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SMS Available For All, Show Signed Renter Agreement in Booking Emails, Vrbo Inquiry Emails, Logo & Instructions Cleanup

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SMS Available For All, Show Signed Renter Agreement in Booking Emails, Vrbo Inquiry Emails, Logo & Instructions Cleanup

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Happy Hump Day! 🐫 We were enjoying some turkey last week, so the product update got pushed back.  Today, we're going to discuss two weeks of updates (35 total from 11 this week and 24 the previous week) so buckle your seat belts and let's dive in!

New Features

Want to send text messages to guests but didn't get into the private beta group?  Now you can!  SMS Messaging is now available to everyone!  We only provide USA phone numbers for now, but any user can add a phone number and send/receive messages no matter what country you're in.  This might affect delivery charges on the recipient side, so read our help section about SMS geographical limitations.

To get started, check out this new video about SMS Setup & Usage.  It will walk you through claiming a phone number, configuring it and sending and receiving test messages.  It shows how messages look on both the OwnerRez and guest side and how sending files and images work as well as SMS templates and triggers.

After watching the video, read our SMS Common Questions support article which covers a lot of the early questions you might have.

For a long time, users have tried to include links to the signed renter agreement when sending booking emails, and it makes a lot of sense.  If you're sending a summary email of everything the user has been charged or paid, you probably also want to include a reference to their signed renter agreement PDF.  But our signed renter agreement links only worked on renter agreement templates, not booking templates, because bookings can have multiple signed renter agreements.  We changed this to add some additional field codes at the booking level which are:

  • BULEASESIGNL - Most Recent Signed Lease Link (The link to the PDF download file of the most recent signed lease for this booking)
  • BULEASESIGNF - First Signed Lease Link (The link to the PDF download file of the first signed lease for this booking)
  • BULEASESIGNLIST - Signed Leases List (A list showing links to the PDF download file for all the signed leases for this booking)

Notice that the first two fields codes are "links" which mean they render a URL to the PDF directly.  If you're styling your email, you might use these as links that wrap around a piece of text that the user should click on.

If you don't know what field codes are or how they work, check out our Field Codes support article or watch the Field Codes walk-through video.

Enhancements and Tweaks

Did you know that you can import expenses from Excel?  No?  Neither did anyone else, so we added an Import button next to the existing Export button above the Expense grid in the PM area.  This follows our pattern of showing import/export buttons in the areas where features are used.

We updated our Vrbo listing import code - the one that looks at your live listing on Vrbo and sucks in all the photos and data - to also import smaller photos from Vrbo.  This was confusing for some users, so we're now pulling in smaller vertical photos as well as the normal size and ratios.

Have you ever looked at OwnerRez on your smartphone and wondered what the booking # (ORB...) was for a booking?  We hid the booking # because of the lack of screen real estate on small devices, but users kept asking how to find it.  We updated the yellow header to show the booking # - but a smaller version - when on a small device.

On the reviews widget, we now show the company name as who is responding for added context.  The company name will show the correct name based on the theme for that property.

We noticed that our logos and icons for RemoteLock were old, so we updated them to the new ones.  Little things like this bother us.

We also added a Houfy Instructions tab in the API Integration settings, so check that out if you were previously confused.  Additionally, you can read our Houfy Setup & Connecting support article for more information.

Have you noticed the Feature Requests forum and how you can up-vote topics you want us to work on?  We recently added a new sort and filter drop-down so that you can watch what is trending instead of just what has the most votes across all time.

This will show you an active interesting feature board, so keep your eye on it!  You can also change it from Active topics to All if you want to look back at what has been closed or released. For all the nerds that are curious, "Trending" is calculated by placing a higher weight on votes placed in the last 14 days.

