As promised, coming off of a very long, very large infrastructure update cycle, we’ve moved on to some more visible improvements to Lodgix.
Housekeeping Enhancements have Launched!
This is a great improvement to Lodgix. We are still working on additional tweaks and fixing user reported bugs, however the overlay and app themselves are working great.
Please take some time to learn more about the new functionality:
Visual Rates / Rules Tape is Coming!
Dynamic pricing is coming to Lodgix. The technology as a whole has been present on Airbnb for some time and there are manY 3rd party companies out there now that offer alogorithms that will dynamically adjust rates and rules. Some PMs like the functionality, others don’t. At present, Lodgix does not have an easy way to quickly update rates and rules for a property. For those using our seasonality templates, it’s not horribly difficult, however it would proably still require a series of steps.
For example, let’s stay you wanted to change the rates to $150 per night for October 12 and 13 due to slow bookings for that period. There is an existing rate period setup for Oct 1 thru 30 for $200.0 per night. Here is how you would change the rates currently:
- open the seasonality template.
- edit the Oct 1 thru 30 rate period, shorten it to Oct 1 to 11.
- create a new rate period for Oct 12-13.
- create another rate period for October 14 thru 30.
- Apply to all properties assigned to the template.
If not using our seasonality templates, the steps above would have to be done for each property. Not fun and time consuming.
How will the new visual rates tape work?
- Open the tape
- select properties, select dates
- click change for Oct 12, enter $150, confirm
- click changes for Oct 12, enter $150, confirm
That’s it! all properties are updated, all channels are distributed with the updated rates.
Here is a quick video showing the new interface. If all testing goes well, we hope to soft launch this itnerface in 5 to 10 business days.
We have moved to final testing for the new housekeeping overlay and app. Granted this could still take 2 to 3 more weeks depending on what I flush out, however great strides have been made!
I am still surprised at how many coastal property managers allow guest refunds for stays that have to be cancelled due to named storms. In North Carolina, whenever I’ve booked a vacation rental on the coast, the property management company always recommended the purchase of travel insurance. They let me know at every stage of the booking that I would not be getting my money back in the event of a tropical storm or hurricane. My only course of recourse would travel insurance and they highly suggested I purchase it – especially if my travel was during hurricane season.
As a guest, that did not bother me. I can understand why a business cannot allow mother nature to interrupt their cash flow. Imagine having to refund all of those guests stays, especially during a busy Labor Day travel season, because of a hurricane. Yikes, what a mess.
Travel insurance isn’t that expensive and it provides a lot more than just protection from named storms. It protects against cancellation due to job loss, sickness and a death in the family. It protects not only your vacation rental accommodations, but flight costs too, as well as costs associated with lost luggage.
Here is a list of some of the items travel insurance typically covers:
If your property manager isn’t offering travel insurance or effectively mandating it by not offering refunds under any condition, then consider purchasing travel insurance on your own. Lodgix has a travel insurance partner that is reputable and makes issuance super easy, just visit:
…this is probably a bit premature, however it does get me excited as it begins to address a shortcoming in Lodgix that’s been present for almost a decade. That’s right a decade, since our inception. :-)
While Lodgix has some pretty snazzy housekeeping and arrival reports, as well as Employee logins, and automated SMS and email triggers. We don’t have:
- any way to assign invoices to Housekeepers;
- any way for a Housekeeper to update the status of a property (clean, dirty, inspection, etc..), view Housekeeping notes, etc.;
- a Housekeeping app, designed only for mobile phones, that a Housekeeper can use in the field to easily update the property status and communicate with Lodgix. Also the app should display assigned work orders, as well as allow work orders to be opened / edited and closed;
- a visual way for the host / property manager to see (and edit) the current clean status of a property;
So coding has started, won’t know how long this will take for a couple more weeks. Currently researching interfaces that perform well on a phone!
SMS Character Limit Increase
Today we increased the allowed number of characters for SMS messages from 150 character to 450 characters. However, messages with >160 characters will be broken down into chunks of 153 characters before being sent to the recipient’s handset. Each “chunk” is the equivalent of sending one sms. So sending a 450 character text will require three “chunks” which cost Lodgix 3x as much as sending a 150 character text. That’s why we’ve been slow to increase the character limit. Most modern phones are now smart enough to combine those “chunks” into one seamless text.
