CSS Buttons Can Now Be Added to Email Templates

Some prefer having a more prominent call to action button in their email templates. Below are instructions to replace the “Book Now” link in your email templates with a “Book Now” button. Email templates can be found under Settings > Templates > Email

Note that this requires basic knowledge of HTML and CSS.

Example code and an illustration of the CSS Book Now button is located at the end of this entry.

Current Book Now link

By default, many email templates will include a link to book now. This is created using the [PROPERTY_BOOKING_URL] merge tag.

How Guests see the default Book Now link

The guest will receive an email containing a “Book Now” text link as seen above.

Updating the merge tag

Replace the default [PROPERTY_BOOKING_URL] merge tag with the [PROPERTY_BOOKING_URL_SIMPLE] merge tag. The merge tag can be found in the editor dropdown box.

Email template – Source Mode

To add a button using HTML and CSS, switch to the Source editor. See above.

Adding the HTML

This new merge tag will generate the url to book the property. Add a hyperlink and button text.

Adding the CSS

You can add inline CSS to style the button as you wish.

How the new button will look to guests

The emails that guests receive will now contain a “Book Now” button instead of the default Book Now hyperlink.

Complete code to insert the button shown

To insert a button styled exactly as in this example, you can use the following code:

<a href=”[PROPERTY_BOOKING_URL_SIMPLE]” target=”_blank”><span style=”background: #1793db; color: #ffffff; padding: 10px 20px; border-radius: 4px;”>Book Now</span></a>

Great News! HomeAway / VRBO is Rolling Out iCal Importing!

Great news!  As of June 2015, HomeAway is rolling out iCal importing, which means those of you with 4 properties or less can once again sync your calendars with HomeAway / VRBO!

If you have 5 properties or more then we recommend using the HomeAway Feed as you have the added benefit of listing sync, and connection to the BookItNow platform in addition to calendar sync.

iCal Importing with HomeAway

Here is the support article at HomeAway with instructions on how to define an iCal import URL within HomeAway.  Note in the support article below, HomeAway notes that not all listings have access to this new feature yet.

Location of the Lodgix iCal Export URL

Cut and paste the provide iCal export URL for each property into your corresponding HomeAway listing.

Universal Property Template – Security Deposits

Security or damage deposits are now setup within the new Universal Property template.

Settings > Templates > Universal Property

 Click on the Security Deposit Tab

  1. Choose when to collect the security deposit.  The most common (and preferred) implementation is “at time of reservation”.
  2. Click “Add Deposit”.
  1. Enter a name like “Security Deposit”
  2. Enter the amount of the security deposit
  3. Choose whether the deposit is a pre-auth or not.  A pre-auth means that the security deposit is never actually collected.  A pre-auth means that a pre-authorization is run on the guest credit card for the amount of the security deposit.  This places a hold on the guest credit card in the amount of the security deposit, usually for seven (7) days, at which times the pre-auth will expire.   Note: pre-auths typically aren’t a real good mechanism for protecting the property as many times the pre-auth will expire before the guest checks out, leaving little protection for the property manager.
  1. Select the security deposit.
  2. Add to ALL properties or
  3. Add to individual properties

The arrow shows how the table can be manipulated to show which properties contain (or don’t contain) the security deposit.

Note: most property managers no longer use security deposits for many reasons:

  1. Time required to collect / refund the security deposit.
  2. Possible loss of discount rate as most merchant accounts will not refund the discount rate.
  3. Possible damage to online reputation when a guest disputes the retention of the security deposit and complains in the many forums and review sites online.

Most property managers now mandate Damage Protection.  Learn more about damage protection and how to set it up within Lodgix.

VacationHomeRentals.com Inquiry Parsing Now Available!

To route your VacationHomeRentals.com inquiries through Lodgix, please follow the instructions below.  Please allow up to one hour after you’ve updated your VacationHomeRentals.com contact email for the change to take affect and for your inquiries to start to flow thru Lodgix.

Map your Lodgix properties to your VacationHomeRentals.com Listings

  1. Click on the Inquiries menu item
  2. Click on the Setup Sources tab
  3. Enter your VacationHomeRentals.com listing ID  (this is a very important step, don’t screw it up!!!)
  4. Click the SAVE icon

Obtain your Lodgix email address

  1. Click on the Inquiries menu item
  2. Click on the Setup Items tab
  3. Copy the Inquiry Email Address provided.

Forward all VacationHomeRentals.com inquiries to Lodgix – Part 1

Within VacationHomeRentals.com you will need to cut / paste the Lodgix provided email into the Inquiry email field (see image above) for every listing.

Note:  

  1. It generally takes VacationHomerentals.com one hour to update their systems from the time the changes are applied.  Inquiries will not start to flow through Lodgix until VacationHomerentals.com updates their systems.
  2. VacationHomerentals.com batches their inquiries which means that if you are testing your setup, you can expect to wait from 10 to 20 minutes from the time you submit a test inquiry on VacationHomerentals.com and the time you are notified of that inquiry from Lodgix.

New Vacation Rental Housekeeping Report!

Great news, our housekeeping report has been modified!  The new format offers a more streamlined way to view departures and arrivals, as well as services, notes,  pets, etc..

The Housekeeping Report is meant for use by the housekeeper to quickly and easily show which units are turning over and when the next guest is expected to arrive.

The “Depart” column shows the name, date and time of the departing guest.

The “Property” column shows the name (and unit #) of the property.

The “Other Info” column will highlight if the unit is turning over on the same day.  It will contain the name of the next guest scheduled to arrive.  This is a courtesy to the housekeeper so that in the event the housekeeper has contact with the arriving guest, they can greet them by name and confirm that they are checking into the correct unit.

Housekeeping Notes (derived from the Housekeeping Tab within the Guest Control Panel) will also be displayed under Other Info and are meant to provide the housekeeper with additional instructions such as “requires high chair” or “requires extra towels”, etc.

If the arriving guest has ordered any additional services, those services will also be listed under Other Info.

If the arriving guest is bringing a pet, that will be noted under Other Info.