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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions2024-04-16T15:16:43-04:00
How long does it take a new listing to go live on Vrbo?2024-05-17T14:28:38-04:00

Vrbo reviews all new listings for accuracy then approves them for publication. According to Vrbo, this manual process takes an average of 48 hours. In our experience, anything less than 48 hours is an exception with the actual time frame closer to 72 hours.

Read the Connect a Unit to Vrbo Knowledge Base Article

How Do I Move Money Out of Escrow from Cancelled Reservations?2023-12-06T10:55:58-05:00

When a reservation is cancelled, you may refund all or part of the monies received. The money you keep is placed in escrow within BrightSide and is not counted as earned income. Once you move it out of escrow it becomes earned income. Move it by navigating to the following page:

Management > Payout Cancellations

Can I Initiate Direct Deposit Payments to Owners in BrightSide?2023-12-04T16:25:00-05:00

You can enter and store an owner’s bank account information in BrightSide, but you cannot initiate direct deposits from within our software. However, after you close out the month, you may export a NACHA file and upload it to your bank. Your bank will use the payment information in the NACHA file to initiate direct deposits. The NACHA file includes the owners’ names, bank account information, and payment amounts. You can pay all owners from a single NACHA file.

When Do I Run “Calculate Month”?2023-12-04T16:09:01-05:00

When you are ready to close out the month, run the “Calculate Month” command. “Calculate Month” scans all of your reservations and prepares your accounts to be closed for the month. This allows you to run reports with accurate data. This command can be run as often as you like.

Which report shows the discount codes that were used during a certain date range?2024-02-13T14:16:29-05:00

The “Booking Discount Analysis” report provides a list of discount codes used during a specific date range and the reservations to which they were applied. You can sort by booking or arrival date and stay length. You can see how many bookings used the code, average nights, and the gross revenue for each code.

Marketing > Reports > Booking Discount Analysis

Learn how to create discounts Utilizing Specials.

Do you have a report showing how much earned income was generated for the year?2023-12-04T16:27:09-05:00

The “Earned Income Report” can be adjusted using a date range to show your earned income during a specific range. You may run it for a day, a week, a month, a year, etc.

Reports > Earned Income Report

Can I rearrange the order of my units in BrightSide?2023-08-29T14:29:56-04:00

Yes, you can rearrange the order of your units in BrightSide, if you take a few minutes to set it up properly. The default setting sorts units in alphabetical order using the name of the unit. However, each unit has a place to add a code for that property. You may assign an alpha/numeric value to each unit in the “Code” field, then sort the “Code” column.

For example, if you have ten units, assign them numerical values of 1-10 in the order you want them to appear. If you prefer using the alphabet, you may assign letters to each unit in the order you want them to sort, i.e.: A-Z. Then sort the column.

Can I keep an active unit from showing up on my website?2023-09-13T09:10:12-04:00

Yes, you can completely remove the unit from your website by making it a zero bedroom unit. This keeps the unit active and bookable by your staff through BrightSide, but hidden and unbookable on your website.

Can I connect to more than one Vrbo account?2023-08-30T11:33:56-04:00

No, Vrbo does not allow you to connect to more than one account through BrightSide or any other property management software.

Is there a shortcut to my listing on Vrbo?2023-08-30T11:21:52-04:00

Yes, click on the Vrbo tab in your unit and scroll to the bottom of the page. The status of your property (Active) will be in large letters. Below that you will see the Listing ID, a series of numbers and letters. Click on the number and a new window will open and take you to your Vrbo listing.

I updated my listing in BrightSide, but Vrbo did not update. Why?2023-09-13T09:23:48-04:00

Vrbo does not update in real time. They do not immediately update your property listings when you make changes in BrightSide. Vrbo only requests information from our servers once every 24 hours, usually late at night. After receiving the new data, they begin updating properties, which may take an additional 12 hours. This delay is due to the way Vrbo implements their updates, it is not due to BrightSide doing anything incorrectly.

How many characters does Vrbo allow in the property headline?2023-08-30T11:32:37-04:00

Vrbo allows just 80 characters in the “Headline” for your property. If you enter more than 80 characters in BrightSide, the field will be outlined in red as a warning.

What is the character limit for the unit summary on Vrbo?2023-08-30T11:18:52-04:00

The unit summary on Vrbo allows up to 80 characters. If you do not enter a summary, Vrbo will use their standard language.

