HomeAway Secure Messaging Update – Lodgix Changes – Part Two

In Part 1 of our series on the new HomeAway Secure Messaging Platform we reviewed what data and formatting can be sent to a guest who inquiries through HomeAway.   In a nutshell, ONLY plain text will be allowed.

Many Lodgix subscribers have customized HTML response templates that are used to respond to HomeAway inquiries.   On Wednesday, August 2nd those templates will no longer be used.   Instead a standard text template that we provide will be used.  The default text can, and should, be edited.   Only merge tags that do not contain HTML will be available within the text template.

  1. Click on the Text tab to edit the contents of all emails sent using text only.  This is only required for HomeAway.   Responses to inquiries from other sources will continue to be sent using full HTML.
  2. In the standard text response for available properties, the HomeAway or VRBO is used to drive the guest back to the listing.
  3. Make sure to SAVE your changes.

How Do I Edit the Text Responses for HomeAway?

Open the Email Templates page at settings > templates > email

Within that list look for all templates that are assigned to the inquiries component:

The templates highlighted in yellow below are the most important:

It is important that you visit the inquiry settings area of lodgix here:

http://staging.lodgix.com/system/inquiries/items/setup

To determine:

  1. if autoresponders are turned on or off for your account.
  2. and if autoresponders are on, then note which templates you have set to make sure those templates are edited.

If nothing is done, and if you are using a custom template, Lodgix will continue to respond with the full HTML in your template to HomeAway inquiries.  In that event, HomeAway will strip all HTML elements until the response meets their guidelines.   Those responses will appear somewhat broken to the guest as much of the referenced content will be blank, as it will have been stripped by HomeAway’s filters.

New Trigger Condition Now Available to Automate Sending of Digital Signature Requests

Lodgix now integrates to a variety of different booking channels including Airbnb, HomeAway, Booking.com, Expedia and TripAdvisor.  These channels have no mechanism to collect a signed digital signature on a rental agreement.  That creates a problem for property managers that require a signed rental agreement with every booking, regardless of where it originated.

Currently every invoice without a signed rental agreement would have to be use our manual digital signature process to request that the rental agreement be signed.

However today we launched a new trigger condition that will automagically detect invoices without a signed rental agreement and send out a preset signature request to the guest.  Here how it works:

In order to configure a trigger that requests a guest to sign a rental agreement for HOMEAWAY reservations only , please use the follow configuration:

Invoice Status “changed to” Unconfirmed
Rental Agreement “Equal To” Not Signed

Don’t apply the trigger to the following channels: EXPEDIA, BOOKINGCOM, AIRBNB, LODGIX

(We’ve added a new channel (LODGIX), so manual and online reservations made on Lodgix can be excluded from the trigger.)

The only reason you might want to exclude certain channels is if your rental agreement contains rate specific data in it, which could vary from channel to channel.  Or perhaps you have different rental agreements depending on the channel.   In an era where property managers are now expending to many different channels, we always advise to keep your rates, fees and rental agreements as simple as possible to assure that only one rental agreement is needed and can be easily used across all channels.

I recommend every one make use of this new feature to assure that signed rental agreements are in place for all reservations, regardless of channel.

Lodgix Airbnb Integration Has Launched

READ THE DOCUMENTATION!!!

Our integration to Airbnb has launched.  It may still require a bit of tweaking in the next couple of weeks (July 2017), but we felt it was close enough to warrant it going live.

Airbnb REQUIRES that a new Airbnb account be established for the integration.   Lodgix will then populate your new Airbnb account with the property data on Lodgix.   THERE IS NO WAY TO USE YOUR EXISTING AIRBNB ACCOUNT.  Once the new account is populated, your Airbnb account manager will migrate your reviews to your new account.

Initially Lodgix will be charging an additional 1% on every booking originating from Airbnb once integrated.   This fee may be reduced, capped or eliminated in the future.  However right now we really have no idea as to the support costs that will be required to maintain this channel.

The integration setup and settings page can be found at:
Settings > Channel Management > Integrations > Airbnb tab

 

 

 

Search by Tags Added to WordPress Rentals Search Widget

Lodgix publishes a WordPress plugin to sync Lodgix inventory with a WordPress website.   Within that plugin there is a rentals search widget.

The rentals search widget can be used by guests to search for properties and  narrow down the search results. Property managers can optionally choose to search by:

  1. Location
  2. # of Bedrooms
  3. Price
  4. Pet Friendly?
  5. Amenities

and now, Property Tags!

In the past the amenities field could be customized in Lodgix.  However this caused a lot of problems when integrating to various channels. Custom amenities would be entered and then the property manager would submit a support request wondering why their custom amenities weren’t being displayed on HomeAway, etc..

HomeAway (and all other channels for that matter) do not allow custom amenities to flow through into their platform, therefore we can only map an existing set of amenities to the amenity list provided by the channel.   As a result we removed the ability to add custom amenities and instead standardized on the amenity list provided by HomeAway.

However this left a void as many property managers do have unique amenities and in many instances they would like those amenities or attributes searchable by a guest when booking on their website.

Search by Tags

Tags are entered in the Edit property > “Tags” field with Lodgix. They are delimited by space or comma as before. If a tag must contain spaces or commas, for example “king bed”, it should be quoted using double quotes.

 

 

 

 

Withing the WordPress widget settings in WordPress,  please select the option to “Search by Tags” to have each tag show up as a search criteria within the rentals search widget on your website.

Trigger Negative Exception Functionality Added

We’ve added a bit of new flexibility to the triggers interface.  It is now possible to NOT send trigger communications depending on the source of the booking.   This is directly related to our new Airbnb integration which will be launching soon.   Airbnb collects the guest payments and remits the host payments to property manager within 24 hours of guest arrival.   Most property managers require monies to be paid before arrival and have specific triggers that go out to guests alerting guest of those pending payments.

Most property managers will not want unnecessary communications reaching a guest as that will only serve to cause guest confusion.    This is true for other channel nuances as well.   Now it is possible to choose NOT to send various triggers based upon the channel, which should make life just a little bit easier for some.