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New User Welcome Email, Vrbo PPB Commission Imports and Updated Maps!

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There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home.
- Ken Olson, President, Chairman and Founder of Digital Equipment Corporation, 1977

Olson wasn't psychic or very forward-thinking because most of us cannot imagine NOT having personal computers, or other devices, in our homes today. Even though it's 45 years later, and everyone was speculating that we would have flying cars by now, Olson was a little off the mark with that quote.

While his statement was made when personal computers were still a very new and emerging technology, the widespread adoption of computers has changed how we live, work, communicate, and operate our vacation rental businesses today. After you finish shaking your head over Olson's quote, read about our December 15th release with 17 updates

New Features

New Vrbo Pay-Per-Booking (PPB) Commission File Import

OwnerRez Vrbo API-integrated users that are on the pay-per-booking (PPB) model are charged booking commissions at the end of each month. In the past, users had to manually enter each Vrbo booking fee commission as an expense for each booking, property, or owner. What a hassle!

Since this info is unavailable via the Vrbo API, we developed the next best thing... an import tool to make that process much more manageable. The Vrbo Commission import tool assists users in importing those Vrbo booking fee commissions. A Comma-Separated Values (CSV) file is a delimited text file that uses a comma to separate values. Each line of the file is a data record consisting of one or more fields, separated by commas.

Vrbo provides the CSV files on the first of each month detailing the previous month's Vrbo booking fee commissions. You can find those CSV files and download them by logging into your Vrbo Owner Dashboard, clicking on your profile link in the upper right-hand corner, and selecting Booking Statements.

On your Booking Statements page, download your monthly CSV file as shown below.

To import your Vrbo CSV file, you will probably have to "unzip" or extract your file. Users can accomplish that by right-clicking on your downloaded file and clicking on Extract. You will be asked to Select a Destination and Extract Files. Again, click on Extract. The extraction process will create a folder in your selected destination with the same name (unless you named it something else during the extraction process) with the downloaded CSV file inside.

Head back to OwnerRez and navigate to Tools > Import/Export > From a Listing Site > Import Vrbo Commissions.

And to make it even easier, OwnerRez added the steps to complete the process on the import page.

Click the Choose File button and select the CSV file you downloaded from Vrbo to import your commissions. Hint: you may have to choose All Files from the drop-down list as shown below. Click on Open.

If successful, you will receive the "Import Successful" message. If not (and we hope that is not the case), there will be a list of CSV rows that were not imported with expanded information.

Security Deposit Options Added to the Booking Cancel Page

OwnerRez users should rarely have to cancel a booking (at least, we hope that is the case!), but life happens sometimes, and guests may be forced to cancel their vacation due to life circumstances. When the OwnerRez user initiates the booking cancellation, it is pretty straightforward, but we don't want you to forget about scheduled security deposits!

We have added options regarding security deposits on the booking cancel page to help users remember to cancel any active or scheduled security deposits that may be in place. Underneath the "How will the refunds be sent?" section, users now see the following security deposit messaging displayed directly on the cancellation screen.

Users can release the security deposit or keep the entire or partial amount by selecting "I'll release or keep it manually."

When users select "I'll release or keep it manually," they must manually handle the active or scheduled security deposit on the booking transactions page.

Want to learn more? See our Canceling a Booking and Security Deposits Overview support articles.

Show Property Location Under Map View on OwnerRez Hosted Websites

Location, location, location! The location is important when buyers are purchasing real estate; location is just as crucial for vacation rental guests. Guests often make their decision based on the location, and we are committed to helping guests better understand where your property is located.

OwnerRez Hosted Websites Maps have always shown property locations based on the user's location settings. Whether you had a single property or multi-property site, it wasn't always easy to tell where the properties were located. The Map page (or section) on your OwnerRez Hosted Website now has the city and state (or city, province, country for non-U.S.) displayed below the map. This change reflects on a single property and multi-property hosted websites.

Interested in learning more about Hosted Websites? Read our Hosted Websites Overview support article to begin.

Enhancements & Tweaks

Allow Deletion of Channel Linked Quotes If Never Booked

Do you have a long list of quotes from listing sites that have incomplete names, masked emails, or otherwise useless contact information? While OwnerRez doesn't like to delete data, we understand how frustrating having unworkable contact information can be. Users can now delete channel-linked quotes (as displayed below) if the guest/contact never booked. 

Read our Inquiries, Quotes, and Bookings Overview support article to learn more about Quotes.

