To save time and resources, automated communication can be setup to trigger throughout the guest lifecycle via SMS or email. Additionally, SMS or email can be sent to the property manager, the homeowner or to a specific person based on the rules applies.

Through automation rules, set up personalized messages or marketing campaigns and send based on the criteria configured.

Please note that before setting up automation rules, the Outbound Email Settings must be configured first. The settings must be configured to use an SMTP server or Mailchimp Transactional Email (formally Mandrill) to successfully automate messages from CiiRUS.

Communication/Rules Examples

It is recommended to create the following six rules to be sent to the guest throughout the reservation lifecycle:

  1. Thank You for Quoting
  2. Guest Booking Confirmation
  3. Guest Portal Information
  4. Payment Reminder
  5. Arrival Instructions
  6. Thank You for Staying with Us / Leave a Review

In addition to the above six rules that can be sent throughout the reservation lifecycle, there are endless ways to communicate with guests and within your organization. Some other examples of messages include:

  • Happy Anniversary or Birthday email to past or future guests
  • Market a Reservation Extra such as insurance or equipment rentals
  • Post-Departure Surveys or Reviews
  • Owner Booking Notifications
  • Canceled Booking Notifications to Property Manager or Guest
  • Notification to Reservation Team to deliver a “Welcome Pack” that the guest purchased online

The above messages can be sent via SMS, email or triggered directly to the Airbnb portal to guests booked through Airbnb.

How to Configure an Email Template

Before setting up a new rule, be sure that a corresponding template has been created via the Template Builder.

  1. Communications
  2. Template Builder

A rule can be created for any template with the 'Automation Template' assigned as the category. These templates are displayed in the first tab:

Each template can have a different version set up:

  1. HTML (Email)
  2. SMS (Text)
  3. Airbnb Message/Vrbo Inquiry

Based on the version, different trigger rules can be applied when setting up the automation rule.

For more information on creating templates, please click here.

Automation Rules Overview

To add a new rule, go to:

  1. Communications
  2. Automation Rules

The grid displays created rules. The activated rules are shown in bold with a green circle next to them to indicate that they are actively sending from the system based on the trigger rules applied. Rules with a red circle next to them are to indicate that they are not activated and therefore not currently sending.

The system scans all reservations and processes the automated rules approximately every thirty minutes. If a reservation meets the exact criteria of the rule, the message will send.

Understanding 'Types' and 'Sub-Types'

A 'type' and a 'sub-type' are applied to a rule. It is important to understand the difference between the two types.

Types:

  1. Reservation Lifecycle (Formerly known as 'Transactional - Reservations')
  2. Promotional Blast (Formerly known as 'Marketing - Contact Only')

Reservation Lifecycle rules apply to communication that occurs throughout the guest's journey in the reservation process. Examples include confirmations, balance reminders, and pre-arrival information.

Promotional Blasts are meant as one-time ad hoc communication about a promotion or marketing campaign. These can only be sent via email and send to the guest profiles that can be found via 'Manage Guest Profiles.'

Based on the type assigned to the rule, the system knows the criteria that can be applied, so it is important to specify the correct type.

Sub-Types:

To keep the automaton rules organized, create and assign sub-types. For example, if you have different unit types that require unique arrival instructions, create two rules and assign 'arrival information' as the sub-type, making them easier to locate in the grid through sorting/filtering.

Several sub-types are pre-configured in the system, but you can create new ones to assign to the rules. Select 'Sub-Types' to add new ones:

Click the 'plus' icon and type in the new sub-type and then click the 'save' icon:

Add a New 'Reservation Lifecycle' Rule

To add a new rule, click the 'plus' icon above the grid and enter the details of the rule directly in the grid:

  1. Enter the name, for example 'Balance Due Reminder'
  2. Specify the Type (see above)
  3. Specify the Sub-Type
  4. Click the 'save' icon

Remember, any type of communication to send throughout the guest reservation lifecycle must be assigned as the 'Reservation Lifecycle' type. This includes confirmations, arrival info, balance reminders and post-stay follow-up.

