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API Integrations - Airbnb Common Issues & Questions

Our Channel Management feature is extremely powerful and can greatly simplify your channel advertising. Learn how it works by reading our Channel Management overview article.  The most powerful part of our Channel Management is the API Integrations we have with certain channel partners like Airbnb.

This article provides a list of common questions and answers for the Airbnb API integration that are not covered elsewhere.  This article assumes you have already connected the Airbnb API to OwnerRez.  If not, do that first.

Questions are added to this page if they are miscellaneous in nature and we have not already answered them in other Airbnb support articles.  Please read the Airbnb overview, connecting and rules & settings support articles for Airbnb before coming to this page as those articles cover the normal workflow.

Adding a new listing to Airbnb after the API is connected

Adding a new listing to Airbnb is done entirely from the OwnerRez side.

If you haven't already, first create a new property in OwnerRez.  Then open the Airbnb API dashboard (under Settings > Channels > API Integration > click into Airbnb).  Click the Change Property Mappings button.

Next to the new property, click on the drop-down and select "Create New Listing" and select the sync type to the right.  You probably want the "Everything" option.  Then click Save at the bottom.

When the page saves, OwnerRez will create a new listing on the Airbnb side and it map it back to your OwnerRez property.

For more information about property mappings, read the "Mapping properties" section on the Setup and Connecting support document.  Make sure to fill out the property content, rates and rules in OwnerRez on your new property so that the new listing on Airbnb is fully fleshed out.  As you fill in property content, OwnerRez will push over that data to Airbnb in real time.

Changing content on the Airbnb side

Once you go API, Airbnb disables (ie. "grays out") the fields on their control panel and you can no longer modify most settings on their side.  This is true for all property content, rates, rules and availability.  OwnerRez becomes the master record for all information so the channel turns off the ability for you to edit that directly and only communicates with OwnerRez for changes.  There are a few select settings that still can be changed on the Airbnb side because they are not available to be set in OwnerRez (eg. tax collection).  If you don't know how to set something on the OwnerRez side, please read our rules & settings article or ask us.

How long do availability/rate updates take to show up on Airbnb?

Once your account is live, we will push updates in about 20 minutes after you finish making changes in OwnerRez. Additionally, availability is checked instantly just before booking so there is no risk of a double booking against the information in OwnerRez.

If you have made a change and want to trigger an immediate sync, go to the Airbnb channel in OwnerRez and use Actions > Trigger Full Sync. That will queue the update for the next push which will go through within a minute or two.

Can I take credit cards payments myself like other APIs allow?

No.  Airbnb does not allow this and will still be the merchant of record for all payments even after you go API.  We discuss this in more detail on the overview article and functional comparisons article.

Collecting and remitting taxes

Airbnb will continue to collect and remit taxes for your listings if that's what you had set in Airbnb before going API.  This is the default behavior and it will continue to work after you go API.

However, Airbnb allows you to turn this off and do "pass-through" taxes.  This means that Airbnb will collect the tax from the guest, but then pass that money through to you to remit to the tax authority. This makes it your responsibility to actually remit the collected tax to each appropriate taxing authority.

Airbnb only allows this in some areas, though, so first check on the Airbnb UI to see if it's allowed. You can find this setting on the "Local Taxes and Laws" tab in Airbnb under the listing. If you see the Custom option there, then pass-through taxes are allowed for the listing.

If pass-through taxes are allowed, then come back to OwnerRez and configure them using the instructions below.

⚡ WARNING:

DO NOT enable the custom taxes option directly in Airbnb!  If you do it in Airbnb, the setting will be overwritten next time OwnerRez syncs.

To create a tax in OwnerRez that will go to Airbnb as a custom tax:

  1. Go to Settings > Taxes
  2. If you've already got the tax created, edit it. Otherwise create the new tax.
  3. Populate the Type, Business Tax Id, Registration Number, and Attestation fields. All of these are required for a tax to pass-through to Airbnb.

  1. That's it -- the tax will now be pushed to Airbnb as a custom pass-through tax.
  2. Repeat with any additional taxes you have to collect - each individual separate tax authority needs its own entry.

