Hey there! We said it out loud, and we've followed through - in 2 ways! In our previous product update blog post, Happy 2023! Bugs and Resolutions!, we stated that we are committed to posting our product updates in a much more timely manner this year. Even if it is Ditch New Year's Resolutions Day, we are on the right track and committed to staying the course. So, here is today's product update detailing our January 12th release with 14 updates.
- OwnerRez Status Page
- Enhancements & Tweaks
- Bug Fixes
The 2nd way we followed through is Paul stated in the About the December 26th Outage blog post that we would be working on "future preventative actions" and reporting to you what our full findings were from the outage and what you can expect OwnerRez to do about those findings. Some of that is still to come, but in this release, we tackled an essential public-facing item - an OwnerRez Status page!
The status page serves as a place where users can go at any time (and/or subscribe to) to know if OwnerRez is experiencing any sort of outage, service interruption, or planned maintenance window. The URL to get to the new OwnerRez Status page is status.ownerrez.com - we encourage everyone to bookmark it. The key thing to note is the page is entirely separate from OwnerRez's servers. The page is powered and hosted by a 3rd party, Sorry™, a well-respected status page provider. It is a mobile-friendly page too.
When you land on our status page, you can see at a glance if "all systems are go" or if an incident is occurring.
This page intends to be public-facing, always available, and transparent about the current status of OwnerRez's services.
One of the best features of our new status page is the ability to subscribe to email and/or text message (SMS) updates. If you want to be alerted when something planned or unplanned happens, you can have those notices come your way by clicking the Subscribe button in the top right corner.
Once you enter your email address and click/tap "Start subscription," the next page will ask you how you would like to be notified.
Once you've subscribed to updates, you can subscribe/unsubscribe to services individually using the bell icon. If you don't want to receive updates for a particular service, you can click on the bell for that item. It will turn lighter gray and the page will indicate in the top right corner that you need to save your changes. We recommend you stay subscribed to them all until you see how OwnerRez will use the page over time.
We've exercised the page a couple of times already since we built it. You can see a way to view recently resolved or previous incidents at the bottom of the page. Not a lot to go on yet, but it will have months and years' worth in time. You'll notice one of the recent incidents involving Booking.com's services. When they alerted us, the page was updated to acknowledge an incident with Booking.com and that we, OwnerRez, were monitoring closely. The other item was completed planned maintenance - this release we're writing about here! Those kinds of timely updates are worthwhile and something we can easily share out now.
And that's it, a straightforward way to know the health of OwnerRez's services 24/7.
Communication is key in the vacation rental industry, right?!? But sometimes, figuring out who or what sent certain messaging was unclear. So, we improved Communication History to help clear things up. Messaging details (whether email, SMS, or channel messaging) now includes detailed Sent information. Was it sent manually or automatically? Or via system alert or trigger? Well, now, when you drill into a message that went out, you can tell.
Sent information could include one or more of the following:
- "Manually by you" means that the message was sent manually by the OR user.
- "Automatically by Trigger" means that the message was automated by a named trigger.
- "Automatically by System Alert" means that the message was sent as an automated system alert.
- "Automatically by System Message" means that the message was sent as an automated system message.
- "Automatically by Scheduled Email" means that the message was sent as an automatically scheduled email.
On the Messages tab of a booking, OwnerRez has had colored status labels such as Sent on 7/5/2022 or Skipped with the date the message was sent for message statuses, for a while now. With this enhancement, the labels and informational tooltips displayed on hover (or tap on mobile) of the colored status label have been improved for increased helpfulness and accuracy.
For example, Payment reminders can go out multiple times. You can better see if any were already sent and if others are scheduled to go out.
Or for sending the 'Guest CheckIn Info' template as shown below. The informational tooltip will assist users in correcting their triggers if necessary or at least point them in the right direction.
This last example details a status label for a future booking email.
OwnerRez offers a robust two-factor authentication setting that all users can add to their accounts. Both master logins and team access (staff member) logins can use two-factor authentication.
