Once upon a time, the various listing channels worked like old-time newspaper classified ads. When a guest wanted to make a booking, they simply sent you their contact information and you could take it from there.
Those days are over. Nowadays, the channels prefer to keep control of the guests and their information so as to be able to charge ongoing fees to both sides. Instead of providing a real email address, they create temporary "proxy" addresses that they filter and control. These look like email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org .
OwnerRez does collect these addresses, and can use them to send emails to guests. Where possible, we try to collect the guest's real email address to use for unfiltered communications.
While we do have and use proxy addresses, and display them in the specific booking for which they were created, we do not store or display them in the CRM area associated with the guests. Here's why:
- Proxy email addresses don't actually represent the guest or CRM record, they represent a booking. This might seem like a pointless distinction, but it matters because the guest or CRM record might have multiple email addresses and might book several times or several properties. You'll end up with bunches of proxy email addresses, none of which really forward to the guest outside the context of the booking.
- Proxy email addresses don't actually work and are completely useless as an email address after the booking is over. The point of CRM is to build, and maintain, a relationship with your customers over time. The proxy email addresses expire and you can't use them to contact the guest after the one booking - again, they follow the booking. So you end up, over time, having a CRM list filled with thousands of pointless valueless proxy email addresses. It makes building your CRM really difficult.
- Proxy email addresses break routinely even when the booking is still active or in the future. We've watched over time as Vrbo, Airbnb (particularly Airbnb) and Booking.com have struggled with proxy forwarding. There are many bounces, many bad forwards and occasionally things that are stripped out. We've seen where proxy servers were done for large amounts of the day and users could not email guests last-minute information about their booking. We encourage users to get a real email address to bypass those problems entirely.
- Since we store the proxy email address on the booking (called "Platform Email") you can still get access to it if you craft your email templates a certain way. And it is accessible by API as well if you're using our API (or a third party) to look at booking data. Look at the "DoubleBlindEmailAddress" member on the booking object in the API to get it.