Experience the difference of "Elite".

Getting Started

Core Concepts

Overview

Bookings

Bookings & Quotes

Damage Protection

Data Management

Email Template Library

Guests

Hosted Websites

Integrations

Listing Site Integration

Messaging

My Account

Payment Processing

Privacy & Security

Properties

Property Management

Property Sharing

Quotes

Rates

Renter Agreements

Reporting

Reviews

Rules

Security Deposits

Suppressed Email Addresses

Taxes

Technical Stuff

Travel Insurance

Verified Email Domains

Widgets

WordPress Plugin

Channel Management

Integrations

OwnerRez API

Payment Processing

Testing

Change Log

2022

2021

2020

2019

Setting Up Your Account - Setup Checklist

OwnerRez has numerous options and configurations that allow you to automate much of your short-term rental business. Before you can do that, there are steps you need to take to not only set up your properties but also all of your settings and business rules.

Complete the following steps before initiating any listing channel API connections (e.g., Airbnb, Vrbo). The quickest and most thorough way to set up your account is to follow the steps below systematically. The steps are designed to get your account up and running as quickly as possible without affecting how you are currently conducting your business.

OwnerRez has default settings in certain areas, so those parts of the system will work out of the box. Some areas require customization to meet your needs - including messaging templates, rules, branding, logos, etc.

Here's a quick video overview of setting up for direct bookings. Connecting to major listing channels is a bit more involved.

Here is the summary checklist as a Printable PDF that you can print out and mark off the steps as you progress through your account setup.

Stepping Stones

Below is a step-by-step guide. Each step is essential in the overall setup of your OwnerRez account. Hyperlinks throughout this guide will take you to additional support documentation with more detailed information.

Payment Processing - Before continuing your account setup, we recommend you research and determine which Payment Processor would be best for you to use and initiate the process of getting an account with them. If you plan to connect to the Vrbo API, they require all Integrated Property Managers (IPM) to be the "Merchant of Record." You will then process payments and remit the taxes for all bookings made through the Vrbo API. Payment Processing is also required for you to take direct bookings through your website.

NOTE: Some Credit Card Processors can take a few weeks to get fully approved and set up, so this is why we call this out this early in the process. You can continue with some of the below setup steps while awaiting approval from your chosen processor.

  1. Listing Content
  2. Property-Level Rules
  3. Seasons/Holidays and Rates
  4. Additional Pricing Settings
  5. Travel Insurance
  6. Damage Protection Insurance
  7. iCal Import/Export
  8. Airbnb Proxy Email
  9. Channel Bridge
  10. Import Reviews
  11. Direct Bookings
  12. Testing
  13. Custom Sources
  14. Payment Processing
  15. Connect APIs
  16. Verified Email Domains

1) Listing Content

Enter your Property Listing Information into OwnerRez

  • If your properties are listed on Airbnb or Vrbo already, we have written a tool that will import that information into OwnerRez. Review each of the following tabs and confirm all information is updated for each of your properties:
  • Accommodations
  • Amenities
  • Descriptions
  • Guest Instructions
  • Health & Safety
  • Location
  • Photos
  • Rooms

NOTE: If you have more than ten properties, you can send a ticket to help@ownerreservations.com, and we can run the Listing Content Import for you on the back-end to save time!

  • If you are not using Airbnb or Vrbo currently, follow this document to enter your Properties from scratch.

2) Property-Level Rules

Review the Rules section for each property and make sure everything is correct for each property. We enter default values in some fields, so be sure to change them if your settings are different.

NOTE: If you have more than a few properties, it may be easier to download an export of your properties. You can then bulk edit the rules for all the properties in that spreadsheet and import the edits. You can also add additional properties at this time.

3) Seasons/Holidays and Rates

If you performed a Listing Content Import from either Airbnb or Vrbo, you might have imported Spot Rates from the channels. You will now want to set up your rates for future bookings.

NOTE: If you are going to integrate with a dynamic pricing tool from the beginning, you do not need to set up any Seasons/Holidays or Rates.

4) Additional Pricing Settings

  • Surcharges - add any additional items you may charge for, such as Cleaning Fees, Pet Fees, Extra Guests, etc.
  • Discounts - you can set up automatic Length of Stay Discounts, Discount Codes for marketing to repeat guests, or manual discounts that can be applied to quotes or bookings.
  • Taxes - you will need to set up each tax that you are required to charge a guest, regardless of whether or not the channel may be collecting and remitting on your behalf. Contact your local taxing authority or state/province Department of Revenue to find out the exact % required to collect. These are necessary for collection on direct bookings and Vrbo API bookings. You will also need to complete the Registration section for each tax.

