Happy Thursday! If you're one of our American customers, hopefully the post-election news cycle over the last 24 hours hasn't completely wrecked your mental state. 📺😟 If it has, sorry to hear it, but hey - cheer yourself up by reading some OwnerRez updates!
We've got some great updates to talk about (18 to be exact) so let's get started!
The rate table widget has plagued us (and you!) for a long time with the columns it shows and the amounts inside them. Over the last year, we've changed it numerous times to reflect different scenarios for different people. Part of the problem is that the vacation rental industry has moved away from static period pricing to dynamic nightly pricing with discounts. But many vacation rental owners still want to show a weekly or monthly rate, for information purposes, that reflect about what it would cost if someone chooses the right length of stay. For a long time, we went back and forth showing weekly or monthly columns based on inferring what you wanted to show from your settings. This never worked because too many users wanted too many different things regardless of their settings. To fix it once and for all, we added specific show/hide settings on the rate table widget that allow you to specifically set whether Nightly, Weekend, Weekly and Monthly columns will show and, if they do show, how the rates will be calculated.
If you liked how it worked before, you can continue using the "Show if rules allow" option, and the widget will check out your LOS discounts and minimum night rules to deduce if a period should be shown. If that doesn't work for you, use the "Show always" or "Hide" options instead.
Those of you that use SMS messaging - have your invoices been confusing? They were to us, so we updated them to add more information. Invoices now show SMS message counts for both inbound and outbound separately and changed the language around it to make extra usage fees be clearer. This should help you understand what's going on. If you're curious how SMS message is priced, check out our Costs & Fees article.
Our PM owner dashboard shows a great set of graphs that show the owner a real-time view on revenue and occupancy for their properties. However, we were basing the calculations on time that includes yesterday (ie. the day before whatever the current day is when you look at the dashboard) but not including the current day. We updated the owner dashboard to make sure numbers are including today up through midnight so that they are accurate as new bookings come in.
We also added more permission options to portal access so that you can allow your owners (or other third party users) to see:
- The channel or listing site that the booking came from
- Custom fields on the booking
- Tags on the booking
These additions will give your portal users the ability to know more about the booking. Want other portal options? Let us know!
Earlier this year, we released custom Cancellation Policies that gives you flexible control over your policies and maps those policies to channels. But what about your own website? Your own OwnerRez-hosted website should show the same, so we added that. Websites now show the cancellation policy for that property on the property details page.
While we were working on cancellation policies, we also updated the automatic description to include "and then no refunds" at the end so that it's clear that the last period is non-refundable even though that is typically implied.
Speaking of clarifying language, we also updated our new door lock grace periods to make sure you understand that "exact" time means no grace period. Again, this was implied, but it's better to be clear.
A few weeks back, we added a great video about our Listing Quality Analyzer tool. If you haven't seen it yet, give it a look. As mentioned in the video, we are constantly adding new LQA checks or updating old ones to be better. This past week we added checks for for missing location types and possible related-location types. This is important in making sure your listings are pushed to Vrbo and Airbnb with the right location data, which is something guests look for. For instance, if your property has Oceanfront selected as the location type, we make sure you have Oceanview and Ocean selected as location amenities as well. Being thorough in your advertising matters, but again - make sure to run Listing Quality Analyzer so that you see what we recommend!
Sometimes, our filtering is too accurate because our engineering team is made up of nerds that try to be exact. 🤓 The spirit of the law matters more than the letter of the law. For instance, when you search for bookings that have "no security deposits", do you really want bookings that have no security deposit records of any kind (even ones that failed) or ones that don't have an active security deposit scheduled or pending? You probably want the latter. "None" in that context really means a booking with no money to get your hands on when the guest's dog eats the curtains. We noticed this and changed it. The security deposit filter will now return bookings with failed security deposits if "none" is selected and there's no other pending or scheduled one on file. If you notice other filters like this, let us know!
We try to include a lot of screenshots in our blog posts and support articles, and if you click on those screenshots, they always open a bigger version. Only, they opened the raw image in a new tab which stinks when you're trying to read along. We recently changed that and upgraded all of our pages to add a helpful image carousel that keeps the page in view but shows screenshots in a larger window when clicked on. Pro tip: you can use arrow keys to quickly scroll sideways between screenshots when the carousel is open, and the article underneath will automatically scroll the text up or down to wherever that screenshot is in the article.
Have you noticed anything new about the icon that shows in your web browser? We recently changed our favicon from a palm tree to a modern green "OR" that more accurately reflects our current design. Sorry, palm tree - it was time to go. The new green one may not last long either, but it's another step in a long list of steps we're taking to normalize our design. Hate it, like it? Tell us what you think.
Trigger template drop-down showing old templates. Just like it sounds! After disabling or deleting templates, some triggers would still show the inactive templates. We found and fixed this.
Testing disabled CC payment methods. When deleting or disabling a credit card payment method, the system was trying to test the payment method (by talking to the gateway) like it does when you make other changes. However, if you're disabling or deleting, you don't need it to test the connection, so we removed that.
Obsolete system messages. Earlier this year, we changed our system messages to have a single "booking changed" message instead of individual ones for property, date, time and so on. However, the old system message records were still in there and occasionally being referenced. We cleaned this up.
RTB email for Vrbo showing amount. The Request To Book mode for Vrbo bookings sometimes sends out emails when guest credit cards fail. But when it does, it was referencing the booking amount as originally sent by the channel. The booking amount might change in between the time booking was made and when the card was processed - based on conversations between the owner and guest - so we changed the email to not reference the original booking amount.
Font selection on hosted website. When selecting custom Google Fonts for your website (yeah, you can do that!) there was a validation bug that made it so that older websites would get stuck. We fixed this to add a default font placeholder instead.
Billing info on payment receipts. We recently released an update that lets you change credit cards stored on the booking. However, when doing this, it affected the card data being shown on payment receipts and emails. We fixed this to properly look at the historical data that was used at the time regardless of the current card data.
Bad PayPal link on payments setup page. When filling in, or modifying, the settings for your connected PayPal payment method, we were referencing some old support links. This is now fixed.