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Full Legal Cancellation Policies on Guest Forms, Sales Tax Options for Canceled Bookings, Airbnb RTB Option for Longer Stays!

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It's Friday, and we're talking all about cancellations...

But before you hit the snooze button, read this product update that's all about our June 28th release with 21 updates, including the adding your cancellation policy to guest quote and booking confirmation pages and new sales tax options for canceled bookings

Enhancements & Tweaks

Allow Airbnb "Request to Book" Above the Property Maximum Nights Rule

Airbnb's "Request to Book" feature allows guests to send booking requests to hosts, who then have the option to accept or decline the request based on their availability preferences and property rules.

OwnerRez has added even more flexibility for our Airbnb-connected users allowing them to determine whether they will accept an Airbnb guest "Request to Book" that exceeds their property maximum nights rule setting if their property is available.

Of course, we leave that decision up to our users, who can edit those settings by navigating to Settings > API Integrations > their Airbnb API Integration > Options.

As you'll notice, while we were adding this new setting, we took the opportunity to clean up the time options (Lead Time, Turnover Days, Days In Future) and put them together in a new "Booking Window & Duration" section.  We hope this clarifies which time options are available for Airbnb.

Learn more by reading the Request to Book section of the Airbnb inquiries, quotes, special offers, booking requests, pre-approvals support article.

Full Legal Cancellation Policy Added to Guest Forms

Notifying your guests about your cancellation policy is crucial for managing expectations, ensuring transparency, helping guests make informed decisions, and reducing the risk of misunderstandings or disputes regarding refunds or cancellation fees.

By displaying your Full Legal Cancellation Policy on both the Guest Quote Acceptance and Booking Confirmation Pages, OwnerRez hopes to increase your guest awareness regarding your cancellation policy.

On the quote acceptance page, the guest will be able to see your full legal cancellation policy clearly displayed right above the "Looks Good! Finish Booking" button.

Guest Quote Acceptance Full Legal Cancellation Policy

And your full legal cancellation policy is displayed again at the bottom of the Booking Confirmation page.

Booking Confirmation Full Legal Cancellation Policy

Notice also that there is a line right below the cancellation policy explaining that refund percentages are relative to the total booking charges, not the amount paid so far.  We added this because it is very common for guests to assume that the refund is on the amount paid, not the total charges.

Learn more by reading our Cancellation Policies Overview support article.

SMS Brand Registration Support

SMS Messaging is a powerful way to send information directly to your guests, bypassing email. The OwnerRez's SMS feature also works with templates and triggers allowing users to send automated personalized messages at scheduled times.

As deadlines move closer for new federal requirements requiring all businesses to have approved SMS Brands, national SMS carriers (T-Mobile, Verizon, etc) will begin blocking all SMS messages that are not compliant with these regulations. 

OwnerRez has been hard at work with users to assist them in their SMS Brand applications to The Campaign Registry (TCR), including adding additional support for sole proprietors that had previously been unable to utilize SMS messaging.

Sole Proprietors can complete the SMS Brand application by selecting "I operate as a Sole Proprietor AND I do not have a government issued Tax ID (usually the case if you file taxes under your own SSN or ITIN)" in the Business Details > Registration Status section.

SMS Sole Proprietor Brand Application Registration Status

OwnerRez has been reviewing accounts to determine which users haven't yet completed their SMS Brand registration and reaching out directly to them by email.  While this might seem onerous, please understand that we have invested a lot of time and resources into maximizing SMS delivery to your guests, and these Brand requirements are a big part of that deliverability.

Learn more by reading our SMS Overview support article.

Sales Tax Options for Canceled Bookings

Municipalities' policies on how hosts handle canceled booking sales taxes can vary. Some may require full or partial refunds, while others may have specific policies mandating the remittance of the full tax amount regardless of the canceled booking.

Only you, the user, can know your sales tax situation regarding booking cancellations, but OwnerRez offers new flexibility in how sales tax is handled in the event of a booking cancellation.

Users can now apply canceled booking criteria to their individual sales taxes by navigating to Settings > Taxes > your Taxes > Criteria > Canceled Bookings and can select between Still applies and Does not apply.Sales Tax Criteria for Canceled BookingsSpecial note: Taxes can only be removed for bookings where OwnerRez manages the charges, such as direct and Vrbo bookings.

Learn more by reading our Taxes Overview support article.

2FA Now Required for All

OwnerRez offers a robust 2FA (Two-Factor Authentication) feature for all users that offers an extra layer of security to ensure that people trying to gain access to your OwnerRez account are who they say they are.

While 2FA was turned on and required for most users long ago, a small subset of users never logged out, never configured 2FA settings, and were flying under the radar.  We have now force-logged-out those users so that they are forced to configure 2FA once and for all.  As always, our intention here is not irritate but to provide security and protection of your account.  In this day and age, no serious online business allows their users to log in unprotected, and OwnerRez is no exception.

Learn more by reading our Two-Factor Authentication support article.

Bug Fixes

Add Back Address Name Field on Check Payment Method. OwnerRez users were experiencing the error, "Check Address Name is required." when attempting to add manual “off-line” paper check payments because the Check Address Name field was not visible or available to complete on the manual payment method form. This bug has been fixed and the required Check Address Name field is now visible and available to complete on the manual payment method form.

