OwnerRez is a big system with many options and configurations that let you do things exactly the way you want them.
The best way to get set up initially is to do the minimum configuration possible to be able to send a quote to a guest, and then walk through that process. That will help you figure out exactly which settings you want as you go through checkout, and you can then enhance your setup from there.
We give you good defaults so the system will work out of the box, and you can then customize it from there with templates, rules. branding, logos etc.
The recommended steps for setup are:
- Get a payment method set up so people can pay you. If you've got a credit card processor we support, you can add it right in. If not, we support over 20 different gateways, so you've got some choices there. You can add a check method too if you want to accept them -- that's a good way to do testing, and you can always deactivate it later. Here are our recommendations for payment processors, though you can use any processor we support.
- If your properties are already listed on Airbnb or HomeAway/VRBO, import that information into OwnerRez.
- Review the Rules section for each property, make sure everything is as you want it. Important things include payment amounts and days in advance, max adults, etc.
- Set up rates and seasons. If you already have rates in Airbnb or HomeAway/VRBO, you can import them as described towards the bottom of this page. Otherwise, the easiest may be to use the setup tool for them.
- Set up taxes, surcharges and discounts in Settings (under the Rates section)
- Review damage protection insurance and see if you want to use that.
- Go to the Quotes section and create a test quote. Once you've got the above done, everything should be ready to start charging guests. See if it looks right, rates look right, etc.
- Set up calendar imports and exports for any listing sites you've got.
- Use Channel Bridge to import full guest and booking data from Airbnb and HomeAway/VRBO, if you have bookings there. You can set the Channel Bridge intake date to something in the far past (like, 2000) to make sure you get all your historical data.
- Use Channel Bridge to import reviews from Airbnb and HomeAway/VRBO into OwnerRez, if you have any. That way they'll be stored in the OwnerRez database and can be displayed on your own website.
- If you don't have a website yet, set up an OwnerRez hosted website so people can see availability and book or send inquiries. If you've got listings on VRBO or Airbnb, you can pre-populate the site by using the Listing Import buttons at the top of the Properties area.
If you already have a website, create widgets and embed them in your site for availability, booking, etc.
- Configure your website as a Custom Source, so OwnerRez can properly detect and identify bookings that come in that way.
- We recommend using our direct API connection to Airbnb, as that is able to automatically update your Airbnb listing, and also to bring in guest and booking information into OwnerRez.
- If you are using Airbnb, here's how to get your guests' real email addresses, which Airbnb won't give to you.
- If you have an email address at a domain name that you own, contact the Helpdesk for instructions about our Verified Email system, which lets OwnerRez send emails to your guests using your own address as the return address.
That should get you going end to end.
Existing Bookings and Calendar Syncing
If you advertise your property on the many regional and national listing sites, it's important to make sure your bookings all synchronize to the various calendars! Otherwise, it's possible you might get a double-booking.
When importing calendars from listing sites, that will update the OwnerRez calendar with dates for future bookings. Most listing sites will include some previous bookings as well.
You also need to export your calendar to these sites, to make sure they block off any dates you book directly using your own quotes or widgets on your website.
Calendar syncing can run into problems. It's important to keep a close eye on things for awhile after you've finished setup, just to make sure it's all working correctly.
Historical Data Import
If you have your own records of existing bookings, you can import this data directly into OwnerRez using the Tools menu. Using these tools, you can make sure your historical data is included in OwnerRez so your reports will make sense.
- Import bookings from Excel
- Import payments from Excel
- Import refunds from Excel
- Import inquiries from Excel
- Import reviews from Excel
If your bookings are all on HomeAway/VRBO or Airbnb, no need to mess with Excel - you can get and import that data directly using Channel Bridge.
There are some fine tuning things to build on the process:
- Review the default email templates -- everything there with "no template" is using the default, which you can view and customize by clicking "Create Template".
- Create triggered emails to automate your process. Maybe you want a special welcome email to be sent two days before arrival, for example. If you are using Airbnb, use this method to get real email addresses from your Airbnb guests.
- Customize your renter agreement in Settings > Legal Agreements. We provide a default, but you probably want to adapt that to your local jurisdiction, or replace it entirely if you've already got an agreement you like. You can create a new one based on the default by creating a new one and picking Prefill From > Default System Agreement.
- Set up headers and footers in the Theming section. This provides an easy way to include your logo, phone number, etc on all the emails that are sent out to your guests.
- If you have compatible smart locks (eRentalLock, ResortLock, RemoteLock), you can hook up with those accounts to auto-generate codes.
If you're interested in our premium features like Hosted Websites, PM, QuickBooks Sync, etc., here are the guides for them:
- Hosted Websites
- Property Management Overview
- Channel Management
- PM Portal Access
- QuickBooks Integration Overview
Got questions? Shoot us an email at email@example.com.