Website Booking plugin for STR that works with Airbnb/VRBO, etc.

28 Replies

Aloha everyone,

We have a couple STRs here in Maui. I've been working on a website where I'd like to be able to offer booking directly, instead of sending someone to Airbnb, VRBO, etc. We are using  Wordpress (DIVI) to build out the site and would love to find a simple plugin for WooCommerce or some other storefront that has the same features as a HomeAway, VRBO, Airbnb etc. You know, check in date, check out date, number of guests, blah blah blah. 

It doesn't have to be super complex, but if we could host all of our properties on our own independent website then we can avoid the downsides of the bigger companies such as their cancellation policies. Does anyone know of a plugin that does this? I've tried a few that were supposed to be able to handle, but they were pretty disappointing.

If not, I can build one, but it'll take a lot of work and I want to make sure there's not one out there before I travel down that road!  Thank you!

I'll be really interested if you find one! Hopefully someone here knows of something, but if not, I'm going to suggest seeking out some of the large VR-oriented websites that focus specifically on STR/VRs... I know there are owners out there who have pretty slick websites for direct booking, and you may be able to find out more by asking on forums on those sites OR finding some direct-book sites that you like and just asking the person directly!

Good luck!

I use Craigslist for my STRs.  24 houses and apartments, 84 beds total.

My market is not like yours.  I rent to contractors.  The guys you see working on those large erections of steel at a petrochemical refinery.  Welders, pipefitters, boilermakers, electricians, instrumentation, scaffold builders and others.

Hi @Mike Neubauer , I used this plugin for one of my past STR websites I built for my uncle. If you use the paid version I believe you can accept payments and do quite a bit with it. It's been a while since I've been in it but I believe it will do most of what you are asking for...and maybe even more. :) .

Best of luck! 

https://pinpoint.world/wordpress-booking?utm_sourc...

Hi @Jon Crosby , I am so happy to see you recommend Pinpoint, because I've recently purchased it to install in my Wordpress site and am having a really hard time figuring out how to set it up and get the calendar on the correct page. There does not need to be a tutorial or manual that I can find. Do you know of one? Thanks for any help!

@Mike Neubauer you might look into OwnerRez or ReservationKey...either of those might work for you.

Mike,

Check-out the following WP plugins:  WP iCal Availability (cool simple tool that integrates the calendars with your own), VR Calendar Pro and Booking Calendar are two that can integration bookings and all the goodies you mentioned.  I've used VR Calendar Pro in the past but it's a little "clunky" so I'm slowly testing Booking Calendar.  I'm following this if you can let us all know what you find/decide.

Aloha,

Mike

OwnerRez is hands down the best booking software available out there. I did a bunch of research and testing before figuring this out earlier this year. It will work as a plugin for your WP site, although I ditched WP altogether and went with the OwnerRez hosted solution as well. Check it out, they've got a 2 week free trial and the support is better than I've ever received from any company, IT or otherwise.

 https://www.ownerreservations.com/?referredBy=oru5b14b4547dx

Hi @Valerie Rogers , you should just be able to use the 'short codes' to get the calendar to show up.  On mine it is called the 'Mesa Booking Section' short code which controls the calendar feature.  Not sure if that helps or not though.  I do see quite a few YouTube videos available to watch as well for Pinpoint if you search for it.  

If you want me to look more closely, shoot me a private message and I will see what I can do. 

@Michael Greenberg I did install VR Calendar Pro and was not impressed. Too many bugs and didn’t do what I was hoping for. I spoke with their support team at length and made some suggestions which they said they would look into fora future release. However they don’t seem to release new versions very often. I think the last one was a couple years ago. 

I’ll look into the others you mentioned too. Thanks for the insight!  

Originally posted by @Paul Sandhu :

I use Craigslist for my STRs.  24 houses and apartments, 84 beds total.

My market is not like yours.  I rent to contractors.  The guys you see working on those large erections of steel at a petrochemical refinery.  Welders, pipefitters, boilermakers, electricians, instrumentation, scaffold builders and others.

