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Getting Started with Airbnb (Legacy Article)

ThinkReservations has a new upgraded and simplified process of connecting to Airbnb we are slowly rolling out. If you are connecting your account to Airbnb for the first time, please reach out to support via phone. 877-736-4195 x2

ThinkReservations can fully synchronize your ThinkReservations rooms with Airbnb. This article will guide you through the process of connecting to Airbnb and getting your property listed.

Step 1: Creating an Airbnb Account
 Step 2: Connect your ThinkReservations account to Airbnb
  Step 3: Create Listings in ThinkReservations
   Step 4: Merge Listings
    Step 5: Publish Listings
     Step 6: Airbnb Payment Type
      Tips, Tricks, Taxes, and Other Notes
Frequently Asked Questions about Airbnb

Before you get connected:

A few things to note.

  • You can only connect 1 Airbnb account to 1 ThinkReservations account.
  • Listings you have on Airbnb that are not created through ThinkReservations will not be automatically synced.
  • Connected listings are "Instant Book" listings only.
  • You must give Airbnb at least 30 days of availability over the next 365 days.
  • All guests pay 100% deposit/prepayment to Airbnb. You are reimbursed for your cut of the reservation sometime later from Airbnb.
  • Click here for information about Airbnb and taxes.
  • Click here to see if Airbnb is collecting any occupancy taxes for you.
  • See our Airbnb FAQ here.

Step 1: Creating an Airbnb Account

If you don't already have an Airbnb account, make sure to do this first.

  1. Create an account on Airbnb here:
  2. Let them know you will be hosting as a Business when creating an account
  3. Set up a Payout method so Airbnb can reimburse you for your room and cleaning fees
  4. As a business, make sure to complete your "identity verification", which involves sending a photo of your driver's license front and back.
  5. As a business, also make sure to complete "Business verification".
    You might see a popup like the below image. If you have questions about how to complete this form, please reach out to Airbnb. This will also allow you to use the Super Strict cancellation policies.
  6. Verify what taxes Airbnb is collecting, and if you need to set up additional tax setting rules (where possible) on your account. For questions about taxes and Airbnb, please reach out to Airbnb.
  7. Don't create any listings on Airbnb or you will need to recreate them again later.

Step 2: Connect your ThinkReservations account to Airbnb

Link the accounts in this step. In Step 4, you link your listings. So, link your ThinkReservations account and your Airbnb account together, then listings can be created later. If you see the red "Connect with Airbnb" button, then your accounts are not yet linked. 

  1. Log out of Airbnb
    1. Navigate to
    2. Click the circle button on the top right (your avatar)
    3. Click Log Out from the menu
  2. Navigate to ThinkReservations > Settings > Airbnb
  3. Click the red Connect with Airbnb button
  4. Log in with the account that you would like to associate with this ThinkReservations account. As a reminder, you can only connect 1 Airbnb account to 1 ThinkReservations account.
  5. Follow the steps as prompted by Airbnb to connect your accounts.
  6. Click the red Return to ThinkReservations button to be taken back to ThinkReservations.
    (We don't know why Airbnb says "created". Don't worry - a new account wasn't created.)

At this point, your accounts are connected!

Step 3: Create Listings in ThinkReservations

These listings that you create in ThinkReservations will be sent to Airbnb and fully synchronized. If they already exist on Airbnb, and you would like them to be synced, you need to recreate them in ThinkReservations.

Minimum Requirements for Listings

When creating a listing, you must meet the below criteria as dictated by Airbnb or your listing may be not approved or later pulled upon audit.