Sending SMS messages to your guests for directions, door codes, etc.. will assure that the most important information gets read (and delivered) in a timely manner.
TripAdvisor Integration is Complete
Occasionally a small bug or two is found, however in general the connection is stable. TripAdvisor has some odd nuances with their connection which can at times take a few days to resolve, however overall the connection is working well. We will be adding rate multiplier and commission functionality later this week.
Support for Wifi Locks from RemoteLock is Pending
While we have always supported the algorithmic locks from ResortLock, the wifi locks were not supported. That will soon change. We have some testing to complete this week, however this additional functionality should be live soon!
Recode of Owner Documents
The file system for owner documents has grown dated and slow for some accounts. We are currently experimenting with using the Amazon Elastic File System to store owner documents (owner statements, rental agreements, etc..). Hopefully the tests will go well, and soon that functionality and interface will get a much needed performance upgrade. Keep you posted!
Beta Calendar Tape
We spent a few more days on improving the beta calendar tape recently. One of the most frustrating components was how dates were displayed. We returned to the look and feel of the previous calendar for that, and we added it to the bottom of the calendar as well (helps those with larger numbers of properties)
Additionally we improve the spacing at the top of the calendar to make it more functional on all screens and mobile devices.
More work needs to be done and we are committed to making additional incremental improvements in the coming months.
A great deal of time continues to be spent on updating our core systems to more recent versions of Python and Django. Lodgix has been around now for 11+ years, and every few years significant effort must be made to update the core systems to keep them current. This takes a lot of time and testing. However once complete it allows us to introduce new interfaces and new coding techniques that take advantage of the improvements present in more recent versions of Python and Django. This update cycle should end in May and then we will have 18 months or so where the entire team will be free to code new functionality!
TripAdvisor Rentals Integration is Almost Complete!
Within the next several days we will begin live testing our updated integration to TripAdvisor Rentals. While we’ve been integrated to TripAdvisor for many years, TA has recently overhauled their connectivity options to provide more flexibility, real time availability updating (no more ical!) and reservation syncing. They have also added some wonderful people to their support team, which has made working with TripAdvisor easy and much more enjoyable then we ever thought possible.
Expected general availability is in the first week of March 2019.
A large portion of our development efforts the past several months have been focused on keeping our frameworks updated. These updates to both Django and Python require a great deal of research, preparation, manual coding and lots of testing. This is important. Many applications fail to account for the time and cost of keeping systems up to date. Over time the damage becomes irreversible. Lodgix is constantly investing in the future and working hard to assure that the platform is kept up to date and secure. While these update processes take time and detract a bit from the coding of more whiz bang features, they keep Lodgix stable and assure that our foundation is solid and ready for additional long term growth.
Once complete, our staff will be well prepped to begin working on many new enhancements to the application. Thanks for your patience during this period!
It’s been awhile since my last post, sorry about that. We haven’t gotten nearly as much accomplished as I’d hoped recently. We’ve been getting eaten up by the channels. Airbnb has been a particular thorn in our side. That has taken lots of bandwidth, however it appears some progress is being made and things have settled down a little this week, which gave us time to squeak in a small time saver for our property management clients.
There is a new option within the Owner Statement report that will allow a summary 1099 report to be generated.
- Choose the period.
- Select all owners (individual owners aren’t eligible as this is a summary report).
- Choose PDf or excel.
- Landscape or Portrait mode (landscape is best).
- Select IRS 1099
Depending on the number of properties and reservations, the report generation might take a few minutes.
In the future, we will probably try to connect this to some service that will both pay owners and generate and file a 1099 for each owner. Wouldn’t that be nice!
TripAdvisor Integration Update
We did switch over to the new rates and availability api from TripAdvisor last week. There were a few hiccups but they have since been resolved. We are now actively coding to their updated content and reservation APIs. Once complete the TripAdvisor integration should be very similar to our other integrations and allow reservations made on TripAdvisor to be pushed into Lodgix. iCal will no longer have to be used for calendar updating with TripAdvisor – hooray!
Hoping to have that complete in the next 10 days or so.