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Vacation Rental Emails and Listing Sites
If you are currently using either iCal feeds or a Channel Manager, then this announcement is very important to you.

How It Works Now



Bookerville has been suppressing Automatic Scheduled Emails and triggered emails for bookings that originate from external sources like Channel Managers and iCal feeds. This is because some emails just don't make sense depending on where the booking came from. For example, AirBnB collects funds from the guests, so sending them a Payment Reminder email doesn't make sense, and might confuse or even concern the guest. There are many other examples, but suffice to say, to err on the side of caution, Bookerville has not been setting up the Automatic Scheduled Emails, nor the initial "triggered" emails for these bookings, but instead allowing you to go into these bookings and either send the emails manually, or set up an alternative set of Automatic Scheduled Emails, etc.

What We're Doing Next



To improve things, Bookerville has recently added new criteria fields to your Email Templates, which allow you to specify if the email should be sent only for certain listing sites, or suppressed (not sent) for certain listing sites. If you are using iCal feeds, and/or a Channel Manager, it is important that you go in and configure these new Email Template settings soon, because Bookerville is going to turn on Automatic Scheduled Emails and triggered emails for these bookings.

When?



We have not yet determined a date at which we are going to turn on Automatic Scheduled Emails (and initial triggered emails) for external bookings, as we want to make sure our members have enough time to read and digest this news, and go make use of the new criteria feature to set up your Email Templates appropriately for the channels you're using. But we do want to act on this quickly, so that everyone can start enjoying the richer automation.

What You Need To Do



Please go into your Property Setup page >> Emails & Templates tab, and click into each of your Email Templates to see if you want to make use of these new settings.

And of course, reply here if you have questions or concerns.

 
3 Responses:

Cindy Amato, February 23, 2017:

I'm so happy for this new feature! It makes so much sense to be able to do this. It's amazing how as the industry grows and changes, like with all these new channels popping up, how fast software must continue to grow and change with it. John Amato is a top-notch computer programmer. He's fast, and everything works! And I'm not just saying that cause he's my hubby! - Cindy A., Co-Founder, Usability Expert, Wife. PS: Can't wait for my next demo to show this off!
pch, June 1, 2017:

Hello. Long time Bookerville user but new to integrating with Airbnb. My calendar feed is going well although I wish it was instant (!). However, I am wondering how the emails get integrated since all that the ical pulls in are a name and the dates. How will guests receive, for instance, my key swap messages. Also, since no money comes to me for an Airbnb booking until they move in, how will emails that are normally generated based on payment in full be handled automatically? I probably have other questions but I need to get these basics figured out first. I did go in and start to 'supress' some emails but this is as far as I got. Thanks! Pam
John Amato, June 15, 2017:

You have to go and get the email address from your AirBnB dashboard, because they typically don't put that in their iCal feeds. But in some cases I've seen it in the description field, in which case Bookerville does try to pull it.

If you want better integration with the major listing sites, consider using a Channel Manager.

 
Reply »

 

Vacation Rental Channel Managers
November 3, 2016, by John Amato

Vacation Rental Channel ManagersYou have probably started to hear the term Channel Manager kicked around lately. It's a relatively new concept in the vacation rental industry that has been growing in facility and popularity.

So What Is a Channel Manager?



A Channel Manager is software that facilitates rich data integration with many different listing sites ("channels") for convenience in a single dashboard. Channel Managers are usually 3rd-party services, but in some cases they are a part of the property management software.

What's So Great About a Channel Manager?



Channel Managers can take your property data (features/amenities, rates, taxes, photos, etc.) from Bookerville and automatically distribute it to listing sites like Booking.com, AirBnB, Expedia, HomeAway/VRBO, FlipKey, etc. This convenient arrangement enables you to manage all your properties and bookings from one (beautiful!) dashboard in Bookerville. Extending rates every quarter? Do it once in Bookerville, and you're all set everywhere.

