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The OwnerRez Blog

A blog about our thoughts, services, upcoming features and the industry at large.

The OwnerRez Blog

Are you ready for some BIG updates?

Hi everyone!  Happy weekend!

I wanted to take a few minutes to mention several really big things coming to OwnerRez.  Here's a really quick taste just to get you salivating!

Property Management

Oh yes.  Just what you think it is.  Want to use your excellent OwnerRez-backed booking process to help your friends and colleagues manage their properties?  Soon you can.  From tracking expenses to assigning commission to creating owner statements, property management is coming and it's awesome.  First beta will be out in a few days, and we'll have more on that.

Accidental Damage Protection

We are in the final stages of finishing damage protection.  Damage protection is just what it sounds like - an insurance policy that covers accidental guest damage which is purchased and applied to every booking automatically.  You and the guest don't even need to do anything - it just happens in the background!

Hosted Sites

This project has been on the back burner for awhile, and we're going to be pushing out a first beta fairly soon.  Basically, this is a feature that lets you host a website right from your OwnerRez account.  Your property photos, amenities, rates, etc?  Your OwnerRez website will use them directly so that you only need to change that information in one place.

Call Center

This is a super cool feature we've also been working on in the background for awhile.  The first beta is already out in limited release with a few beta users.  It will be released for everyone soon.  Call Center is the ability for you to buy and use a phone number directly from OwnerRez to talk to guests.  The possibilities here are really endless.  At the moment, you can buy and provision a phone number, set some voicemail and forwarding settings and use the Dialer screen to make/receive calls through your computer.  Tying this to guest information and inquiry logging will evolve over time.

Inquiry Conversation Overhaul

The inquiry answering/quoting process in OwnerRez is awkward and has been for awhile.  Not only do you have to click around to much to send an answer, but there's no way track the back-and-forth conversation you have as the guest and you respond over time.  We are going through a very large overhaul of the entire inquiry process to greatly simplify the process and centralize messaging.

I'll just leave this picture right here for anyone who's curious...  (click on it for a bigger view)

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When?  WHEN can I have these things?

As with food, good software takes times to make.  These things won't be out overnight, but they are coming very very soon and some of them are already out in limited released to some users as I write this.  If you have early thoughts, please comment or send us an email!

Welcome, FirstData users! OwnerRez can now take credit card payments via Payeezy!

Like FirstData and the Payeezy gateway?  OwnerRez now fully integrates with the FirstData/Payeezy gateway for credit card processing.  All transaction types (payments, security deposits, refunds, voids) fully work.

Like the other credit card gateways we support, head over to Settings > Payment Methods to get started.  Select "Add Payeezy" and then fill in the details.

We've written up a quick support article on how to find your API credentials for Payeezy.  If you have any other questions, don't hesitate to ask.

Holiday settings for Fridays, Mondays and "All Weekend"

Have you ever noticed that your holiday settings and rules don't kick in right because someone left the day before a holiday?  For instance, the guest books Memorial Day weekend but they depart on Sunday (not Monday) so OwnerRez doesn't think it's a holiday booking.  You and I know that it is, but the software lets it go by.

You can not configure your holiday settings to stretch across weekends depending on which day the holiday falls on.

Go to Settings > Holidays and click the top Change button.  You'll notice that a section for Friday and Monday has been added.

But notice the options available.  You can now select this little guy:

To be clear, this does not mean that the guest will be charged multiple times for the same holiday.  It's still just one holiday even if the booking hits on all four days.

Notice on your calendar, that the holiday now shows across the holiday.

We encourage users to set the "all weekend" option on all four day types: Fri, Sat, Sun and Mon.  Holiday weekends always have a lot more demand than normal weekends.  Anyone booking on those weekends should be subject to your holiday rules and fees, even if the guest leaves before the actual holiday.

QuickBooks Online support expanded to include Customer contact info, Department/Location tracking and multiple Currencies

Thanks for all the great feedback on our new QuickBooks Online integration.

This morning, we released another update that expands that integration by adding more options.

Guest Contact Info  Customer Contact Info

The single most resounding request was for Customer records in QuickBooks to have contact information such as phone number, email address and address information.  We did that.

The QuickBooks customer now shows those items when the booking syncs across.  Every time our sync runs, the system checks and updates the customer information.  So if the email or phone number changes in OwnerRez, the customer record will update on the QuickBooks side as well.

Please note that only the default email address, default phone number and default address are sent to QuickBooks.  If you have multiple emails or phone numbers, only the top one is sent across.  If you have need of more than that, please contact us and let us know.

