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April Product Update - New Sidebar Layout, App URL Change, Messaging API

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Welcome to the first full-month product update blog post!

(ICYMI: we've switched to a monthly product update format)

OwnerRez made lots of changes in the month of April 2024 that you should be aware of. Some are more obvious than others! Read on to catch all the updates made during the last four weekly releases.

New Features

New Sidebar Design

In case you missed it, on April 24th, 2024, we implemented a sidebar main menu to enhance your user experience! 

New 2024 OwnerRez Sidebar Layout

We believe this elevates the look and feel of OwnerRez, and it should seem familiar as many other apps have a similar structure. The top menu bar still has a role, so click on everything to see where your most-used items are.

If the menu takes up too much space on your screen, you can collapse it out of the way (and reopen it when needed). On the smallest of screens (e.g., cell phones), the menu is auto-collapsed and you just open it when needed.

Besides its location, having a sidebar menu allows for more menu real estate, so Settings is back (a welcomed change, for sure!), and the "CRM" menu is no longer needed. Instead, Inbox, Contacts, and Reviews are on the main menu now.

In preparation for this significant update, OwnerRez gradually introduced incremental changes over the past year. For the remainder of this year, we will continue implementing additional design changes to enhance your user experience further. You will also see the sidebar continue to evolve a bit.

Read more about these changes (and keep track of further upcoming design changes) by reviewing the New Design 2024 support article.

secure.ownerrez.com is now app.ownerrez.com

New look, updated URL! We changed the app's URL (i.e., subdomain) from secure.ownerrez.com to app.ownerrez.com to coincide with the menu design changes.

Why change the URL? All OwnerRez site pages are secure, so having "secure" in the URL was redundant. Many apps use "app" in their URL to let users know they are in the main application, so we wanted to follow suit. If muscle memory still causes you to type in secure.ownerrez.com, you will be redirected to app.ownerrez.com.

app.ownerrez.com URL

We would have preferred to do it back in January with the root URL change from ownerreservations.com but doing it all at once was too large of a release.

This change was smooth and has been well received. This update also lays the groundwork for the much-anticipated push notifications feature. In the near future, you will be able to receive alerts directly on your iOS or Android devices!

Messaging Endpoints Added to OwnerRez's API

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has the potential to enhance guest communication by providing instant, personalized, and efficient responses, reducing wait times, and improving overall satisfaction.

As OwnerRez continues to expand partnerships, such as the March 24th, 2024, Integration With Enso Connect, we have added new messaging endpoints to our v2 API to accommodate Enso and other potential partners offering guest communication options utilizing AI.

New Messaging Endpoints Added to OwnerRez's API

For those interested in AI messaging options to be offered by OwnerRez partners, more info to come in the weeks ahead!

Enhancements & Tweaks

Improved SMS Infrastructure and New Messaging Policy

SMS Messaging is a powerful way to send information directly to your guests, bypassing email. Our SMS feature also works with templates and triggers so that you can send automated personalized messages at scheduled times.

Like the channel thread messaging implemented in the fall, OwnerRez has now converted SMS messages to a new thread architecture. We also improved SMS sending latency, or the time for an SMS message to pass on a network from OwnerRez to your intended recipient. These changes are probably not noticeable to our users as these improvements took place under the hood. Still, they lead to improved guest communication and better preparation for the upcoming unified inbox. 

Also, TMobile, and by extension, our provider, has introduced new fees for infractions of its content policies. Due to these changes, users must now agree to be bound by OwnerRez's terms of service, content messaging policies, and its messaging partners during new SMS Brand applications.

Vrbo Channel Bridge Updated

Recently, Vrbo updated its API endpoints, resulting in Channel Bridge (CB) booking download import failures. This proved challenging for those of you with non-API-connected Vrbo properties that rely heavily on the OwnerRez CB Chrome extension to manually import your Vrbo bookings into OwnerRez via an Excel file. The vast majority of our users rely on API integration for their Vrbo listings, so most of you were unaffected. 

As part of this release, we updated the Channel Bridge booking download import to include those new Vrbo API endpoints.

This should fix Vrbo Channel Bridge booking download failures. To avoid future Channel Bridge problems, consider connecting your properties to Vrbo through our fast and reliable integrated API connection between Vrbo and OwnerRez.

Hour Intervals Added to Pending & Auto Cancellation Rules

Setting clear property rules benefits both hosts and guests by promoting mutual respect and understanding. It helps prevent misunderstandings and conflicts, ensuring a smoother and more enjoyable experience for everyone involved.

