New Features and Enhancements

Nothing earth shattering in this update, but there are a few notable items that will help make life easier for some property managers.

Channel manager commissions can now be passed to owners

Many PMs use channels like Booking.com and Expedia.com as a source of new business.   The channels have substantial commission rates which they assess to the PM.   Many PMs wish to pass those fees on to the owner via the owner statement.   That is now possible!

The commission rate being charged by the channel must be entered withing Settings > Integrations > Channel Commissions.

Next there is a setting within the property management module for each owner that must be set to allow the commissions to pass through to the owner statement.  Keep in mind Lodgix charges an additional 2% for Booking.com and Expedia.com reservations, that 2% will be added to whatever commission rate you define for each channel.

There is also a new Channel Commission Report which will show all channel commissions for all properties for any given period.

Invoice fees can now be included as commissionable revenue on owner statements

Previously PM commissions could only be assessed on rental charges.  Now there is a new option within the setup of each fee or service to allow a commission to be assessed on it.

Area filter added to the calendar tape

For PMs with larger numbers of properties we had a couple requests to allow filtering by areas.  This feature has been added to the internal calendar tape.

Fees and services can now be designated as internal fees

Occasionally there are fees which a PM might want to assess a guest after the booking.  These fees are not meant to be viewable by guests when booking online. In our previous implementation there were only options for a fee to be “mandatory, optional or a pet fee”.  Now there is a new option to denote a fee as being as “Internal” fee.  When a fee is set to “Internal” that fee will not be displayed during the online booking process, it will only be available to the PM within the Lodgix invoice.

Please edit each of your existing fees of you need to denote them as being “Internal” fees.

I hope these new features make your management life a little easier!

Sometime within the next 10 days or so I hope to be writing about the launch of a significant new feature – the GUEST PAYMENT PORTAL.   That’s right, no more calling guests to update their credit card, just send them a payment request and the guest can go online and pay a balance, update their credit card, etc..  It’s coming!!  There’a little more fun stuff that will be included in that release, so stay tuned!

Homeaway Instant Booking Now Supported

Lodgix subscribers now have the option of offering a guest the ability to “Instant Book”  on all Lodgix properties participating in the HomeAway integration. Guests prefer a property that’s instantly bookable, and properties that offer Instant Booking typically enjoy higher conversion numbers.  On HomeAway, higher conversions = higher sort order = more bookings.

Previously HomeAway only offered the option to Book it Now, which allowed the property manager 24 hours to approve or reject the booking.   Instant Booking is really not that different, except that Lodgix will immediately communicate to HomeAway that the booking has been confirmed without any action on behalf of the property manager.

Lightning bolt identifies all Instant Bookable listings on HomeAway

Within Lodgix, there is really no difference between the two options as all the processes typically required to confirm an invoice (reservation deposit payment, signed rental agreement, etc..) would still have to be completed after the booking has been confirmed. Instant Bookings can still be cancelled, however HomeAway requires that Instant Booking participants understand that too many cancellations of Instant Booking reservations will negatively impact that property’s sort order on HomeAway.

Instant bookings are a filterable item on HomeAway.

So the combination of a separate filter for Instant Book listings and the fact that Instant Book listings have higher conversions, is a pretty compelling reason to enable it for all of your listings.   The end result will be even more bookings from HomeAway as your property sort order will continue to improve versus other listings that aren’t offering Instant Book.

Participation in the HomeAway Instant Book program does require approval from your HomeAway account manager.  They will review our account to determine if your booking conversions are high enough to warrant participation in the program.

iPhone 7 Giveaway is Today!

Thanks to all of the 64 Lodgix subscribers who left us wonderful reviews over the past few weeks.  To celebrate such a great response, we’ve entered all 64 reviewers into a drawing for a new iPhone 7 (up to $600 value).

Rather than using a random number generator online, I am going to do it old school.  Each entrant has been assigned a number from 1 to 64 based upon the timestamp of your review.  I have written each number on a piece of paper:

img_0095

All will be put into a hat and a number drawn at random.

Stay tuned, the drawing will be done in the next hour or so!!

1465221553-1273

Current Projects

The last 12 months have largely been spent rearchitecting large portions of the application.  This can be extremely time consuming, even for some of the best developers in the world. Recoding and refactoring the backend, while simultaneously launching a new front end framework requires a lot of man hours.   The good news is that we are currently working on two projects which will update two very important components of the application and will be very visible once launched.

Online Booking Pages

The Lodgix online booking pages have not been changed since the launch of the company in 2008.  Much is required of the interfaces and much is required of the code powering those pages:

  1. Mobile friendly.  Super important to have the pages make booking as easy as possible on phones and tablets.
  2. Simplicity.  A move to a one or two page booking process is essential.
  3. Skinning.   Lodgix users need much greater flexibility in skinning the look and feel of the Lodgix booking pages to match their website.
  4. Customization.   The ability to add / edit fields in the booking form, as well as to make certain field mandatory are super important.
  5. Design.   Updated, fresh design to make the booking process easy and simple on all screen sizes.
  6. Integration of new travel insurance partner.  Optional ability to offer travel insurance during the booking process.

and much, much more.

We are two weeks into the development process.  I should have some screenshots available soon!

Merged Rates and Rules

Lodgix currently has separate interfaces to setup nightly, weekly, monthly and per person rates.   Then we have separate interfaces to setup minimum night stay, arrival day and departure day rules.  All of that property setup can be time consuming.   Yes, we offer property cloning, rate / rule copy, etc..   However even with that, adding and updating rates / rules requires too much time.

Our new interfaces will allow all rates and rules to be setup on one page and will make the updating of those rates / rules for future periods a simple component of the universal property interface.

This project has been in progress in various stages since the summer of 2015.   The next stage will be an interim stage, still using our old display framework, but merging all current rates / rules.   The backend code will be completely new, but we will utilize the old display framework to ease the transition and testing to a completely new property setup process.

I expect we’ll start testing the new code in a couple of weeks and then perhaps a couple of weeks after that we’ll launch it to the production server.   So barring any huge fires, possibly a June 1 launch of the interim interfaces.   We’ll then move immediately to begin coding the new interfaces which will make things all nice and pretty and even more simple!

Imagine being able to say, “i’d like all my properties to reflect a 10% increase for 2017” and then making one change, applying it to all properties and five seconds later, all of your rates are 10% higher in 2017.

Or perhaps demand is running ahead of last year and you want to make an adjustment to your primary season pricing for all remaining available dates by increasing rates 5%, click a button, make the adjustment, apply to the correct dates and to individual or all properties and wah lah!  The change is complete.

This will set the stage nicely for more advanced automated yield management in the future!