We noticed that Vrbo inquiries were creating guest records that had the inquiry email address (ie. the proxy email created by Vrbo for messaging purposes) stored as the guest email.  This is somewhat logical because Vrbo doesn't provide a real guest email address on inquiries, but it was messing up CRM with lots of proxy email addresses.  We changed this so that Vrbo inquiries now store the proxy email on the inquiry record only.  Also, we changed the inquiry logic for "Missing Contact Info" to check the inquiry for a proxy email.  Even if the guest doesn't have a real email address, the inquiry is answerable if there's a proxy one.

Airbnb recently banned all events completely, but they didn't change their interface and control panel from showing events as an option.  So you might allow events in OwnerRez which would push across to Airbnb but end up getting you in trouble since events aren't allowed.  We changed this so that events are set to "no" across the board for all Airbnb API listings no matter if you allow them in OwnerRez or not.

Speaking of channels, we updated our TripAdvisor API code to force-validate if your second payment rules are less than 15 days.  TripAdvisor requires 15 days or more for the second payment rule, so our API integration now checks for this and gives you a friendly message before allowing it to fail when the push happens later.

To reduce guest confusion, we used to never send the booking confirmation email for channel bookings.  This was hard-coded across the board because we felt like it would be confusing for guests to book on TripAdvisor or Airbnb and then get a direct email from you, the owner or PM, with confirmation information that had (possibly) wrong amounts or information.  However, OwnerRez users are clever!  Many of you adjusted your triggers or settings or email language with this in mind and you want you confirmation emails to be sent to all bookings, no matter if they are channel or direct!  So we added an email option to Airbnb and TripAdvisor channels so that you can decide if you want the confirmation email going out or not.

The conversation history shows dates and times, and we updated it to show those dates and times in your timezone.  Now you should be able to see exactly when the guest was sent a message in your own time zone.

Bug Fixes

Night and week rules on small rate tables. If you've ever looked at the rate table for your listings on a small device (eg. smartphone), either in a rate widget or property page on a hosted website, you'll notice that the night/week/month columns collapse into a single column for easier viewing.  We noticed that it wasn't showing the right night and weeks, based on your settings, on those small devices, so we fixed that to be consistent with larger devices.

Dutch words in widgets.  If you don't speak Dutch, you may not have noticed this one.  The word "for" in our widgets was using the wrong word for users with Dutch settings, so we fixed it!

Rate widget calculations from the past.  The rate table widget does a lot of heavy lifting.  It figures out night, weekend, week and month rates, within the context of season, based on dynamic pricing, LOS discounts and other settings that can be very difficult to figure out.  To be as exact as possible, we calculate numbers across seasons and then examine the result.  We noticed that we were calculating this on season too far in the past (for current seasons) so we capped it to 31 days in the past which allows current "Monthly" rates to be correct relative to the current season.

Pending emails on disabled properties.  Did you know that you can have bookings at disabled properties?  Well you can.  You might have created some bookings then disabled the property to hide it for awhile.  The bookings at the property are still there, just hidden!  We changed our email logic to skip pending emails if the property is disabled.  Once you reactivate the property, the pending emails will work again but only for new bookings.

Payment reminders on disabled properties.  Likewise with financial reminder emails.

Payment methods on disabled properties.  Likewise for payment methods.  Let's say you have Stripe connected and configured to work for 3 of your 5 properties.  You then disable one of those properties - what happens with the Stripe payment method?  We now clear that property from the method.  When you reactivate the property, you will need to reset the payment method to be used on that property.

Stripe capture error.  When trying to capture Stripe funds (ie. keep money from a security deposit) there was a rare situation where an error would occur.  This is now fixed

Export CC history to CSV.  Just like it sounds.  If you ran the CC Processing History report and tried to export it to CSV, you got an error.  Not anymore!

$0 charges and TripAdvisor.  We allow you to create charge line items that say whatever you want including $0 amounts.  TripAdvisor unfortunately does not.  TripAdvisor requests quotes from our system in real-time all day long which means OwnerRez might generate an automatic quote with a $0 amount in an "information only" charge line item which will make TripAdvisor choke.  We fixed this to ignore $0 lines when communicating with TripAdvisor.

