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Portal access for owners and staff released!

We've just released a new user portal that allows you to grant access to owners, cleaners, maintenance staff etc. to view availability calendars, block off time, and view owner statements. This has been a highly requested feature for a long time, and we're excited to get it into your hands!

This looks like the same ribbon view you've come to know and love, but is available for each user you grant access to!

Once you set up portal access, you'll be able to give logins with permission to view one or more owners or properties, as well as allowing access to different levels of information about bookings, owner statements, and blocking off time.

For more information on setup and configuration, review our Portal Access support article.

This is only the beginning -- now that the login and permissions are in place for granting access we've got many ideas of additional things that can be managed -- cleaning workflows like acceptance of cleaning, marking cleaning as complete, notes, checklists, even uploading images of the condition at time of cleaning.

We are still in the planning stages for the next steps, so if you have ideas, let us know!

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19 Comments (add yours)

Aug 15, 17
3:39 pm
susan h says:

is only for those with PM or for owners? I need this for use with my cleaners. I own 3 condos.

Aug 16, 17
7:30 am
BlueMtnCabins says:

looks like only if you have PM features enable. I have 2 properties, does not show as available to me

Aug 16, 17
7:34 am
Michelle J says:

Good morning! Yes, the Portal Access feature is only available within the PM tools area. You have to turn on the PM premium feature to use Portal Access.

Aug 16, 17
9:51 am
Chris Hynes says:

There's been some debate on this internally. Portal access is a pretty big ball of features, and something we'll be adding to over time with scheduling for cleaning, maintenance, etc. The way a lot of competitors price this is to make a separate "Employees Module" with cleaning logins and a "Property Management Module" with owner logins.

Instead of adding yet another module to add and pay for, and make folks that need both owner and employee logins pay twice, we rolled the single login feature into the PM module for now, and eventually make PM into a more general module that can be used by PMs or not PMs and has overall advanced features like the portal access, expense tracking etc.

Susan and Victoria, you've both been with us for awhile, so you've probably got some good feedback. Does our current direction make sense? Or would it be better to add a separate "Employees Module"?

Aug 16, 17
11:45 am
BlueMtnCabins says:

Chris (thank you for asking), to me personally I'd rather leave things as they are now (without PM module that I have to pay for) because my housekeeper is very content with just receiving a spreadsheet of bookings for following month from me which I can easily do through download. And if there is an update (like new booking), I just send her an updated version. this worked with my 2 properties prior 3 years with other housekeeper as well (except b4 the OR I sent a part of manual spreadsheet i maintain) and it is working now with current housekeeper. Unless I have 5+ properties I do not see enabling PM module just to get the feature.
besides, when I send a spreadsheet, I have email tracker - i know she at least opened the email I am not sure if she will 'forget" to log into a portal and look for updates.. I am not her only client.

Aug 29, 17
9:32 am
Chris L says:

Super glad to see this. I've enabled PM tools and am testing it out now.

I would vote for:

-A separate "housekeeping management" module
-The ability for either me or the housekeeper to set up email alerts for new bookings (in case they forget to log in, or we get a last-minute booking)

As you continue to develop this module, some of the features they list over at resortcleaning.com might be interesting. I thought about using them but they only work with HomeAway calendar sync and don't support other listing sites, which kills their usefulness for me, so I haven't signed up with them. I particularly like the idea of a real-time status check--I would *LOVE* it if the housekeeper could indicate when they're done so that I know I have the all-clear to process the security deposit refund and can offer early-check-in to the next guest if they text me asking if they can arrive early (saves me the hassle of having to call my housekeeper and see if she's done, which I always hate to do because then I feel like I'm rushing her...).

Pipe dream, I know, but you did ask for product feedback! :D

Aug 31, 17
12:59 pm
Chris Hynes says:

Excellent!