Full, real-time calendar synchronization is provided, which all but guarantees no double-bookings. And bookings from the listing sites appear in your Bookerville calendar, complete with guest contact information, booking amounts, and ready to be managed with all the Bookerville tools you can't live without. Channel Managers provide a vastly superior calendar sync than iCal, for example.

What Does a Channel Manager Cost?



There is no additional fee to use the Channel Managers, and you don't have to pay anything above your Bookerville subscription fee to use them.

The Channel Managers are commission-based. The cost of using them is the cost of the commission the channel itself charges, plus the commission of the Channel Manager. However, you can choose to pay any portion of those commissions yourself, including zero. They will inflate your rates by whatever it takes to cover the difference, so the guests are unwittingly paying the commissions. This concept is often referred to as Net Rates.

How Do I Get Started With a Channel Manager?



Bookerville integrates with two Channel Managers: BookingPal and Rentals United. Follow these links to learn more, and also find short forms to submit for them to contact you for more information, and how to get started:

BookingPal

Rentals United

Channel Managers provide a very easy, very risk-free way to get your properties exposed to multiple listing sites, without going crazy trying to update your data and synchronize your calendars in numerous dashboards. Additionally, the platform should only improve with time, as more listing sites ("channels") are being added all the time. Another bonus: forcing the various listing sites to compete like this should also help reduce commissions over time.

 
2 Responses:

John Amato, June 15, 2017:

You have to go and get the email address from your AirBnB dashboard, because they typically don't put that in their iCal feeds. But in some cases I've seen it in the description field, in which case Bookerville does try to pull it.

If you want better integration with the major listing sites, consider using a Channel Manager.
rkmaui.com, July 13, 2017:

John,
Does Bookerville intergrate with RedAwning as it does with Rentals United and Bookingpal? Or have any plans to?

 
Reply »

 

At-A-Glance Tab Updates
May 2, 2016, by John Amato

Vacation Rental DashboardIf you haven't noticed yet, there are some new changes to your Dashboard >> At-A-Glance tab. The first thing we did (and this was a while ago) was we made that page "responsive", so that it has a more useful appearance on small screens (phones).

This tab started out with just a few boxes, but has grown a lot over the years. And recently, we've received a lot of feedback that it is "busy", overwhelming, and difficult to zero-in on the data you need to see.

So the recent changes are an effort to alleviate that. Here's what's new:

1) You can turn off boxes that you don't care about or aren't using.

2) You can change the colors of the title bars, to help your eye be drawn to the data you are looking for.

3) You can also re-arrange the positions of the boxes.

What are your thoughts? As always, we welcome all (constructive) feedback.

Thanks!

 
17 Responses:

Earl Mayfield, May 4, 2016:

Thanks for the changes. The ability to customize the page makes a great product even better. Is it possible to add the due date in the "Payments Due" box as you have done in the "Payments Received" box? Property/Guest, Date Due, Amount Due
John Amato, May 5, 2016:

Yes it is possible, and thank you for the suggestion Earl. Look for it soon (we are hopeful for tomorrow (Fri) morning).
Earl Mayfield, May 6, 2016:

Thanks, looks great!
tyneal renee, May 9, 2016:

I dont see the option to filter by date or property anymore. Has that been taken out with with the new changes? Thanks!
tyneal renee, May 9, 2016:

Never-mind I found where it is now....
Sabeli Villas.c.b. - E30811939, May 11, 2016:

Clean/Inspect - previously i could select a date range to identify required forthcoming property cleans. However this doesn't seem to be possible now. Not sure what "Received " means or is supposed to do but its not working for me. I'm selecting dates but no properties are generated, but should be.
John Amato, May 11, 2016:

Sabeli Villas - when you selected a date range before, what data came back, exactly? Was it "anticipated" clean/inspects? Or was it clean/inspect activity that had been reported during the selected dates?
Sabeli Villas.c.b. - E30811939, May 13, 2016:

The date range gave me the proposed "Check-In's", which in turn gave me their Last Cleaned and Last Inspected. I believe the Clean/Inspect box has been confused with the Payments Received box. "Received Dates" should be Check-In Dates" because nothing is being identified.
John Amato, May 14, 2016:

Ok. We're looking into it...
John Amato, May 15, 2016:

It would seem that the filter/config for the Clean/Inspect box should present the option for Arrival Dates instead of Received dates. We are going to roll out an update for that tomorrow morning. Please let us know if that rectifies the issue. Thanks.
melissarob, May 26, 2016:

Just curoius if there could be a custom box added. So we can call it what we want. For example I have to request keys on my rental agencies website and I am trying to figure out how to track which renters I have schedueled their key service. OR maybe there is a utility that I just dont't know about?
I do appreciate all the changes that were made on the At a Glance page. It has been very helpful in organizing, thank you!
John Amato, May 31, 2016:

Hi melissarob - that would have to be a new box we would create, and it's non-trivial. Email me about this and we can explore what options that may help you.
melissarob, May 31, 2016:

Will do John. Thanks!
BryonPyle, July 19, 2016:

Is there a way to create a booking straight from one of the inquiries on the at a glance box? When i click on one of the inquiries i don't see a book now button.
John Amato, July 19, 2016:

Yes - we inadvertently made those buttons (Create Booking, Create Booking Request) disappear for another glitch fix, but we are correcting it with tomorrow (Wed.) morning's update. Sorry!
Sabeli Villas.c.b. - E30811939, March 29, 2017:

Hi John, I'm using the Scheduled Notes, to identify my daily cleaning requirements. It would be helpful if you could add a tag "Property" or "Property/Guest". At the moment you have to actually go into the Booking Ref, to see which property it is for. I would suspect this would also be useful for General as well as Housekeeping. Thanks.
mdegab, April 27, 2017:

At the moment we have to send a PayPal request for payment to get our funds

 
Reply »

 

Bookerville Reads Your VRBO iCal Feed
April 17, 2016, by John Amato

You can have Bookerville read your VRBO iCal feed. Go to your Bookerville Property Setup page, and scroll down until you see the "APIs, Calendar Sync, and Integration" section:





Look for the check box to "Allow Bookerville to block dates on your Bookerville calendar from VRBO's iCal feed". Be sure to check the box.

Next you need to find your VRBO iCal feed URL. To find your VRBO iCal feed URL, read VRBO's instructions on it. Look at the "Import external calendar" section of this page: Finding Your VRBO iCal Export URL. Copy the URL (Ctrl-C) and paste it (Ctrl-V) into the field in your Bookerville Property Setup page.

That's it - Bookerville will begin reading your VRBO calendar and importing blocked dates from it into your Bookerville calendar. Some notes:

1) Be sure to read the "What's This" next to it for important details.

2) Bookerville currently reads external iCal feeds once per night (2:30 am Eastern Time).

3) As of March 16, 2016, Bookerville is no longer removing bookings from your Bookerville calendar simply because those bookings don't appear on an external iCal feed. Instead, Bookerville sends an email to you notifying you of the booking that seems to be missing from the external iCal feed, so that you can investigate and remove it manually if needed. This is due to the unreliability of certain external iCal feeds.

Also note: Only dates (and usually at least an abbreviated guest name) will be brought over into your Bookerville calendar from an external iCal feed, because that is all the other systems usually provide. If you want richer data integration with listing sites, consider using one of Bookerville's Channel Managers:

BookingPal: BookingPal Channel Manager

Rentals United: Rentals United Channel Manager

  Reply »

 

Guest Services Mobile App!
January 15, 2016, by John Amato

Vacation Rental Guest Services Concierge Mobile App
Give your guests everything they need to maximize their vacation, right on their phone! Bookerville's new Guest Services mobile app is the perfect way to provide your guests instant access to everything they will need or want. It can also save you time by answering their questions without calling or emailing you. And - you could even earn commission on tourist sales by providing your own affiliate links!

What's In It?