From what I have heard, on every RE forum I have ever visited, Craigslist is by far the worst place to find vacation renters. Worst. Ever. Place. I'm glad it's working for you Paul, but it's not a good place for typical STR landlords.

@Tim Schroeder Yes, my market is different than most.  I do get some calls from the wrong kinds of people on CL, but I pass on them.  The people I rent to make 2,000 to 4,000 a week.  They aren't on vacation.

Originally posted by @Garry C. :

OwnerRez is hands down the best booking software available out there. I did a bunch of research and testing before figuring this out earlier this year. It will work as a plugin for your WP site, although I ditched WP altogether and went with the OwnerRez hosted solution as well. Check it out, they've got a 2 week free trial and the support is better than I've ever received from any company, IT or otherwise.

 https://www.ownerreservations.com/?referredBy=oru5b14b4547dx

Gary, I tried OwnerRez and found that they couldn't push prices to my VRBO listing. Do you know if that's changed? I need something where I can set a price once and have it pushed to all listings. And not one of those super-expensive ones that want a percentage of income....

I also found that they weren't very good at letting me micro-manage my rates. Seemed to be locked into weekday/weekend/holiday rates. I want to tweak them in a very detailed manner. For example, when I get a 3,4,or 5 day block between weekends, I need to be able to lower the rates to attract someone or it sits empty

@Tim Schroeder, you should try them out again. I'm sure they will give you another 2 week trial, and I even extended mine out to about 4 weeks when I first started, just because I was traveling a bit and didn't have the time to really get into it during the first 2 weeks. Not sure when you used them, but it's been about 4 months for me and I've found that I can get very detailed with my rates. Feel free to check out my web site and see what I've done with the rates for my properties, different pricing weekdays and weekend nights, discounts for weekly stays, etc. There are some more specific settings for how pricing works around weekends, the length of the weekends, what to do around holidays, etc. But I haven't gotten to far into that yet so I'm not sure if it does exactly what you're looking for. But they have also made recent improvements with the channel management of both VRBO and AirBNB, and have added Booking.com as well. However, setting the price on VRBO is not yet available, but I know they are working on it. And I don't doubt it, as a few of the features that I've requested since Feb. have already been added (triggered emails based on rental agreement signing, etc.).

Hey @Garry C. , I'm looking at Owner Res right now and wondering if you've used Reservation Key as well? They look pretty similar and I may try them both, but wanted to see if you had experience with ResKey. Your earlier endorsement was so powerful I'm guessing you explored lots of different options. 

@Mike Neubauer , yes, I did explore a bunch of options. However, most of those were exploration in terms of research, not testing/utilization. After reading lots of reviews and feature comparisons, I had it narrowed down to 3. OwnerRez was the last of the 3 that I tried, only because it was newer than everything else so I mistakenly thought it might not be as advanced.

ResKey did not make it into my top 3, but I didn't really start taking notes until I had my search narrowed down. So I honestly can't say that I even looked at it in depth. If you've got your search narrowed down to those two at this point, I would definitely encourage you to do a side by side comparison and see what you think (and report back).

@Kevin Lefeuvre , I send the URL to our website to each guest with my follow-up email inviting them to book directly with me the next time they want to some to our location. I offer a 5% repeat guest discount which they can receive if they book their next stay through my website using a coupon code. 

I also have business cards made up with the URL of our website on it and give them out to anyone that we happen to meet and is interested in our rentals.

I have a "Google My Business" listing (pin on Google map) for each location that links to our website so anyone who finds me on Google can see our website and our properties.

This year I've taken 26 bookings through our website directly, either from repeat guests or guests who found us online.

The booking engine I currently use is ReservationKey. I used to use MyVR but it was terribly expensive. ReservationKey is very reasonably priced (I'm paying $34/month for up to 10 properties). However, while their support team is responsive I get the feeling they are strapped for help because the response I receive sometimes when reporting issues I've had is that no one else seems to be having the same issue and I'll need to do some testing myself by creating test bookings, etc. On the whole, though, I've been happy with