Newsletter: Holiday Letting System. 1st September 2009


All,
     This newsletter announces the availability of LetSys Version 3.2.

1. New Version (V3.2) available.

Rather later than intended, this new version includes many new functions almost all of which have been requested by users.

While some of these are particularly relevant for larger agencies (for example the new owner data base) there are many other features that will be of interest to all.

One of the reasons we are later releasing this than intended is the sheer number of new features – requests kept coming in!

This version is now the only supported version, so while there is no requirement to install it if you are working well, if you hit any problems you should upgrade.  You should also upgrade if you think any of the new features will be useful to you.

Highlights of the new version:

Improved search function: You can now search the entire data base for bookings containng a specified text string, using Search / Find Text. Every booking record that matches is listed and you can jump straight to the ones you think you are interested in. (There’s an exception - in classic mode you can only edit bookings for the current property).

How are my bookings doing this year?   Two new functions are provided to answer this question.  Firstly the statistics tool (see topic View statistics) is improved to show how many days you had booked on the first of each month, looking back for several years so you can see if you are doing better or worse. Secondly a new View Booking History tool shows you the booking status for the selected year compared to previous years, including the date the booking came in.

Overdue Items: Overdue payments and acknowledgements are now listed in a new improved way. You can sort or print the list. If you click one of the lines, you can jump straight to the booking record (except in classic mode where you can only do this for the current property).  The list now included Bookings where payments have been made but you haven't checked the Ack boxes to show you've acknowledged the payments. The Overdue List Window can be left open while you work with a booking, and will be updated if you change a booking such that it is no longer overdue.

How much income will I have in the next 3 months?  What’s my cash flow look like?  A new tool allows you to review each payment made - both actual and forecast - for all or selected properties. You can see totals by month. You see payments within a specified range of dates (by default set to the current year). You can omit forecast payments if required. You can export the payments list to a spreadsheet.

Owner Data Base: If you are managing properties on behalf of their owner, you can now create an owner database, and save information about the property owners. This is an optional feature.

VAT receipts: If you are VAT registered, is it now possible to create a VAT (or other tax) receipt using the system. Two new special strings allow you to include the appropriate amounts on one of the automated letters. You can set the tax as a percentage on the rent tab of the configuration program.

Export bookings to CSV file: This function is substantially improved. By default the same fields are exported as for V3.1, but you can now select up to 17 additional items of data to export (including a VAT or Sales Tax calculation). You can choose exactly which data is exported and the order of the fields, and you can change the content of the column headers (by changing the item name). You can configure and save your own export templates. This improvement was made especially to assist users running letting agencies who needed to produce more comprehensive reports for their clients. In addition, once the export is complete, the CSV file is immediately opened in the registered application (eg Excel). See Help topic Export Bookings to CSV file once installed.

Cancelling a booking: This is improved substantially. It is now easier to update the data for an existing cancelled booking. To support the payments history, improvements are made to the cancellation process, for example the total the customer paid and the amount you refunded together with dates are now recorded and displayed.

Special Strings: Several new special strings are introduced for use in letter proformas. You can now include the rent, extra charges and tax (VAT) amounts if applicable. A full list of the available strings is in Help topic Mail merge or "special" strings. Those special strings which represent payments will now (by default) be substituted by the amount preceded by the appropriate currency symbol as configured for a property. For example <!Total> might now be substituted by $250. This avoids having to hand code the currency symbol into each letter proforma and allows a shared proforma to be used for properties in several currency zones. If you want the old behaviour (no currency symbol inserted) then you can check Omit Currency Symbol in the configuration program (on the letters Tab), and this behaviour will be set for those users upgrading from a version prior to V3.2

Surcharge: A new function makes it easy to add a surcharge (for example for payment by credit card). The surcharge becomes one of the extra charges. The surcharge may be applied as a percentage of the deposit, the balance or the total. This new function is described in more detail in Help topic Calculate Surcharge and must be configured (by property) before it can be used.

Publish to web: It is now possible to include more than one property in a single Availability and Rates web page. You now use an HTML comment to indicate where the table lines for a specific property starts. See Help topic Overview and Row proforma for more details.

Windows 7: The much awaited new version of Windows is about to become available. This new release has been tested on the Windows 7 release candidate and no problems were found.

The above list excludes a number of less significant enhancements. The full list of the new features is here: http://www.erwwen.com/holletsys/releasehistory.htm

This new version is available at no charge to existing registered users.

When you re-install the software:

More notes on how to upgrade are here: http://erwwen.com/holletsys/Support/upgrade.htm  and the new version can be downloaded from http://erwwen.com/holletsys/download.htm

 

2. Help improve your search engine rankings.

Search engine rankings are significantly influenced by the number of other sites that link to you (preferably in the same or similar business areas). Would you be willing to put a link to our web site into your site? In exchange I’ll add a link to your web site into our list of users. Better still – give me a reference quote to use as well. See the current list (including references) here: http://www.erwwen.com/holletsys/refs.htm

Here’s an example of a suitable link: “ For other owner/managers: this property is managed with Holiday Letting System software from www.holletsys.co.uk  or www.erwwen.com/holletsys/  “     Please ask your web master to add this link, and then send me an email, and I’ll link to you.

3. Comments please!

I hope the system is proving valuable. Your views are always welcome.

Best wishes to all users.

            Brendan Blake.

email: info@erwwen.com 
Web site: http://holletsys.co.uk
Phone: +44-(0)-20-8940-7087
88 Mount Ararat Road, Richmond, SURREY TW10 6PN.

 

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