We're still contemplating the separate housekeeping management module, but we also don't want to get over complicated on the modules. I've seen sites where every last thing is a separate module with a fee, and it gets confusing and feels like nickel and diming. On the one hand, I can see that it feels "wrong" to be paying for a "PM" module when you don't use the owner statements, but on the other hand our PM module is very reasonably priced. Some competitors charge $25 bucks for PM PLUS an additional $15 for housekeeping, vs our $15 for both. Maybe we should rename the module to be a bit more generic? Anyway, a bit of inside baseball there, but rest assured this is something we're considering, we just want to get it right when we do.

You actually can already set up email alerts for new bookings (and change of dates/time/properties). If you go to a property and look at the Third Party Alerts tab, that'll let you add email addresses to be alerted when any bookings for that property are created or changed.

The housekeeper confirmation is a great idea, and something we're planning on adding. We're getting together feedback from many folks on how they schedule cleaning, because everybody does it a bit differently. Some schedule beforehand and need to pass the housekeeper a cleaning date, while others like yourself just want the confirmation and let the housekeeper maintain their own schedule. Cleaning checklists, photo upload to note the state of the property, all of this is on our list of stuff we will be adding eventually. Thanks for the reference on resortcleaning.com -- some good ideas there!

Sep 12, 17
9:14 am
Glenn Moore says:

Housekeeping aside, are you still planning to add a 'cleaning date' for each reservation in the base system? I have been asking for this for a while. This represents my entire needs as far as housekeeping goes, and I would imagine it would be all that simple (ie owners like me with just a few properties) would need. I would just be happy if the cleaning date shows up on the dates tab of the reservation.

If you are feeling generous, it would be great if the system intelligently looked at the check out date and the cleaning date together and if the cleaning date was later than the check-out date, it would extend the reservation block on my calendar. Occasionally my cleaner cannot schedule until a day or two after guests have left. I am tired of creating lots of tiny manual blocks on my calendars (cannot have new guests booking before cleaning is done). I would imagine this represents the needs of a lot of users (who don't need full blown housekeeping and/or PM functionality at an additional price).

Sep 12, 17
7:36 pm
Chris Hynes says:

Yep! We'll be adding a cleaning date as part of our next update to PM and the portal stuff. Fear not, the cleaning date itself on the booking will be part of the base package.

The PM/housekeeping package will get an additional workflow around the cleaning date where a cleaner can be assigned to a booking, the owner or cleaner can set the date, and then the cleaner can accept the cleaning and mark it as complete later, with checklists, photos etc.

The block is an interesting concept. As you can imagine, a ton of stuff looks at booking departure to find when time is available or not, so it would be a big effort to check two dates in a bunch of places instead of one. We might be able to give you a faster link to create a block for that time, would that help?

Sep 12, 17
9:17 pm
Glenn Moore says:

Chris Hynes said:

Yep! We'll be adding a cleaning date as part of our next update to PM and the portal stuff. Fear not, the cleaning date itself on the booking will be part of the base package.

The PM/housekeeping package will get an additional workflow around the cleaning date where a cleaner can be assigned to a booking, the owner or cleaner can set the date, and then the cleaner can accept the cleaning and mark it as complete later, with checklists, photos etc.

The block is an interesting concept. As you can imagine, a ton of stuff looks at booking departure to find when time is available or not, so it would be a big effort to check two dates in a bunch of places instead of one. We might be able to give you a faster link to create a block for that time, would that help?


Yes a faster link would help. Perhaps it could be on the dates tab as well so it can read the end date and the cleaning date and already know the dates to block (ie from the end of the reservation to the cleaning date) and it could pre-populate with a description such as "Cleaning Block" and not by default send to third parties and myself.

Sep 13, 17
9:01 am
BlueMtnCabins says:

Interesting. If i have more than one open day between reservations, it is the housekeeper, not I, who determined WHICH would eb a cleaning day: I am not her only client, so I send her list of reservations/dates and she plans between my turnovers and her other clients' turnovers. Of course if it is a same day turn then cleaning is that day, regardless. what I am trying to sya is I persoanlly do not see an urgent need to "assign" a specific cleaning day/date.

