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Pricing Preferences, Security Safeguards, Message on Renter Agreements, Rate Widget Months, and Bug Fixes

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Hey everyone, here's a quick run-through of a tidy little release we did last week.  It contains 16 updates with a few enhancements and bug fixes.

Enhancements & Tweaks

Condense Rate Settings into New Pricing Preferences Section

Have you ever wondered why there is a settings button hanging out at the top of the Rates area, then also a settings button on seasons, and then also some display settings about rates over in the Account > Preferences?  Confusing!  We finally had enough and combined all that into one spot.

Take a look at the Settings menu, and you'll see a new "Pricing Preferences" under the Pricing section.

Drill into the new Pricing Preferences page, and you'll see all the settings from those other areas - rates, seasons, guest charges, widget charges - all gathered in this area.  The settings have not changed, only their location has.

In the future, we plan on adding any other rate or pricing-related setting to this same page, so if you're ever wondering where a global setting is, try this spot!

Move Idle Session Timeout to New Security Safeguards Section

Did you notice the new "Safeguards" menu in the My Account area?

While moving around the pricing settings, discussed above, we noticed that the "Idle Session Timeout" setting was another thing that should be moved to its own area.  The Idle Session Timeout is a security thing, not a display or pricing preference.  We then realized that it should be in its own new section called "Safeguards" in the Security area which allows us to add other similar settings.  For instance, we plan to add multi-factor authentication (MFA) soon which will allow you to secure your account with a text message or authentication code.

So we created a new Safeguards menu and dropped the Idle Session Timeout in there.

The Idle Session Timeout works exactly the same as before.  If it's turned on and you leave a window sitting idle for more than 20 minutes, the screen will automatically lock and you'll need to log in anew.

Add a Form Message for the Renter Agreement Signing Statement

As you probably know, Form Messages are bits of introductory text that we show at the top of guest forms.  We always show a default version, but you are free to override these with your own.  They even support field codes, so that you can fully customize them to the guest and property.  I'm talking about this box in blue:

To override them, you simply go to Settings > Form Messages and start creating your own versions.  There is a giant list of named forms that you can use to quickly create messages.

A user pointed out that the acknowledgment statement on the renter agreement signature page needed to be customized and they couldn't figure out how.  We couldn't either, so we created a new form message for that statement.  I'm talking about these sentences in bold:

You can now create a special form message that will override this set of sentences.  It's the form messages called:

  • Booking Legal Agreement - Step (2) Signature Page Statement
  • Quote Acceptance - Step (3) Sign Legal Agreement Page Statement

If you're wondering why there are two form messages, it's because there are two places you can request that your guest sign your renter agreement - on a new quote or for an existing booking.  While both forms look mostly the same, they are actually two different forms that are both hosting the signing page.

Rate Widget Option to Calculate Months Based on LOS versus Month Seasons

For a long time, we've wrestled with the right way to calculate month rates when rendering the rate table.

The rate table tries to figure out what your monthly rate is (unless you turn that off) so that guests get an idea of nightly, weekend, week, and monthly rates.  Even if your rates are dynamic nightly rates, set by a pricing engine, you can still show a weekly or monthly rate.

But what is a monthly rate exactly?  Is it just any 30 nights?  If so, what about 28 or 31-day months?  The rate table shows rates by season, so breaking it up by date period is already built in, but it's still difficult to know how exactly you want to calculate it.  When you hear monthly rate, you could be thinking "the rate if someone booked the full month of Feb, Mar, Apr, etc" but OwnerRez is calculating 28-30 day time periods relative to your actual seasons.

We stopped guessing what users wanted and decided to put a setting on the rate widget.  You can now define exactly how you want monthly rates to be calculated.

The options are very self-explanatory, so give them a look.  By default, we recommend that you stick with the first option of "calculate for all days of the season for the length of the discount".  This is how OwnerRez was calculating it before, so if you liked what was there, just keep it like that.  If you would rather it show a monthly rate based on actual calendar months, switch it to the second option.

You can now use these settings to show your monthly rate the way you think it should be presented.

Bug Fixes

Missing security code when we already have the card on file.  There was a situation where Booking.com was sending a booking with a card security code initially, but then an update with the same card number without a security code later on.  That triggered our "missing card" logic needlessly.  Instead, we now check to see if there's a matching card by number and expiration date.  If so, we use that instead of throwing error messages.

Communication history SMS tab verbiage. When our fabulous channel management became a built-in feature for everyone (and SMS stayed a premium feature), we missed a spot when updating verbiage.  It incorrectly mentioned Airbnb when asking if you wanted to turn on SMS messaging.  We fixed that, and while we were in there, we updated some of the other words around it to be more specific to SMS.

