don't create problems for myself is to search the help archive for articles regarding what-ever it is I want to do and read them carefully before diving into my project. There is one area I'd like to see improved: Currently the financial reports provide great information and flexibility. However, they have no way to capture the credit card processing fee's I pay through my merchant account. Providing an integration with merchant accounts which allows credit card processing fees to be captured would bring this area of reporting up to the outstanding standard OwnerRez has already set.