Calendar Sync for HomeAway & VRBO & VacationRentals.com

Until HomeAway supports iCal importing, calendar synchronization is only available to those with 5 or more properties through the use of the HomeAway Feed.

AS A RESULT OF THE NEW TWO FACTOR AUTHENTICATION INTRODUCED BY HOMEAWAY, THERE IS NO WAY FOR THOSE NOT ON THE HOMEAWAY FEED TO SYNC CALENDAR DATA WITH HOMEAWAY.

There is talk of an iCal import being introduced in early 2015 by HomeAway.  If that happens, calendar syncing will return for those with <5 properties!

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!

HTML5 Multi Unit Booking Calendars Have Launched!

The Lodgix.com Multi Unit Calendar is the most advanced booking calendar available on the Internet today. Detailed specifications on its functionality are highlighted below. Click here for detailed setup and interface options.

VIEW THE DEMO

Live examples of HTML5 booking calendars:

LuxuryVacationRentals.net
AlfredsInc.com

Tooltips

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Tooltips are used extensively throughout the calendar. For browsers that are not touch aware, the tooltips appear onmouseover. For mobile browsers that are touch enabled, the tooltips appear onclick.

"The tooltip is a common graphical user interface element. It is used in conjunction with a cursor, usually a pointer. The user hovers the pointer over an item, without clicking it, and a tooltip may appear—a small "hover box" with information about the item being hovered over."

In the image above, a tooltip appears when the property name is hovered over with the cursor. The tooltip displays additional information about the property including the number of bedrooms, baths and how many people the property sleeps. If provided, the property name is hyperlinked to the specific URL on your website where additional information on the property can be found.

Date Display

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Dates are displayed in three areas:

  1. At the top of the calendar
  2. At the bottom of the calendar
  3. Within the tooltip for each date

Providing date display in all three areas aids subscribers with larger calendars where they may have so many properties listed that the top of the calendar scrolls off the screen.

Rules

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The tooltips display any rules that are setup for the property. If a rule is not met, for example in the image above Tues Jun 05 is chosen as the arrival date. Since this subscriber requires a Saturday arrival, this reservation cannot proceed and no "Click to Book Now" text is displayed.

Enforceable rules include:

  • Minimum night rules
  • Arrival day rules
  • Departure Day rules
  • <24 hour to arrival rules

Rates

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Daily, weekly and monthly rates are displayed within the tooltip. Call to action text of "Click to Book Now" is displayed when a reservation satisfies all the rules requirements setup by the subscriber.

<24 Hour to Arrival (last minute bookings)

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Some subscribers do not want last minute bookings to be made online. When this option is set within Lodgix, the booking calendar will display a notice "<24hrs, call to reserve" to the guest within the tooltip.

Last Minute Discounts

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When the subscriber has setup last minute discounts, text will appear within the tooltip making the guest aware that a discount exists. The amount of the discount will be displayed later in the booking process.

Booking Process

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The entire booking process is quite simple:

  1. The guest scrolls through various dates and is informed of availability, rates and rules for the dates in questions. An arrival date is selected.
  2. Lodgix calculates the options for number of nights. This number will vary depending on number of nights available, any minimum night rules in effect, etc. The guest selects the number of nights.
  3. A quote summary window appears displaying a breakdown of the charges for the stay. If a subscriber has rates that vary by the number of guests in the group, the rates will adjust on the fly when the number of adults / kids are adjusted.
  4. If the guests requires more than one property additional properties can be selected from the dropdown and added to the reservation.
  5. Book Now button proceeds with the booking on Lodgix.com

HomeAway Connect Calendar Integration

This is not a real biggie, but we’ve launched the ability to sync your Lodgix.com calendars with HomeAway Connect.  This means no more double entry for your VRBO or HomeAway calendars!  Hooray!

Property managers with 20 or more properties can join the HomeAwat Professionals program and Lodgix will sync with HomeAway and actually add, edit and delete ENTIRE listings on HomeAway.  Of course, all calendar data is sync’d as well.

I am writing this on Saturday, June 18th.  We’ve got a couple small tweaks left to code on Sunday, so I expect the code to launch on the production server within 24-48 hours.  Not sure if FlipKey offers an API yet, but when / if they do we’ll integrate to that as well.

Lodgix is growing, growing, growing!  If you are tired of paying the $1000+ setup fees and $500.00 a month minimum from Escapia or LiveRes.com you might want to give us a try.   You’ll save a ton of money!