A payment from Booking.com did not process? Any ideas why?2023-07-18T14:50:10-04:00

Most credit card processors require a billing address in order to process a payment. However, Booking.com does not require the guests to enter the billing address when making a reservation. Most of the time, the end result is a declined transaction with an error code of: Required Field Not Supplied. You can see the error code in the reservation under the “Notes” tab.

If the guest did not provide a billing address through Booking.com, you should contact them for the missing information and then process the payment again. You may also create an entirely new payment.

How do owners receive their income statements?2023-08-15T14:22:40-04:00

Owners may log in to their portal and download their monthly statements, or property managers can email it to them when it is ready.

Can owners see their expected revenue for the current month?2023-08-15T14:23:39-04:00

You have the option as the property management company to allow owners to see expected revenue in their owner’s portal. You may turn this option on and off.

Can property owners book an owner stay in their dashboard?2023-08-15T14:24:35-04:00

Yes, you can activate the setting allowing owners to book their own reservations for an owner stay. If you prefer, you can turn this off, and require owners to call your office to make a reservation.

I need a custom report, can customer support create one for me?2023-07-17T15:29:11-04:00

Yes, our customer support team can customize many of our reports to suit your needs. Depending on the time involved, there may be a charge for customization.

I accidentally checked someone out. How do I check them back in?2023-07-20T10:32:17-04:00

When you check out a guest, it can trigger a number of things. Housekeeping may be notified, departure emails and texts may go out, and there are other possibilities depending on your settings. If you accidentally checked out a guest and need to fix it, you need to contact support. We can get them checked back in for you.

What is the guest portal and how can I use it for my guests?2023-12-04T09:58:31-05:00

The guest portal is unique to your company and each guest. When a guest books a reservation and receives a confirmation number, they can log into their guest portal to sign the rental agreement, upload their ID, and/or make payments.

Your guest portal can be found at the URL below. Replace the x’s with your account name.

https://xxxxxxxxxxx.bookonthebrightside.com/brightside/portals/guest/

One of my units has a new owner, where do I change it?2024-02-13T14:20:38-05:00

When you need to completely change the owner of a unit, follow these steps:

  • Open the unit in your BrightSide account. Properties > Units > (select the unit).
  • Click on the “Owner” tab.
  • In the right hand column, in the “Owner” block, click the “Change Owner” button.
  • Enter the information for the new owner.
  • Enter the start date and make any other necessary changes on this page.
  • Save it.

NOTE: These steps are for completely changing to a new owner. To edit a current owner, go to Properties > Owners > (select owner).

Tutorial: Change the Unit’s Owner

Does BrightSide have an owner’s portal?2023-08-15T14:26:14-04:00

Yes, BrightSide provides property owners a portal where they can login and view their account, make reservations for owner stays, see statements, and more.

To locate the owner’s portal for your account, go to Setup > Settings > Units > Owner Portal (tab). A link to your owner’s portal is just below the heading.

How long does it take to get started after I decide to use BrightSide?2023-12-04T09:52:31-05:00

A lot of variables go into determining a launch date. Here are just a few:

  • How many properties do you have under management?
  • Do we need to build a new website for you or just integrate with an existing site?
  • Are you currently integrated with another property management software provider?
  • Do you have current reservations we need to import?
  • Are you already listing on Airbnb, Vrbo, Booking.com, or other OTAs?
  • Do we have other companies in front of you waiting to launch?

All of these questions, and more, will determine how soon we can launch your BrightSide account. Having said that, from decision to launch usually takes anywhere from four to twelve weeks, give or take. We are a small company and choose to do a good job and grow slowly.

What are the customer support hours?2023-08-03T13:50:35-04:00

Customer Support for BrightSide answers the phone and responds to email during these hours:

  • Monday: 9:00 to 10:30 AM and 12:00 to 5:00 PM (Eastern Time). We have a company-wide meeting every Monday morning from 10:30 to 12:00 and do not answer phones or email during this time.
  • Tuesday thru Friday: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM (Eastern Time)
  • Saturday: Closed
  • Sunday: Closed
Do you charge a fee for customer support?2023-07-14T11:28:07-04:00

No, we do not charge an additional fee for basic customer support, it is included in the monthly subscription. We only charge a fee if you request custom code or something beyond basic support. For example, if you ask us to do something that you should/could do, but do not want to do, we reserve the right to charge you for our time providing the service.

Agreements are available for clients who want us to maintain their website, provide marketing services, and more.

