Airbnb as a product became real in 2008 in San Francisco. In 10 years time, a small concept of two people had grown into the world leading accommodation business. There are 4.5 million listings on Airbnb site, joining together more than 190 countries from all over the world.
As Airbnb originally was created for apartment rentals, it’s understandable that main listings on this channel are individual apartments. But there are also some very unique accommodations that you can rent. They have nearly 3,000 castles and 1,400 treehouses! Airbnb has been working with simple people, who want to have their space listed. There was no need to involve other systems in this process. People would have 1, 2 listings and would manage availability calendars manually. Reservations were coming as requests so hosts could control the occupancy and prevent overbookings. However, change of the market created a need for new developments.
After Airbnb introduced Instant Book feature, hosts noticed that now it’s time to get more serious about listings. They were receiving not requests anymore, but rather confirmed reservations. Which means, that accidental overbookings now became a bigger possibility than ever before. Of course, it is still possible to handle requests like before, but guests also have changed. They are used to receiving confirmations and therefore, they don’t want to send inquiries.
From the very beginning, Airbnb provided the possibility of iCal synchronisation. It was a good solution because you could have your calendars synced via links. However, the speed of such synchronisation was not very satisfying. In some cases, it might have taken up to several hours for the calendars to be updated. A lot can happen in such a long time, so iCal link usage also slowly became a technology of the past.
Various channel manager providers noticed the flaws of iCal synchronisation. They started to develop other solutions, which would allow accommodation providers to have faster and more reliable way of synchronisation. And they found a solution. It is called screen-scraping technology. It is the unofficial connection between channel manager and Airbnb. With this method, robots of channel manager are acting like actual users. Meaning, that every few minutes, they would log in to the Airbnb account and check if there is any new information that should be updated.
This connection was not very stable and still not very fast as users would like to. Considering the fact, that this was the unofficial method, Airbnb security quite often used to block these robotic actions, causing problems in synchronisation. We have been using services of the third party channel manager in order to connect our customers to this channel via screen-scraping. Unfortunately, we also experienced some issues.
Airbnb recently introduced the XML connection. Meaning, that channel managers were able to connect to the channel with the official, stable and fast connection. However, the process of the development and connectivity takes quite some time. It is understandable, that Airbnb needs to evaluate the potential partners who apply for the connection. After the evaluation process, comes the development, testing and then accreditation. Airbnb is accepting integrations with channel managers in batches. This allows them to focus on few partners at once and make sure that connection is established correctly. We are very happy to announce, that SabeeApp also passed the evaluation process and is included in the next Airbnb channel managers integration batch.
We are all very much excited about this integration. It means a lot to us, that Airbnb considering us as reliable and serious partners. We also know from our customers, that this connection will be a big help in their everyday life. We strongly believe that all previous issues will be solved with this new XML connection.
Stay tuned for more information and really looking forward to this partnership!