Facebook App Project Update

We are getting close to taking the wraps off our new Lodgix Facebook App integration.   It’s not really a vacation rental game changer by any stretch of the imagination, but it will make it significantly easier for viewers of your Facebook page to surf your vacation rental inventory and book online right from within Facebook!

We’ve coded this from scratch, while porting over the general look and feel of the property listing and sort pages from our WordPress plugin.

Overall, it always makes sense to take advantage of additional exposure, especially when it’s free.  In my own experience, I find myself surfing a property managers Facebook page, but I don’t often click through to view their website.  However if there was a tab right in my face within Facebook, highlighting the properties for rent, I would click on that.  It’s just easier, it doesn’t interrupt my Facebook “flow”.  Thus, it seems like a good idea to connect Lodgix with Facebook, what do you think?

Here are some screenshots from our test integration so far!

Image #1: Custom tab for guests to view inventory.

facebook1

 

 

Image #2: Property display
(note image gallery, jQuery Tabs, etc.)

facebook2

 

 

Really all that is left is some additional cleanup and testing!

HomeAway / VRBO Book It Now Integration

Earliest this summer HomeAway upgraded their integration to allow guests to get quote and make bookings on HomeAway / VRBO using rate data setup within Lodgix.  When a booking is made on HomeAway / VRBO that booking (as well as the credit card data from the guest) is securely transferred to Lodgix!

This is a great feature as it gives the guest the convenience of booking right from within the listing at HomeAway / VRBO and it’s great for the property manager as they don’t have to maintain a separate set of rates and rules at HomeAway.  They also don’t have to re-enter the guest contact and reservation data into Lodgix.

HomeAway requires a minimum of five listings to participate in their integration.

To signup, please review:

http://docs.lodgix.com/m/5502/l/128757-homeaway-vrbo-integration-requirements-and-details

Quickbooks Sync Update

We’ve completed coding the initial features for syncing invoices and payment to QuickBooks online. Now we move to error logging and then our QuickBooks adviser and bookkeeper will be testing the sync using real customer data. Concurrently we’ll be working on the User Interface. It might even be possible to get the integration submitted to Intuit this week.

Progress is being made!

First Invoice Created on Quickbooks Online from a Lodgix Invoice!

It’s official, we’ve sync’d an invoice from Lodgix to Quickbooks Online!

In our development efforts to far we’ve been able to sync:

  • Guests
  • Invoice rental charges
  • Invoice fees
  • Invoice taxes
  • Invoice discounts
  • Invoice payment methods

We are now working on isolating problems in the guest sync process as it tends to take a considerable amount of time and is prone to failure, forcing it to restart again.  Those problems appear to be solvable but will require some time to sort out.

We still have interfaces and guest payments to code, as well as a lot of testing, and then we need to get the app approved within the Intuit marketplace which can take 2 to 6 weeks.  And all of this is for QuickBooks online only.

The good news is that QuickBooks desktop, in theory, should only require some relatively simple tweaks to get it to work.  Our primary concern for QuickBooks desktop is getting it to work consistently using Intuit’s tools, which are not the most stable software components.

Here is a JPG of our first official invoice sync’d to QBOE.

invoice_quickbooks

Quickbooks Sync Update

Our most requested feature is a Quickbooks sync.  We’ve been promising this feature for over 18 months, but to date we’ve failed to implement it.  The reasons for this are many, but mostly it’s because Intuit (makers of Quickbooks) have encouraged new integrations to use a method which wasn’t quite baked.  As a result, they’ve changed their business model many times over the past several years which has cost many firms a lot of money as they’ve had to recode their sync applications multiple times.

I’ve wanted to avoid that and so each time we did the research, it seemed it was better to wait.

This time however we are ready to go as the integration specs seem to be somewhat stable and our own requirements much more clearly outlined.  We’ve spoken with at least six vendors and interviewed many others and we feel we have a real good idea on what needs to be done and how to do it.

The one issue we have come up against is that the integration cost varies significantly from vendor to vendor.  I haven’t really figured out why and no one has really been able to give me any great reasons why one vendor can charge $10,000 upfront with no future monthly residuals and another requires nothing upfront but $1,500 a month in monthly access fees?  I even found one enterprise vendor that wanted $30,000 a year!

To get a better handle on the challenges, costs and potential hit on the support side of things, we are going to develop a prototype internally using Intuit’s REST API and see how that works when attempting to import invoice, guest and payment information into quickbooks desktop and quickbooks online.

This process has already started and we remain committed to getting a Quickbooks sync feature out the door this fall.