👉 Stuff to watch out for:

  • If you switch to custom taxes, you must configure all of your taxes. When you go custom, Airbnb won't remit any tax for you (even if they used to remit some of the taxes in your area). With custom taxes, it's up to you to configure all of the taxes due. Airbnb will collect all of the taxes you configure and include them in your payout, and then it's up to you to remit to all of the appropriate taxing authorities.
  • If this was a pre-existing tax, make sure that the Listing Sites criteria is set to All or doesn't exclude Airbnb.  You may have excluded Airbnb in the past if Airbnb was remitting some or all of your taxes.
  • We strongly recommend breaking out each separate taxing authority into an individual Tax in OwnerRez/Airbnb rather than combining your total percent of taxation into one tax. This will allow you to break things down by tax and run reports for different taxing bodies.  Do not attempt to combine them all into one single giant "Tax" entry - it may seem easier, but if you ever get audited by the tax authorities, you'll wish you hadn't.

How do resolution requests work?

The API integration does not support resolution requests.  This is a limitation of the API - Airbnb does not have a way of pushing the content to OwnerRez.  They are working on supporting this and we anticipate adding this in the future.

However, you can still create resolution requests on Airbnb and the same process will continue to work.  The resolution simply will not push into OwnerRez automatically.  You have to manually change the charges and payments on the booking in OwnerRez to reflect what you collected or paid out.

There are no payments showing on new bookings

One thing you will notice is that payments (or payouts) do not show on bookings in OwnerRez.  This is a limitation of the Airbnb API - they do not push payouts to our system.  Airbnb is working on adding this and we anticipate supporting this in the future.  To be clear, the booking charges are created automatically but the booking will show that the guest owes the entire amount since no payments were recorded, and that will not change automatically.

To get around this problem, use our Channel Bridge tool to find and download payments from Airbnb and import them into OwnerRez.  Channel Bridge will continue to work even after you go API.

Changing booking dates

You cannot change the booking dates (ie. arrival, departure) in OwnerRez.  Even after going API, the dates must be changed from the Airbnb side in the same way you did it before going API.

Find the booking in Airbnb and click the option to make changes or alterations.  Click the "Change Reservation" option.

After the alteration page loads, change the dates first and then set the new price (if the price needs to also change).  The price may automatically change after you change the dates, so make sure to change the dates first before fixing the price.

Once you have the new dates and price entered, click Continue and Airbnb will send a request to the guest to confirm on their side.  The guest has to approve it in order for the booking to actually change.  Once the guest approves it, the change will push into OwnerRez automatically.

Is it necessary to run Channel Bridge on bookings?

When you connect the Airbnb API, it will automatically pull over information on all your bookings past, present, and future.  You do not need to run Channel Bridge to pre-populate your old bookings into OwnerRez.

However, you still need to run Channel Bridge occasionally, because payment data is not pushed to OwnerRez by Airbnb via the API (it's just not a supported feature).  The charges are automatically brought into OwnerRez, but payments are not.

If you leave the API bookings in their default state, they will all show that the guest has an open balance because no payments were recorded.  Running Channel Bridge will find the payouts in Airbnb and bring them over into OwnerRez so your accounting reports will be correct.

How do I do discounts and have them available in Airbnb?

To create discounts in OwnerRez, go to Surcharges & Discounts, create one, and use the Discount type, applied automatically. Then use the Booking Fields under criteria to specify where it should apply.

Note that Airbnb does not necessarily interpret the discounts exactly as you design them, because of limitations in their rate engine.  Your discounts as programmed into OwnerRez are mapped to Airbnb in the following ways:

  1. Weekly/monthly discounts will show in the week/month discounts settings on Airbnb if they are exactly 7 or 28 nights and have no date criteria. Otherwise (if they have date criteria or target a different length of time) they will be set as rules on the calendar.
  2. All other discounts - like last minute or early bird discounts - will be applied directly to the nightly rates.
  3. Airbnb only supports percentage-based per-stay discounts. Flat amount discounts must be per night.  It is not possible to do a $100-off-your-stay discount, you'd have to do it as $20-off-each-night.

How do I do weekly/monthly rates and have them available in Airbnb?

Generally, Airbnb doesn't support weekly/monthly type rates. Instead they support length-of-stay discounts.

If you do not have weekly or monthly rates, just use LOS discounts and leave it at that, they'll work in Airbnb and in your direct bookings.