OwnerRez has added hour interval options to many areas for more flexibility in your Pending & Auto Cancellation Rules.

Why? Recently, we implemented hourly pending services, allowing us to add hourly intervals. Pending bookings tie up your availability calendar, so we suspected some users would appreciate the flexibility to nail down more specific Pending & Auto Cancellation Rules. Now, you can determine when to place bookings (and quotes) in a pending state, when to auto-cancel the booking if a guest fails to meet the payment deadline, or even offer more time for the guest to provide a valid payment.

In your Property Rules, you can now select hours (or days) from the Pending & Auto Cancellation dropdown menus to automatically place the booking in a pending state in the event of payment failures for Credit Card, Checks, and Custom Instructions.

In Property Rules, users can select hours (or days) from the Pending & Auto Cancellation dropdown menus to automatically place the booking in a pending state in the event of payment failures for Credit Card, Checks, and Custom Instructions.

You can review your properties Pending & Auto Cancellation Rules by navigating to Properties > Rules > Change > Pending & Auto Cancellation. 14 days is the default selection for Credit Card, Checks, and Custom Instructions. Still, you can determine the best settings for your vacation rental business.

In your fully API-integrated listing channels, you can select hours (or days) from the dropdown menu to automatically place the booking in a pending state in the event of credit card failures.

Fully API-integrated listing channels (Vrbo, HomeToGo, GuestSmiles, getawayGoGo, Whimstay, Rentalz, Hopper Homes, Got2Go) that allow guests to book directly on the channel, select hours (or days) from the dropdown menu to automatically place the booking in a pending state in the event of credit card failures.

You can review your API-integrated listing channels by navigating to Settings > Channels > API Integrations > specific Listing Channel > Change > Credit Card Payments > If Card Fails.

Are you wondering what "fully integrated" means and which API-integrated listing channels are classified as "fully integrated?" A fully integrated listing channel allows guests to book directly on the listing channel. Those API-integrated listing channels include Vrbo, HomeToGo, GuestSmiles, getawayGoGo, Whimstay, Rentalz, Hopper Homes, and Got2Go.

In individual pending bookings (specific Booking > Change Pending Status), you can now select hours (or days) in the "What do you want to do?" section to determine how long a period you want to wait before auto-cancelling the booking if a guest fails to meet the payment deadline.

Booking > Change Pending Status

Note that you can only change an individual booking's Pending Status when the specific booking is in a pending status.

You can also change your Pending & Auto Cancellation rules for quotes by navigating to the specific Quote > Rules > Change > Pending & Auto Cancellation. The settings appear and act just like property Pending & Auto Cancellation rules but will only apply to that specific quote.

Read the Pending Bookings support article to learn more.

New X (Twitter) Icons Added

OwnerRez has replaced X's (Twitter) old bird icons with their new X icon on our public website and in-app.

The new X icon is on the top bar of our public website, ownerrez.com, alongside our other social media icon links.

OwnerRez Social Media Icon Links Now Include X (Twitter)

Did you know that OwnerRez is on Linkedin, too? As part of this release, we added the Linkedin icon next to the X icon.

OwnerRez Social Media Links Now Include Linkedin

Hosted website header and footer icons have been updated to the new X icon. Here's a hosted website header example.

OwnerRez Hosted Website Social Media Icons Now Include X Icon

And here's a hosted website footer example.

Hosted Website Social Media Icons Now Include New X Icon

Additionally, we updated both the {MYSOCM} (multi-line social medial inks) and the {MYSOCS} (single-line social media links) field codes to now display the new X icon. Hosted websites using the {MYSOCS} field code for their footers will automatically see the new X icon added.

Not a fan of the new X icon displayed on your hosted website and prefer the old bird logo? You can change your hosted website header social media icons by navigating to Settings > My Website > your hosted website > Header Layout > selecting the device layout > clicking on the social media section and changing your X (Twitter) icon. Start typing in the text twitter, and select a different icon. You can also select the X icon with the black background if that works better on your hosted website.

Change your X social media icon by navigating to Settings > My Website > your hosted website > Header Layout > selecting the device layout > clicking on the social media section and changing your X (Twitter) icon. Start typing in the text twitter, and select a different icon.

Notice that the Action column is now displaying "X (Twitter)" instead of "Twitter." 

X (Twitter) and the X icon have also been added in-app to the Theming section (Settings > Branding & Legal > Theming > your Theme > Change > Social Networks).

