iCal Feed Now Available for All Properties

For those of you who want to push availability data to sites like Airbnb or Google Calendars, we now publish an iCal feed for all properties.

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The feeds can be found under Settings > Marketing Partners > Review Offers under the “iCalendar” Tab.

http://www.lodgix.com/system/marketing_partners/

To use the iCal feed with your Airbnb:

In your Airbnb account, go to Calendar mappings and paste the URL. Your availability data will then sync from Lodgix to Airbnb.

For more info on the Airbnb iCal feature: https://www.airbnb.com/help/question/hosting/99.

Vacation rentals and digital signatures

When we evaluated, and eventually chose RightSignature as our digital signature solutions provider, we had several objectives in mind that had to be met.  After reviewing about 10 different firms, it became very apparent that for our needs, RightSignature.com had a solution that met all the requirements.

Does it seal documents with a unique “fingerprint”?
Many programs, such as Microsoft Word, allow users to add an electronicsignature to a document. But as long as these documents can be altered without changing the signature, the document isn’t truly sealed. A secure digital signature solution seals documents with a tamperproof digital “fingerprint” unique to both the signer and the document; any changes whatsoever immediately—and visibly—invalidate the signature.

Can it support multiple applications across the organization?
Solutions for Microsoft Word and Adobe Acrobat® are common. But to facilitate movement through your workflows, your digital signature system must work with numerous applications, including popular office apps such as Microsoft Word, Excel®, PDF and AutoCAD®. In addition, the technology should support signatures in document management and workflow systems such as Microsoft SharePoint.

Will it let you see a graphical signature?
In electronic documents, the real security is provided by the underlying technology. But what we actually see is a visually convenient way of recognizing identification. Look for  igital signature solutions that allow you to apply and see a graphical representation of the traditional “wet” signature.

Can it record more than one signature?
Many of the most important documents, like contracts, require more than one signature. Yet some electronic systems have no means for accommodating more than one valid signature per document. The right solution allows more than one person to sign in more than one place while maintaining the validity of the document.

Does it comply with all legal requirements?

If the signature doesn’t stand up in court, it can’t meet your business standards. Your solution must meet the following basic requirements:

  • Authenticity: the signature is uniquely linked to the signer
  • Integrity: any tampering to the document can be detected
  • Enforceability: signatures must be verifiable by all parties
  • non-refutability: the signature cannot be denied or disavowed can it be verified anytime, anywhere, by anyone?

You’ve assigned your signature with your system. But will the receiving party be able to verify it without installing the same digital signature software? An effective solution allows recipients to see and verify unaltered signatures with the ordinary document software, such as Microsoft Word or Abobe Acrobat, they already have.

Is it simple to use?
A “wet” signature requires pen and paper—simple. But a digital signature system that insists on multi-step, wizard-like processes is anything but simple. The acid test? The right solution should take no more than 10 seconds or 1-2 mouse clicks to ensure that a document is signed, sealed and legally compliant.

Does it have a low total cost of ownership?
Look under the hood for hidden costs: complex software installations, additional staffing requirements, help desk demands, registration and/or renewal fees for digital certificates, and more. The digital signature solution you want should solve problems, not impose new costs.

Calendar Tape Now Includes Area and Amenity Filtering!

Hooray! It’s now easier than ever to search and find that perfect property for a guest. The calendar tape within Lodgix now includes additional filters for Areas and for Amenities.

The Areas filter won’t appear unless you’ve configured your “areas” within the Area Manager (properties > area manager).

The amenities filter is configurable. Instructions are provided in the tutorial / overview below. Every area has different hot buttons. For some being “oceanfront” is a must, for others it’s having a Jacuzzi or mountain view or both. We give you the option to both define (properties > amenity manager) and configure (calendar tape > configuration options) which options you want to use to filter matching properties with availability.

Soon we’ll extend this functionality as an option to the guest online booking calendar and then soon after that we’ll update the Search Rentals widget within the WordPress plugin to optionally include the amenity filters.

The net result is that searching for specific properties with specific amenities for both property manager and guest is becoming much easier!

Enjoy!

The calendar tape is one of the strongest features of Lodgix. It is fast, highly configurable and very interactive. The interface is easy to understand and works incredible well across all platforms and browsers. The calendar scales to the size of your screen, so if you are using a 24″ iMac the calendar tape and can displays months and months of data and hundreds of properties at-a-glance.

The Interface

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  1. Property names
  2. Dates
  3. Filters

Features

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Real-time filters

In an effort to improve the calendar tape interface for property managers with many properties, we have launched real-time filtering. As the filter criteria are selected, the properties displayed will filter to only show properties that meet the filter criteria.

The initial filters are for the arrival date, number of bedrooms and the area. For those that have properties assigned to various areas (utilizing our Area Manager), you are now able to quickly select the area and have ONLY properties displayed that are assigned to that area.

The fourth filter is optional and is a configurable filter where the Lodgix subscriber can select the amenities of their choice to act as filters. For some they may want to filter properties that are “oceanfront”, for others having a “pool” might be super important, and for others it might be showing only properties with a “king bed”, etc.. Everybody is different and to that end we will be allowing you the choice of determining which amenities are most important to you!

Color Coding

Each reservation has a color code (colors can be customized) which correlates to the invoice status of the reservation. This makes it super easy to distinguish between which guests owe money, which guest have paid and which guests have refunds owed to them.

Onmouseover Features

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Mouseover the property name to see the number of bedrooms, baths and sleeps.

More onmouseover Features

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Mouseover the guest reservation to view the dates of stay, guest name and the invoice status.

Onmouseover Display for Blocked Dates

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Onmouseover displays who created the block, the dates of the block and the reason for the block. Blocked dates are shown in black of a subscriber block and in dark blue if the owner made the block. All colors are customizable.

