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Vrbo Becomes an Only Child, Tag Columns on Exports, New Import for Owners

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Hey everybody, time to talk updates! This week, we've got a tidy little set of updates (about 16) to go through, all of which are enhancements or bug fixes.  No new features to talk about, but the little stuff is important too! 💪

Enhancements & Tweaks

This was a small housekeeping week, so let's hop from lily pad to lily pad here in no particular order...

A long time ago, we mentioned getting rid of all references to "HomeAway".  The parent company Expedia made it clear awhile back that they were shifting everything to the Vrbo name, and they even removed the homeaway.com domain name (it redirects to vrbo.com).  We started the process of merging everything on our side to "Vrbo" (and spelled exactly like that) but the project got back-burned for awhile.  We have now completed the process.

As you click around the app now, you'll notice that channels and settings now only reference "Vrbo" with the new Vrbo logo.

Even the listing site options in surcharge and trigger criteria only show Vrbo now. HomeAway is gone.  The added benefit here is that you only need to select Vrbo to make sure your surcharges or triggers hit all HomeAway/Vrbo/Expedia bookings.  In the past, some users would select HomeAway but not Vrbo and a trigger might not be sent to a booking that was specifically flagged as Vrbo.  Now that they are merged, that should no longer happen.

Last fall, we forced everyone to move to the new rates system.  For awhile, we kept the Legacy rates under the covers and watched the transition from old to new.  After watching everything for a few months, we have now fully removed all references and code to the old Legacy rates system.  I hope you're enjoying the new rates system!  If not, let us know where the pain points are.

As tags are used by more and more users, we continue to find new places they can be used.  This past week we added tags to Excel exports.  Which exports, you ask?  All of them of course!  Any record that can have tags applied to it will show those same tags as columns on the Excel export.

Let's supposed you have two tags on your properties: Rural and Small and Cozy.  When you export your list of properties to Excel, you'll see two columns at the end of the export with column names "Tag - Rural" and "Tag - Small and Cozy".  Each row will have a true or false in the tag column depending on if the tag applies to that property.

This is super useful because it allows you to group, pivot and filter your export data by tags.  While you may not have many properties, these tag columns will also show on bookings, quotes and guest exports which might have thousands of rows.

For you PMs, we also created a new Excel import for owners.  You can now import owner records in bulk by using Excel.  The new owner import is similar to our other Excel imports and can be found in the same area (Tools > Import/Export).

Recently, we updated our search page to be more powerful, find more items and show clearer search results.  However, we noticed that the search page was redirecting to the guest record (ie. the guest conversation) and not the booking when most of the time the user is searching for booking information.  We changed this so that searches that show bookings will stay on the search page and not redirect automatically.  This will allow you to decide if you want to view the guest or booking instead of the system deciding for you.

We tweaked Booking.com prices to start extra guest fees at 1 instead of 0 even if your extra guest fees start at 0 (ie. you charge for all guests).  We had to do this because Booking.com does not support 0 guests in the base price.  Our API connection with Booking.com was returning errors for users that charge extra guest fees for all guests, so we set the minimum to 1 included.  Sorry if this affects your pricing, but you'll have to take it up with Booking.com!

Bug Fixes

Airbnb requires max nights now. Airbnb no longer allows passing an empty value (ie. unlimited) for maximum nights, so we now pass 365 if your max nights rule is open-ended.  To be clear, this was a bug with Airbnb, not us, but we "fixed" it anyway.

PayPal error messages. When connecting PayPal to OwnerRez, there are a variety of reasons you might get an error message - for instance your PayPal account is not a Business account or is too new.  Instead of showing a general crash message, we now parse the inner error message being sent back from PayPal and attempt to show a clearer message.

Current dates are free when moving booking. When moving a booking, the move screen showed the current booking dates as unavailable, but that's not really accurate.  If you're moving the booking, the current dates are also free as well because you could select other dates and then decide to switch back to the current dates.  This has been fixed.

Require http or https on links. You've probably noticed that our link editor has improved greatly over the years. By link editor, I'm referring to the button that lets you create clickable links when editing an email template. You can select custom links or field codes.  We noticed that sometimes links are being entered without a fully qualified URL - for instance, yahoo.com instead of http://www.yahoo.com.  While both typically work in a browser, our editor has problems with the former and will sometimes change the URL under the covers.  We changed this so that links are forced to include the http or https part of the URL.

Link editor not showing custom.  Speaking of the link editor, we also fixed a situation where the link editor would open but not show "Custom Web Address" as the type when the link was a user-entered link.

Platform email addresses aren't real.  Our CRM system is careful not to store platform emails (ie. the proxy email addresses the channels use like susy.123456789@messages.homeaway.com) on the guest record.  This is because these email addresses aren't real and have zero value for marketing and future contact.  However, we noticed a place in our payment system where platform email addresses were being saved after processing new payments.  All good now!

Search not searching. We found and fixed a situation where some bookings were not sending guest names to the search system properly.  This is fixed now.  We are working on upgrading our search tools and looking forward to some more-powerful text-searching features in the future.

Previewing account system alerts.  We noticed that some account system alerts (like payment collected or payment refunded) were not previewing correctly.  Not cool, dude.

Rate calendar with no properties.  Before you couldn't do that.  If for some reason all your properties were disabled and you went to the rate calendar - bang, crash, boom!  We fixed it.  Now you're greeted by message to go turn on some properties first.

PM Statement expense criteria. Last week, we overhauled PM statements to have all the same settings that owner statements do.  Only the expense criteria wasn't actually working as designed.  All better now!