Are you wondering about all these new icon options? As part of this update, we updated our Font Awesome (a font and icon toolkit) to the latest version, allowing us to update fonts and icons as necessary seamlessly.

More Property Multi-Select Tools Added

OwnerRez's Property Multi-Select Tool allows users of multiple properties to quickly and efficiently search and select their desired properties by simply adding the first few letters of a property or owner.

As a followup to our January 12th release of the Property Multi-Select Tool Added, we've added the Property Multi-Select Tool in-app in the following areas: Deposits, Imports, PM, Properties, Settings, Team Access, Form Messages, Holidays, and Seasons.

Note that the dropdown box text displays the number of properties selected.

More Property Multi-Select Tools Added

The Property Multi-Select Tool filter text box only appears if there are more than ten options on multi-select boxes (or 15 on single-select boxes).

New {MYDOMAIN} Field Code Added

Sharing your website's URL with current and potential guests provides direct access to accurate information, fosters trust, and enhances their booking experience.

Why add the new {MYDOMAIN} field code when we already have the {MYURL} field code? Booking-type message templates that included the Company URL {MYURL} field code sometimes resulted in malformed URLs when configured to open in a new tab. The new {MYDOMAIN} field code displays your company web address minus the HTTPS prefix, e.g., fancyrentals.com, reducing the risk of malformed URLs.New OwnerRez {MYDOMAIN} Field Code

You can insert the new {MYDOMAIN} field code in-app in messaging templates, renter agreements, theming sections, and more. We updated to this new field code in a few places in existing templates.

Learn more by reviewing our Field Codes support article.

Bug Fixes

April 3rd release with 13 bug fixes

Add Missing Guest Name Column to Vrbo Commission CSV Import Template. Vrbo has added the guest name to the Vrbo commissions spreadsheet, but that column was missing from OR's template on the import page. We have added the guest name to the Vrbo Commission CSV import template.

Booking Summary Report Not Prorating Evenly Across "Any stay in period" Results. The Booking Summary report was not prorating evenly across "Any stay in period" results after changing Group By and Columns, causing mismatches in prorated amounts. OR corrected this issue to ensure that the Booking Summary report prorates evenly across "Any stay in period" results.

Clarify Amount Being Charged/Credited and When it Will be Applied/Refunded When Turning DP on or Making Changes. Listing channel Damage Protection settings that were subsequently changed to exclude that listing channel displayed incorrect negative amounts to be charged. We resolved this glitch, and listing channel Damage Protection setting changes will display the correct amounts to be charged.

Clarify Booking Changed Alerts for Check-in/Check-out Time. Changed Booking email system alerts for early check-in times displayed confusing strikeout text for both check-in and check-out times. OR fixed this bug and Changed Booking email system alerts will display the correct strikeout text for booking changes.

Clarify That Rate Import is Not Supported When Airbnb Smart Pricing is Enabled. Airbnb Rate Imports are not supported in OwnerRez if Airbnb Smart Pricing is enabled in their Airbnb account; however, users were not properly notified of that limitation when they attempted rate imports for their Airbnb API-connected properties. We resolved this glitch, and users will receive proper error messages explaining that Airbnb Rate Imports are not supported in OwnerRez if Airbnb Smart Pricing is enabled in their Airbnb account.

Don't Show Only/Everything But Items on Trigger Editor if it's Actually All Mode. Only/Everything But Items were incorrectly displayed on the Trigger Conditions section when the condition was configured to the All mode. OR fixed this bug to display the selected conditions in the Trigger Conditions section correctly.

Door Lock Fixes for Multi-lock Properties. Some properties with multi-locks configured encountered door lock errors. We resolved this issue to ensure that properties with multi-locks configured will no longer encounter door lock errors.

Fix Cleaning Fee From Showing up Twice in Channel Rate Tester. Airbnb cleaning fees were incorrectly displayed twice on the Channel Rate Tester. OR corrected this glitch, and Airbnb cleaning fees will be appropriately displayed on the Channel Rate Tester.

Hosted Website Blog Posts Have Two OG Share Images. OR hosted website blog post shares included 2 Open Graph (OG) images, the user-configured OG share image, and a property image. We fixed this bug by only sharing the user-configured image for blog posts.

Hubitat Lock Integration:

  • Don't Warn on Duplicate Code for Bookings That Do Not Overlap (Hubitat-side Fix). Properties with Hubitat door integrations received duplicate door lock code warnings for non-conflicting bookings. OR resolved this glitch by no longer sending duplicate door lock code warnings for non-conflicting bookings.