Location Tracking

Several users requested location tracking.  While we already supported class tracking, QuickBooks also has department level tracking which is also called "location" tracking for some business types.  This allows you to track invoices to a location or region, even if you're already tracking line items to classes.

To flip this on, go to your Settings > QuickBooks and adjust the settings to start tracking Locations.

You will need to use the "Refresh Account Info" button at the top of your settings to bring in your QuickBooks Locations since our system has never retrieved those in the past.

After you do that, the Location to Property mapping can be completed, where you will set a property to the specific location that you want its invoices to go to.

Multiple Currencies

We found working with non-US QuickBooks users that non-US accounts are different than US accounts.  QuickBooks requires a wider array of currency settings for non-US accounts that can make multi-currency users a bit tricky.

If you have properties in different countries, where each property accepts a different form of currency, you can now configure your QuickBooks settings in OwnerRez to support that.  Simply check the Multi-Currency option and then set each property to the currency you want it to use.

Please note that this will not change the currency for any other part of OwnerRez such as reporting, taxes or credit card payments.  This currency setting is only used for QuickBooks syncing so that new customers and invoices are created in QuickBooks with the correct currency flagged.

Please continue sharing your problems or preferences with the QuickBooks integration feature.  We have some other ideas already pending.  As always, we prioritize new development based on user feedback.

Guest reminder emails for payments and security deposits

Happy Thursday, everyone!

I wanted to take a second to talk about something that users have been asking about for a few weeks - the payment reminder emails that are automatically sent to guests.

What's the deal with reminder emails?

If you have guests that pay by check or PayPal, no second payment or security deposit is automatically scheduled.  How do those guests remember to send their second payment?

Maybe you entered a manual booking and forget to schedule the second payment?

The system now sends payment reminder emails for any booking where there's an outstanding balance and second payment is not already scheduled.  Payment reminder emails are sent 10, 5 and 1 day(s) before the due date of the second payment.  The due date is based on the quote or property billing rules for that booking.

You can control how the reminder emails look through email templates.  Want to change the wording, add styling, add other fields, remind the guest about other booking information at the same time?  You can.  Go nuts with your own custom template.

This template exists for both payments and security deposits.

Again, the reminders are sent 10, 5 and 1 day before the due date of the payment or security deposit, and only where no scheduled payment or security deposit already exists.

But what if I don't want this?  How do I turn it off?!

We've already gotten a lot of feedback about this feature, and some users were pretty unhappy that guests were getting blasted with (possibly untrue or irrelevant) reminders about payment.

To combat that, we made sure to include a lot of options for turning it off and every level: properties, quotes or bookings.

For a particular booking, if you know the guest never needs any of these reminders, you can turn them off under the Payment and Security Deposit tabs.  Just hit the Skip button.

If you want it skipped for someone before they even book, you can do that on the quote you send them.  Go into the quote billing settings and flip it off there.  The booking that results from the quote will automatically have the reminders turned off.

If you never ever want reminders going out, for any reason, you can kill them globally on the property.  Open the property, go to Rules and turn them off. 

Remember that there is a setting for both the payments and security deposits.  You need to turn them both off anywhere you're disabling them.

Manual bookings ask you about the reminders right on the create page

To make it even easier to kill reminder emails, the manual create-booking page asks you right when you're creating the booking if you want the guest to get a reminder.

This mitigates the problem of you, for instance, bringing in a manual booking from Airbnb and then forgetting to turn off the reminders.  You're asked immediately when creating the booking.

The default setting for these checkboxes depends on what the property is set to. If the property has reminders disabled, the create-booking page will have them disabled by default.

How can we do payment reminders better?

As soon as this feature went live a few weeks ago, a lot of users sent in feedback.  Some loved it - it saved them having to remind guests offline - but other users hated it and didn't want to nag or bother guests about paying when that was already covered other ways.

We do feel that payment and security deposit reminders emails are a necessary feature in OwnerRez.  We've seen many situations where having a reminder would have saved problems.  For instance, a 2nd payment wasn't scheduled and the booking wasn't fully paid when the guest showed up on arrival day.

But how can we do it better?  Talk to us and send ideas.  We already have some upgrades we'd like to do around this process, but your feedback is valuable.  Contact Us or add posts to the forums; we're listening.

What is OwnerRez?

We are an online booking service for vacation rental property that helps managers and owners save time, create quotes and bookings faster, look professional and keep detailed records without needing an accountant or staff.