Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year (and a few new features)!

Just a quick note to say Happy New Year to all of our great clients! Thank you very much for using our software and supporting our business. We have had a great year in 2012, started working with a lot of new users, and are looking forward to a strong 2013. As always, we continue to grow thanks to your referrals and ideas. Many of our best features were thought of by users. Just skimming through the blog and these internal messages, shows how much changed in 2012. And we have lots more ideas for 2013.

Again, thank you for being a ReservationKey client, and have a great 2013!


(on the job, at a client meeting in Mexico)

And now, the new features list...

We've added a new report, this one called, Custom Fields Report. It is currently the third one from the bottom of the list of reports. It is a great way to create a list of reservations based on answers to custom fields. First, select the custom field, then select the answer (if a dropdown type) or enter your search criteria.

Over in the Gift Certificates section, we've added the ability to edit existing certificates. Also, when editing, there is now an option to send (or resend) the confirmation message to the buyer.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Quicker Access to Calendar

Now there is another way to directly select which month to jump to on the internal availability calendar. This is useful when you need to go to a month different from the last viewed month, without having to load the calendar first (such as when you are on the Reservation Details screen and need to jump to a different month on the calendar).

Just put your mouse over the [T] link and a menu of months will appear. Previously the [T] was to take you to "Today" only. Clicking the [T] still does that, but now you can also select a month to jump to.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

New Features in Email Templates

We've added two new features:
1. Link email templates to specific rooms/units.
2. Set a default From email address.

Most of the additional settings in the templates section have been moved to an expandable Advanced Options section.

Linking Email Templates To Specific Rooms/Units

With this feature, it is possible to set which templates should appear in the Correspondence button list (in the Reservation Details screen). If a template is linked to specific rooms/units, then the template will only show up in the list if the linked rooms/units are part of the reservation. This feature most likely will primarily be used by our property manager users since they often have emails that are specific to the unit (such as a vacation rental) being reserved. Now, instead of having to sort through a list that contains many emails not related to the reservation, the email list only shows the emails pertaining to rooms/units contained in the reservation.

If NO units are selected, then the template is treated as generic and will always show in the Correspondence template selection dropdown field.

Default From Email

When opening the Correspondence window, it is now possible to set what the From field should default to. This is in addition to the To, CC, and BCC fields which were previously user configurable.

We plan to also expand this feature to the Email Schedules, where we will have an option to set a From email address for all of the different triggering events.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

New Option For Disabling Online Bookings

Maybe this is the time of year that you want to turn off your online booking page and take a break for a few days. Some innkeepers want to be able to take reservations, but only via phone calls so that they can properly instruct potential guests. Or maybe you have a special message you want to show the guest, and as long as they have read the message, they can continue and make an online booking.

To turn your page off and display a message, go to Website Tab, Reservation Pages, edit, and scroll down to the part for Disable Online Bookings. There, set the start and end dates for the period you want your page to show your offline message. Select a message from one of your templates. If you haven't already created a message for this purpose, be sure to do so in the Website Messages section.

The new features here, are the checkboxes (highlighted in the screenshot below) that allow you to include a Continue button below your message. And also, now a checkbox to hide the Waiting List form in case you don't want to use that form for these disabled periods.

Here is an example, of how one user is using this feature, with the Continue button enabled. The text of the button can be modified using our Custom Text feature.

Individual rooms can also be blocked with the Set As Unavailable on the Rooms/Units page. We have short tutorial videos on how to block rooms and how to un-block rooms.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Few Upgrades in Gift Certificates

It is now easier than ever to sell gift certificates on your website. Thanks to requests from a few users, we have added a couple of features - ability to collect credit card information instead of using an online payment method, and ability to set the amounts that are displayed, and a new field for buyer phone number.

Setting Custom Amounts

To set which amounts your customers can purchase gift certificates in, just add an amount string in the settings section for your certificates. Such as "100#200#300".

Collecting Credit Card Numbers

Previously an integrated payment method was required (such as PayPal or for processing the gift certificate purchases. We did this in order to completely automate the process of selling certificates. However, some users have been reluctant to set up PayPal or one of the other integrations just for gift certificate purchases. For those users, it is now possible to use "Offline Payment Method" which works the exact same way as it does with the reservation pages. The buyer enters their credit card details on the gift certificate purchase page and the seller (you) get an email with the first 12 digits of the credit card number. The last four digits are saved with the gift certificate information. The gift certificate is not valid for use until you have charged the buyer's credit card and marked the gift certificate as valid. This way, in case there is a problem with the buyer's credit card the buyer can be contacted to fix this, prior to the gift certificate being usable. We have also added a field for buyer's phone number on the gift certificate page, to hopefully make it easier to contact the buyer, if necessary.

