I have made changes to an email using HTML coding, is there a way to preview what it looks like?
I accept credit cards through a different merchant service, as well as personal checks for payment, how can I indicate that I accept cc even if it's not a service you have listed?
Is printing a contract and mailing it back the only confirmation you offer? How do guests electronically accept the agreement?
John Amato, July 23, 2014:
Hi rchandler - let me answer by number to keep organized:
1 - Placing HTML in the email templates almost certainly won't work. But if you can show me (or email me?) or call me and describe what you're trying to get the email to do/look like, we can probably get it to work using the tags in the tag library.
2 - The best way to preview any email template is to create a fictitious booking (make it in the past if you like, so it's not interfering with any current business), then go to that booking (click on it from your Master Calendar), and click the "Generate Email" link at the top. That will let you choose any of your email templates and preview or even send it to yourself.
3 - What merchant service are you using? Generally, as long as it provides an Authorize.net gateway, it will integrate with Bookerville.
4 - Bookerville facilitates "electronic" contract agreement, if you like. In your Property Setup page, check the box that says "Require guests to agree to my custom contract before making a booking request". This will force guests to agree to your contract before proceeding. It will also record their ip address and timestamp when they do agree to it. You can customize your contract in the Property Setup ==> Email Templates tab, scroll down and click on the "Edit Contract Template" button.
Hope this helps, but drop me an email or call me (or just respond here) if you need help, Ok?
rchandler, July 23, 2014:
Thank you for your detailed response.
1. I would like to center (figured out how to bold) text and if possible create bullet lists. But if not, I can just number them.
2. I figured out how to view the contract while I was playing with it doing just what you explained.
3. I am using MXMerchant - I am familiar with Auth.net but this merchant doesn't require an acct with them. I just want people to know I accept credit cards even if it's not via PayPal or PayPros.
4. Maybe I haven't played around enough, but to me a booking "request" is simply that, to ask someone to "sign" an agreement when it's a request is backwards. I admit I have not watched any videos yet, so I will do that and maybe this will be explained better.
RentJekyll, October 4, 2015:
I am considering using your email templates and contracts finally after a few years. I'm in the process of creating the language of the contract using TAGS etc.
But like the person above, I am having a hard time figuring out how to get the contract to the person, and get an "electronic signature" that timestamps with IP etc. I'm looking at your answer above in #4 that says...
"Bookerville facilitates "electronic" contract agreement, if you like. In your Property Setup page, check the box that says "Require guests to agree to my custom contract before making a booking request". This will force guests to agree to your contract before proceeding. It will also record their ip address and timestamp when they do agree to it. You can customize your contract in the Property Setup ==> Email Templates tab, scroll down and click on the "Edit Contract Template" button. "
The is an old 2009 post, so maybe something has changed, or maybe something has changed, but I am very good with legal matters, and as I am seeing it, the way things are set up (and it looks like the same setup described is still in place) the "Agreement" is accepted at the Request Level, and not after booking, so isn't legally valid. Being perfectly aware of Georgia Occupancy under 90 days/Innkeeper law - I am certain of that, and in the event of a conniving guest that knows how to use the law I could end up with an adverse possession squatter making me go through legal channels to get him out.
So here are my thoughts / questions......
#1 - Is there a way to set the contract to email on a schedule (manual or automatic like the other email templates) at the time of "Official Booking". This is especially important since I am guessing that most people, like myself, are getting their leads elsewhere (Vrbo, flipkey, craigslist, people calling off a sign or newspaper ad etc) and I am taking the info and entering the booking. So there really isn't a "Request" being generated out of your software anywhere in the process. I think I can accomplish this by simply creating a new email template, and then putting the simple [CONTRACT] tag into the body of the email with nothing else, and then give it an appropriate title, and then set it on a schedule after booking. But this brings up other questions....
#2 If I want it to send immediately at time I save the booking, how do I set it. Zero (o) days AFTER booking???? Because it looks like my only options are 1 day before, zero days before, zero days after, or 1 day after. I want it to go immediately. Any suggestion?
