One thing that's lacking in the current CRM market is software catering to the vacation rentals industry. Since your plan is to integrate email inquiries into your product, you will essentially serve as a repository where users can store information about customers. Making that information searchable, allowing users to upload / connect via IMAP/POP to upload historical data, and perhaps at some point organizing that information by customer, would all be helpful additions.
Pawel, you're absolutely correct, and that is something we have discussed internally. After the inquiry management is flushed out, we are planning on refactoring our "Guest" model so that contact records are more cleanly represented. Inquiries, quotes and then bookings will all be tied to a central contact record so that you can see who is doing what, see who has inquiried or booked multiple times (and not just because you see the same email address show up twice) and use those contact records for more interesting things. For instance, be able to keep your Outlook or Gmail contacts in sync.
I guess my only advice would be to not go nuts on features. There's something to be said for the 37Signals method of developing software - embracing constraints, simplicity, and less features.
I think that at least rudimentary CRM would be awesome, the ability to track lead sources, see the income from each source, track what customer preferences are, have profiles on different customers, etc, would be awesome.
If not, nutshell CRM is a great CRM to integrate with.
I would love to be able to get an inquiry by email from within ownerrez, reply to it, track the conversation, add in things such as "called person, left a voicemail" or "this person wants a bottle of wine and flowers waiting when they arrive.", automatically add people who inquire to a third party mailing list service, add information to the lead as I converse with them such as name, phone, email (if not already captured), address, preferred property, lead source, dates of stay, current not-booking excuse, lead value, and track all of this information. Then when they are ready click one button to convert it to a quote or a booking and send it off to them. If you integrate with a service such as mailchimp what would be amazingly useful would be to add them to a certain list in inquiry state, then when they book add them to a list for the just booked state along with their dates booked, name, city, and other fields, then remove them from inquiry state list, then when they've just checked out the ability to shoot off a survey email, and if the survey is positive ask them to leave reviews on yelp, tripfinder, etc. THEN put them on another mailchimp list of previous guests and remove them from the booked state list.
I don't know about others, but this system we would gladly pay $199/month for, if integrated with what you already have.
At the very least it would be nice to be able to create email templates that pull mail-merged data from a booking and allow for some simple rules around generation and delivery. For example, once my guests have made their final payment, I email them the lock code to our house, our neighbourhood (gated community), etc. A few days before arrival, I like to send out a reminder summary email with their lock code, etc. Finally after they have left, I like to send them a thank you and a request for review.
Also in sync with a rental, I usually have several emails I need to write to my homewatch and cleaning services people as requests/reminders before and after a rental.
It gets tiresome writing all these emails constantly and although I love this site, the lack of this feature has sent me off searching for alternative cloud based rental systems.
Is anything like this on the development path? 2012 had a lot of development activity, but that seems to have dried up to little or no new development anymore. I really need to find a solution to my emails.
Glenn, I agree completely, and we're working on more now than ever. Don't take my word for it - check back in the next two weeks or so. We're finishing the first release of a design overhaul and some of what you just mentioned. Trust me, 2013 isn't "dry" on development. It will be far FAR bigger than 2012. ~Sam
Thanks sounds great! I look forward to the next two weeks!
I hope it has something like a customizable field to accommodate a lock code per rental event. I struggle the most to keep this specific code correct in my emails to guests. It would be terrible if they arrived and the lock code was wrong. (I generate a unique one for each new rental www.erentallock.com) I have to be careful when copying emails from other rental events to the current rental event.
Have you guys checked out your competition at bookerville,com? Fantastic customer management tools + very flexible emailing system where you can create templates and also define events for when emails go out (ie. when full balance is paid, 3 days before arrival, 2 days after departure, etc). It even has the ability to create and use user-defined fields (such as my lock code), etc. Customers are stored in its database to allow you to rate them (privately) and therefore offer specific discounts on repeat business.
It is not as nice or user-intuitive as this site, but I have to admit that I am torn now, as I really like its flexible emailing capabilities.
Has anyone had any experience or a proposed solution to managing emails to customers? I have a process wherein I send at least four separate types of emails to my renters based on things such as full balance paid, 2 days before rental, and a follow-up two days after rental. I create these emails manually which is tedious and error prone. I have tried toutapp.com and it is ok.... but not great.
Glenn, we missed the two week mark that Sam mentioned, but we're wrapping up to release some of the new design shortly.
As for emails, it's funny you mention those events that Bookerville offers. I didn't know about those, but that's exactly what we're upgrading our templates to have. Basically scheduled templates based on two different things:
- An event (booking is paid in full, security deposit was released, etc)
- Date (x days after booked, x days before arrival, x days after departure)
Not everything will be out right away, but we're definitely in the same thought process you are.