Here's how to set this up:

1. Set the Payment Method to Offline Credit Card
- if you don't already have such a method in your account, go to Payment Methods and add one first

2. Buyer Makes Purchase
- you will receive an email notification containing the first 12 digits of the credit card number
- the email also has a link for retrieving the last four digits

3. Activate the Certificate
- charge the buyer's credit card by matching the card numbers up (from the email and from the retrieval page)
- click the Activate button to activate the gift certificate

It is also possible to retrieve the card digits and activate from within ReservationKey, in the Gift Certificates page.

Click View Certificates Sold:

And click "Mark As Paid"

From this screen, you can also retrieve the last four digits of the card number. Once marked as paid, the Payment Information section will contain the date that you made the change.

Monday, November 26, 2012

More Star Choices For Marking Reservations

A few months ago we added the ability to add a star to a reservation. Now, we have expanded this feature where users can select which stars/symbols are displayed in the Reservation Details screen.

First select stars and symbols under Settings Tab, Preferences:

Now, these stars and units will appear as choices in the Reservation Details screen. Click as many stars or symbols to set or deselect.

The select images will appear on the internal calendar.

Use the stars to indicate whatever you like. Such as one symbol could mean the guest is bringing a pet, another for vegetarian, another for repeat guest, etc.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Enhancements to the Correspondence Window

We've added two new features to the Correspondence window.

It is now possible to add attachments prior to sending an email. Just click the Add link.

Additionally, PDF files can now be created from the contents of the email template, and attached to a message, all with just a few clicks. This is great for being able to dynamically generate PDF documents, where information is pulled into the PDF based on data saved in ReservationKey. An example of how this can be used is for creating rental agreements sent to guests renting vacation rental properties.

Note the new "Send As PDF..." button.

Clicking this button displays an additional field where text to include in the body of the email can be entered. The PDF attachment is created based on text and formatting contained in the original email editor field.

Click "Create PDF and Send" to send the email. The PDF is created and the email is sent. That's all there is to it!

Friday, November 23, 2012

ReservationKey Is Also For Property Managers!

Recently we've seen an uptick in interest in our system from people that manage vacation rental homes, condos, cabins, etc. I'm happy to say the system works great for these type of users, and continues to improve everyday.

Here is a link to a recent recommendation from a property manager user in Miami:

And here is an email I recently received from a prospective user that had a huge list of items she is looking for in her new system. It was pretty cool being able to go through this list and check off almost every item as a feature we offer. See below for the complete list and our response.

If you manage short term rentals, definitely consider our product for your needs. Not only do we have a very flexible and full featured product, but we offer it at a great price.

Customizable site - yes, with themes you can customize look and feel
Easy to create microsites/subpages - create as many pages as you need; one for property if you want
Twitter/iframe feeds on front page - you could do this with HTML; not a built in feature, but doable with HTML easy enough
Video capabilities - not sure what you need? Would be easy to embed youtube videos in the property description with HTML
Chat capabilities - not built in; seems like you would add this to your website rather than reservation system; on each of the pages you have for your properties, you embed your reservation page in to an existing page on your website where you also have chat feature
Embed Blog and social media - same
Integrated Website - we provide the reservation system, not a full website
Group page by location with availability calendar - possible
Capability to use Promo Codes - yes we have
Online Bookings - yes
Mapping - could add with html; not a built in feature
Image Gallery - yes we have slideshow
Optimized for Mobile - yes can make a theme specific to mobile ; regular system works well on mobile also
Comments Section - yes we have guestbook
Buy and Sell Gift Cards through site - yes we have
Real time availability - yes, all web based
Web calendar - yes, several reports can be embedded with iframes

Back End
Easy to upload photos - yes
Auto resize photos - yes (as long as file size is less than 800kb)
Weekend pricing - yes can have different rates for each day of the week
Easy to set up rates - pretty easy
Propery Owner Log in - yes, can have individual log ins
Easy to add fees - yes we have section for fees
Multi-user capability - yes , see above
Display multiple screens at same time - not sur ewhat you mean, but prob yes
Currency conversion - not automatic; have to pick one primary currency to display
Occupancy Reports - yes
Process Credit Cards - yes
Create duplicate properties using same settings - can duplicate some sections such as rates, reservation pages
Spell check - no; many browsers have this built in
Easy to read reservation calendar - yes
Ability to hold dates before booking - yes
Ability to transfer held reservations into actual reservations - yes
Ability to send PDF documents - yes; actually just now working on making a cool feature to turn an email template into a PDF and then attach that file to an email; great for generating contracts
Accounting reports - some; export all to csv for greater accounting abilities
Income tracking & stats - yes
Referral tracking - yes
Refund automation - i think so
Travel Insurance - can sell as an item for sale; a percentage of grand total of reservaiton cost
Reservation history - for sure

