Updates coming to Lodgix

..so it’s been awhile since our last update, sorry about that.    Let’s review where we are at.

The single property calendar relaunch is done, but yet’s it’s not.

While I’ve been happy with the concept, the actual implementation needed tweaking and more flexibility.   What I am seeing come out of this last round of tweaks looks good, but we’ll see.  Once I am happy with design, it will go live.

Discount and coupon code functionality will relaunch on Monday, January 22, 2018.

There are two primary reasons for the relaunch.   The primary reason was that today discounts and coupon codes are a universal setting.   It is not currently possible to have different length of stay pricing for various properties.  It is also not currently possible to assign unique promo codes to individual properties.  All of that will change on Monday

Additionally, the discounts and coupon codes interface will be retired and that functionality will be rolled into the interface where taxes / fees / services and deposits are currently setup:

For those integrated to HomeAway, the additional discount flexibility will also allow Length of Stay pricing that can vary by property.

SMS Messaging for Guests, Employees and Owners

Should launch early next week.   There will be a new field for “SMS Phone” that will appear in every owner, guest and employee account.  Guests will be asked if they wish to receive text notifications from you during the online booking process.

We currently offer SMS notifications for the primary subscriber to receive new booking notifications as well as SMS notifications to the subscriber when payment requests are completed.

 

By |2018-01-18T03:05:11+00:00January 18th, 2018|New Features, News|0 Comments

HomeAway Secure Messaging Update – Background – Part One

HomeAway recently announced that they will be moving to a secure messaging platform.    This is not a Lodgix initiative, we can only code our platform to make the changeover as seamless as possible for our users.  I do feel bad however for those who use HomeAway as the primary source of their bookings, as the whole platform has become must more restrictive and expensive over the years.   Hopefully more and more of you will take up the challenge to become less dependent on listing sites.  Having too much, if any, reliance on any listing site is a recipe for failure.

Summary of Changes

Initially the HomeAway Secure Messaging Platform will affect inquiry responses only.

Before (current):

  1. HomeAway provides guest email address in the inquiry feed.
  2. HomeAway allows HTML in the inquiry response.
  3. HomeAway allows URLs to 3rd party sites in the inquiry response.
  4. HomeAway allows property manager contact information in the inquiry response.
  5. HomeAway allows attachments in the inquiry response.

After (on or soon after August 7th, 2017):

  1. HomeAway will no longer provide guest email address, instead they will assign a temporary pass through email in the form of xxxxxxxx-xxxxxx@homeway.com
  2. HomeAway will NOT allow HTML in the inquiry response.   Text responses ONLY.
  3. HomeAway will NOT allow any links to any websites except their own website in the inquiry response.
  4. HomeAeay will NOT allow a property manager to include their phone, email, or website address in the inquiry response.
  5. HomeAway will NOT allow attachments in the inquiry response.

Line breaks are supported so that HomeAway can format a response – Tables and other formatting (bold, italics, etc) are not supported.

Recommendations from HomeAway for Property Managers:

  • Create a text-only response template for HomeAway inquiries
  • Populate the text-only template
  • Update automatic responses to remove urls, email addresses and phone numbers
  • Remove embedded images, including logos
  • Update verbiage that directs travelers back to website and/or special offers
  • Remove attachments
  • Perform a test inquiry to view inquiries and responses

Impact on Lodgix Subscribers:

  1. Ability to quote within an inquiry response will be very limited as none of the pretty HTML tables we supply can be used.
  2. No logos, no graphics, no images will be allowed.
  3. Potential guests can only book at HomeAway.
  4. No more automated ability to sell other inventory when the inquiry is for a property that is not available.
  5. No more deep links into your website to provide more information or reference a FAQ.
  6. No more use of the email signature in your inquiry response.
  7. No more no response followups to HomeAway inquiries.

I’d like to say there are some positives as a result of this change, but it’s only purpose is to drive ALL bookings through HomeAway to assure that HomeAway gets their service fee.  They believe they are becoming a booking platform and are no longer a lead generation platform.   On our end, it takes a simple process and makes it complex while limiting your access to data which is rightfully yours.