What is the best way to contact support, a phone call or an email?2023-12-04T10:08:10-05:00

1. The VERY BEST way to contact customer support is via email. Why?

  • Emails to customer support automatically create a new Support Request in our system where it is reviewed and assigned to someone.
  • Email provides written documentation and automatically becomes part of the Support Request.
  • We can quickly respond and provide updates when the request is completed within the Support Request.
  • Our support email address is support@bookonthebrightside.com.

2. Use our contact support form. This form works just like email, but you do not have a copy.

3. Call customer support and speak to a live person (unless we are busy speaking with someone already). We are happy to take your call at (865) 233-3778.

What should I expect from customer support?2023-07-17T15:44:45-04:00

Our staff works diligently to provide the best customer support in the industry. Even so, BrightSide is software that you use yourself. Our support team is here to correct problems, guide you when needed, and/or do something you cannot do.

So what can you expect from BrightSide’s customer support? As a general rule, we follow these guidelines. However, depending on the contract you have with us, it could be slightly different.

What we do:

  • A real person answers the phone, answers your questions, and if needed, enters a support request.
  • Respond to emails asking for assistance.
  • Provide guidance in how to use BrightSide.
  • When a client makes a mistake and needs help correcting it, we come along side them and show them how to fix it or, if needed, do it for them.
  • Provide assistance on the backend for things clients cannot do from their BrightSide account.

What we DO NOT do:

  • Everyday tasks that can, and should, be done by the user. While we are here to support you, BrightSide software is intended to be utilized by the end user.

NOTE: This is not a comprehensive list of what we do and do not do; it is provided to give a general idea.

When do I get paid for a guest stay booked through Airbnb?2023-09-13T10:02:19-04:00

In our experience, Airbnb usually pays out around 24 hours after the guest(s) check-in for their stay. When this falls on a weekend or bank holiday, you can expect this to be delayed until the first or second normal business day.

DISCLAIMER: We do not speak for Airbnb or their policies. To learn more about how Airbnb pays out, please visit their website.

Where is the setting to inform Airbnb guests of a security camera?2023-09-13T10:02:58-04:00

While you may create an amenity in BrightSide for security cameras, Airbnb does not have a corresponding amenity to which you can map it. The amenity will show up on your website (if it is integrated and active) but it will not show up on Airbnb.

In order to notify Airbnb guests that you have a security camera, you need to login to your Airbnb account and go to Listings. In Listing Details, scroll down to Things guests should know and click Edit. Under Safety Devices, check the box for Security cameras/audio recording devices. Click Edit and describe each device, its location, and other details.

Can I control when I receive a deposit and the final payment?2023-07-10T17:00:11-04:00

Yes, you can change the deposit policies and balance due policies in your BrightSide settings. The system is very flexible and allows you to collect a deposit when the reservation is made or at a later date. Choose when the balance is due, as much as 90 days before arrival, and BrightSide can send a reminder email or text.

If you want to have several deposit policies, so you can apply them to different units, you may do so. You may also have a number of balance due policies.

Can I prevent reservations from checking in and checking out on specific days?2023-07-10T15:56:34-04:00

Yes, you may block guests from booking a reservation that arrives or departs on specific days of the year. For example, if you do not want guests to be able to check in or check out on Christmas Day, you can restrict that day. BrightSide allows you to restrict a check-in, check-out, or both, on any day of the year.

This setting does not prevent a reservation from including a restricted day in the stay. It only prevents them from checking in or out on that day.

Can I block someone from booking on the same day as their arrival?2023-07-10T15:32:50-04:00

Yes, you may block someone from completing an online reservation for same day arrivals. BrightSide is flexible, allowing you to block online reservations for any number of hours or days before arrival.

This setting does not prevent you from taking a reservation for a same day arrival by phone or in person. It only impacts online reservations.

When a guest books on my website, are the dates blocked off OTA calendars?2023-07-10T15:15:03-04:00

Yes, when a guest makes a reservation on your website integration, the dates are automatically blocked off on all online travel agency websites, providing your BrightSide account is connected to them.

Likewise, when a reservation is completed on one of your partner online travel agencies, BrightSide blocks off the dates on all the others with which you are connected.

Do you integrate with credit card processors?2023-07-10T13:26:06-04:00

Yes, BrightSide works with a number of credit card processors. Smart Processing, Ascent Payment Solutions, Authorize.net, and Card Connect are just a few of our integration partners.

Can I process a single combined refund for two credit card payments?2023-07-10T14:38:25-04:00

No, you may not roll two payments into one, single refund. For example, if you received two separate payments of $500.00 each, you may not process a single refund of $1,000.00. You must process two refunds for $500.00 each.