Airbnb cancellation policies drop-down.  The drop-down that shows Airbnb cancellation policies was getting super wide because we were showing really detailed descriptions for each policy.  We shortened the drop-down list by showing a summary of each policy instead of the full description.  The full description is still used in other places.

Weekend setting for minimum weekend rules.  A long time ago, we added a setting to determine which days were weekend days and applied that to seasonal rate calculations.  Later, we changed the label on the "Minimum Weekend Nights" rule to show the weekend days setting, but the system was actually still hard-coded to Friday and Saturday under the covers.  We fixed it so that the weekend days setting is actually used when calculating the Minimum Weekend Nights rules.

Better totals on property search results.  On hosted website and search widget results, we show a rate. If there are no dates, it'll show the nightly rate, but if dates are entered (and the widget is set to calculate exact rates), we switch to showing the total for the stay. That can be jolting, so we fixed it to always show the "xxx/night" rate if it should be displayed.  If it's set to calculate totals for dates, we then tweak the display to show a total or "xxx/night" based on the information that is available.

We think this is more intuitive for the end-user and similar to how channels present total amounts on their search results.

Last Access time for portal users.  Did you know that you can see when your portal users last accessed OwnerRez?  Yep!  It looks like this:

But we noticed an issue.  Previously, we were not updating the Last Access timestamp if you (as the account owner) were using the "Log In As" button to go into the portal user's account.  After all, you want the Last Access to show the actual time that the portal user was in there, not yourself.  The problem is that in recent times we've updated our portal system so that portal users are just like account owners except that they are in "login only" mode so that they don't get billed.  We did this to expand the ability to grant access and, in the near future, to release tiered access for your staff and third parties.  So we had to go back and check ourselves here and fix it so that other users who are using a portal account do update the Last Access timestamp if they are not the account owner.

e-Signature "Current Time" timezone.  We recently noticed an issue where the renter agreement signing form, for both quotes and bookings, displays the "Current Time" in eastern time, regardless of the user's timezone settings.  The signed and archived PDF was getting the correct timezone but the signature form still showed eastern time.  This has been fixed.

"Book Now" system alert.  Each system alert in OwnerRez has a certain category in our system so that we can communicate clearly about alerts.  We noticed that the "Book Now process has started" alert was showing up with the "Inquiry is created" category on it in the communication history.

This has now been fixed.

Email history system alert filter.  Speaking of system alerts, we noticed that the system alert filter on the Communication History > Email list was broken, so we fixed that too.  You can now filter all of your email history based on alert types.

Monthly rates for 28-day seasons on widgets.  If you set up a season that has 28 or 29 days (e.g. Feb 1 - Feb 28/29), that equates to 27 or 28 nights, so our widget logic will never show the "Monthly" price for that season unless you require a minimum of 28 nights.  To fix it, we did two things.  First, we changed our minimum and maximum month calculations to look at full months and not days.  Second, we corrected the multiplication by 28 in our charge engine to be the correct number of days all the time.

Bookings with no charges on Line Item Pivot report.  Our Line Item Pivot report is a powerful report because it breaks out numerous items about the booking into separate side-by-side columns. However, our Line Item Pivot report was too stingy.  If the booking has no charges, it wasn't including the booking at all, even though the booking had many other columns of important data to report.  This is now fixed.  The Line Item Pivot report will now show all bookings that match the report criteria whether the bookings have charges or not.

List pop-over cards.  Have you ever noticed how difficult it is to close the pop-over cards on lists in OwnerRez?  I'm talking about these things:

Yep, those things.  And yes, we've known about it too.  To make matters worse, as you keep clicking stuff, new pop-over cards would open even though the old ones didn't close.  You had to click on the same link as before to close a single card.  We finally had enough and fixed this.  It is much easier now to open and close pop-over cards when clicking on information in OwnerRez lists.

1 Comment (add yours)

Matt K
Apr 4, 2023 11:38 AM
Joined Dec, 2020 9 posts

I would be great if the nightly rate min and max were calculated differently. I think that the the min nightly rate should be calculated based on the rates and NOT include any conditional surcharges and the max nightly rate SHOULD include any surcharges.

Here is an example of how this works for our properties. If a guest books for one night (only allowed to fill a gap) they are charged a 30% surcharge. The min nightly rate on the property page is currently calculated based on our lowest nightly rate PLUS this surcharge thus it is not really the lowest nightly rate (i.e. $120+30%=$156). Our lowest nightly rate is for two or more nights because there is no surcharge added ($120/night). On the other hand, our most expensive nightly rate would be our highest seasonal or holiday rate PLUS the 30% surcharge in the hypothetical that the guest was able to fill a one night gap at the highest regular nightly rate ($220+30%=$286).

I understand that the pricing can be overridden, however, in our case, those numbers change every year and to have to calculate all the seasonal rates every year/season and also remember to change the override pricing is quite redundant and an unnecessary extra step.