Add Missing Booking.com Cancel Policies. If an OwnerRez user had their original Booking.com (BDC) cancellation policy set to Non-refundable (General), the booking would fail. We have upgraded Booking.com cancellation policies to now include the formerly-missing Booking.com Smart Flex Reservations program.

Allow Disabling a Template While Its Trigger is Still Active. Previously, OwnerRez users could disable a template even though the associated trigger (ie .the trigger that sends that template) was still active leading to triggers failing because the template was disabled. We have fixed this bug so that the system will now detect that the template is attached to an active trigger and alert the user that "You cannot disable this SMS (or channel template) because there are other active entities (like triggers or system messages) associated with it.

Cancel Unpaid DP Policies on Account Close. When OwnerRez users close their accounts there are a lot of processes that must occur in the background, including the review of any unpaid damage protection policies. We have retooled our account closing processes to ensure that billing-related (user and guest) items are turned off automatically, including looking for any unpaid damage protection policies. If any unpaid damage protection policies are still in place when a user closes their account, the unpaid damage protection policies will be canceled.

Certain Styles Bust HTML to Plain Text Conversion From Custom Field Transform to Airbnb Template. Airbnb templates do not support HTML (rich text) so OwnerRez attempts to convert the HTML to plain text. The LI HTML list element (bulleted lists) were not converting correctly so we fixed this bug to now convert HTML bulleted list elements to plain text asterisks (*).

Clarify {BCRE} to be Booked, Not Created. The {BCRE} booking "created date" field code was causing some confusion for users. The {BCRE} created date field is now the date that the booking was created in, or imported into, OwnerRez.

Don't Fire New Booking Triggers When a Vrbo Message Arrives on an Old Booking. This edge case occurred when a Vrbo guest messaged via Vrbo to notify the OwnerRez user that they had checked out of the property but the system picked it up as a new booking and sent triggered templates to cleaners and the owner, alerting them a guest was coming in last minute. We determined that this was due to our not yet having historic Vrbo message threads connected. This bug has been fixed and triggers will not fire unless the booking is in the future.

Don't Show Expected Deposit Date on Secdeps That are Just Held. When Stripe-connected users scheduled their security deposit holds, the resulting transaction displayed an expected deposit date in the Deposit column which is incorrect because the security deposit hold is not deposited in the users' accounts. This bug has been fixed and Stripe connected security deposit holds will now display the correct "not recorded" label.

Empty "Property" Field Causes 2 Errors Instead of One to be Shown. On the Import Vrbo Listing page, if users did not select a property from the Property dropdown list, they received two errors, the expected "The Property field is required." and the unexpected "Couldn't find listing number. Make sure the URL is properly formatted like [https://www.vrbo.com/12345678]" rather than the one expected error upon clicking on Import. This bug has been fixed to now only display the one correct "The Property field is required." error if the users do not select a property from the Property dropdown list upon clicking on Import. 

Fix a Crash Bang Error on Attempting to "Watch" a Blog Post While Not Logged In. Users not logged in may have experienced an error after attempting to "watch" a blog post. This bug has been fixed and will now lead the user to log in so that they may "watch" the desired blog post.

Fix an Extremely Uncommon Error on Custom Field Imports. Users may have experienced errors when attempting to import custom fields and it was determined that the contents of the user's database must have generated duplicate keys which was very unusual. We have fixed this bug by logging what actions failed and correcting the user's database owner and property string dictionaries

Hosted Website Property Search Prop Rule Bypass. This edge case occurred when a Hosted Website multiple property search bypassed the property Booking Window rules (maximum days in the future that a property can be booked) with a date range that started before the end of calendar availability but ended after the property Booking Window rules (maximum days in the future that a property can be booked) making the property bookable. This did not occur when the property was selected from the properties page without searching and dates were entered manually. This bug has been fixed and any Hosted Website multiple property searches will validate and apply the property Booking Window rules (maximum days in the future that a property can be booked) for the entire date range of stay.

Make QB Batch Tool "Update Settings" Option Target Bookings That are already Syncing. The Quickbooks (QB) Batch Tool "Update Settings" option only synced bookings that haven't been synced yet but was not updating existing bookings with current settings like invoice date. This bug has been fixed to now update and sync existing bookings to match their current settings when users use the QB "Update Settings" option.

New Total Preview Doesn't Calculate on Booking Cancel When a Cancellation Fee Applied. When OwnerRez users set up some surcharges, including a cancellation fee surcharge, and future booking cancellations that had partial refunds of 50%, the new totals weren't calculating or displaying correctly after the cancellation fee was applied. This bug has been fixed and booking totals that received a 50% refund will calculate and display correctly after cancellation fees are applied.

Remove Pets Allowed Amenity. Since OwnerRez users already set Property Rules allowing pets, we determined that allowing users to add Pets Allowed to their property amenities was not only duplicative but could cause confusion for potential guests. This bug has been corrected by removing the Pets Allowed from property amenities and users should set their pet rules in their property rules.

Restrict Legacy API SpotRate PATCH to 1100 Days in the Future. Some API-connected users were attempting to set rates 10 years in the future and that was causing issues for the system. We have fixed this by implementing a maximum limit of 1,100 days of spot rates.