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Blog Category: Announcements

 

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.

 
6 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.
pch, January 10, 2018:

fast forward to 2018....which of the two Channel Managers now has the best, most smooth working process for Bookerville? It seems there were some glitches which is to be expected but which of the two now works the best. Thank You!
John Amato, January 11, 2018:

I can't say that either one of them has a better, smoother working process with Bookerville. Honestly they each have their strengths. Especially if you are focusing on AirBnB, perhaps the biggest difference between the two is the pricing model: Rentals United is flat-fee per month, BookingPal is 100% commission-based.
Tloveland, January 17, 2018:

Hi John - I'm a long time customer of Bookerville and it's been great until Airbnb came along and messed up my process. I did not have good luck with your channel partners so I don't and won't use them. I only use Airbnb for my reservations which, as you know, doesn't populate customer Airbnb email address, rates or payment info. I enter that manually however, I have my Check-In email set to automatically be sent "1-day after booking creation date" so at least I don't have to manually send that one out. Since I only use Airbnb, I have altered my auto emails to make sense to Airbnb guests. But, I notice they still don't go out automatically. Is Bookerville still suppressing emails going to Airbnb? If so, when will you stop suppressing them so they will go out automatically according to my settings? Thanks!

 
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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 »

 

Bookerville Dashboard Going Responsive
April 21, 2015, by John Amato

Responsive Design Vacation Rental SoftwareGuess what? Your favorite vacation rental dashboard is going "responsive".

What is "Responsive"?



"Responsive Design" is the term the online community is tossing around to describe web-pages that "respond" to the size of screen they are being viewed on. When you're looking at it on a small screen like a typical phone, it will "collapse" into a more vertical view to accommodate. When you're looking at it on a large screen like a monitor or a decent-sized laptop, it takes advantage of that space to give you a more professional and productive experience.

What's Been Done?



So far we have implemented this on two of the most-used Dashboard pages: the At-A-Glance tab, and the Booking Details page. We intend to convert more pages to be responsive in the coming months.

It's No Silver Bullet



Responsive design is not perfect. Some pages just do not translate well into very small screens, and it should not be surprising that your absolute best experience is going to be on a real computer, with a real mouse, a real keyboard, and a reasonably-sized screen. But the new pages should go a long way to helping you stay productive when you need to, even when all you've got is a phone.

Feedback



As always, we need your feedback, so please let us know what you think, ideas for improvement, etc.

 
11 Responses:

Captains, April 30, 2015:

Hi John, we are having problems with the wigets not being a responsive design, many people use mobile applications now, is there somewhere we can get the responsive widget code?
John Amato, May 2, 2015:

Which widget(s) are you focusing on?
Captains, May 2, 2015:

Hi John we would like
Customize Your Rate Table
Public Read-Only Availability Calendar
Public Availability & Booking Calendar

Could you look into this ASAP as we have disabled bookerville on our site until we can get it fixed
John Amato, May 3, 2015:

I can tell you that the public booking calendar is undergoing an overhaul that includes a "responsive" design. But it's a few weeks away. And so are the other items although they really should be relatively responsive already. Also: have you tried simply using the mobile version of the booking calendar?
Captains, May 3, 2015:

Hi John no I haven't tried that is there a link to the code somewhere as I cannot see the the mobile version of the booking calendar in widgets?
John Amato, May 4, 2015:

Yes there is. Simply add "&mobile=true" to the end of the URL for your calendar. You can obtain the full URL of it by simply answering "yes" when the normal one asks you if you'd like a mobile-optimized version of it.
Captains, May 20, 2015:

that works for the calendar but not the rate table for some reason.
John Amato, May 22, 2015:

Odd - the rate table should already be responsive (from long ago). Is it the containing iframe that is being set to a specific pixel width, instead of a percent?
Captains, May 23, 2015:

it was set to pixels but with 100% it displays the same
John Amato, May 27, 2015:

Email me about this ok?
jacob wallace, May 9, 2016:

<a href="http://www.massmail4u.com/">mass email marketing</a>

 
Reply »

 

Bank Wire Transfers
October 22, 2014, by John Amato

Bank Wire TransfersBookerville now supports Bank Transfers as a method of payment for guests. This is very popular in Europe and other non-U.S. regions.

Please note at this time, the bank transfers option is a manual process, and is also not integrated in an automated way with Bookerville. But you can enter your Bank Wire Transfer Instructions in the Email Templates tab of your property setup page.