Auto reply quotes - yes
Payment notification/alerts - yes
Multi payment schedule - yes
Build email lists - yes
Integrated Email System - somewhat; we have new feature scheduled emails for anniversaries, birthdays, but not full featured email system ; for that use something like Vertical Response or Constant Contact
Waitlist - yes
Send auto payment notification to guests - yes, an automatic email can be set up which includes a link that they can use to pay their remaining balance
Email templates - yes, lots of flexibility here; merge codes, html, etc.
Guests receive auto receipt when booking online - yes

Affiliate marketing program - not really
SEO optimization - sort of, but more important is your website is SEO optimized since the reservation pages plug into your site
Book through Facebook - yes, easy to create facebook reservation page using our facebook apps.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Option For Scrollbar at Top of Availability Calendar

For users that manage many units, it is now easier to scroll the internal availability calendar. We've added options in Settings Tab, Preferences, for setting the location of the horizontal scrollbar. It can now be set to Bottom Only, Top Only, Both Top and Bottom, or None.

Top scrollbar:

and bottom:

So, if you find yourself scrolling to the bottom of the window to get to the horizontal scrollbar, consider enabling the scrollbar at the top of the screen. Here is the setting in Preferences:

Friday, November 16, 2012

Easier Linking Settings to Reservation Page(s)

Previously, after adding something such as an Item For Sale, it was necessary to also go into the Reservation Page settings and select which items should show on that Reservation Page. Now, it is possible to select the Reservation Page right from the settings for the item being edited - Items for sale, Themes, Payment Methods, Payment Schedules, Email Schedules, Discount Codes, and Custom Fields.

Just select which Reservation Page(s) should use/show this feature:

And it is still possible to edit everything the old way, through the Reservation Page.

This should make things more intuitive, and be easier than having to remember to go to the Reservation Page settings to enable the page for whatever was added.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

New Statistics Report

We've just completed a new report, Monthly/Yearly Statistics. With this report you can quickly see monthly and yearly totals of various categories, such as new reservations, payments, expenses, and emails..

Click on the "++" link in order to drill down and open a window that shows the exact items for that day or month. For example, this image shows a listing of emails that were scheduled to go out in January.

The red bar always shows your biggest entry. At the bottom of the chart there is a summary showing the total and average amounts.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Easier Configuration for Hotels, Motels, Campgrounds

For properties where guests book by the room TYPE rather than the specific unit, ReservationKey configuration just got a lot easier. Now, instead of duplicating room descriptions and photos in every identical room, you just have to enter the room descriptions and photos, once, in the Room Types section. The latest blog post goes into more detail on how to set up one of these type of properties.

Configuring ReservationKey for Hotels, Motels, Campgrounds

ReservationKey works well for larger properties such as hotels, motels, and campgrounds, where users book by the TYPE of unit. Here are the steps for how to set up this type of property. All of these sections are located under the Properties Tab.

1. Properties / Locations
- Add your property name
- Add descriptions and photos as desired

2. Add Room Types
- Create a type for every style unit you have (use generic names such as King, Queen, Double, etc.)
- Add descriptions and photos for each of the room types

3. Create Rate Plans
- Set up a new Rate Plan for every type of room that has different prices.
- If you have four different room types and each type has different prices, then you will need four rate plans. If you charge the same rates no matter which room type is selected, then you would only need one Rate Plan.
- Inside each Rate plan add Rate Rules to cover your different price breaks (such as low season, high season, etc.)

4. Add Rooms
- The easiest way is to use the Bulk Add feature.

- For room names, keep it generic and make sure it matches exactly what you have set up the names in Room Types. If you have 40 rooms, split between 10 rooms of each type, you would enter the same name 10 times for each type.
- Use the Room Number field for your numbering of the rooms, such as the number that is posted on the door of each room. This number will not appear on the external Reservation Page.

In the Preferences section (Settings Tab) you can set what to show on the internal calendar (room names, numbers, or both).

- From the drop down menus select the correct room type (to match the room name you entered), Rate Plan, and set the Maximum Occupancy. The other settings are not optional so ignore those for now.
- Because you added your descriptions and photos to the Room Types section, you do NOT need to edit each unit and add photos and descriptions. However, if you hadn't set this information in Room Types, then the system would pull descriptions/photos from the rooms settings.

The final step is to set up your Reservation Page, which is under the Website Tab. Go there, and click Add Page. Select Hotel as the type. There are a lot of settings on this page, so go through each section carefully. At the bottom, make sure to select all of your rooms that you want to make available for booking.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

New Feature: Scheduled Emails

We have developed functionality to automatically send emails to guests based on dates saved in custom fields. This is useful for sending automatic yearly emails to guests for events such as a birthday or wedding anniversary.