Quotes having quotes. We fixed an issue where creating a quote will crash if you're copy the quote from another quote and doing it from the guest conversation sidebar.

Search widget and disabled tab groups.  We fixed a bug where the search widget might link to tab groups that are disabled.  Don't remember what tag groups are?  That went out recently, so read all about it.

Holidays showing on other owner's properties. When owners access OwnerRez, via the portal access feature in the PM area, they see the same calendar that you do only stripped down.  Those calendars show holidays, only some holidays don't apply to some properties, and owners might wonder why they're seeing those holidays.  We fixed this to take into account which property is being viewed and which holiday lists apply.

Airbnb rate/listing import and channel tester.  Airbnb made some updates to their website and systems that blocked old HTTP methods from being used.  We updated our crawling logic - the code that imports listings, imports rates and runs live rate checks - to use the new HTTP methods.

Template preview options being cut-off.  When previewing templates, you have the ability to select live properties and bookings to test the template against - this gives you a way to see your templates against live booking data.  We noticed that those property and booking lists were getting cut off so we fixed it.

Selecting taxes on channel booking charges.  We were checking listing site applicability when showing taxes on bookings in the charges editor.  We changed that so that listing site applicability is no longer checked.  You can select taxes regardless of the channel.

Calendar dates on rate editor advanced mode.  When using the calendar date pickers in the rate editor "advanced" selection mode, we noticed that the advanced window would close when the user typed in the date boxes.  All fixed!

Confirm message on quote acceptance check payments.  When a guest accepts a quotes or goes through the Book Now process, they can select optional add-ons and use different payment methods.  An eagle-eyed user noticed that selecting a check payment method and adding optional add-ons (both) would result in a wrong check total on the final confirmation instructions after booking.  This is now fixed.

Rate table season ranges.  We fixed an issue with the rate table where season ranges were ending too early when calculating LOS discounts.

New Videos

This week, our latest video is about setting up and using SMS Messaging:

6 Comments (add yours)

Dec 3, 2020 10:05 AM
Tarki says:

Thank you very much for the updates!

Can you please clarify the following? What events are these?

Airbnb recently banned all events completely, but they didn't change their interface and control panel from showing events as an option. So you might allow events in OwnerRez which would push across to Airbnb but end up getting you in trouble since events aren't allowed. We changed this so that events are set to "no" across the board for all Airbnb API listings no matter if you allow the in OwnerRez or not.

Dec 3, 2020 10:31 AM
Paul W says:

Hi Tarki!

A few months back, Airbnb announced that all parties and events are banned globally. Their press release is here:

https://news.airbnb.com/airbnb-announces-global-party-ban

Basically, this is the setting on your listings where you say:

Events Allowed: [ Yes | No ]

Everyone has to have it set to "No" now. If you mention events in your description (weddings, etc) they will block your listings, and we've seen reports of that.

However, they didn't change their API or control panel to stop events from being set - you can still put in that you allow events, even though they are banned by policy.

To help stop users from getting blocked or banned listings, we changed our API code to automatically set all "Events Allowed" settings to "No" automatically no matter what you select in OwnerRez.

Dec 3, 2020 12:23 PM
Tarki says:

Thanks a lot, I've got you now! Regards...

Dec 3, 2020 12:32 PM
BlueMtnCabins says:

question: can we now set up SMS template/trigger to text link to quote in response to unbooked inquiry? Many of send-quote emails end up in spam folders to inquirer never sees them. I have been doing manually but it is tedious.

Dec 3, 2020 1:07 PM
joelle m says:

is "SMS Messaging is now available to everyone! " a free service, included in the regular service?

Dec 4, 2020 11:22 AM
BlueMtnCabins says:

an SMS question. I have specified "forward to" phone number. I do not see anything forwarded? I only see people replying to SMS under CRM and email. The forward-to number is GV, is that why?

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