5) Travel Insurance

You can offer your guest the option to purchase Travel Insurance at no cost to you!

6) Damage Protection Insurance

Review our integrated damage protection insurance offering. If you want to use this product, it can be enabled in your account here.

Run OwnerRez's proprietary Listing Quality Analyzer!

Listing Quality Analyzer (LQA) can be run at any time during the setup process to check all the settings entered thus far. The LQA will produce a list of errors and warnings that you should address to improve the quality of your listings. The errors in red are items that can potentially cause issues with connecting an API and need to be resolved. Warnings in yellow are items you should consider addressing to improve the overall quality of your listing(s) but shouldn't cause an issue with API connections.

7) iCal Import/Export

Set up calendar imports and exports for any listing sites you already use.

  • During your OwnerRez free trial, you may want only to import calendars into OwnerRez. Doing so will allow you to see bookings in OwnerRez without directly affecting how you currently operate. If you add the OwnerRez export calendar to the channels, this will be the first time OwnerRez will send data to the channels. Once import and export iCals are in place, a two-way sync is in place, so you do not experience double bookings. When using the OwnerRez export iCal, you should remove any other iCals in the channels. This way, all data flows from the channels into OwnerRez and back to the different channels.
  • If you are moving over from another PMS and have an API connection with Vrbo, you can skip this step since Vrbo disables iCals when an API connection is made.

8) Airbnb Proxy Email

When listing on Airbnb, it's crucial that you Opt-In to use the Proxy Email address they assign. Here's a direct link to the setting in Airbnb.

  • Be sure to turn this on before running Channel Bridge below so that we can import the proxy emails.

9) Channel Bridge

Channel Bridge is a tool that "bridges" the gap between the data you can bring in with an iCal vs. the complete data that comes in over the API. This tool can import guest and booking data from Airbnb and Vrbo. You can set the Channel Bridge intake date to something in the past (like 2010) to ensure you get all your historical data. Click here to install Channel Bridge and learn how to run Channel Bridge.

  • The Channels determine how much data they will provide during this process. If you have a lot of bookings to bring over, the process may timeout. If this happens, shorten the dates and run multiple times to retrieve all the data.

10) Import Reviews

You can also use the Channel Bridge tool to import reviews from Airbnb and Vrbo into OwnerRez. These reviews can then be displayed on your Hosted Website or through Widgets on your website.

11) Direct Bookings

OwnerRez provides three options to help facilitate direct bookings.

  • Hosted Website: An OwnerRez hosted website (available as a premium feature) is dynamically generated from the Listing Content data you previously imported. If you change a photo or description in OwnerRez, the website is also automatically updated. If you add a new listing in OwnerRez, your website will automatically add a new property page.

NOTE: Listing Content such as amenities, descriptions, photos, etc., will not be synced from OwnerRez, so these items need to be hardcoded into your website, meaning additional web development whenever you add a property.

  • WordPress Plugin: If you built your website on the WordPress Platform, you can use the widgets in combination with the WordPress Plugin. The plugin will dynamically add the items that aren't brought over with the Widgets so that if you change a listing in OwnerRez, it will update your Descriptions, Photos, and Amenities on your WordPress site. (NOTE: Access to the WordPress Plugin is part of the Websites premium feature. So if you need WordPress but not a Hosted Website, turn on Websites).

12) Testing

Go to the Quotes section and create a test quote. Once you've completed all of the above steps, everything should be ready to start charging guests. See if it looks right, rates look right, etc.

13) Custom Sources

Configure your website as a Custom Source so OwnerRez can detect and identify bookings that come in that way.

14) Payment Processing

Before initiating the API connection with Vrbo described below, you will want to add the credentials you received from your new Payment Processor to your account here.

Listing Quality Analyzer Check #2

Now, rerun Listing Quality Analyzer. Ensure the LQA returns no red Errors before connecting APIs.

15) Connect APIs

API stands for Application Programming Interface. Up to this point, you have been syncing calendar availability with the channels via an iCal file. The API not only brings over more complete data regarding bookings but also pushes all of the updates you make in OwnerRez out to the Channels.

IMPORTANT!! Do not complete this step before completing all of the steps above. When you connect the API, you will be overwriting your Channel Listing with all the data you have entered in OwnerRez up to this point. If you skip steps and do this too soon, you risk creating an incomplete listing on the Channels.

Airbnb

NOTE: OwnerRez sets this Template and Trigger up by default in the system; this is how important we feel this is.