We now require that all new user accounts (i.e., users that joined after this feature was released on December 8, 2022) use two-factor authentication. Shortly, all users, including historical accounts, will be required to turn it on, so please read how our Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) works so that you can go ahead and enable it and better secure your account today.
As in OwnerRez fashion, we strive to make things better continuously. Well in the case of 2FA, OwnerRez's verification code expiration screen was not super clear for some users about the authentication process if they haven't verified their login in a while or didn't act upon the initial verification code email in time.
We formatted the text to better indicate the current verification code has expired and directs them to as shown below.
Complex Booking Merge Fields Text Correction. When OwnerRez users created a custom iCal Export with certain complex merge fields (e.g., BBACT, BBACTD, BBINFO, and BCTAB), we noticed that these booking fields weren't automatically converting to a text format and remained blank. We have resolved this issue, and the affected merge fields will display correctly.
Default System Alert Inquiry Language Change. We realized there was duplicate/confusing language (i.e., the quote was sent in another email) in the System Alert Inquiry email template. We have edited the language to read as "I've prepared a quote for you. You can view your quote online here:"
Disassociate OwnerRez Account Theme From Property Upon Theme Disable. When an OwnerRez user disabled a theme, but that theme was tied to messaging templates, previously that theme would stay mapped and be used in the messaging templates. That has been fixed so that the disabled theme will not stay mapped to the template(s) but revert to use automatic theming - which generally is the Account theme. If/when the OR user chooses to re-enable the previously disabled theme, those messaging templates will automatically revert back to using the re-enabled theme unless the templates were changed from something other than automatic theming.
Don't Allow Deletion of SMS/Channel Triggers When They've Been Sent. OwnerRez does not permit deleting triggers that have been used in the past. We already validate before deleting any email triggers that were not used in the past, so we have made Airbnb, and SMS triggers do the same. Instead, OR users should disable SMS/Channel triggers.
Don't Allow Negative Days Before Arrival on Discounts/Surcharges. When OwnerRez users set the Arrival Days from Now to a negative number (such as -25 days) in the booking field section of discounts or surcharges, they would receive a channel listing sync error as channels cannot handle negative numbers. We made a change to not even allow this to happen. Users will no longer be able to set the Arrival Days from Now to a negative number in the booking field section when adding discounts or surcharges. Any number greater than or equal to zero (in the case of same-day check-ins) may be added. While doing this fix, we also made the system not accept negative numbers in other booking criteria where that's not allowed.
Fix Commission/Pay Settings Not Applied to Property Mappings Created During Owner Addition. Last year OwnerRez removed the owner default settings when users made changes to owner commissions, but those changes did not apply those edited settings when users added a new owner and mapped them to a property simultaneously. We have corrected this issue.
Fixed Duplicate Links for OwnerRez Forum Alert/Watching Email. Links that users added to OwnerRez Community Forum posts or replies were sometimes duplicated in the OR alert/watching email and we have fixed that bug.
Pricing Preferences Change Error Alert Addition. When OwnerRez users made pricing preference changes and changed any of the settings to "Combine all..." and the descriptions were left blank, those pricing preference changes were not saved. If the user was only viewing the top of the page and didn't scroll down, they may not be able to see the errors that needed to be corrected further down on the page. We have added an error alert banner that loads at the top of the page (like other pages have) that calls out the errors that need to be corrected.
Standardize Property Delete/Disable/Duplicate Actions. Left menu links to Delete/Disable/Duplicate a property have been moved to each Property's General Info page. OwnerRez users can choose to delete, disable or duplicate a property by clicking on the Actions drop-down list on the specific Property overview page, as shown below.
Note that we included a hyperlinked message that the Actions left menu links have moved to the property General Info section.
Use Channel Expense Category for Host Fees on Channel Bridge Imports. When we added the channel expense category last year (as part of PM Expense Categories), it was only added for API-Integrated host fees, so during Channel Bridge imports, host fees were incorrectly categorized as credit card processing expenses. Channel Bridge correctly categorizes host fees as a channel expense on import.