  • Rooms: You must have at least one room/unit's box checked.
  • Listing Name: Minimum 8 characters
  • Listing Summary: Minimum 50 characters
  • Rate Type: Chose a rate type that has at least 30 available days in the next year.
  • Cancellation Policy: Only choose a Super Strict cancellation policy if you have completed identity and business verification.
  • Check-in Time: Must be a 2-hour window minimum. Please don't use "Flexible".
  • Amenities: Must check at least 5 amenities, including "Essentials - Towels, sheets, soap, toilet paper"
  • Cleaning fee (optional): If specified, it must be between 10 and 600. Don't put a dollar sign here.
  • Photos: You must upload a minimum of 7 photos. At least 3 high-resolution (800x500 pixels) photos.
  1. Navigate to the Airbnb Rooms page (Settings > Airbnb)
  2. Click the black New listing button on the right.
  3. You will be presented with a form to create the listing. If you already created this listing on Airbnb, you don't have to recreate the listing completely if you don't wish to. Instead, you can create a listing that meets the bare minimum requirements as a "shell listing". See Shell Listings further below.
  4. Fill out the form to the best of your ability noting the minimum requirements as dictated by Airbnb. See the above list of listing requirements. Learn more about the requirements here.
  5. Upload at least 7 photos. At least 1 photo should be featuring the unit/room.
  6. Click the black Save button at the bottom to have ThinkReservations send the listing details to Airbnb. If it doesn't save, check the top of the page for errors.
  7. Repeat this process for all listings that you would like to be synced with ThinkReservations.

Airbnb gets some of the information from the room's details page (Settings > Rooms) of the room/unit that you chose at the top of the form.

Details pulled from Room's page in ThinkReservations:

  • Bedrooms
  • Beds - 1 bed per bedroom (Limited sync lets you edit on Airbnb where there are more options)
  • Full Baths
  • Max Occupancy

The form details can also be edited later, and will automatically be synced with Airbnb once per hour.

Using "Shell Listings" for existing Airbnb listings

You can still have listings synced with ThinkReservations even if you don't want to have ThinkReservations control all listing details, and potentially overwrite listing info and photos you have previously set on Airbnb. This is possible by using what Airbnb calls "Limited Sync". To do this, you will still need to create a listing in ThinkReservations, but only create the bare minimum to get your listing approved by the computer. Bogus information and duplicated photos is permitted to speed the process of creating new shell listings.

Once the listings are approved, make sure to change "Everything" to "Limited" under the Sync Settings column BEFORE you publish. The listing details that are synced between ThinkReservations and Airbnb are determined by the type you choose under Sync Settings.

The "Everything" Sync Setting Explained

With Sync Everything, Airbnb will not only collect rates and availability from ThinkReservations but all information in the listings' settings in ThinkReservations > Settings > Airbnb. This includes listing summary, amenities, check-in window, cleaning fee,  images, etc. Airbnb will also pull the maximum number of adults and the number of bedrooms and bathrooms from the rooms' settings in Settings > Rooms.

Everything Sync:

  • Reservations booked on Airbnb (post connection)
  • Rates
  • Availability
  • Restrictions
  • Listing Details as found in ThinkReservations > Settings > Airbnb
  • Number of bedrooms (1 bed per room) as found in ThinkReservations > Settings > Rooms
  • Number of bathrooms as found in ThinkReservations > Settings > Rooms

The "Limited" Sync Setting Explained

With Limited Sync, Airbnb and ThinkReservations are still communicating and syncing information. However, the information is limited to only rates, restrictions, and availability from ThinkReservations. (This is similar to our connection with and Expedia.) All other information regarding the listing (including occupancy, listing description, etc.) is pulled from what you've already set up for the listing on your Airbnb account, not what is set up in ThinkReservations. This option can be handy if you don't want to offer Airbnb the same number of guests you would accept directly over the phone or on your website, or there is an Airbnb feature we don't support yet.

Limited Sync:

  • Reservations booked on Airbnb (post connection)
  • Rates
  • Availability
  • Restrictions
  • [Listing Details handled on Airbnb; not through ThinkReservations]

How to Create a Rate Type Just for Airbnb

The rate type that you choose in the form when creating or editing an Airbnb listing will be used to synchronize rates, availability, and restrictions. (Taxes are not synchronized.) If you don't have a rate type that you would like to sync with, you can create a new one. This is especially helpful if Airbnb is collecting some or all of the taxes for your property.