Improve Integration With Schlage Door Locks. OR has improved the Schlage Door Lock integration to handle a wider variety of error states and be able to recover from them to match existing codes to bookings. 

Make Quick Quote Instant on Ribbon Again. We encountered a code regression that resulted in the instant Quick Quote modal becoming unavailable on the ribbon calendar. We corrected this issue, and the instant Quick Quote modal is again available on the ribbon calendar.

When Adding New Guest/Contact, Province is Displayed Instead of State if United States is Selected. The Province label was incorrectly displayed below the state field as the default in the Add Guest modal form when the United States was selected as the country. OR resolved this glitch, and the correct associated label will be displayed when the country is selected in the Add Guest modal form.

April 10th release with 7 bug fixes

Add Property Name to Received Alert Messaging. Some received system alert email messages did not include property names. OR corrected this issue to display property names properly in all received system alert email messages.

Apply Minimum Nights Rule When Arriving on the Last Night of the Season. Minimum night rules were not correctly applied to the last night of a recurring season that spaned from one calendar year into the next, allowing guests to book a property for fewer nights than configured in the season minimum night length restrictions. We resolved this glitch, and season minimum night length restrictions will be applied correctly.

Fill in Guest Last Name From the Airbnb Reservation Before Processing Booking, Brought up From Missing Data in Zapier Zaps. Airbnb bookings were not pushing guest last names from OwnerRez user accounts who had connected Zapier Zaps to pull guest information to another platform. OR fixed this bug by adding a slight delay to ensure that Airbnb guests' last names will be added to the OR booking before processing the booking.

Fix Sending of Airbnb Special Offers Through OR Messaging. OR experienced a code regression that no longer allowed Airbnb special offers to be sent through the OR guest quotes. We corrected this issue, and users can send Airbnb special offers properly through the OR guest quotes.

Handle Unexpected Errors Encountered While Using Vrbo Channel Rate Tester. Some users encountered unexpected errors during the Vrbo Channel Rate Tester process. OR resolved this issue to better handle unexpected errors during the Vrbo Channel Rate Tester process.

Settlement Process Will Adjust Expenses That Match With Fees. The PM Settlement process correctly adjusted host fees but failed to adjust associated expenses. We corrected this glitch, and the PM Settlement process will adjust associated expenses properly when the host fees are adjusted.

Stop Disabling Hosted Websites if DNS Records Do Not Match. Some hosted websites were disabled if domain name system records (DNS) did not match. OR fixed this bug, and hosted websites with mismatched domain name system records (DNS) will no longer be disabled.

April 17th release with 15 bug fixes

Don't Pass Fee to Google Vacation Rentals if Season Criteria is "Only" + "None." Surcharges configured with the criteria of all properties with a season set to only but none selected resulted in Google Vacation Rentals (GVR) price accuracy failures. OR corrected this bug to ensure that any surcharges with a season set to only but none selected will not be passed to GVR.

Don't Send Hosted Site Updates to Closed Accounts. Hosted Website system messages continued to be sent to closed OwnerRez accounts. We resolved this issue, and Hosted Website system messages will no longer be sent to closed OwnerRez accounts.

Don't Void All Other Open Inquiries From the Same Guest When an Airbnb Inquiry is Received. Existing open inquiries from the same Airbnb guest were improperly voided when another Airbnb inquiry was received from the same Airbnb guest. OR fixed this glitch, and existing open inquiries will no longer be voided when another Airbnb inquiry is received from the same Airbnb guest.

Fix Airbnb Channel Messages Inability to Send When Guest Also has SMS Thread. Certain Airbnb channel messages and triggers encountered send failures when the guest also had an SMS conversation thread. We resolved this bug, and Airbnb channel messages and triggers will be sent as expected even if a guest also had an SMS conversation thread.

Fix Airbnb Publish Error Display. Airbnb listing publishing errors incorrectly rendered and displayed HTML markup language. OR corrected this bug to ensure that Airbnb listing publishing errors are correctly rendered and displayed.

Fix Blog Post Category Counts Showing Zero. The OwnerRez blog category counts incorrectly displayed zero posts for all categories. We fixed this glitch; all blog category post count displays are correct.

Fix Door Codes Populating in Templates for Unmapped Manual Locks. Phantom manual door locks (previously assigned but now unassigned from a property) continued to display the phantom or unassigned door code in messaging templates. OR corrected this glitch by filtering out the unassigned booking door code records.