If you already have weekly and/or monthly rates and are configuring the Airbnb API, you have two recommended approaches:

  1. Make the length-of-stay discounts only apply to Airbnb, by setting the Listing Site criteria on the discount to "only Airbnb". That way direct bookings will remain using the weekly/monthly rates you have set in your Seasonal Rates, and Airbnb will use the LOS discount.
  2. Use length-of-stay discounts everywhere, and remove all weekly and monthly rates from your Seasonal Rates.

⚡ WARNING:

Make sure you don't have both weekly/monthly rates and LOS discounts applying to direct bookings!  If you do, both discounts will be applied - they will stack, and your direct-booking guests will get a super double discount.  They'll be happy but you, not so much.

How do I do surcharges that are available in Airbnb?

Airbnb supports special fees that can be configured in OwnerRez and will be calculated per stay. To trigger these fees, you can use one of the following keywords in your OwnerRez surcharge description:

  • Cleaning
  • Resort
  • Community
  • Management
  • Linen

These fees are handled specially by Airbnb, and operate with the following restrictions:

  • They can only be per stay (not per night).
  • Everything but Cleaning and Linen can be either percent or amount. Linen can only be amount.
  • There can only be one matching fee per category -- any category with multiple surcharges will only get a single one, and any surcharge fee without a matching keyword will be ignored.
  • Any per-night surcharge will be added directly to the nightly rate pushed.

On the guest display when a guest is looking for the quote, Airbnb will roll together all of these fees into the rate -- they do not show an itemized breakdown. So the rate as displayed to the guest will show the total of the following from OwnerRez:

  • Nightly rate
  • Channel rate adjuster
  • Per night surcharges
  • Matching per stay surcharges (except Linen), divided by number of nights and added to the nightly rate
  • Linen fee, added to the cleaning fee

Airbnb includes the fees as follows:

Fee name Guest display (where each fee is mapped)
Cleaning fee Cleaning fee
Resort fee Nightly price
Community fee Nightly price
Management fee   Nightly price
Linen fee Cleaning fee

How do I do security deposits through Airbnb?

You can set the security deposit rules in the Airbnb API integrations settings:

If you already have security deposit settings in your Property Rules, select the "Use OwnerRez Property Amount" checkbox.  The amounts you have set for each property will be transmitted to Airbnb

If you do not have security deposits set for your properties, you can still have them unique to Airbnb.  Select the "Specific Amount" checkbox, and enter a dollar amount in the field.  This amount will be applied to all properties; if you use this method, you cannot set a different amount for each property.

Using this feature, Airbnb will ensure the security deposits are obtained.  Note that they are held by Airbnb, not OwnerRez, and any charges against them must also be performed by and through Airbnb using their processes, not OwnerRez.

Security deposits set in this way will appear in your Airbnb listing:

Note that Airbnb security deposit holds, and charges against them, will be handled by Airbnb in accordance with Airbnb policy. They are not the same as OwnerRez security deposit holds that you control directly.  They're still better than nothing though.

Can I have same-day bookings, but not too last-minute?

Unlike most channels, Airbnb supports same-day bookings.  You don't have to accept them - you can prohibit them by setting your Property Rules to require 1 day minimum in advance.

But if you do want really last-minute bookings, Airbnb lets you set a time cutoff so you at least have a little warning - say, noon.  You set this time in the Airbnb API configuration settings:

Don't forget that this setting can also be overridden on a per-property level, under Properties > pick a property > Channel Rules:


"Use Channel Setting" means what it sounds like - whatever is set in the main Edit Airbnb Channel screen will be used.  But it can be overridden to a specific different time for an individual property.

I have two separate Airbnb accounts, can I connect to both of them?

Yes, our API connection supports multiple Airbnb accounts!  Simply create two separate Airbnb API connections, one for each account, one at a time, each in turn, using "Connect a Channel" under Settings > API IntegrationsImportant: you will need to browse to Airbnb in a separate browser tab and log out before you can connect up an additional new Airbnb API connection under a different account.

Both (or more) of these Airbnb API connections will display all your properties.  But some properties will display a message that they are associated with a different account, as appropriate.  They won't overlap or get mixed up.

How do I get my pet fees into Airbnb?

Short answer: You can't!  Airbnb doesn't do pet fees - the concept simply doesn't exist.  If you select "I have pets" as an Airbnb guest, no fee will apply.  Any pet fee settings you have in OwnerRez will be ignored by Airbnb.

If as an owner, you want to accept pets but to charge a fee for them, the only way to approximate this is to type into your house rules that pet fees are charged.