#3 The above solution only gets me an email with the Contract. They still have to print it, and fax/email a scan or mail. So I really haven't gained much over my current method, which is to plug data into a preformatted WORD contract, save to pdf and email. It looks better, prints better, and if electronic sig isn't possible - it may not be worth it for the small time savings involved. My question is whether or not you have, or could build in, a way for the aforementioned method can also include their doing an "AGREE" or electronic signature link in the bottom of the email that also tracks in the IP / timestamp etc. Because I do know that I'm going to mandatorily have to have that logged and stored for any legitimate legal purposes.
#4 or am I missing something and there is an obvious work around I am not seeing?
I DO HAVE A POSSIBLE WORKAROUND, OUTLINED BELOW, but it also involves separate archiving etc.... and if I go this route I would prefer to use something that is completely built in and automated into the system. Also - I would love anyone's feedback on whether the following would actually hold up legally. I think it would, but feedback is always good.....
I would insert something similar to the following into the beginning lines of my [CONTRACT] email.....
The easiest way to legally accept this Contract, is to “digitally sign” this Contract by simply REPLYING TO THIS EMAIL and typing “I AGREE” in the body of your reply email. Or you may print, sign/date and physically mail it.
Thanks in advance. Sorry I am hitting you all at once with these things John, but I am solidly looking at aspects of your software I have simply never considered using in the last few years until now.
John Amato, October 6, 2015:
Hi David, thank you for the in-depth description. Let me try to address by number:
1) Yes, you can certainly just send the contract, using the [CONTRACT] tag, in an email to the guest and have them print, sign, and send it back to you. At least with that method, you get the data pre-populated, and most managers find that alone to be worth it for the accuracy and time/tedium savings.
There is also a way to send a link to the "print-friendly" version of the contract, using the [CONTRACT PRINT URL] tag. Create a link in an email using something like this: [URL=[CONTRACT PRINT URL]]Print Contract[/URL] This will usually display, and print much more reliably then trying to send the whole contract embedded in an email.
2) If you want to send an email (any email) at the time you're saving the booking (or Booking Request), don't bother scheduling it. Instead, click the "Generate Email" link at the top of the Booking Details page and just send it right then.
3) I agree that we may need to develop a special "confirm contract" page, and we are fine with proceeding with that. Before diving into it though, let me make sure we all understand the current process for Booking Requests, and make sure that what's available now doesn't suffice:
When you create a Booking Request, and save it, you can then click Generate Email, and choose the "Quote" email template (if you don't have that one, you can restore it, ask me about this if you need help...)
That Quote Email Template has a link in it that takes the guest to a "Confirm Quote" page, where they can review the numbers, possibly add/remove Guest Options, and also at that time, they are required to agree to your contract. And if they do, this is recorded (date/timestamp, ip address). Also at that time, the Booking Request is converted into an actual booking, dates are blocked on your calendar, and if there is any pre-payment required, they are required and directed to pay it.
Are you using this process? And/or, is this process not sufficing, for legal or other reasons?
Let's explore this...
RentJekyll, October 6, 2015:
#1 & #2 I have already figured out. AND I also think after researching further that another solution I have proposed is legally valid - to simply "REPLY" to the email with the [CONTRACT] template, and in their reply type "I AGREE - print name" . So it does appear I have an easy solution, and having spent the bulk of this weekend playing with this - I am liking the autopopulated Contract aspect more and more.
But in regards to #3 - that is an interesting process that might work very well. I had never thought of doing that. If I understand, what I would do when I have an actual booking to do, I would do it as a Booking Request instead. Same process and amount of work, and it can be set to effectively block the dates (???? - because I need it to block the dates since the way I am doing it - it is ACTUALLY a reservation, but I am doing it as a Quote Request only to workaround the Contract issue) - except it doesn't actually "activate until they "ACCEPT" the contract.
I've actually never done a Booking Request using your system - so I guess I just need to run through one, setting up a fake account/booking using my email, then go through the whole process and let you know.
