HomeAway Import Now Supports Reservations and Reviews

 

Setting up new properties in Lodgix has never been easier – at least for HomeAway customers.  Last year we coded the ability for a property manager to import inventory setup on HomeAway  / VRBO into Lodgix.

This feature can save a bunch of time, as the alternative would be to manually copy and paste all marketing and amenity data into Lodgix – FOR EVERY PROPERTY.  Yuck.   No one cares to do that.  Initially, the HomeAway import was limited to property data only.   Not any more.

Today Lodgix can also import all existing HomeAway reservations and reviews into Lodgix.   Most property managers wish to integrate to HomeAway.   Integrating to HomeAway wipes out all property and reservation data on HomeAway and overwrites that data with data from Lodgix.  Thus before the integration can begin, all property data must be present on Lodgix so it can be sync’d back to HomeAway to update and / or  create listings.

Reservation data needs to either be imported into Lodgix via ical and then turned into a reservation (old way) or better yet, imported into Lodgix from HomeAway (new way).   Once all HomeAway reservations are present in Lodgix,   the integration to HomeAway can be done and then all listings on HomeAway will be sync’d with Lodgix and all future reservations taken on HomeAway will be pushed into Lodgix.   Reservations taken on Lodgix (or other channels) will sync with HomeAway and block those dates on the HomeAway calendar.

Additionally, Lodgix can now import your existing HomeAway / VRBO reviews, which will make populating your existing wordpress site, super easy.

By |2018-09-05T20:52:37+00:00September 5th, 2018|New Features|0 Comments

Lodgix Airbnb Integration Has Launched

READ THE DOCUMENTATION!!!

Our integration to Airbnb has launched.  It may still require a bit of tweaking in the next couple of weeks (July 2017), but we felt it was close enough to warrant it going live.

Airbnb REQUIRES that a new Airbnb account be established for the integration.   Lodgix will then populate your new Airbnb account with the property data on Lodgix.   THERE IS NO WAY TO USE YOUR EXISTING AIRBNB ACCOUNT.  Once the new account is populated, your Airbnb account manager will migrate your reviews to your new account.

Initially Lodgix will be charging an additional 1% on every booking originating from Airbnb once integrated.   This fee may be reduced, capped or eliminated in the future.  However right now we really have no idea as to the support costs that will be required to maintain this channel.

The integration setup and settings page can be found at:
Settings > Channel Management > Integrations > Airbnb tab

 

 

 

By |2017-07-27T13:03:30+00:00July 19th, 2017|New Features|0 Comments

Airbnb Integration Update

Slowly but surely we are working through all of the nuances of integrating to Airbnb.  We are hoping for a soft launch with a few selected customers in the last week of May. Before that however I thought it would be good to review how the Airbnb integration will work and what will comprise their minimum listing requirements.

The listing review process

Listing review process
All listings being managed via a third party Channel Partner must meet a minimum set of criteria prior to being live on Airbnb. The process of evaluating that minimum criteria may take up to 5
business days. You will be notified via email once your listings are live on the platform. If your listings were rejected, you will have an opportunity to modify the content and resubmit. As soon as
your listings are approved, they will begin appearing in search results on airbnb.com.

Airbnb listing minimum requirements
Airbnb expects our Channel-connected listings to meet a set of minimum content requirements,including:
● Minimum 8 characters in Listing Title
● Minimum 50 characters in Listing Description
● Minimum 70 days available with the next 365 days
● 7 or more images
● At least 3 photos have a minimum resolution of 1024 x 683 pixels @ 72 dpi
● 5 or more amenities
We do not allow hosts to connect via a Channel Partner in select urban destinations. For more information on the minimum listing requirements or regional restrictions, please contact your
Market Manager.

Transferring reviews to your new account
If you have been managing your listings through a manual Airbnb account, your Market Manager can help you transfer any reviews to your new, Channel-connected account. You can initiate this
process as soon as the connected listings are live on the platform. Please note that the review transfer process is a 1:1 host transfer: we cannot transfer reviews from a single host account across
multiple Channel-connected accounts, or consolidate reviews across multiple accounts into a single host account. Once this transfer process is complete, please deactivate the listings tied to
your manually-managed account to avoid duplicate listings on the Airbnb platform. Please note that listing and reservation data will not be transferred over as part of this review transfer process,
so there may be a period of time where you are managing reservations across 2 different accounts.

Note: if you are a Superhost transitioning over to an API-managed account, please alert your Market Manager of your Superhost status. They will be able to provide additional
recommendations for the transfer process that will avoid jeopardizing your Superhost standing.

Managing guest inquiries

Instant Book and channel-connected listings
All channel-connected listings are automatically enabled for “Instant Book.” This means that a guest reservation inquiry will be instantly confirmed as long as your listing calendar shows availability.
Airbnb listings enabled for Instant Book convert at a rate almost 2x higher than a listing that requires hosts to confirm a reservation. It also boosts your performance in our search ranking.
If for any reason you are uncomfortable with your guest, or they violate your host rules, you may cancel your reservation without penalty. Please reach out to your Market Managers for support or
questions regarding Instant Booking reservations.

