Hundreds of email or SMS templates can be created in CiiRUS using the template builder. Templates can be customized and personalized by using the tokens (smart tags) to send various types of messages to the guest, owners, and staff members. In addition to email templates, SMS templates can also be configured here to text guests or owners. Emails can be manually sent from a reservation, or automated by setting up automation rules.
This manual explains how to configure email templates, SMS templates, and Airbnb email templates using the available tokens and categories.
Access Template Builder
To edit or add a template, go to:
- Template Builder
The table displays the configured templates grouped into two tabs: Automation Templates and Standard Templates. The selected tab is highlighted in blue:
Automation Templates are any templates that can be used with the CRM - Automation Rules. Standard Templates are any templates that cannot be used with the CRM, and must be sent out manually via the distribution list or reservation.
To view information about the categories and types of templates, please click on 'Category Guide' to open the following window:
Understanding the categories:
Automation Templates -
- Automation Template: Assign this category to any email that is to be sent automatically from the CRM Module. Using the CRM, email rules (Communications > Automation Rules) can be configured so the system knows when to send the email. This category could include marketing, promotional and transactional emails to the guest.
- eCiiGN: Guest Rental Agreement: Assign this category to any email that is to be sent to the guest where an electronic signature is required. The Rental Agreement should include the booking terms that the guest must agree to and electronically sign. The template will convert into a PDF and be stored against the booking in the system.
Standard Templates -
- Email to All Homeowners: Assign this category to any emails that are to be sent to the owner which are not attached to a reservation. For example, the "Owner Statement Cover Letter."
- Email to All Team Members: Assign this category to any emails that are to be sent to Staff Members in the system. Everyone who is checked as a staff member under Contacts & Vendors will receive this email.
- Email to All Past Guests: Assign this category to any emails that are to be sent to all past guests in the system.
- Email to All Future Guest: Assign this category to any emails that are to be sent to all guests scheduled to arrive.
- Quote Email: Assign this category to any email that is to be sent directly from a saved quote.
- Reservation Email to Guest: Assign this category to any email that is to be sent directly to the guest from a confirmed reservation. These types of emails are sent on demand/manually from a specific reservation.
- Reservation Email to Owner: Assign this category to any email that is to be sent directly to the owner from a confirmed reservation. These types of emails are sent on demand/manually from a specific reservation to the owner.
- eCiiGN- Power of Attorney: Assign this category to any email that is sent to the owner where an electronic signature is required. The Power of Attorney is written authorization to represent or act on the Owner's behalf regarding business, utilities payments, or some other legal matter. The template will convert into a PDF and be stored against the Owner’s Profile in the system.
- eCiiGN- Management Contract: Assign this category to any email that is sent to the owner where an electronic signature is required. The Management Contract is an agreement between the Management Company and the owner. The template will convert into a PDF and be stored against the Owner’s Profile in the system.
- eCiiGN- Rental Supplier Agreement: Assign this category to any email that is sent to any Booking Agent where an electronic signature is required. The Rental Supplier Agreement is between the Management Company and Booking Agent to establish terms and conditions between both parties.
- eCiiGN- CC Auth Form (Owner): Assign this category to any email that is sent to the owner where an electronic signature is required. A credit card authorization form is a document, signed by a cardholder, that grants the Management Company permission to charge the owner's credit card for a period of time as written in that document. The form is often used to give the Management Company the ongoing authority to charge the cardholder on a recurring basis – whether that’s monthly, quarterly, or more sporadically.
- eCiiGN- NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement): Assign this category to any email that is sent to a Staff Member and/or Booking Agent where an electronic signature is required. A Non-Disclosure Agreement is a contract by which one or more parties agree not to disclose confidential information that they have shared with each other as a necessary part of doing business together.
- eCiiGN- Work Order Approval (Basic): Assign this category to any email that is sent the owner where an electronic signature is required. When creating a new Work Order (Operations > Maintenance), a form can be sent to the owner to approve and sign off on potential work to be conducted.
The grid displays the templates that have been configured.
The system comes with several default templates that can be used as a starting point or good example. These templates can be completely customized, or new templates can be created.
- The column headers display the Description, Email Subject Line, the Category and which versions of the template are configured: HTML (Email), SMS (Text), and/or Airbnb/Vrbo.
- Click "New Template," to create a new email or SMS template
- To create the default system templates, click "Create Default Templates"
- Click the 'edit' icon to edit the template or the 'trash' icon to delete a template
- Description: name of the template for internal reference
- Email Subject Line: this is what the email recipient sees when the email is sent to their inbox
- Category: determines which distribution list to send the email to
- HTML (Email): Read-only checkbox to indicate an email version of this template is configured
- SMS (Text): Read-only checkbox to indicate an SMS version of this template is configured
- Airbnb/Vrbo: Read-only checkbox to indicate an Airbnb Message or Vrbo Inquiry version of this template is configured
Types of Templates
Email & SMS templates can be created, stored and sent directly from CiiRUS. The templates are used to send personalized emails or texts to selected guests, owners, staff and sales leads. The CRM would trigger the template to automatically send specific emails to a selected a group of individuals when certain conditions are met.