NOTE: When a refund is processed, BrightSide must reference an incoming payment. This security measure is in place to prevent someone from issuing a refund to a card which was not used to make a payment. It also helps reduce fraud by preventing illicit refunds.

How do I process a refund on a credit card?2023-07-10T11:50:31-04:00

To refund a payment made on a credit card:

  • Open the reservation where you need to make a refund and go to the “Payments” tab.
  • Under “New Payment”, enter the amount you wish to refund in negative terms. For example, -1,000.00.
  • In the “Type” dropdown field, select the appropriate credit card where you need to apply the refund. The fields will automatically populate with the card information.
  • Click the “Add Payment” button.

WARNING!: Do not try to refund the payment by clicking on the payment and entering a negative amount! This will not process a refund, but will cause the system not to have a payment to refund. You must enter a new payment (negative) by following the instructions above.

Airbnb charges a commission to use their service; is there a way to recoup that cost?2023-06-30T14:55:25-04:00

Yes, BrightSide makes it easy to create a markup fee that is hidden in the rent on Airbnb. You can choose to make it a percentage of rent or a flat fee. Airbnb bundles it in the rent, not as a separate fee. However, BrightSide treats it as a separate fee for the property manager to keep. This markup fee offsets the expense of paying Airbnb commissions.

Does BrightSide charge extra for add-on features to our account?2023-06-30T12:23:18-04:00

No, BrightSide does not upcharge, or charge an additional fee to use the features of our software. The subscription fee includes all of the features BrightSide offers, including email and texting.

NOTE: We currently do not charge for email, texting, or the phone number required to send texts. However, we reserve the right to charge a fee when if and when it becomes necessary.

Does BrightSide charge a per-user fee or a per-booking fee?2023-06-29T16:18:25-04:00

No, BrightSide does not charge a per-user or per-booking fee. Our monthly fee is based on the number of rentals you manage, not the number of employees you have or how many bookings you make.

Who are your integration partners?2023-12-04T09:49:23-05:00

BrightSide has a number of integration partners, from online travel agencies to credit card processors. We can add partners when needed to make your property management experience better.

Some of our partners include, Airbnb, Vrbo, Booking.com, Whimstay, Red Awning, Resort Cleaning, Wheelhouse, Beyond Pricing, PriceLabs, KeyData, Smart Processing, Xplorie, Ascent Payment Solutions, PointCentral, dorma kaba, and many more.

Does BrightSide have a set-up or other startup fees?2024-03-21T15:14:26-04:00

Setup Fee: BrightSide charges a one time set-up fee of $600.00. This fee covers installation, setup, and training.

Data Conversion: If you are using another reservation software, we can almost always convert your data and import it into BrightSide. This allows you to keep your guest’s information, reservations, and financial history, without manually copying and pasting. Pricing is based on hours required. The fee for this service is generally from $1,500 to $3,000.

Website Integration: We can help integrate BrightSide into your website. Contact us for a quote.

Do you have any hidden fees for a BrightSide subscription?2023-06-29T10:54:49-04:00

No, we do not charge any hidden monthly fees for a BrightSide subscription, or for anything else. Our pricing is transparent and right up front. The fees you see on our pricing calculator are our only subscription fees.

How are the website summary and website description used?2023-06-29T11:17:52-04:00

Website Summary: Enter a brief description of the property, under 500 characters. The summary will be used on your website to provide a basic introduction to the property. This is used when an excerpt is needed. The website summary is also used on Airbnb.

Website Description: Enter a lengthy description of the property, as much as 10,000 characters. The description is where you may go into details describing the property. Tell your guests all about the unit. You can describe the kitchen, bedrooms, games rooms, patio, and just about anything the guest might be interested in knowing. This is where you draw them in. The website description will be used on your website and the OTA’s, if you are integrated with them.

To learn more about adding a unit/property to BrightSide, go to the Adding Units (Properties) tutorial.

Why are the Airbnb, Vrbo, and Booking.com tabs missing from my unit’s dashboard?2023-08-30T11:48:15-04:00

The Airbnb, Vrbo, and Booking.com tabs do not appear on your unit’s dashboard until you connect your BrightSide account to Airbnb, Vrbo, and Booking.com.

Can I get a demo of BrightSide before I make a decision?2024-03-21T15:16:29-04:00

Yes, certainly, absolutely, 100%, you may demo BrightSide before you purchase. Just call us at 865-444-0992 and let us know that you are interested in a demo. We will set up a Google Meet with Jennifer or Raymond to show you how it works.