To apply the rules, click the 'edit' icon from the first column to open the rule editor:

The rule editor is broken into four steps, making it easier than ever to configure a rule:

  1. Step One: What do you want to send?
  2. Step Two: Who will receive a message?
  3. Step Three: When do you want it to be sent?
  4. Step Four: Only send if these conditions are met...

Above the steps, the name of the rule, reply-to email address and the activation setting can be found and will remain visible as you edit the rule in each step.

Step One: What do you want to send?

  1. Delivery Type: Specify how to send this message; email only, SMS only, email & SMS, Airbnb Messaging only or Airbnb & SMS.
  2. Template: Specify which template should send. Keep in mind, only templates categorized as 'Automation Template' will appear here.

Please note, to send an SMS message or Airbnb Message, a version of this must be populated within the template. Please click here to read more about setting up the templates.

SMS Messages:

These are outbound text messages that are sent to the guest cell phone number.

Airbnb Messages:

Airbnb messages are not sent directly to the guest email, rather the thread or messaging through Airbnb's portal. Only plain text templates are supported. In Phase 2 of Unified Inbox, all communication will be visible.

Step Two: Who will receive a message?

  1. Send To: Specify who to send the rule to; guest, property manager (sends to email on file), homeowner, or a specific email address. Multiple email addresses can be added by separating them with a comma.
  2. Persona: Within 'Communications > Manage Guest Profiles,' if personas/categories have been assigned to guests, the rule can be sent to that group of guests only. For example, only send communication to 'Snowbird' guests with specific information pertaining to snowbirds.

Step Three: When do you want it to be sent?

  1. Only Send When: Use this to only send communication during a specific date-range. Typically, communication throughout the reservation lifecycle will be sent continuously, therefore, leave this setting on 'Any.'
  2. Send it: Specify an event and proximity to that event which will trigger the message to send. For example, send the message 7 days before arrival, or send a confirmation on the date booked.
  3. Re-send frequency: This tells the system how frequently to process this rule and send the communication. In almost all cases, this should be set to 'whenever conditions are met.'

Step Four: Only send if these conditions are met...

This tab is broken into three tabs - Reservation Conditions, Guest Conditions and Unit/Listing Conditions.

Reservation Conditions:

  1. Only send if reservation source is: Select which reservation sources this message should send to.
  2. Only send if eCiiGN document(s) signed: This automation rule will only trigger if the checked eCiiGN documents have been signed. For example, you may only want to send the arrival instructions if the guest has signed the rental agreement. The system will stop trying to process this rule if it's not signed by the number of days entered in the 'Ignore After' field.
  3. Only send if these extras are included: Only send the rule if a BBQ Grill is included on the reservation to send out instructions on how to use the BBQ. Or invert selections to send this rule to reservations that do not have a BBQ grill included to upsell this extra.
  4. Apply Rule to: Either PMC or owner bookings, reservations and/or quotes, and active and/or canceled reservations
  5. Payment Status Must Be: Specify if this rule should send regardless of if the guest has paid, only if paid in full or only if payment is outstanding. For example, for a balance reminder, specify to only send if there is a payment outstanding.
  6. Pool Heating Must be: Only send the rule if pool heat is not included, included or both. For example, send pool heat details to only guests who have added pool heat to the reservation.

Guest Conditions:

To send communication to guests in a specific location, set the criteria here. For example, you could send a message to guests that are traveling from a specific country or state.

To do so, click the select button next to 'Only send if guest is traveling from...'

From the pop-up window,

  1. Click 'Add'
  2. Specify the location; either country, state or city > Save

Once set, this rule will only send to guest's who have an address against their guest record that matches the location specified above.

Unit/Listing Conditions:

The third tab is to specify to send this message only for specific units or unit types.

  1. Apply to specific listings/units: Only send this rule for certain units.
  2. Listing/Unit location is: Only send this rule for units in certain locations.
  3. Unit type is: Only send this rule for certain unit types such as 'Cabins' or 'Condos.'
  4. Unit rental term is: Only send this rule for short or long term units, or both.

