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:

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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!

New Report: Income Summary Report

Located under reports > financial > income summary report, this report offers a monthly breakdown of revenue, occupancy rates, days rented, etc..   The report can be run by individual or selected unit(s) and for all properties.  This report is an annual report, so only yearly increments are available. This report offers up a different view than the income detail report which allows income detail to be reported by a select-able time period.
The income summary report is also one of our first reports to use our new Angular framework.   Eventually all reports will be converted to this more modern and responsive framework.

New iCalendar Interface is Live!

One of the objectives most have when using a system like Lodgix is to stop having to update calendar availability on multiple sites.

While it would be great if every listing provider had a two way reservation sync, most do not.  And even those that do, many limit full reservation sync to property managers with 5 or more properties.   However many listing sites have moved to support the iCalendar format for exporting and importing calendar data.  iCalendar data is limited but it will allow Lodgix to be the ONLY area where calendar data needs to be stored.

The Lodgix iCalendar Interface

The Lodgix iCalendar Interface

Let’s review the components of the Lodgix iCalendar interface:

  1. iCal Export URL.   This URL would be entered into listing sites that accept iCal imports.  This URL will contain basic Lodgix availability data to block dates, assuring that double bookings cannot occur on the listing site.
  2. iCal Import URL.   Lodgix supports multiple iCal import URLs.    For example, if a booking is made on Airbnb, once you have the correct, property specific Airbnb iCal import URL entered here. Another great example, would be a property manager with an owner who maintains a Google calendar of the bookings they take for their property.   By entering the Google iCal URL within Lodgix, the property manager can make bookings with the assurance that the unit is not getting double booked.  Likewise the property manager could supply the iCal export URL to the property owner, which he / she could enter into the Google Calendar, to assure that the Google Calendar remains updated with an bookings made by the PM.
  3. Auto Import.   The auto import features allows Lodgix to automatically poll the iCal import URL.  Lodgix will poll the import URL every 60 minutes to see if there are any changes in availability.  If set to OFF,  the import is a manual process.
  4. Manual sync – property.  To force a manual import of any new or changed calendar data, the sync button can be used.
  5. Manual sync – all properties. To force a manual import of any new or changed calendar data for all properties, the Import iCal – All Sources button can be used.

Important Notes About iCalendar Data

Important Notes About iCalendar Data

Importing rules:

  1. iCalendar data can never overwrite Lodgix invoice data.
  2. iCalendar data remains true to the source.  For example, if iCalendar data is being imported from a Google Calendar, and changes made to reservations on the Google Calendar (add a date, remove a date, etc.) will update the iCal block on Lodgix, ONLY if the block was originally created by the Google Calendar iCalendar import.

If there are any conflicts that result when iCalendar data is being imported, those conflicts will be noted in the Logs tab within the iCalendar interface.

Viewing Imported iCalendar Data on the Lodgix Calendar Tape

Viewing Imported iCalendar Data on the Lodgix Calendar Tape

iCalendar data are imported as blocks are in black.   The source of the data is noted at the top of the block.  Eventually we will implement the ability to customize the color of the blocks to vary by the iCal source.

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.

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

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