Vrbo

The Vrbo connection is not 100% self-service like the Airbnb connection. Instead, when you follow these steps, you request that an Integration Job be created within Vrbo that one of their reps will have to work on manually.

NOTE #1: Vrbo has been experiencing high demand for these jobs. What used to take ~72 hours now can take up to 3 months, depending on certain factors. However, no need to worry; if you followed the above steps, you are iCal connected and can use Channel Bridge to bring in the necessary data. You can still use all the features of OwnerRez while awaiting the API connection. You will need to make updates manually in Vrbo until the connection is live.

NOTE #2: If you are a brand new Vrbo customer and do not have an existing account, DO NOT create a Vrbo account on their site. When you follow the below steps, OwnerRez can create an account for you and push the listing data to Vrbo to create your listing. This will significantly reduce your wait time!

16) Verified Email Domains

With the number of outbound emails sent from OwnerRez to your guests, your email could be flagged as spam. Please read about our Verified Email program, which lets OwnerRez send emails on your behalf to guests using your actual email as the "From" address and helps prevent spam filtering. You can benefit from having a custom domain email address (e.g., hello@acmecabins.com), even if you do not plan on having a direct booking website.

Now that you've completed the above steps, there's always more we can do to help you maximize your use of OwnerRez! So, read on!

What next?:


Existing Bookings and Calendar Syncing

If you advertise your property on the many regional and national listing sites, your bookings must synchronize to the various calendars! Otherwise, 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.

You also need to export your calendar to these sites to make sure they block off any dates that are booked other ways.

Calendar syncing can run into problems occasionally. It's important to monitor the listing sites' calendars a while after you've finished the setup to ensure all applicable dates have been blocked properly.

Historical Data Import

If your bookings are all on Vrbo or Airbnb, you can import that data directly using Channel Bridge (installed during the above checklist). This video is an excellent overview of bringing in your bookings from the major OTAs using Channel Bridge.

However, if you have your records of existing bookings, you can import this data directly into OwnerRez using the Tools menu. Using these tools, you can ensure your historical data is in OwnerRez, so your reports are complete as possible. This support article provides more details on how to import using our Excel Import Templates located on the below pages.

Fine-Tuning

There are some fine-tuning things to build on the process:

  • Messaging Templates (Email, Airbnb, SMS): To start, create email templates to send standard information to your guests. You can write an email by clicking "Create Template." See suggestions for standard emails in our Email Templates Library.
  • Triggers: Create triggers to automate the process of sending the email Templates you write. Writing the email Template and creating the Trigger go hand-in-hand. For example, you may want a special welcome email to be sent two days before arrival. If you are using Airbnb, use this method to get guests' actual email addresses.
  • Rental Agreement(s): e-Signed Rental Agreements are a great way to further protect your property by establishing a mutually agreed set of guidelines for the use of your property. Add/customize your renter agreement in Settings > Legal Agreements. We provide a default which you can use by picking Prefill From > Default System Agreement. Still, you probably want to adapt that to your local jurisdiction or replace it entirely if you've already got an agreement you like.
  • Theming: Set up your branded email headers and footers in the Theming section. Theming provides an easy way to include your logo, phone number, etc., in emails sent to your guests. This area controls your contact info for displaying on your Hosted Website.
  • Automated Locks: If you have compatible smart locks (e.g., eRentalLock, ResortLock, RemoteLock), you can hook up with those accounts to auto-generate codes.

Premium Features

If you're interested in our premium features like Hosted Websites, PM, QuickBooks, etc., here are the guides for them:


Ongoing Support Options

Here are some other great resources to use as you continue to learn OwnerRez:

  • Support Center: This is where all our support documents live. There are many step-by-step instructions here and videos for those visual learners among us. At the top is a plain text search bar. If you type in a keyword of what you are looking for, you will see results from articles, forums, our blog, and videos!
  • Webinars: We conduct live webinars weekly. Our Sales Demo webinar goes over many of the steps in our checklist and shows you how you can set up a new listing from beginning to end in under an hour. In addition, we also host chats with industry-leading experts. You can also find many of the recordings of those webinars in this section. Recently we have also added an Open Q&A that we do biweekly. Feel free to sign up for any or all of these webinars. You will learn much from attending.
  • Forums: We also have user forums where people post questions. So, if you can't find the answer you are looking for in our support articles, try posting in the forums. We have a very knowledgeable community! If we don't get to the post first, maybe someone else will answer!
  • Blog: We have a blog that we update weekly. You will find product updates and all sorts of info about our software and the short-term rental industry.
  • Email Support: If all else fails and you can't find the answer you are looking for, fill out this simple form here. It will send us a message, and someone will get back to you as soon as possible!