We all want bookings - but how does a guest get there? First, let's define some terms:
An Inquiry is when a potential guest reaches out to you about maybe renting your property. Usually, they'll say which property they're interested in, and what dates. OwnerRez can receive inquiries from many sources, including listing sites, your own website, or email.
A Quote is when you reply to an Inquiry, with a price that the guest can choose to accept (or not). OwnerRez will attempt to take the information provided in the Inquiry and help you create a quote. Depending on the form the Inquiry arrives in, OwnerRez may be able to do this automatically and send back a quote without waiting for your review. A Quote can block time on the calendar - it is not possible for there to be multiple open quotes for the same property and time period if you choose "Hold these dates so that other guests cannot book these dates while this quote is active" when creating a quote.
Before you read the rest of this article, take a few minutes to watch the following videos about quotes. This first overview video is a special high-level video that walks you through where quotes are and their various settings, and the second shows you what happens when a guest gets the quote, accepts and converts it to a booking.
- Video - Quotes Overview
- Video - Creating, Sending and Converting Quotes to Booking
- Video - Status Changes
A Booking is when the guest has accepted your quote. Normally this includes a payment. From this point on, the dates and the property are fixed, and OwnerRez blocks them off in the property calendar(s).
The process described above is how vacation rental used to work. With modern Internet systems, though, guests often expect to be able to instantly book online, just like they can instantly buy plane tickets. Some listing sites like Booking.com don't even support the inquiry/quote back-and-forth - it's all instant booking. Bookings made this way don't have a quote, and there never was an inquiry - but the end result, a Booking, is the same.
OwnerRez also supports instant bookings through our Widgets. You can place a Widget on your own website that lets a guest instantly book.
Today, most guests use instant booking, so inquiries/quotes are becoming more rare. You still get them from your own website and from regional listing sites, from guests that want to ask questions before they book.
Listing Sites and Masked Inquiries
Years ago, the major listing sites worked mostly like old-time newspaper ads - they simply told guests about your property and gave them a way to get in touch with you by sending you an inquiry. That allowed you to respond with a Quote, and hopefully get a Booking.
Today, many of the sites, such as Airbnb, do the opposite: they intentionally block you and the guest from being able to communicate directly. Any discussion must go through their system using masked, random email addresses. Only once the booking is made are you given the real identity and contact information of the guest.
While OwnerRez does support inquiry management using the masked-inquiry system, it's often easier to use the app for that listing site directly until the booking is made. Once there's a real Booking, OwnerRez has Channel Management tools to connect with the listing sites and import the guest's information. From then on, OwnerRez can handle all communication with the guest using our extensive system of email templates and automatic triggers.