The Bookerville Guest Services app. provides the following (when applicable, per your settings):

Your custom Arrival Instructions.
Property address - and with a tap of the button, their phone's navigation app starts and guides them to it!
Local weather - so they can see what to expect when they arrive.
Check-in, check-out dates and times.
Local Attractions - as you've entered them in your Features & Amenities.
Payment Status - lets them know where the booking stands and they can remit payments right on their phone.
View the contract.
Your custom Departure Instructions.
Link to leave a review.
Your contact info. (phone and email address).

Nothing to Download



Unlike Glad to Have You and other concierge-oriented apps, the Bookerville Guest Services mobile app is already available on any smart phone. And there's nothing to install or download - no "permissions" or terms and conditions needed to use it. You can provide a simple link for them to click right inside your Email Templates. Perfect for the Arrival Instructions email!

Customize With Your Special Deals!



Perhaps the most exciting part is that you can set up your own special deals/offers. Each of these can have a photo, title, description, and link to local tourist attractions. Golf courses, restaurants, theme parks, water sports - anything you want to offer. The links can be your own Affiliate Links, which can lead to commissions for you when guests click them.

How Do I Use It?



Simply place this (or something like it) into any of your Email Templates:

Here's a link to a handy page for your phone; it includes directions, local information, and special deals to help you get the most out of your stay: [URL=[GUEST SERVICES PAGE LINK]]Guest Services[/URL]


The best place to put it is probably in your Arrival Instructions Email Template, and schedule it to be sent just a few days prior to the arrival date, using Bookerville's much-loved Automatic Scheduled Emails. Note that depending on how new your Bookerville account is, this verbiage might already be in one or more of your Email Templates.

Need Help?



As always: just ask. We can also help you set up your own special deals or offers so that they appear in the Guest Services app.

 
36 Responses:

Sabeli Villas.c.b. - E30811939, January 15, 2016:

Wow, this looks great, can wait to try.- Sabeli
shenandoahwoods, January 15, 2016:

Whoa! This is huge! Thanks!
Danna Swenson, January 16, 2016:

Can we customize the "Local Deals"? We are fairly remote ... but it would be great to show the local lake or golf course?
John Amato, January 16, 2016:

Yes the local deals can be your own. We are working on a nice UI for you to use to control them, but that's at least a week away. In the meantime we are asking that you contact us about what you want and we will make them appear in your Guest Services page.
dhouin, January 16, 2016:

I don't understand how to set this up. Where do I find it on the dashboard?
John Amato, January 16, 2016:

Go to your Booking Details page for any booking, and look for the "Guest Services" link at the top (or bottom). Write back if you can't find it...
abracasa, January 17, 2016:

First of all a big thank you for this app, its everything and more that my guests would require.
A big thank you for the extra work you did for me using long/lat instead of postal codes it works flawlessly now - may need to put a general long lat in the weather Icon that does not work for me although it opens a link where goa goa india is recognised?
Already had some positive feedback from a guest
Thank You
abracasa, January 17, 2016:

one thing useful maybe a currency convertor?
John Amato, January 17, 2016:

I like both of those ideas, but the currency converter will take longer.
Mailie Green, January 18, 2016:

What a fantastic tool - thank you. Is it possible to link your review straight to Tripadvisor so they can leave a review there?
John Amato, January 18, 2016:

Mailie - no, at least not at this time. Trip Advisor does not share reviews through any kind of API (that I know of...)
KathyandJim, January 18, 2016:

Is there a way to include clickable links under local attractions?
John Amato, January 18, 2016:

No - and the reason is because the Local Attractions field (in your Property Setup page >> Features & Amenities button) are used when participating in the APIs. That field is sent to listing sites, which I don't think permit links in them. However, you can establish your own special offers (at the bottom) - let us know if you'd like to do that and we can help you get them in there.
KathyandJim, January 18, 2016:

Excuse my ignorance, but I don't know what an API is...
John Amato, January 18, 2016:

Sorry, I should have stated (most people don't): API = "Application Programming Interface". It's what enables distinct pieces of software to talk to each other. Bookerville provides an API which is used (for example) to talk to BookingPal - a Channel Manager that integrates with AirBnB, Booking.com, and soon several others like FlipKey and HomeAway/VRBO. If you participate with BookingPal, then you can have your data (including features/amenities, rates, taxes, photos, etc.) automatically sent to listing sites, managing everything from within your Bookerville Dashboard.
kblair2010, January 18, 2016:

Once again, you never cease to amaze me, John! Looking forward to integrating this new app for our guests. Mahalo!
kblair2010, January 18, 2016:

I noticed that my logo is off a little bit to the side. Is there something I can do to tweak it so that it shows up centered?
John Amato, January 18, 2016:

Kelli can you please email me a link to the page so I can have a look? Thanks...
Sun N Fun Vacations, February 26, 2016:

Hello John, this is such a nice feature, well done! What is the code we must embed into arrival instructions email? thank you
Sun N Fun Vacations, February 26, 2016:

Just noticed the Guest Services code is already embedded into my arrival instructions email. I guess I need help on how to setup my own promotions/offers into that.
kblair2010, March 24, 2016:

Aloha John!
I'm wondering how we can edit the new Guests Services code to include links to our favorite concierge, etc. Thanks!
John Amato, March 25, 2016:

Hi kblair2010: please email me about this...

Thanks,

John
Pam Martin, April 1, 2016:

Hi John,

I would like to begin using the Guest Services App, but I don't quite understand.

When does the guest service app become available to view? When I click on the guest services app for some guests, it is viewable. On others, I am prompted for a PIN number.

Please help me understand! Thank you
John Amato, April 2, 2016:

Hi Pam - please email me about this so we can check out some specific cases. Sounds like there might be a glitch we need to iron out, but I can't be sure until I see it. Thanks...
iroper, April 13, 2016:

Hi John,

I've pasted the following link [GUEST SERVICES PAGE LINK] onto my Departures Template which displays as
http://www.bookerville.com/GuestServices?booking=1xxxx7&pin=4xxx
on the email generated to the customer.

What I want is for the link to be "Please go to your Guest Services Page on your mobile phone or Tablet" without showing the embedded URL. I tried using your example ]Guest Services replacing Guest Services with my text, however the link displayed was incorrect. See below.

]Please go to your Guest Services Page on your mobile phone or Tablet

It started with an [ bracket before the text. When I clicked on it opened a blank page in Chrome.

Any advise on what I'm doing wrong please?

Regards

Ian
John Amato, April 13, 2016:

Hi Ian - I believe I have corrected this for your account, but please verify. The correct syntax for this is:

[URL=[GUEST SERVICES PAGE LINK]]Please go to your Guest Services Page on your mobile phone or Tablet[/URL]

Let me know if it's not working as expected, Ok?

Cheers,

John
iroper, April 13, 2016:

Hi John,

Sorry, no it still does not work. I am getting a ] at the beginning of the link:-

]You can access this information on your mobile phone or tablet, by accessing our Guest Services App here.

The link however does not open the Guest Services page, I simply get "about:blank" in Chrome URL field.

Regards

Ian
iroper, April 13, 2016:

Hi John,

The following link works perfectly well in a standard email template.

] P.s. You can access the information about your booking from our Guest Services App.

The same link does not work in the "Arrival Instructions" template when you add the link to the "Edit Departure Instructions Template" which makes up the "Arrival Instructions" template.

I hope this makes sense?

Regards

Ian
iroper, April 14, 2016:

Hi John,

Any news on the Guest Services App issue?