Where do I edit the current unit owner’s name?2024-02-13T14:23:05-05:00

If you need to edit the current unit owner’s name, after you have saved it, you must go to Properties > Owners, then select the owner you need to edit. You may also edit the name, address, phone, email, and more from this screen. When you edit the owner’s details, it will change the information for all the units owned by this owner.

Tutorial: Edit the Current Unit Owner’s Information

IMPORTANT: DO NOT click on the “Change Owner” button in the unit’s “Owner” tab in an attempt to edit the owner’s name. This is not an edit function, but will lead you to change the owner entirely and will create a completely new owner. Doing this will end the current owner’s contract date, and cause earnings reports for the owner to end, etc. A new owner will be created, even if it is the same name, address, etc. This is irreversible by the user.

What is the difference between syncing everything and a limited sync for Airbnb?2023-06-29T11:06:06-04:00

When you connect to, or add, a property to Airbnb from BrightSide, you may choose to sync everything, or perform a limited sync. What are the differences?

Everything: When you choose to sync “Everything,” BrightSide overwrites all the information for that property in Airbnb. What this means is that BrightSide updates all of the photos, rates, descriptions, name (listing title), summary, “everything,” for that unit in Airbnb. Updates for units go one way, from BrightSide to Airbnb, not the other way around. The exceptions to this are reservations and availability.

IMPORTANT: When you connect to a property already on Airbnb, you MUST completely set up the unit in BrightSide BEFORE toggling on “Activate on Airbnb”. If you do not, BrightSide may delete the photos, change rates, etc., and your unit could display incorrectly on Airbnb. For more information, see Airbnb Integration.

Limited: When you choose a “Limited,” sync, only the reservations, rates, and availability sync with Airbnb. You must manage all the other unit details inside your Airbnb account. This setting may be useful at times, but overall, it underutilizes the benefits and purposes of a property management software like BrightSide.

Am I allowed to connect to multiple Airbnb accounts in BrightSide?2023-06-29T10:59:58-04:00

Yes, Airbnb allows property managers using BrightSide to connect to more than one Airbnb account. To learn more, go to our Airbnb Integration tutorial.

Why is Airbnb saying I need to add photos when I uploaded them to BrightSide?2023-06-29T11:04:54-04:00

When you connect a property to Airbnb for the first time, the unit’s data syncs nearly in real time. However, the photos may take a while to fully sync. When there is a problem with the photos, it is usually at this point that Airbnb shows an error message. If this happens, wait five to ten minutes and refresh the page. If Airbnb still shows an error, follow these steps:

  1. In BrightSide, toggle off “Activate on Airbnb” in the Airbnb tab and “Save” it. Wait one minute and go to step two.
  2. Toggle on “Activate on Airbnb”  and “Save” it.
  3. Refresh the unit page to see if it the status has been changed to “approved” at the bottom of the Airbnb tab.
  4. If it is still inactive, go to your Airbnb account and see if it is active.

These steps usually correct any syncing issues with the photos. NOTE: make sure your photos are at least 1920 x 1080 or Airbnb will reject them.

What image sizes do I need to upload for my units?2023-06-29T10:59:14-04:00

Image sizes vary for different online travel agencies. We recommend uploading images no smaller than 1920 x 1080. Airbnb rejects images smaller than 1920 x 1080 and will place a unit in inactive status until the photos are corrected. Photos larger than this size work as well. When necessary, BrightSide automatically optimizes images to smaller sizes for your website.

What are the listing title (name) guidelines for Airbnb?2023-06-29T10:53:45-04:00
  • Character Limit: Airbnb allows you to have up to 50 characters in the unit’s name. Airbnb says, “Short titles work best”. For mobile devices, Airbnb shows the first 32 characters. Place the most important information at the beginning of your listing title (name).
  • Capitalization: Airbnb does not allow ALL CAPS in the unit’s name. DO NOT do this: NEW REMODEL, GREAT VIEWS! You may use all caps for abbreviations, like TYS Airport. Airbnb recommends using sentence structure when writing your listing title rather than short snippets.
  • Multiple Characters: Airbnb does not allow multiple characters in succession, unless it is part of a word. For example, you may use “Grill”, but you may not use “Grill!!”. Two exclamation points violates their policy of multiple characters in a row.

NOTE: You may be in violation of one or more of these guidelines and your property is still active on Airbnb. However, Airbnb may be penalizing you for not updating the listing title and not showing your property as often as you want.

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