It is recommended to create the following six mailers to be sent to the guest throughout the booking process:
- Thank You for Quoting
- Guest Booking Confirmation
- Guest Portal Information
- Payment Reminder
- Arrival Instructions
- Thank You for Staying with Us
In addition to the above six mailers that can be sent throughout the booking process, there are endless ways to use the CRM to communicate with guests and within your organization. Some other examples of CRM Mailers include:
- Email blasts to owners or staff
- Happy anniversary or birthday emails to past or future guests
- Upsell a Reservation Extra such as insurance or equipment rentals
- Post-departure surveys or reviews
- Owner booking notifications
- Cancelled booking notifications to property manager or guest
- Notification to reservation team to deliver a “welcome pack” that the guest purchased online
How to Create a New Template
To create a new template, select "New Template" and specify the following:
- Choose an existing template to copy from to save time. This will copy all versions of the selected template to the new one
- Enter a description, email subject line and category
- Click 'Save'
The new template will either appear in the Automation tab or the Standard Templates tab depending on the selected category. To edit the template, click the 'edit' icon:
The template editor will appear. The white window on the right is where the content will be added with the tokens. To the left, a list of available tokens will appear.
Please note, when editing an automation template, there are three versions of it. One or more versions can be configured per template. For example, you could have an email and an SMS template set up for arrival information.
A token is essentially a smart-tag that will dynamically populate with the data once the email/SMS is sent. For example, the token [bookingid] will display the actual Booking ID for the applicable booking.
Depending on the selected category, the tokens differ slightly. Be sure to reference the correct tokens based on the template being created/edited.
The template is made up of static and dynamic content.
For example in the image below, the sentence "Thank you for booking with us!" is static and will remain the same in every email that is sent. Whenever a token is used, this information will be dynamic data where it will differ depending on the message being sent.
To apply a token, place the cursor where the token should populate, and then double-click on the applicable token from the list.
The tools at the top are similar to Microsoft Word where images, hyperlinks and tables can be inserted, and fonts and colors can be styled:
Importing HTML into an Email Template
In addition to using the CiiRUS email template designer, templates can be created in the likes of MailChimp that offer pre-designed email templates that are fully customizable and mobile-responsive.
HTML code can be imported into the CiiRUS email template designer and saved with the tokens.
To import the code, follow these easy steps:
- Copy the entire HTML code/page for the applicable template
- Create a new template in CiiRUS following the steps above
- Click the "three-dot" icon and select "Edit Template"
- From the tools at the top, select the HTML icon
- Paste the code and then click on the HTML icon again to go back to the preview mode
- Click "Save"
For more information on how to create a template in MailChimp, please click here to read the full manual on MailChimp Email Templates.
In addition to automating emails to the guests, the CRM also allows automated SMS text messages to be sent to the guest or a specific phone number.
A first contact message will be sent to the recipient when the number being messaged has not been contacted by the system in the past 365 days. If the recipient has been contacted within this time, the first contact message will not send again.
To add the SMS Guest Opt-In text message:
- Click "New Template"
- Apply the “SMS Guest Opt-In” category
Currently, the following tokens are supported for the SMS Template:
Please note that the SMS Template only supports 160 characters and no HTML Code is permitted
Additional SMS Templates can be configured using the 'Automaton Template' Category. To add additional templates, follow the steps above, but use the “Automaton Template” as the category.
To learn more about automating email templates and SMS text messages, please click here to read the full manual on the CRM Email & SMS rules.
Airbnb Messaging and Vrbo Inquiry Templates
Templates specific to Airbnb bookings or Vrbo inquires can be created here using the 'Automaton Template' category. Follow the steps above on how to create a new template and add the content within the 'Airbnb/Vrbo' version.
These are plain text only which means no HTML is permitted.
Please click here to read the guide on automating Airbnb messages via the CRM.
Send an Email Blast
For standard templates, email blasts can be sent via the distribution list based on the email category. For example, you could send an email blast to all future guests or all past guests not attached to a reservation. To do so follow these steps:
- Create a new template and categorize it accordingly. For example, 'Email to All Past Guests'
- Configure the template with the content and tokens
- When you are ready to send, click the 'ellipses' icon and select 'Send an Email Blast'
How to Test an Email/SMS
As a reminder, the tokens will not populate until the email/SMS is sent out. A test can be sent by setting up a rule in the Automation Rules if it is a "Automation Template" category and set to send to the property manager's email address. Once tested, the CRM rule can be changed to send to the guest or owner.
To learn how to set up automation rules, please click here.