Requesting a Digital Signature Manually

If the guest does not sign the rental agreement online (or if you have disabled that feature), the only other option is to request the signature manually.

Manual Signature Request Icon

Wherever that icon appears within Lodgix, you must click on it to send a manual digital signature request. You cannot create an email response template and include the merge tag [DS_SIGN_LINK] and send the email through the normal correspondence or communication channels. The link will not be populated in the email and your guests will be confused. YOU MUST SEND SIGNATURE REQUESTS VIA THE ICONS.

Dashboard Widgets

All Dashboard reservation widgets contain icons for invoices that have completed, needed or pending digital signatures.

Guest Control Panel > Details Tab

Guest Control Panel > Documents Tab

Window for Requesting Digital Signatures

When you request a digital signature, a window will open that looks like above. If there isn’t a button with the text “send for digital signature” you aren’t sending a working link to sign electronically.

Email Template for Requesting Digital Signatures

Lodgix comes preloaded with four customizable templates that are used when emailing guests. You cannot create your own template, you can ONLY edit the templates we provide.

Edit the “Request Digital Signature Email” template if you wish to modify the text sent to the guest when requesting a digital signature.

If you create your own template and assign it to a type = Digital Signatures,and even replicate the merge tags within the system template, and then attempt to email the guest through the normal correspondence and communication windows within Lodgix, it will NOT work!

By |2013-08-23T18:43:08+00:00August 21st, 2013|New Features|1 Comment

Inquiry Management – Automated No Response Followup

Located within Lodgix under Inquiries > Configuration Options (disabled by default)

no-response

This setting pertains to web inquiries ONLY, phone inquiries are exempt. Some property managers wonder why many times when they respond to an inquiry they never hear back. Maybe the guest never got the response, maybe they accidentally deleted the response from their inbox or more likely than not the guest had already found another property or had found a more appealing property elsewhere.

When turned on, the no response follow-up feature will send out a custom follow-up email X number of days after your (or the system’s) initial response to the inquiry. This follow-up will ONLY apply if the guest has never responded to the inquiry and it only applies to email inquiries NOT PHONE INQUIRIES.

We have developed a manual ability within the communication stream to turn off the no followup response in the event that the guest responds to the inquiry over the phone, as opposed to email and you don’t want the no response follow-up email to go out.

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By |2013-05-17T20:11:09+00:00May 16th, 2013|New Features|0 Comments

New Inquiry Management Options

There is a new notification option available within the Inquiry Configuration area of Lodgix. In the past every time a guest inquires or responds to a response, a notification is generated. That notification previously only went to the subscriber or to a custom email address of your choosing. Now there is an additional option to have the notification automatically sent to whomever last responded to the inquiry.

Thus if you have employees responding to inquiries, they can now be notified of the guest response. It allows the notification process to be more dynamic.

inquiry-notifications

By |2013-03-27T13:59:17+00:00March 27th, 2013|New Features|0 Comments

Vendor Management for Vacation Rentals

Oh wow, three updates in one day! Another small step in the right direction. I didn’t even get to write yet about the enhanced owner login functionality or triggers or our new HTML5 website designs, so much is happening!!

Vendor management is really a lite contact manager for your vendors. It’s heavily associated with the rental expense and work order functionality.

Work Orders > Vendor Manager

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Add Vendor

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  1. Enter vendor contact information
  2. Save data
  3. Add work order (optional step)

Work orders assigned to this vendor will appear below the vendor contact details.

By |2012-12-19T22:42:07+00:00December 19th, 2012|New Features|0 Comments

Inquiry Management and Automation Overview

Vacation Rental Inquiry Templates and Automation

Work and testing are underway of a new feature that will allow Lodgix subscribers to route their inquiry emails through Lodgix. This will allow a subscriber to:

  1. Run reports by custom periods for inquiries received by source
  2. Calculate ROI by source as Lodgix will have smarts that track inquiries as they turn into bookings.
  3. Apply templates to responses for easy and quick responses in the event a property is available or not available
  4. Quote inquiries. Currently if a phone or email inquiry arrives, there is no ability to send out a custom quote via email. The new system will have this functionality.
  5. Track inquiries separate from guests. Inquiry tables will be sync’d with email marketing module to allow for email marketing after the fact
  6. Access mobile friendly pages for super fast response times when receiving inquiries on your mobile device
  7. Setup complete automation, allowing inquiries to be answered with templates applied with NO subscriber intervention
  8. Enable a feature called “Rental Switch” which will automatically suggest (and quote) other “like” properties in your inventory when an inquiry arrives for a property that is not available.

and of course, much, much more.

This is truly the most robust inquiry management and conversion tool available anywhere. Best of all we are providing it at no charge to existing customers. Estimated time to arrival: January 25, 2012.

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Screenshot showing new Inquiry menu item with ability to map your source IDs to specific properties on Lodgix. Using the Cost tab you will be able to define the cost of your annual listing for ROI calculation or also define the per inquiry cost by source.