Managing guest communications
Airbnb guests and hosts may communicate with each other via our messaging platform. Today, we do not pass messaging data through our API, which means you may not be able to manage your
Airbnb messages via your Property Management or Channel Management software. To respond to guest messages, you can log into airbnb.com and reply via your user inbox. We also
recommend configuring your account to receive email and/or text notifications every time a guest contacts you. You can set this up by navigating to the “Account Settings” portion of your account.
Any users with email notifications enabled can respond to Airbnb messages by replying directly to email notification. Airbnb does not allow for hosts to use the message system to transfer contact
information like email addresses, phone numbers or links to direct websites prior to a confirmed booking.

Post-Booking communication
Once an Airbnb booking is confirmed, a guest will be able to view the property address, check-in instructions, and House Manual on the Airbnb platform. We will also provide you with the guest’s
phone number details, and share your preferred phone number with the guest to facilitate better communication before and during your trip. Airbnb generates a platform-specific email alias for each user that can be emailed directly. This means you can communicate to guests without logging into the Airbnb platform. This email address expires 2 weeks (14 days) after a trip is complete.

By |2017-05-16T14:46:40+00:00May 16th, 2017|New Features|0 Comments

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.

facebook1

 

 

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

facebook2

 

 

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

By |2014-12-30T17:56:35+00:00December 30th, 2014|New Features|0 Comments

HomeAway / VRBO Book It Now Integration

Earliest this summer HomeAway upgraded their integration to allow guests to get quote and make bookings on HomeAway / VRBO using rate data setup within Lodgix.  When a booking is made on HomeAway / VRBO that booking (as well as the credit card data from the guest) is securely transferred to Lodgix!

This is a great feature as it gives the guest the convenience of booking right from within the listing at HomeAway / VRBO and it’s great for the property manager as they don’t have to maintain a separate set of rates and rules at HomeAway.  They also don’t have to re-enter the guest contact and reservation data into Lodgix.

HomeAway requires a minimum of five listings to participate in their integration.

To signup, please review:

http://docs.lodgix.com/m/5502/l/128757-homeaway-vrbo-integration-requirements-and-details

By |2014-10-21T20:32:04+00:00October 21st, 2014|New Features|0 Comments

Quickbooks Sync Update

We’ve completed coding the initial features for syncing invoices and payment to QuickBooks online. Now we move to error logging and then our QuickBooks adviser and bookkeeper will be testing the sync using real customer data. Concurrently we’ll be working on the User Interface. It might even be possible to get the integration submitted to Intuit this week.

Progress is being made!

By |2013-11-02T15:27:21+00:00November 2nd, 2013|New Features|1 Comment

First Invoice Created on Quickbooks Online from a Lodgix Invoice!

It’s official, we’ve sync’d an invoice from Lodgix to Quickbooks Online!

In our development efforts to far we’ve been able to sync:

  • Guests
  • Invoice rental charges
  • Invoice fees
  • Invoice taxes
  • Invoice discounts
  • Invoice payment methods

We are now working on isolating problems in the guest sync process as it tends to take a considerable amount of time and is prone to failure, forcing it to restart again.  Those problems appear to be solvable but will require some time to sort out.

We still have interfaces and guest payments to code, as well as a lot of testing, and then we need to get the app approved within the Intuit marketplace which can take 2 to 6 weeks.  And all of this is for QuickBooks online only.

The good news is that QuickBooks desktop, in theory, should only require some relatively simple tweaks to get it to work.  Our primary concern for QuickBooks desktop is getting it to work consistently using Intuit’s tools, which are not the most stable software components.

Here is a JPG of our first official invoice sync’d to QBOE.

invoice_quickbooks

By |2013-10-23T19:50:34+00:00October 23rd, 2013|New Features|4 Comments

Quickbooks Sync Update

Our most requested feature is a Quickbooks sync.  We’ve been promising this feature for over 18 months, but to date we’ve failed to implement it.  The reasons for this are many, but mostly it’s because Intuit (makers of Quickbooks) have encouraged new integrations to use a method which wasn’t quite baked.  As a result, they’ve changed their business model many times over the past several years which has cost many firms a lot of money as they’ve had to recode their sync applications multiple times.

I’ve wanted to avoid that and so each time we did the research, it seemed it was better to wait.

This time however we are ready to go as the integration specs seem to be somewhat stable and our own requirements much more clearly outlined.  We’ve spoken with at least six vendors and interviewed many others and we feel we have a real good idea on what needs to be done and how to do it.

The one issue we have come up against is that the integration cost varies significantly from vendor to vendor.  I haven’t really figured out why and no one has really been able to give me any great reasons why one vendor can charge $10,000 upfront with no future monthly residuals and another requires nothing upfront but $1,500 a month in monthly access fees?  I even found one enterprise vendor that wanted $30,000 a year!

To get a better handle on the challenges, costs and potential hit on the support side of things, we are going to develop a prototype internally using Intuit’s REST API and see how that works when attempting to import invoice, guest and payment information into quickbooks desktop and quickbooks online.

This process has already started and we remain committed to getting a Quickbooks sync feature out the door this fall.

By |2013-09-13T17:44:21+00:00September 13th, 2013|New Features|1 Comment
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