  1. Navigate to Settings > Rate Types
  2. Click the New button on the top right.
  3. Give your rate type a name, such as "Airbnb Rate".
  4. Select Staff Only under Rate qualifiers.
  5. Ignore the deposit policy section. All Airbnb reservations are paid in full to Airbnb.
  6. If you need to override the taxes that are added to Airbnb reservations, you can do so here.
    When overriding taxes, only check the boxes for the taxes you will collect directly from the guest upon check-in.
    Click here to see if Airbnb is collecting any occupancy taxes for you.
  7. Click Rates & Restrictions in the blue bar at the top or select to derive rates from another rate type. .
  8. Manually set rates and restrictions or use the Copy... button to import rates and restrictions from another rate type.
    > How to set rates and restrictions
    > How to use the Copy... button
  9. If you need to set a Yield Management plan, do so now as well.
  10. Click the orange Save button at the top when done.
  11. Now this rate will be available in the drop-down when creating or editing an Airbnb listing in ThinkReservations.

Step 4: Merge Listings

This step only applies to Airbnb accounts that have previous listings, including those that are not yet published.

If you don't have any previous listings (no matter the status or if they were completed), then your ThinkReservations-created listings will publish automatically!

  1. Once your listing has been approved, log into Airbnb. Make sure to log into the correct account.
  2. Navigate to Host and then Listing in the toolbar at the top.
  3. You should be presented with a popup. Click Get Started on the popup.
    If you don't see the popup or the banner at the top with a Review listings button, click here or here.
  4. You are taken to a "Review existing Airbnb listings" page. Find the existing listing in the left column headed "Existing Airbnb listings". These are listings that were created directly on Airbnb, and not through ThinkReservations.
  5. In the right column, find the matching listing created in ThinkReservations that you would like to merge or map under the Connected app listings heading.
  6. If you don't have an existing listing to merge for a listing, choose "Do not match existing listing" from the second column. If none of your existing listings need to be mapped, then click Skip mapping.
  7. Check the boxes to the left of only the listings that need merged, or "mapped".
  8. Click the "Map listings" button on the bottom.
  9. Read the popup and click the Map listings button again.
  10. Continue below to publish...

Step 5: Publish Listings

Publish your listings to be live and bookable on Airbnb.

Once you are ready to have your listing bookable on Airbnb, you are ready to publish. If you don't have any listings to merge or "map", your listings will be published automatically. Otherwise, make sure to properly map existing listings before you publish them.

On the next page, Create new Airbnb listings, check the boxes for listings that need to be created, and click Create listings.

Airbnb will sync your information on an hourly basis, but you might find that Airbnb sometimes updates after longer periods of time.

If you need to change your Sync setting:

  1. From your listings page, select the listing by checking the box on the far left next to the listing(s) you need to update.
  2. Click the Edit selected button at the top.
  3. On the right panel choose Sync settings.
  4. Make your selection and click Save. See further above this article to learn more about the different sync settings.

Step 6: Airbnb Payment Type

Create a custom payment type for use with Airbnb

The last step is to create a new custom payment type called "Airbnb Direct Deposit" or similar. This way, when you receive confirmation of payment from Airbnb, you can mark them as paid with this payment method. You will need to manually post the payment onto the reservation in ThinkReservations to update the bill.

  1. In ThinkReservations, navigate to Settings > Payment Types, or click here.
  2. If you don't already have an Airbnb payment type, click the black New button on the top right.
  3. Give the payment a name, such as Airbnb Direct Deposit. The name you choose is up to you.
  4. If you like, you can associate an asset account with this payment. Asset accounts are set up un Chart of Accounts.
  5. Click Save when done.