In our next installment, part two, we will outline the changes that will launch on Lodgix on Wednesday August 2nd to support HomeAway Secure Messaging.

By |2017-07-31T14:43:18+00:00July 31st, 2017|News|0 Comments

SMS New Booking Alerts Have Launched!

It is now possible to configure a text alert (SMS) when new online bookings occur.   To configure this service:

  1. Navigate to settings > important settings within Lodgix (https://www.lodgix.com/system/isettings/bookings/)
  2. Go to the Bookings Tab
  3. Verify your mobile phone number, and then click on Verify Phone and enter the code that is sent to you via SMS.
  4. Once complete a SMS alert will be sent to that number for every new online booking (see example below)



By |2017-02-28T15:44:25+00:00February 28th, 2017|New Features, News|0 Comments

And the Winner is….

Entries were shuffled…
img_0096
…and put in a candy treat bowl…(I had no hat readily available and I love Halloween!)..img_0097 ..and a winner was chosen!img_0099

…lucky number 13??

Even as I write this post, I don’t know the actual name of the winner of the iPhone7.  I emailed the final list to my colleague and have not checked the list to see which account correlates to lucky number 13.

Let’s go see…

winner-jody-steick

Jody Stelck of Surf City Rentals!!

is the winner of the new iPhone7!!   We will be in touch next week to make arrangements to get your new iPhone7 ordered!

Thanks to all who took the time to review Lodgix and thanks to all for being such great Lodgix customers!

By |2016-09-16T17:12:42+00:00September 16th, 2016|News|2 Comments

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

By |2016-09-16T16:43:07+00:00September 16th, 2016|News|0 Comments

Current Projects Update

Our two primary development projects have made significant progress since our last update.

Online Booking Page Redesign

I’ve seen the first online booking page redesign / recode test pages and can’t tell you how excited I am to get rid of our current pages.   Those pages continue to work well, however the design is dated and the mobile experience very sub par.   The new pages are responsive,  utilize the latest in buttons / icon designs and offer a great deal more flexibility.   It’s just a really big deal to flush the old code / design and usher in the new.   We still have several weeks of development of testing left, but great progress has been made!

I might have some screenshots next week Monday.

Merged Rates / Rules

An incredible amount of work has been done as we work to consolidate a the rates and rules setup for each property into one interface.  An immense amount of automated testing is being done to assure that all quotes and bookings from all services (booking calendars, WordPress users,  API users, channel users, etc) work as before with no downtime or discrepancies.

There will be huge interface differences which will be rolled out incrementally, however all guests should notice no difference in the rates and rules being used in quotes and bookings.  This update will only make property setup and maintenance MUCH easier, as well as make future coding MUCH easier and efficient on the development side of things.  It’s a much much needed update and one that I can’t wait to have behind us!

More soon!

By |2016-05-23T13:54:06+00:00May 23rd, 2016|New Features, News|1 Comment

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!

By |2016-04-28T13:07:51+00:00April 28th, 2016|New Features, News|3 Comments

HomeAway adding Pay Per Booking Model

as I predicted long ago…..the fools that are vacation rental owners and managers will sign up in droves, even though it will cost them 3 to 4x what an annual flat paid listing would cost.

http://news.investors.com/092713-672818-homeaway-users-like-new-pay-per-booking-model.htm?ven=yahoocp&src=aurlled&ven=yahoo

I guess I need to start offering pay per booking as a model on Lodgix? Since it seems vacation rental owners and managers are so happy to throw their money away….I can see it now, “All Lodgix subscriptions are now FREE! Pay just 3% of all bookings!”

I am sure I would get a ton of new customers as a result…but I just can’t do it.  I simply think that pay for performance is a dirty model that takes advantage of what Rush Limbaugh calls the “low information voter”.

Please enlighten me where a model like this is a good deal for the subscriber?

By |2013-10-09T14:12:22+00:00October 9th, 2013|News|0 Comments
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