Once all the rules and criteria are set, click 'Save.'

If you are ready for the system to start sending this message, make sure to activate the rule by clicking the 'Activate' button at the top of the rule editor.

Add a New 'Promotional Blast' Rule

Promotional blasts are used to send one-off type marketing emails such as newsletters or seasonal discounts. Some examples of Promotional blasts are:

  1. Weekly newsletters
  2. "Summer Savings Alert"
  3. "Happy Birthday, take 10% off your next stay"
  4. "Happy Anniversary, get a free bottle of champagne if you book with us again"

 These type of messages are sent by email only and can be sent to the Guest Profiles within 'Communications > Manage Guest Profiles.'

Please keep in mind, 'Promotional Blast' messages are not tied to a reservation, rather a guest profile.

From Manage Guest Profiles, you can see all of your past, present and future guests as well as leads and opportunities.

Please click here to read more about 'Manage Guest Profiles.'

To add a new rule for a 'Promotional Blast,' follow the steps above on how to add a 'Reservation Lifecycle.'

Within the rule editor, notice that steps one through three are a little different.

Step Two: Who will receive a message?

Since this message is not tied to a reservation, in step two, specify what type of guest will receive this message:

  1. All Guest Profiles (every guest record found within 'Manage Guest Profiles')
  2. Guest Profiles that have a confirmed reservation
  3. Guest Profiles that have quoted, but not booked
  4. Guest Profiles that have either a confirmed reservation or that have quoted
  5. Guest Profiles without a reservation or quote (they may have inquired or been added manually as a lead)

Within step two, specify who to send the email to based on the list above and assign a persona if applicable.

Step Three: When do you want it to be sent?

  1. Send it: Specify when to send the email based on the guest's anniversary, birthday, a specific date or every time the system processes the rule.
  2. Re-send frequency: This tells the system how frequently to process this rule and send the email. Typically for promotional blasts, they are only sent one time and will not re-process. Therefore, specify to send '0 Days' which will tell the system to send the email once and then the rule will automatically disable.

Once all the rules and criteria are set, click 'Save.'

If you are ready for the system to start sending this message, make sure to activate the rule by clicking the 'Activate' button at the top of the rule editor.

SMS Messages

Before using the SMS functionality, please note this is an outbound texting system, meaning the guest is unable to respond to the text. We recommend including your contact information within the initial SMS message, so the guest knows who to contact. In Phase 2 of the feature to be released at a later time, we will include the capability of recording and showing the outbound texts against the booking and SMS relay so the guest can respond directly to your texts.

In order to use the SMS feature, please reach out to our Service & Support Team to enable it on your account. Our team will provide a pricing guide that states the standard SMS messaging fee for each supported country.

Follow the steps under 'Reservation Lifecycle' rules to set up a new SMS rule.

Please note, for SMS messages, a default text will be sent to the guest on first contact from the system or if the guest has not been contacted for 365 days. If the guest has been contacted within 365 days, they will not receive the message again.

In addition, a text will be sent to the guest upon first contact, allowing them to opt out of receiving texts / SMS messages as follows:

” Text STOP to block further status updates of your reservation. Msg&data rates may apply.”

Airbnb Messages

Since Airbnb is the merchant record and does not provide the guest's real email address, any communication sent from CiiRUS must be done as an 'Airbnb Message' via the Automation Rules. These messages will trigger to the Airbnb portal and populate in the thread with the corresponding guest.

Follow the steps under 'Reservation Lifecycle' rules to set up a new Airbnb Message rule. Please keep in mind, you must have an 'Airbnb' version of the template configured which is plain text only. As a reminder, Airbnb will not support images, company information, or links to external websites. Also, no HTML is supported, meaning no MailChimp or other HTML based templates. Please stick to plain text only - no enhancements to the text, no additional fonts, designs or colors.

Please note, the supported character limit for Airbnb emails is 40k.

The messages sent can be viewed in the thread by logging into Airbnb's portal. They will also populate in the CiiRUS' Unified Inbox.

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