Ian
Tloveland, May 26, 2016:

Hi John -

How do you set this up? .....
Perhaps the most exciting part is that you can set up your own special deals/offers. Each of these can have a photo, title, description, and link to local tourist attractions. Golf courses, restaurants, theme parks, water sports - anything you want to offer. The links can be your own Affiliate Links, which can lead to commissions for you when guests click them.
John Amato, May 31, 2016:

Sorry Ian for my delay on this, let's move this to an email Ok? I have just emailed you about this...
John Amato, May 31, 2016:

Hi Tloveland - I got your recent email with these, hope to get to these today (Tues).
kblair2010, June 14, 2016:

Aloha John! Would love to start being able to adjust the message in the app. How do I go about doing that?
Steven Talbott, November 5, 2016:

Hi John,

I love the special deals section and would absolutely love to include links for airport transfers, tours, event tickets and more. Is there a way to access this or are requests still going one-by-one to you for you guys to take care of it for us?

Essentially, I want to add [some of] the things found here: http://vacationside.com/start/go/nashville.

As a side note, assuming many users don't have special affiliate links setup at all, much less ones that include hyper-local activities and tours, I could offer to facilitate getting them access to commissionable affiliate links anyone who needs it. I think it's the owners and managers who offer a fully immersive experience by offering these types of extras, that will out shine their competition!

If you still don't have the UI, I could easily help with this as well. You could just take a url, add it to your guest services app as an iframe and voila! The content is fully structured, formatted and responsive and will look seamless.

Check out: http://vacationside.com/tours/. This is dynamic content generated on my website that I use in iframes on other websites, pages, projects, platforms and portals.

One of the links is generated automagically using php. The second one is javascript and the help of a tour/activity platform I have setup so that when the target url hits the server with the affiliate parameters, it automagically returns a dynamically generated page where every tour or activity anchor link displayed, also includes the specific affiliate parameters.

Let me know if I can help and also the best way to get this in my guest app. Thank you so much!
gene_galindo, February 19, 2017:

John ,
I like the app would like to add my own special deals at the bottom and was wondering how to get a weather app at the top like you have if possible maybe even a 3 day weather outlook.
Michael Wiack, February 27, 2017:

I would love to use this feature but I still can't figure out how to configure it.
I don't get where in bookerviile I enter the information that ultimately appears in this app. I entered the long/lat under the amenities page but that's not what appears in the app. The app lists the street address of the property which really doesn't exist. How can I get it to show the location based on the long/lat I entered?
I would like the app to show the name and contact info of our property manager, which is not me. Is this possible?
Why is there a section in the amenities page that asks for distances to various destinations in meters? Why can't we change the units of measure?
So if I entered url's under local attractions the app will show a snippet of the website? How does that work?

 
Reply »

 

How Bookerville Sends Email
August 3, 2015, by John Amato

You most-likely got to this page because you received some kind of "bounce" email message that said something about a 'From' address and a 'Reply-To' address.

Bookerville is software used by vacation rental managers to automate their emails. When Bookerville sends email on behalf of property managers, the 'From' address must be set to a bookerville.com email address, in order to be compliant with email standards (DKIM, DMARC, SPF).

So we set it to . Any emails sent to our address - whether directly or by replying to an email sent to you - are simply "bounced" - no human sees it.

But Bookerville also sets the 'Reply-To' address to be the email address of the property manager. This is supposed to cause your email system to use that address when you click the "Reply" button. Most of the time, this works fine, but there are some email systems that erroneously use the 'From' address instead of the 'Reply-To' address. When this happens, your response ends up going to instead of to the property manager.

When this happens, Bookerville sends you the message you received, and also attempts to send a similar message to the property manager so that you two can resume your conversation.

So that's all it's about. If you received such an email from Bookerville, it's probably a very good idea to look into your email system settings and see if it is doing the right thing when you click your "Reply" button. The easiest way to do that is probably to go find the very first email you received regarding your booking (or other correspondence) and see what happens when you click your "Reply" button. Does it try to send it to ? If so, there's something wrong with that email system, and you should try to find out how to correct it.

Always contact your property manager first. If that fails, and you are in need of assistance, or if you think there's something wrong with the way these emails are being handled, please let us know: contact us

  Reply »