Sep 13, 17
4:48 pm
Glenn Moore says:

BlueMtnCabins said:

Interesting. If i have more than one open day between reservations, it is the housekeeper, not I, who determined WHICH would eb a cleaning day: I am not her only client, so I send her list of reservations/dates and she plans between my turnovers and her other clients' turnovers. Of course if it is a same day turn then cleaning is that day, regardless. what I am trying to sya is I persoanlly do not see an urgent need to "assign" a specific cleaning day/date.


Yes.... my housekeeper also determines which day she can clean. Then she lets me know. I would like to have that date in OR so I know how to block off after the end of stay. What happens if you get a booking 3 months in advance and they leave on .. say a Sunday. There are no bookings after that and the calendar is open. Your housekeeper is unavailable on that Sunday due to a family function and he/she says they will clean on the Monday morning. . Then what happens if you then get a booking for the Sunday night? Do you let the guests arrive to a messy house with unclean sheets and ask them to spend one night with dirty sheets until the housekeeper can come in the next day? I would prefer not to do that and would like to ensure my calendar is blocked so guests can not book on the Sunday night.

My current workflow is this: Receive a booking. OR automatically sends the information of the booking to my housekeeper - nice. She then emails me back and confirms when she can clean (50% of the time it is the same day, 45% of the time it is the next day, 5% of the time it is several days later because of holidays, etc - I actually have a three day gap this year at the end of one of my reservations because my guests are leaving at the start of thanksgiving). I then store the cleaning date on a piece of paper - that sucks: it would be so nice to have it recorded in OR somewhere so I can see it easily . If it is not same day cleaning, I then have to go into the system and create a block from the end of the reservation to the cleaning date - that sucks because you have to manually create the block, get the dates right, update the description, and then select the notifications to third parties and yourself. I know it is a small thing, but it is annoying for 50% of my reservations.

All I am asking for is somewhere to store the cleaning date and perhaps a quick way to create the block in the space between the reservation and the cleaning. Small, but would help my workflow.

Sep 14, 17
11:41 am
BlueMtnCabins says:

I actually do not concern myself with "when" usually. I also do not book on less than 48 hr notice. If I do get a booking request on such short notice, I text housekeeper and verify that she can accommodate cleaning in time, so only then I will accept the booking. I do not "block" days for cleaning and I do not think my housekeeper cares about OR notification emails - I disabled them. Most of my bookings are well in advance. Basically, I give housekeeper the reservation schedule for upcoming month, and it is up to them to plan their cleanings accordingly in time. I do not check exactly when it is done, as long as it is DONE in time for next guests. If I was asking them when particular cleaning will be done, that would be borderline pestering. The only times I ask is if I have someone who wants to check in early, but I ask for info - if cleaning is done, I will say to the guest "fine, you can check in early". if not - then answer is No. The only "disruption" is "last minute" booking which I handle via text and follow up with email. I just do not think that cleaners would actually log into some portal and mark their cleanings there. They are not my employees, but those of cleaning co. They technically are not reporting to me.

Sep 14, 17
1:36 pm
Glenn Moore says:

Interesting neither of my cleaners would go for that sort of process. It has nothing to do with short notice bookings which I do not take either.

If I was to hold on to my reservations and only inform them once a month, I would get a lot of push back from them. Like you, I don't really care when it is done, but only that it is done before the next guest. However If I only doled out my new reservations to them once a month, then I would be inherently 'assuming' that they can meet the schedule as laid out in these new bookings. Lets say I acquire a month of bookings for October (right now it is Sept) and say have - in my package of bookings - a back to back on Nov 11th. I am now 'assuming' that they are available Nov 11th. My cleaners (for both properties) have many other customers and my actually be fully booked up on schedule that day and cannot clean. If they cannot clean, what do I do? I prefer not to make such assumptions on their availability.