Here's how to set it up:

1. Add Custom Field(s)
Add one or more custom fields of the date type: Website Tab, Custom Fields, Add, Month/Day or Day/Month Date selections, Continue, enter your data, Save.
- enter the question that corresponds to the date you want to capture (ie. When is your birhday, anniversary, etc..)
- required - whether or not field will be required on a public Reservation Page
- show internal - whether or not to show it on the Reservation Details page, internally
- mail merge code - if you want to plug this data into email templates

If you want the custom fields to appear on your Reservation Page, make sure you go to your page settings (Website Tab, Reservation Pages, edit) and select the newly added field(s).

As you or your guests enter dates into these fields, they will be automatically added to list of people to receive an email (once scheduled).

2. Create Email Template(s)
Build a new template for each Scheduled Email you plan to send out (such as one for a birthday greeting and one for an anniversary greeting). Go to Website Tab, Email Templates, Add Template.
- attachments can be included; useful for doing something like "Attached is a coupon for 15% off all food in our restaurant."
- since Scheduled Emails are not linked to a particular reservation, most of the merge codes will not work. These are the codes that can be used:

3. Schedule the Email
Go to Reservation Manager, Guests, and click the link "Scheduled Emails" in the header.

Click Add Scheduled Email.

- select template - the email you want to go out
- select a date source - such as anniversary
- set the timing - when you want it to go out - before or after the date, or exactly on the date
- set a from and to emails (and cc and bcc if desired)

Click save, and now your email will be sent once a day, to any guests that match your timing criteria.
- Note, currently we only send emails yearly, based on the day and month of the date.

Once the schedule is set up, the list of Scheduled Emails shows how many are scheduled to go out yesterday, today, and tomorrow. If more than zero, the number will be a link, and it is possible to click on it and see a box listing all the individual recipients.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Changing/Moving Reservations Now Much Easier

From the Reservation Details page, the Change link now opens a small window where quick adjustments to a reservation can be made.

This window contains several useful features.

1. Move Rooms
Simply select the new room to move this guest to. After selecting the room, the system will automatically check to see if the newly selected room is available. If not, as seen in the Lodge Room to Beatrice move in the above example, the system will show a warning, but give options for overriding the warning. The options are to Swap or Overwrite. Swapping the rooms will put the existing reservation in the old room, and the current reservation in the newly selected room. Overwriting will replace the existing reservation with the current reservation.

2. Change the Arrival Date and Number of Nights
Select a new arrival date by clicking in the Arrive box. Add or remove reserved nights by adjusting the number of nights drop down. Note, it is not possible to adjust the number of nights for non-consecutive stays. The entire non-consecutive stay block will be moved to the new arrival date. To change the number of nights, click the Use Calendar link.

3. Remove Room(s)
When a reservation contains more than one room, checkboxes appear to the left side of the window. Check the rooms to be removed, and then click the Remove button.

4. Break Out Room(s)
For multiple room reservations, it is possible to select which room(s) should be taken out of the existing reservation and used to create a new reservation. This is very useful for making new reservations out of a block of rooms being held for a group, such as for a wedding. Simply select the room(s) which will form the new reservation, and click the button Break Into New Reservation.

It is also possible to change rooms from the Availability calendar. Hover over a reservation and click the link Change/Move to bring up the Change window.

When rooms are changed with this feature, any prior changes to room prices will be retained. If new dates are being added, the system will pull rates from the associated Rate Plan. Additionally, emails in queue will automatically update to reflect any new arrival dates.

For a look at how this feature works, click here to watch our video tutorial of the Move/Change link.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Updates to Payments by Date Report

We've added a few new options to the Payments By Date Report.

You can now select which type of date on which to run the query. Select from Payment Date, Arrival Date, Departure Date, and Booking Date.

New options are available by clicking the "Show Advanced Search" link. Now it is possible to select which payment categories to include, and which columns to include in the report. Note, all columns will still appear in the export file, regardless of what has been selected.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

More Options in Email Templates

We have added two new enhancement to the email templates section (under Website Tab).

First, is the option to upload images which can be used in the templates, such as a logo, or photo.

The other new feature is the ability to set default To, CC, and BCC email addresses. These are the addresses that will be used internally, when the email template is used in the Correspondence window. This is useful for templates that often get sent to people other than the guest, such as to a housekeeper.

When the template is loaded in the correspondence window, the default emails will automatically fill in.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Rate Adjustment Specials Now Show on Hotel Style Pages

When a rate adjustment results in a price decrease, we now show that information on hotel style pages. Previously this was only implemented on Multiple Unit pages.

Such as is seen here:

Two New Email Template Codes

We just realized we have only had a code for guest phone, {{guestphone}}, which pulls from the first phone field. But we don't have codes for the two other phone fields, business and mobile phones, two fields that appear on the internal reservation form.

So, now we have added these two code, which can be used in email templates. The codes are:

Use them like this:

They correspond to these fields in the Reservation Details screen: