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!
Fees created in Lodgix can be assigned to multiple properties, and multiple fees can be assigned to each property. For subscribers with larger numbers of properties it can become difficult to track which fees are assigned to which properties. Fees assigned to each property can be viewed within the property setup screens, but each property must be viewed individually.
To address this, today we added a new Fee Assignment Report, which can be accessed on the page within Lodgix where fees are assigned to properties.
The report clearly charts which fees are assigned to which properties, allowing you to see all of your fee assignments from a single report. No more navigating from property to property to view fees!
This should be a huge timesaver when working with fee assignments, especially for our larger subscribers!
…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!
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.
Our new calendars offer some great new functionality and speed:
- Filtering (drill down by date, amenity, location, etc.)
- Full screen option
- Colorful, modern designs and options
- Anchored headers
- Importing of holiday dates
- Mobile friendly
Here are some examples:
56 properties for rent @ outrageouscabins.com in Tennessee
Hotel and vacation rentals @ The Enchanted Inn in Clearwater Beach, Florida