Hence both cleaners have asked me to inform them *right away* when I get a booking and that is where the the nicely automated OR email comes in. They mark the booking in their own calender's and decide on when they clean and then let me know so I can book gaps in my calendar availability accordingly. I use the their cleaning date to block the calendar. 50% of the time they can commit to cleaning the same day (back to back situation if needed). But 50% of the time they may need an extra day.. or two. (availability block on the calendar is needed)

It sounds like your cleaners have somewhat infinite availability (perhaps due to size and/or small customer base)... I am jealous ;-) Unfortunately mine have a fairly large-ish customer base and therefore have some constraints on when they can clean. Hence they like new bookings immediately so that they can schedule in their calendars and tell me what is do-able and what is not. Also, based on volume, they occasionally ask me for a list of bookings and the cleaning dates that they have told me.. just so we are in sync and there is no miscommunication with a missed block or anything. A cleaning date on the report from OR would be nice as you can see...

So I do not view my request for cleaning dates as 'borderline pestering'. I do it more for them and for them to manage and ensure their schedules align with my property availability. If I could only find cleaners with *infinite availability*, then all would be good and I too would not worry about cleaning dates... ;-)

Cheers
Glenn



It has nothing to do with late bookings and I do not accept bookings for a date within two days as well.

Sep 14, 17
5:23 pm
BlueMtnCabins says:

Different strokes for different folks. If I send them bookings as they come in, they'd be annoyed because I am bombarding them with emails that will slip thru the cracks and will be lost in the shuffle. Also my Oct, for example, has been booked for at least 2-3 mos.. I will hardly have anything but couple of fill-ins coming for my properties till at least Nov, if that. Realistically I only have a few weekdays unented plus Christmas on one of the properties thru the rest of the year. The cleaners do not have infinite availability, but they have more than one set of workers and if needed they just ensure that all cleanings are covered. If it works for yours with set date, then great, but for ex., I have a check out on the 15th morning and next check in on the 17th afternoon. I have no idea what their plan is, whether they will clean on 15th, 16th or 17th. So what would I mark as cleaning day? I leave it up to them as long as they know that check out is on 15th and next check in is on 17th, they can figure it out between my properties and other properties and cleanings.

Sep 20, 17
11:36 am
Chris Hynes says:

Great to hear all of your different workflows! There are so many different ways to work with cleaning staff -- that's why we haven't got into this yet. We want to make it flexible. I think we've got a good plan now...

We're going to start easy -- just the cleaning date Glenn mentioned, as that won't lock anybody in to a certain process. If you want to set the date and push it through to emails, go for it. If not, then continue with the current situation.

Same thing on the cleaning workflow. There's a lot of variance on who sets the cleaning date for OwnerRez purposes -- cleaner, owner, or cleaner just does it and doesn't report a date. The eventual housekeeping module will support any of those modes, and then also support the cleaner log in to mark the booking cleaned and add any notes, photos, checklists, etc.

Sep 20, 17
12:11 pm
Glenn Moore says:

Yes that would be a great start!

For us small guys that do not have cleaners with unlimited capacity, managing cleaning and bookings becomes a key factor that we need to be very on top of. A year ago or so I got a booking that ended on a Saturday. I got a following booking soon after that began on the Sunday. I hadn't had time to check with the cleaner and when I did, she told me she had no more capacity to clean that weekend (Saturday or Sunday) regrettably. That turned into a significant problem and now I am careful to ensure cleaning can happen before I accept any new bookings following a booking so that I can block accordingly. Anything that OR can do (even starting with a cleaning date for the reservation) will certainly help! :-)

Sep 29, 17
5:18 pm
Chris Hynes says:

We just pushed out a new release that includes the cleaning date. You can set it on the Info tab and it will show there, on the Overview tab, and on the calendar.

No workflow or blocks around it yet, but hopefully having the value in place will help! :-)

Sep 30, 17
4:30 pm
Glenn Moore says:

Very nice! It works well and will certainly help me a lot. Thank you!

I wonder if eventually it can be in the ics output file as a real date showing on my ics import (I use google calendar to aggregate dates for everything). I suppose it would be hard though as you do not want it to show as a reservation. I suppose you could create the date for the ICS file using the check-out time for that day (cleaning day) and the standard check-in time for that same day.

Anyhow not really important. Just thinking out loud.

It is now nice to record the date into the system as a real date.

Glenn

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