Automating your VRBO rental with Zapier and Smart Things: Part 3

In our previous posts we've covered our motivations and a majority of the Zapier zaps needed to do our automation.  In this post, we setup our custom Smart Things smart app manage our lock codes and our final Zap to call it.

Smart Things

The smart things integration requires three things:

  1. Smart App creation
  2. Personal access code creation
  3. Smart App installation

Smart App Creation

Do the following to get the smart app setup:


  1. Login to the SmartThings IDE at https://graph.api.smartthings.com.  Create a login if you don't have one AND don't forget to opt-in for the developer account. To verify that you're logged into the correct location, after logging into the above link, click on My Locations and then click on the name of the location where you want to install the SmartApp. Note: You may be asked to log into your account again when you click on your location, if so login again.
  2. Click on "My SmartApps" 
  3. Click on "+New SmartApp" on the top right 
  4. Click "From Code"
  5. Copy the code from Github into the code area.
  6. Click "Create"
  7. Click "Publish" and then "For me" on the top right 
  8. After clicking "Publish", click on the "App Settings" button next to the Publish button
  9. Scroll down and click on "OAuth" to expand the section
  10. Click on "Enable OAuth in Smart App" (it will create it create a ID and Secret)
  11. Click on "Update" at the bottom of the page

Personal Access Code Creation

Now, we need to get our installation ID and access code for accessing our webhook.

  1. Go to https://account.smartthings.com/tokens
  2. Click Generate New Token
  3. Give it a name, be sure to check Devices and Schedules
  4. Click Generate Token
  5. On the resulting page, be sure to note the token value.  It will be a long string of letters and numbers.  You'll need this and can't see it again after this, so save it someplace.

Smart App Installation

No we need to install our Smart App to our location/device. 

  1. Open your SmartThings Classic App on your phone, click on the Automation icon at the bottom bar right corner of the main screen. Now click on the "SmartApps" tab on the top right of the screen. Scroll down to the bottom and click on "+Add a SmartApp". Then scroll down to the bottom and click on "My Apps" section and click it. 
  2. Scroll down the "My Apps" section until you see the new SmartApp you just created and click on it on install it. You're done! To open/configure the app in future follow step 14.
  3. After installing the SmartApp, configure/open it by clicking on the "Automations" icon  and then click on "SmartApps" on your phone. NOTE: Clicking on the SmartApp in the "My Apps" section will install a NEW instance of the SmartApp instead of opening the existing installation.

Zap #5: Email Parser from Zapier to Webhook

We're now ready to have Zapier call our Smart App to manage the lock(s).

Trigger: New Email

Just like Zap #4, our trigger is a new email to propertyalert@robot.zapier.com.  We pull out all the same fields too.

Action: POST

The URL is determined by looking at the Automation tab in the SmartThings app on your phone and clicking on VacationLockManager (assuming that's what you called it).  You should see something like this:

So take your API ID found in the app and use it in this URL for your Zap:

https://graph-na04-useast2.api.smartthings.com/api/smartapps/installations/<API-ID>/reservation

So your Zap looks something like this:

Be sure to make payload json and to set values for each of phone, checkin, checkout, and name.

Down toward the bottom is one last thing to set, we need to add our personal token:

Click Finish and you should be good to go.

Go enable all your Zaps if you haven't already.

Alternative: RBoy Apps

If all this isn't working for you or is too complex, there is a commercial offering that may work for you.  Have a look at http://smartthings.rboyapps.com/.

This article was updated on November 28, 2018