You can also choose whether you accept bank transfers for "pre-payments" (payments required to secure a booking), and/or for subsequent payments:



The Bank Wire Transfer Instructions can be different for each property, and these will be displayed to guests during the check-out process for both pre-payments (i.e. during the online booking process, or when they are confirming a quote sent by you), and also on the Make Payment page when they are directed there for subsequent payments.

We are hopeful that a solution will emerge for automating these in a manner not too unlike Authorize.net and PayPal, so keep your fingers crossed. If you know of such a solution, please let us know about it.

 
2 Responses:

Jill & Terry, October 22, 2014:

This is great but here in Canada we use something called e-transfers. Practically free to use. This is most common and does what the others described. The word Wire here or in the US means something entirely different. Wire Transfers costs the sender a bunch and then the one receiving it a bunch also. If you changed the name to Bank Transfers. (No Wire) That would work for indicating Account to Account Transfers. If there could be another one with e-transfers that would be amazing.
Niseko Boutiques, May 8, 2015:

Hi John,
Is there a way for a customer to confirm a booking online if paying via wire transfer?
Presently, the customer can confirm via PayPal but I can't see how they can confirm their booking (even unconfirmed in the calendar) using Wire Transfer within the 20 minute time period

 
Reply »

 

Vacation Rental Damage Protection Recommended by Rental Guardian
October 13, 2014, by John Amato

Vacation Rental Damage Protection

Vacation Rental Damage Protection Recommended by Rental Guardian



Bookerville is pleased to announce that we are we are now offering rental damage protection products via RentalGuardian.com to our vacation rental property manager customers. It's no secret that traditional, refundable security deposits have been slowly setting with the sun, due to their many drawbacks. Damage Protection s/b (the formal industry name for damage protection insurance) - whether mandatory or optional - is quickly becoming the preferred alternative. Let's briefly go over the reasons why:

Damage Protection s/b Benefits



Serves as a lucrative add-on revenue stream for the property manager.

No more collecting and holding extra money, and then having to refund it after the check-out.

Greatly reduces accounting complexities.

No issues with customers "challenging" or "charge-backing" security deposits that are retained for damage.

There are many more advantages than this, but these four represent the most-often cited by property managers looking to escape the burden of refundable security deposits.

Why RentalGuardian.com?



RentalGuardian.com stands out from other vacation Damage Protection s/b providers in several ways:

Automation: RentalGuardian.com offers unparalleled software integration through a modern, real-time API, which Bookerville has integrated with. What does this mean? It means that new policies, whether mandatory or guest-optional, are automatically posted to RentalGuardian.com for you, and the documents are automatically sent to the guest. There is no paperwork for you or the guest to deal with - the software does it for you!

Competitive: RentalGuardian.com's prices and coverage terms offer a value that can't be beat elsewhere.

Confidence: With products like Royal Adventure Damage Protection from ANV at Lloyd's, Virginia Surety Damage Protection from Virginia Surety, and Lexington Premises Damage Coverage from Lexington, both you and your guests can rest assured the policies are first-rate.

Reporting: You can sign-in to your own secure Dashboard to run reports, review documents, and view your tallies.

How Do I Get Started?



If you'd like to poke around at what products RentalGuardian.com offers, you can browse their page here: Accidental Rental Damage Protection.

If you're ready to get started, contact us for details, and we will introduce you to one of RentalGuardian.com's expert account representatives. They can show you what products will best suit your needs, and what options there are for offering these to your guests. That's all you have to do - RentalGuardian.com and Bookerville will take care of the rest and you'll be all set.

Get started today: Rental Guardian and Bookerville

 
4 Responses:

LCBR, February 10, 2015:

I went through the process... they are not interested in you if you are small. I submitted my two units and was refused by their underwriters because I only have two units. You might want to inquire how many units you have to have to use their service.
John Amato, June 23, 2015:

At this time, this product is not yet being offered to managers with fewer than 10 properties. We are hopeful this policy will change in the future. We are sorry for the inconvenience.
(Optional), September 3, 2015:

Any plans to incorporate a rental insurance that caters to those of us with a few rentals? Guests are choosing to book with me ok VRBO since we have that option.
John Amato, September 3, 2015:

As I understand it, no they have no plans to accept fewer than 10-property accounts. :-(

 
Reply »