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Software Review: ResNexus Reservation System

Based on data from its sister company's directory (Destination Nexus) Reservation Nexus bills itself as the most popular and most used all-in-one reservation system for US bed and breakfasts and inns. With all due respect, data from a sister company (only), and excluding data from much larger directories, makes that conclusion just a little suspicious. Nevertheless, there is little doubt that ResNexus is one of the top reservation systems, both in popularity and in features. Because of its popularity, the apparently large set of features, and its effort to position itself as the top reservation system available, we were eager to give it a try at our Freeport Maine Bed & Breakfast. Since one of the claims made by ResNexus amounts to a claim that you will get more online bookings than with other systems, we decided to go ahead with a full month's trial, rather than just a brief demo of the product. That also allowed us to more fully explore its features, and to take advantage of its advertised "Red Carpet Service." Overview Like many modern reservation systems, ResNexus is a web-based system. Most of these fall short, either because they don't attempt to be a full-fledged property management system, or because they have not implemented a full-feature set as is found on more complete systems. That is not the case with ResNexus. Virtually every feature provided by the best systems has been implemented in ResNexus, and new features continue to be added. That said, there are still occasional perplexing design choices that make you wonder what the developers were thinking, and the pricing structure leaves something to be desired. User Interface Most of the user interface (web pages) seems to have a logical flow, and is relatively easy to navigate, so while the comments may seem negative,…

Software Review: Book At Once Property Management Software

Book At Once provides a powerful and innovative approach to their software for managing bed and breakfasts and other small lodging properties. For many, their power and innovation will be very attractive - especially in the free version. For others, it just may not be their cup of tea. Overview Book at Once is a German booking system, reaching out to become a worldwide provider, and particularly to reach the American, market. Book at Once has also become a vendor member of PAII, as part of its efforts to reach out to the US and international innkeeping market. One of the most interesting aspects of their product is that it is priced according to the features you select. The basic system is free, and that could be powerful enough for some properties. If not, additional feature bundles can be added for a monthly fee per room, or Book at Once can tailor a bundle to your needs and price it according to the features selected. Pricing for the product is given in Euros per room per month (easily converted to US Dollars or other currency), on the basis of a two year contract. We were given a full system for the review, so if you were to purchase a different option, your features may be different. The technical design of Book at Once makes it an enormously powerful system – so much so that as you use the system you are left with the feeling that it can do even more than you can see. That leaves great possibilities for future growth. User Interface [caption id="attachment_253" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Book At Once Dashboard"][/caption] In evaluating the user interface, we consider the layout of the screens (or web pages), ease of navigating the program, ease of entering (or changing) booking or guest…

Claimed your Google Place Page Yet? If not, someone else will!

As if you needed another reason to claim your Google Place page, the most compelling reason yet has now appeared. It is ridiculously easy (unless or until Google has fixed it) for a scammer to claim someone else's Place Page if they have a mailing address in the same town as the business. Don't believe me? Mike Blumenthal uncovered the way to do it, and it is quoted in detail at Search Engine Roundtable. Read it yourself, but here's the essence of it: Google allows you to verify your business either by phone or by receiving a postcard from Google. In either case, you get a PIN number that you can use to verify that you are the owner. The scam comes from the difference between the way the US Postal Service interprets the address, and the way Google uses it. In a two line address form, such as 1234 Anystreet Rd, PO Box 8910, Somewhere, TX 87654 where 1234 Anystreet Rd is the physical location and PO Box 8910 is the delivery address, the US Postal Service delivers the mail to the address closest to the zip code. In other words, to the PO Box. Not so with Google. Google uses the first line of the address to locate the business. So what, you ask? So this: If there is a business with an unclaimed listing (in some areas, this is the majority of the businesses), and if a scammer is in the same general locality, the scammer can claim the business listing by requesting verification by mail, and putting the business address in the first line, and the scammer's address in the second line. The postcard with the PIN number will be delivered to the scammer's address, who can then "verify" that they are the business owner. Naturally,…

Google Security Hole = Big Problems in the Cloud?

We tweeted the TechCruch story about the site which, if you visited while logged in to a Google account, sent you an email proving it had just harvested your email information. Scary, isn't it? Well, the screenshot of the website, itself (no, we didn't visit it to see if it was true - besides, it was down by the time we got there . . . ) got us thinking about security and how this occurred. That's when it clicked - this looks very suspiciously like the Firesheep exploit - erroneously blamed by some "experts" on insecure WiFi networks, while in fact it is based upon insecure transmission of cookies by your browser, which can happen on any network, wired or not. Firesheep can intercept cookies and log in as another user for a specific list of popular websites (including Facebook, Twitter, etc.). It looks as if this new website is doing the same thing, but in a different way - instead of snooping on your network for open cookies, it is looking for the Google login cookie and "stealing" it, then proving it has stolen your login validation by sending you an email. Regardless of the method used, if a website is able to steal your login cookie (or other information), this points up a vulnerability in not only your Gmail account, but in anything that uses that Google login. This would include your personal iGoogle page, your Gmail account, your analytics and Webmaster Tools accounts, and - perhaps most dangerous - access to all your Google Apps. That's right - if you or your company has decided to migrate to Google's cloud-based applications, and if you use your Google login to gain access to them, then any website can steal your Google credentials and gain access to your…

Where do bookings come from?

Instead of re-writing the article, we will simply mention and link to the great information provided by our friends at Acorn Internet Services showing a comparison of statistics on bookings from before there were Google Place Pages and currently, and also noting which directories produce bookings. This is obtained from Acorn's customers who use Acorn's Intell-A-Keeper tracking software. We will comment more on this topic before long. Enjoy this useful information!

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