Touch Sensitive for Mobile Devices

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If you are using a touch enabled device, you can scroll through dates on the calendar using your finger. Likewise you can also use the arrow buttons or jump ahead to future dates using the calendar icon.

Configuration Options

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Within the Calendar Tape > Configuration Options area it is possible to set a variety of options:

Cell Width and Cell Height (set each to equal number to maintain a square). To display more properties per page, set these numbers smaller, to display less properties (but make the viewing area easier to read) set these numbers higher.
Property Name Column Width can be adjusted higher or lower depending on personal preferences and readability.
Weekend Shading. Some define a weekend as Friday / Saturday, others define a weekend as Saturday / Sunday.
Font Size. Usually configured at the same time the Cell Width and Cell Height are set.
Disable Date Tooltips. Onmouseover display for properties can be enabled / disabled.
Disable Filters. Turns the filter bar on / off.

Filter Amenities.

Select the amenities you want to use as filter criteria within the calendar tape. Either click on the (+) icon to move the amenity from the left column to the right column, or just drag and drop! Don’t forget to save your selections, then check the calendar tape!

Lockouts Have Launched!

Occasionally a subscriber will have a property that can be rented in different configurations. For example, a 5 bedroom house could be rented to a large group, or it might be rented to five individual groups. We don’t have a lot of demand for the lockout feature, but for those that require it, we do offer it.

Lockout Configuration

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Located under Properties > Lockout Configuration

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Step #1 shows the location of the Add New Lockout button, use it to setup a new lockout.

A lockout is basically a dependency. For example if Unit A is rented, then don’t allow Units B, C and D to rent. How do we not allow a unit to rented? By blocking it off of course!

Thus in the example above, if the KIWI HOUSE is rented, then Lockout the WAIKATO HOUSE, THE TIFFANY COTTAGE, THE RETREAT HOUSE, THE PEACE COTTAGE AND THE MIRANDY COTTAGE.

Blocked Dates as a Result of a Lockout

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On the Calendar Tape, after a reservation is made for a property with a lockout dependency, the units locked out by the rental are blocked off in black and a comment is displayed “Blocked due to rental of the Kiwi House.” The blocks can be easily removed at any time by double clicking on the block for each unit.

Rules of a Lockout

Initially we have setup a couple of rules to keep the interface manageable.

  1. Single unit properties can only lockout single unit properties; and..
  2. Roomtypes can only lockout roomtypes belonging to the same multi-unit property.

Lockout Creation / Editing Interface

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This interface needs to be a little more user friendly, but until then, here is a step-by-step explanation:

  1. Look at it like this, “if (insert property name) is rented, then lockout (insert property name).”. First choose the property that is being rented from the dropdown, and then..
  2. Choose from the list of available properties, and either click + or drag and drop the property from the left column to the right column.
  3. The properties on the right (Area #3) are the properties that will be licked out (blocked off) when the property chosen in Step #1 is rented.
  4. Click the SAVE button to save the lockouts.

REMEMBER the rules listed in the previous step! Only single-unit properties can lock out single unit properties and likewise only roomtypes within the same multi-unit can lockout roomtypes within that same multi-unit property.

PDF Template Creation and Editing Process Has Relaunched

As we work to integrate digital signatures into the Lodgix platform, we are taking the opportunity to upgrade many of the systems that are affected by the new functionality. Creating and editing PDF templates today became much easier as we’ve upgraded the entire interface and made the process of finding, selecting and inserting merge tags much easier.

Additionally, the editor now supports direct copy / paste from Word, which will make the setup process far easier for subscribers have existing rental agreements and other documents in Word, etc.. that they wish to replicate on Lodgix using Merge Tags. Enjoy!

PDF Templates are easy to create and easy to edit. Follow the instructions below and you’ll be up and running in no time!

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  1. Clicking on the pencil icon will allow to edit any template
  2. Clicking on the two sheets of paper will allow you to copy a template
  3. Clicking on the "Hide" link will hide a template from view. Remember any template you create will be displayed in the communications and correspondence areas of the application
  4. Clicking on the "Restore" link will allow you to restore the default template in the event you really screw things up!

Edit PDF Template

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To create or edit a PDF template a WYSIWYG (What You See is What You Get) editor is utilized. This means that how the document looks on the screen should almost mirror how the document looks when it’s converted to a PDF.

  1. This is the name of your template. If you’ve created a new template or copied an existing one, you would want to enter a custom name here.
  2. This is the area where you can define if the page is to be displayed in Portrait or Landscape mode.
  3. Merge Tags.. Position your cursor where you would like the variable to be inserted, them choose the merge from the drop down list provided. Click the Insert Tag button to insert the tag.
  4. Anything with a [ ] on the page is a merge tag that will pull invoice specific data from the application when generating the live PDF.

Merge Tags

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The merge tags have been grouped by Invoice, Guest, Property, etc. They’ve also been ordered by the order in which they are typically used. Each merge tag has a short description to aid in finding the correct merge tag to use for your template. If you can’t determine which merge tag is the correct merge tag, a good way to test is to choose a merge tag, save the template and then generate a test pdf or go to an invoice and generate a live PDF to determine whether the PDF output is what you require. If it’s not, rinse and repeat.

Tips for Success – IMPORTANT!

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  1. In general text from Microsoft Word can be cut / paste directly into the editor. However, at times a bunch of junk formatting from Word will carry over that will screw up your template. If that happens, copy the contents to a text editor first like Notepad and then copy / paste into the template. That will assure a clean import.
  2. The “Source” button will show you the actual source formatting code. If you are experiencing issues with formatting many times digging into the source will help you delete unnecessary formatting.
  3. [clogo] will allow you to display your logo in the template, if a logo has been uploaded within the Important Settings area of the application.