After the guest has a confirmed booking, you must then manually request payment for the pet against the booking using Airbnb's tools for requesting payment for additional services.

The OwnerRez setting of "no pets" or "pets allowed" is transmitted to Airbnb via the API.  Note that the setting is in two places -- the Suitability Pets option on the Amenities tab of the property, and the Pets Max of 0 (or otherwise) on the Rules of the property. Both of these are needed in order to make pets allowed, and when they are, that status will automatically update to Airbnb.

Can I display a message to guests before they book on AIrbnb?

Yes!  It's called an "IB Message".  You can set it in your Airbnb API connection settings.  

Note that only plaintext is allowed (no HTML) and only 300 characters.  This message will only be displayed if you have activated Instant Bookings on Airbnb.

I want to use Super Strict cancellation and I'm getting an error.

Like this?

Airbnb only allows you to use their Super Strict cancellation policy if you have identified and verified your business account with them (BAVI), so they know you're real and aren't a scammer.  This must be done by Airbnb.

You can usually do this through your Airbnb dashboard, or by calling Airbnb support, but, they intended this option to be available for "professional hosts" only, and they tend to define this as having at least 6 property listings.  It never hurts to ask them to turn it on for you anyway, but don't be surprised if they don't if you have fewer properties.

If they won't... sorry, you can't use Super Strict.  :-(  You'll have to settle for one of the other cancellation options.

I am a cohost on an Airbnb account, can I connect to it using the API?

No and yes.

It is not possible to connect to an Airbnb account using cohost login credentials.

However, if you are a cohost, presumably you are on good terms with the actual owner of the Airbnb account.  If they'll share their actual main credentials with you, you can use them to set up the API connection in OwnerRez using the main account, and it'll work thereafter.

When I try to connect, there is an error saying that I can only have one property management software connected to Airbnb.

This happens when you were previously using a different property management software, such as LiveRez.  It is not possible to be connected to more than one such PMS at a time - so if you are now going to be using OwnerRez, make sure you've cancelled your service with the old one so you aren't paying for both!

Having done that, here's how to disconnect the old one so you can connect Airbnb to OwnerRez.

  1. Go to Airbnb, in the account section
  2. Click on the "Privacy & sharing" section.

  3. Is there a connected app for LiveRez there? Or anything else? If so, hit the "Remove access" link and remove the app.

  4. You should now be able to connect the Airbnb API in OwnerRez without errors.

I want to use the API, but I don't want to do Book Now / Instant Booking.

Short answer: Tough cookies, you can't.

But...

Yes, Book Now is a requirement of using the Airbnb API connection.  However, Airbnb offers you several choices as to exactly who is allowed to Book Now in the OwnerRez API - Settings > API Integrations > Airbnb entry > Change button > look for the Instant Booking selection:

Carefully read that third option.  How many unsuitable parties will still qualify if they

  • Have verified government ID
  • Have travelled on Airbnb before
  • Have been recommended by other hosts
  • Have no negative reviews
    ?

Probably not many.  So even for highly selective owners, it is almost always possible and safe to use the Airbnb API.  Just use the most restrictive setting as described above - everybody else will still have to Request To Book.  :-)

To select this option, go to Settings > API Integrations > select your Airbnb API channel > Change button > look for the Instant Booking dropdown selector, and select the desired option > Save.

I have an age limit field set in my Property Rules, but Airbnb isn't displaying it.

That's right - they don't.  Airbnb doesn't support an age limit field like OwnerRez, HomeAway, and some others.

The only way to do this is to add a sentence to your House Rules about the age limit. Go to Settings > API Integrations, click on the Airbnb channel, and change the settings.

Airbnb won't automatically enforce this policy, but it will be displayed to your guests, and if you have problems or need to cancel a booking because it does not comply, Airbnb will honor it then.

If you have different age requirements for different properties (or other differing rules), you can set them separately for each property.  Go to Properties > pick a property > Channel Rules, in the left side menu.  Select "Override Global Rules".  Then enter the rules you want for that specific property.

Can I make a "special offer" for a prospective guest?

Yes!  You can issue "special offers" for an Airbnb guest from the Airbnb control panel.

This will also result in a Quote for the offer in OwnerRez.  If you modify this quote in OwnerRez, the changes will be pushed back into Airbnb via the API, until the guest accepts the Quote and a Booking is created.