By |2012-01-12T16:31:54+00:00January 12th, 2012|New Features|0 Comments

Invoicing and Guest Reservations

Many times throughout the week I encounter Lodgix.com customers that are not using best practices when it comes to guest reservations and invoicing. As a vacation rental owner myself, I cannot fathom how a vacation rental business owner can manage their business effectively if they aren’t accurately recording the payments and refunds associated with each rental.

Each invoice has a status, that status can be:

1) Unconfirmed
2) Confirmed
3) Paid-in-Full
4) Refund Owed

An invoice is in an unconfirmed state of the guest has not paid the reservation deposit requirement which must always be setup within the Universal Rules area of the application. For most properties, the reservation deposit requirement is 50% of the rental charges or 100% if the rental is <30 days to arrival.

For example, if today is January 7th and a reservation is made today with a June 7 arrival date, then 50% of the rental charges would be due now to make the reservation. The invoice will remain in an unconfirmed status until the 50% is paid. THE INVOICE WILL ALWAYS TELL YOU WHAT PAYMENT AMOUNT IS REQUIRED TO BRING THE INVOICE TO A CONFIRMED STATUS.

All invoices with an "Unconfirmed" status are displayed in the pending reservations area of your dashboard. There should never be reservations that are in the past with an unconfirmed status. That means you as a business owner are not matching the real world transaction with the invoice transaction, and it will make your vacation rental accounting very difficult in the long term.

The invoice is always your point of reference. If you receive a check in the mail for a payment, it must be recorded against the correct invoice. If you owe a security deposit refund to a guest after departure it must both be matched against the invoice and recorded within the invoice to ultimately bring that invoice to zero.

Pending Reservations Example (BAD)

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This is an example of a property owner who is NOT CLOSING OUT EACH INVOICE AND BRINGING IT’S BALANCE TO ZERO. If today is January 7th, 2011, then every single one of these reservation is in the past and these all show that the guest still owes the property owner money. I know this because the reservation is in a pending status, which means that the reservation is in an "Unconfirmed" status, which means that the guests owes me money to confirm the reservation. But that can’t be true, because these reservations are over!!! So either the property owner did not collect enough money (unlikely) or the property owner collected the money and failed to record it correctly on the invoice (likely).

Pending Reservations Example (GOOD)

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The property owner is using best practices. If today is January 7th, 2011, all of his reservations are in the future. That means each of those reservations has yet to occur and are not confirmed because the property owner is awaiting payment or has received payment and has not had time to record it (check, cash, etc.)

Refund Due (BAD)

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This property owner has a lot of reservations that are showing as being owed a refund. Some of these invoices are from early 2010. It is highly unlikely that the guest has not received their refund because the property owner would be in a lot of hot water if they were intentionally not refunding security deposits. It is more likely that the property owner experienced some damage and refunded only a portion of the security deposit or simply failed to record the refund at all. If only a portion of the deposit was refunded, then the remaining amount which the invoice shows as being owed to the guest needs to be countered by adding a "breakage fee" to the invoice and applying it versus the deposit amount that is showed as being owed.

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In this example, the property owner $742.00 in rental charges (item #1) that are due + payment of the $100.00 security deposit, so $842.00 is due (item #2). However, for some reason the property owner processed another payment of $100.00 (item #3), resulting in a credit balance in both the rental charges and the other deposits columns. Thus the guest is currently owed $200.00

The guest departs and the property owner see that the guest broke an expensive lamp and did not report it. Per the property owner’s policies she wants to retain $50.00 of the $100.00 security deposit and must update the invoice appropriately.

In item #5 she creates a new fee and calls it a "Breakage Fee" and then choose to assess the fee against the security deposit (Item #6). IT IS VERY IMPORTANT IF YOU ARE WISHING TO REDUCE THE AMOUNT OF SECURITY DEPOSIT REFUNDED that you first create a fee and assess the charge against the security deposit and not rental charges. In step #7 she sets the amount of the fee at $50.00.

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The result is that you can see that a breakage fee has been added to the invoice for $50.00 (item #1), but has been paid for from the security deposit monies already collect (item #2) and thus all that is owed to the guest is the remaining $50.00 of the security deposit and the $100.00 which the property accidentally overcharged the guest (item #3) resulting in a total credit due to the guest of $150.00 (item #4).

Guest Refunds

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Because the property owes the guest a refund for both the security deposit ($50.00) and an overpayment of rental charges ($100.00) two separate refunds must be recorded to bring this invoice to zero balance.

Step #1: Press the Record Refund icon
Step #2: Enter the amount of the refund
Step #3: Choose whether to apply the refund towards the security deposit or rental charges
Step #4: Choose the refund method
Step #5: If via check, record the check # of the refund
Step #6: Press "Record Refund"

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The transaction history of the invoice will update and you can now see that the balance of the Other Deposits column has been reduced to zero after the security deposit refund has been recorded. Now all that is left is to issue another refund for $100.00 and apply it towards the rental charges balance.

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The final invoice now accurately reflects what transpired with this particular guest. The invoice now has a zero remaining balance (item #1) and reflects the rental charges refund due to the overpayment and both the rental charges and the security deposit accounts have a zero balance.

This invoice is done!!

By |2011-01-07T17:16:33+00:00January 7th, 2011|Tutorials|0 Comments
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