To post a payment to an Airbnb Reservation, follow these steps:

  1. Verify you have in fact received the funds. Something about counting chickens before they hatch. However, you can post the payment at any time.
  2. Open the Airbnb reservation so you can see its reservation in ThinkReservations.
  3. Click one of the Payment buttons.
  4. Choose Airbnb Direct Deposit as the PAYMENT TYPE. Your payment name may be different.
  5. Enter the payout amount from Airbnb into the AMOUNT box, and click Take Payment. (The REFERENCE NUMBER is an optional note.)
  6. If you have a remaining balance, such as from taxes, this should be paid by the guest directly. Read on below for more information on taxes.

  Tips, Tricks, Taxes, and Other Notes

Please take a look at the below tips and notes.

► If Airbnb is collecting any or all taxes for your property, you will need to either mark those reservations as tax-exempt by clicking the  Edit Tax Exempt Policy option under the Actions icon inside the reservation manually after they come in...
...or create a separate rate type. Create a separate 'Airbnb Rate' rate type with the option enabled to have taxes overridden. Tax override is controlled in the Details tab of the edit rate type screen.

Select only taxes that your business will be collecting, if any, from the guest directly once on-site. Another reason for an Airbnb rate is if you want to give Airbnb different rates or availability. See the instructions right above Step 4 on "How to Create a Rate Type Just for Airbnb". Otherwise, you can choose an existing rate type to associate with Airbnb.

► If you are collecting taxes from the guest, and not Airbnb, we highly recommend you include a message in your "Listing Description" and "Notes" both.
For example: "Please note that taxes will be due upon arrival. Taxes, which are separate from Airbnb room charges and service fees, are not collected by Airbnb. Taxes that will be due are... " and then you can list the tax names and percentages. This is because the guest would otherwise not be aware that they need to pay taxes upon arrival.

► The following fields are optional, but we highly recommend you fill them out, and can be edited later if you wish:

  • Check-in time window
  • Check-out time
  • Booking cutoff time
  • Booking cutoff time behavior
  • Space
  • Access
  • Interaction
  • Neighborhood
  • Transit
  • House Rules
  • Notes
  • Directions
  • House Manual
  • Cleaning Fee
  • Security Deposit

► Don't put a phone number, email address, or web address in your listings anywhere - they will be redacted by Airbnb.

► When uploading images, consider including images of the common areas, grounds, gardens, breakfast, and other foods. These images will likely be repeated for all listings. Only the room/unit-specific images need to be unique.

► Make sure that all listings that you would like to connect to ThinkReservations are setup in ThinkReservations.

► Make sure not to charge the guest's credit card for any charges that they have already paid to Airbnb. Train your staff to look at the source of the reservation. The source of a reservation is always right above the email section on the bottom left of the reservation.

► If the guest wants to add nights, rooms, or items, it is best to create a new bill or reservation for that to avoid confusion on what is paid from Airbnb, what is still owed from the guest, and tracking those charges and payments later.

► If you need to contact Airbnb support, use the form at the bottom of this page:

► ThinkReservations uses a special version of the itemized bill variable that is used in some email templates. Unless you have removed the itemized bill variable from your confirmation email, Airbnb reservations will receive a confirmation email that does not include any pricing information. Keep in mind that printed bills in ThinkReservations will still contain pricing information that should not be shared with the guest.

► The guest has already paid the full price of the reservation at the time of booking. The guest also has already received a receipt from Airbnb. The guest pays the "sell rate." The sell rate is the price that you give to Airbnb as programmed in ThinkReservations. The reservation will show the "NET rate." The net rate is the price that the business receives for this reservation. The difference between them is the Airbnb Service Fees. The difference also includes credit card processing fees.

► Use the Reservations by Channel report to view reservations from Airbnb and other channels. This report is found under Reports → Reservations → Reservations by Channel.

► Availability can be controlled with the synced rate type just like and Expedia do, by setting or removing the price. No price means it's unavailable.

► ThinkReservations sends emails to the property for new, modified, and canceled reservations. NOTE: ThinkReservations charges an additional 3% commission for reservations that come from Airbnb using the connection established.

If you have any questions, please reach out to support.

Click here to go back to the top of the page.

Sean is the author of this solution article.

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