OwnerRez New User Welcome Email Updates

Of course, we love new users! But our welcome email format was tired and not all that welcoming. We spent a great deal of time and effort revitalizing our sign-up and onboarding pages that, include a revised Setup Checklist page with a printable PDF. And it was time to show our welcome email some love too, with all kinds of fancy formats and links. Something for us to continue building on to make onboarding with OwnerRez easier.

Want to share your love of OwnerRez by recruiting others...and be rewarded too? Consider signing up for the OwnerRez Affiliate Program!

Remove Travel Insurance Email Message Alert to Guests

It was confusing to guests who purchased travel insurance to receive branded emails from OwnerRez users when the purchased travel insurance coverage was from Rental Guardian, not from the OwnerRez user. So we removed that alert from going to the guest. Don't worry; guests that have purchased travel insurance will continue to receive an email confirmation of their purchase through Rental Guardian with all their travel insurance policy details.

Instead, OwnerRez users will receive an email system alert when their guest purchases travel insurance (including insurance type, trip cost, premium, and certificate/policy number). Below is an example of the standard travel insurance system alert.

And below is an example of the Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR) travel insurance system alert.

Learn more by reviewing our Travel Insurance Overview support article.

Bug Fixes

Allow Team Staff Members to Change Pricing Preferences. Team Staff Member access was not allowing Team Staff Members to make changes to pricing preferences (under Settings > Pricing Preferences). We have fixed their ability to make changes to pricing preferences.

Don't Allow Taxable Refundable Damage Deposit Surcharges. According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), refundable damage deposit surcharges are not taxable. When attempting to add a refundable damage deposit surcharge, OwnerRez users will not be able to make the refundable damage deposit taxable and will see a corresponding tooltip if attempted.

Display Correct User When Sending Third Party Alert Messages. When Owners/PMs, or Team Access users, were making changes to $0 bookings or blocks, the third-party alerts were sent but the email sender was displayed as the primary OwnerRez user, not the staff/portal user that made the initial changes. We have corrected this bug.

Display Manually Entered Reservation Number on Bookings. Manually entered reservation numbers were not displayed on the bookings list view when a listing site was not selected after the booking was created. This bug has been fixed.

Fixed Existing "Blog" OwnerRez Hosted Website Custom Pages. A dozen or so OwnerRez users created custom pages on their OwnerRez Hosted Websites with a slug of "blog" before we released blogs for hosted websites. This was causing problems if they attempted to try to save the menu order or edit that page. We have updated those dozen or so custom pages and notified the affected users.

Fixed Issue Where Property Custom Field Files Could Appear as Property Photos. We found an edge case where a property custom field file could generate a property photo if the property had no images. This issue has been corrected.

Keep History of Custom Files Uploaded. We deleted existing custom files if a new file was uploaded for a given field, which was confusing. Custom field files will now include a history of files, and users will be able to see all custom field files with the oldest file type names having a strikethrough or cross out of the file type name.

Make Non-Card Payments Searchable. We recognize that not every guest pays by credit card. However, searching for non-card payments such as checks, bank transfers, or other offline payments was difficult for our users. We have now optimized non-card searching to produce search results for non-card payments.

Populate Payment Type Merge Field Properly. Email receipts only displayed the following types; CC, PayPal, and Check. This was challenging if payment was a bank transfer or some other form of payment. We have improved the Payment Type ({PAYTYPE}) field code to populate more payment types.

Simplify Unread Message Counts and Optimize Other Queries. If you have been an Ownerrez user for only a little while, you may not realize how often we update our system. If you are now starting to wonder, it's a lot! And no, it's not a race. We want OwnerRez to be the very best. That's why we continually update things that are "under the hood." Such updating with this one included simplifying the unread message counts and optimizing queries, which translates to an easier and faster system for you, our users.

Timezone Added to OwnerRez API v2. As part of the OwnerRez overall Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) conversion, the OwnerRez API v2 now includes the Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) time format.

3 Comments (add yours)

Mar 1, 2023 2:58 PM
Joined Jan, 2020 141 posts

I so appreciate the new Vrbo Commission Import tool!!! Is there a way I can customize my import document so that it uses a preferred description, adds the Channel category, and chooses the correct PM account handling option? Right now it defaults to no category at all and sets it to "Paid from escrow (won't be reimbursed on PM statement)" which is incorrect for our setup. 


Ken T
Apr 24, 2023 11:23 AM
OR Team Member Joined Aug, 2019 1325 posts

The engineers report they have a plan to fix ths.

Apr 24, 2023 12:33 PM
Joined Jan, 2020 141 posts

Glad to hear it!!