One question I do know I have in advance.... is there a way to "FORCE" an action at a preset number of days after generating the "Request for Quote"? For example, I currently give people 10 days to get paperwork and 1st payment in. Could I set it to remind me at say 12 days / delete it at 20 / if the contract didn't get accepted?
I'll get back to you on how it works for me - BUT I still think a more straightforward process of integrating an Accept Button into an email contract template is a simpler, clearer and more effective method.
Thanks for the response.
RentJekyll, October 6, 2015:
PS.... regarding this timestamp/ip log. Is it downloadable to my local drive somehow? Any sort of backup, and would they show direct visual connection to the underlying Contract Agreement? Like "embedded in the contract"? - in the event of legal need?
John Amato, October 6, 2015:
Hi David - couple answers:
1) When you make a Booking Request, it does not block dates on your calendar. The idea is that while the guest is hemming & hawing about it, those dates might get sold to someone else. Most managers don't want the dates blocked until/unless the guest commits by agreeing to the contract and/or paying the pre-payment. I don't see an easy way around this in Bookerville, because you can't do the confirm-quote thing with an actual booking. So hmmmm...
2) The timstamp/ip address is made available to you on the Booking Details page, in the Admin section, look for the "Contract Confirmed" checkbox: if checked you'll see a "Details" link, which shows you the date/time they agreed to it, and the ip address.
RentJekyll, October 6, 2015:
Just went through entire process. Realized I had to tweek some settings, which I did. Yes, I immediately realized that it doesn't block dates. Unfortunately that makes this a nonstarter from a "work around" standpoint, as again - my goal is to take an existing reservation and just enable an electronic signature.
But then it got worse... and this one is not your fault, nor something I think you can solve. I ran through a sample Qoute > Acceptance, including requirement of accepting Contract. Then I checked the IP Log. All looked good - except I would have preferred to see the Booking Reservation# listed in the IP Log Report - since that legally conects it to a specific reservation (food for thought as a simple filed addition I think). But then I noticed the IP address. Not one I recognized as being in the field of my IP Provider.... so I ran an IP Check, and came up with a different IP, then I realized I often use a proxy and realized I was in that browser during the test - and that conjured up legal issues of proxy server / TOR contract signings that could never be validated.
But then I am like - Wow - nothing is perfect, and the odds of this being an issue being minimal........ So I think if the IP LOG referenced a Booking Reservation/Confirmation # this would be about as close to perfect as you can technically get.
EXCEPT, at the end of the day - I do not like using the Quote System to go through a ton of extra steps, and I don't like the multitude of generated emails that spawn from that process, but most importantly.... it doesn't block the dates, which is ultimately the deal killer.
So I am back to either doing it with my workaround method of requiring them to REPLY TO CONTRACT EMAIL with an "I Agree" sort of statement - OR - having an integrated I AGREE "button that can be inserted into the [CONTRACT] and performs the log that way. And I do think that if you ever find yourself bored - that would be a nice addition to your toolset. But for right now I am actually pleased with the idea of using it with my workaround. Very pleased actually. I've actually come to see it as a very nice timesaver, reduces human error conflict between my bookerville entry and the actual contract, and I can still print the Acceptance Email to a file and archive it. So I am happy, and hopefully you got some good feedback.
John Amato, October 15, 2015:
There is now a new tag: [CONTRACT AGREE URL]. Use in a "sentence" like so:
Click here to [URL=[CONTRACT AGREE URL]]Review and Agree to Contract[/URL]
This takes them to a special page that allows them to click an "Agree..." button and confirm the contract. The Printable Contract page has also been updated to reflect if a guest has agreed to it.
In fact, there's a new Email Template that you might just want to grab (go to the Property Setup page ==> Email Templates tab, click "Add New Email Template...", leave the "Agree to Contract" item checked...) called the Agree to Contract email. Feel free to experiment with it.
There are some things we're going to want to address about it, but this is enough to do some beta pilot-testing. Also note: once a guest has agreed to a contract for a booking, if you change that contract (it warns you about this), then their "digital agreement" gets erased.
Let us know your thoughts...