Fix Hosted Site Blog Posts Not Being Displayed. Despite being correctly configured, some hosted website blogs failed to display public blog posts due to the number of posts per page setting. We resolved this bug, and hosted website blogs will correctly display blog posts as configured.

Fix Initial Guest Messages Not Showing in Conversation History. Occasionally, guest conversations did not display the initial or earliest messages from a guest in the Conversation History area. OR fixed this glitch, and initial or earliest messages from a guest in the Conversation History area will be displayed appropriately.

Fix Sorting for SMS Communication History. Grid errors occurred when users attempted to sort by the Communication History SMS tab Created Date column. We corrected this issue, and users can sort by the Created Date column in the Communication History SMS tab area as expected.

Fix Triggers to Work for "Adjacent Available Nights Status" and "0 days Before Booking has arrived." Due to recent changes in how OwnerRez handles property time zones, triggers configured with the scheduled time of  "0 days Before Booking has arrived" and the condition of  "Adjacent Available Nights Status" resulted in the trigger never running. OR fixed this glitch, and triggers configured with the scheduled time of  "0 days Before Booking has arrived," and the "Adjacent Available Nights Status" condition will run as expected.

Handle Invalid Expedia Listing URLs. Some Vrbo API-connected properties displayed incorrect Expedia URLs leading users to an Expedia search results page instead of the correct Expedia listing. We corrected this issue by ensuring that Expedia listing links are correctly displayed.

Prevent Case Where Airbnb Listing Can be Connected to Two Properties. A user was incorrectly able to link two properties to the same Airbnb listing by deactivating and reconnecting both properties in swift succession. OR fixed this glitch to ensure that before activating a property for an Airbnb listing, there is not already another active linked property attached to that Airbnb listing.

Show "Coming Soon" Channels in LQA. "Coming Soon" API integration listing channels are now available for selection in the Listing Quality Analyzer (LQA) Channels multi-select tool.

Show Correct Currency From Account Culture Settings on Booking Cancellation Page. During the booking cancellation process, the security deposit hold release settings for properties with non-US culture settings erroneously displayed US dollars instead of the correct currency, even though the refund used the proper currency. We corrected this bug and configured culture settings will be properly applied to the booking cancellation page.

April 24th release with 8 bug fixes

Fix Google Vacation Rentals Integration to Allow for 99 Distinct Date Ranges. Users with multiple seasons (20+) that are calculated as rate modifications by Google Vacation Rentals (GVR) encountered errors, preventing them from becoming API-connected with GVR. Very recently, GVR increased their XSD schemas to the current 99 allowed seasonal date ranges, so OwnerRez has updated our applicable schemas of Tax, Discount, RateModifications, ExtraGuest Charge, Taxes, and Fees to allow for 99 distinct date ranges.

Fix Guest Form Page to Use Hours Instead of Days. While it did not affect pending bookings, the guest booking form page incorrectly displayed the word days instead of the correct word hours. This typo was corrected, and the guest booking form page will display the correct word of hours.

Fix SMS Communication History. Users encountered SMS communication history failures due to missing sender thread participants. OR corrected this issue, and SMS messages will now include the sender thread participants to ensure that SMS communication history will display as expected.

Fix SMS Number Registration Bug. Users experienced an error while attempting to register a new SMS number in their OR account. We resolved this glitch, and SMS registration can now be completed.

Fix Setting Owner on Portal Invites. Due to a code regression, some users could not configure owners on Portal invites. OR fixed this bug, and users can configure owners on Portal invites.

Fix Vrbo Import Crashing on Long Room Notes. Due to a 60-character limit in OwnerRez bathroom notes, Vrbo property listings with bathroom notes over 60 characters experienced Vrbo Property Import failures. We corrected this issue by allowing 60+ bathroom note characters from Vrbo Property Imports into OwnerRez by truncating characters over 60.

Update QuickBooks Authentication Status After Disconnect. Disconnected QuickBooks accounts were not marked as disconnected in OwnerRez, which caused errors. OR fixed this glitch by verifying QuickBooks accounts and deleting/deactivating any disconnected ones in OR.

Update QuickBooks Name and Logo in a Few Places. OwnerRez has updated the QuickBooks name and logo on the Integrate with QuickBooks in-app page to match their current name format and logo. We have also updated the connection screenshots on the QuickBooks - Setup & Connecting support article.