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Automating reservation insertion from tour operators' automated emails ?

Posted: Wed Dec 20, 2017 11:44 am
by ddam
Hello all,

I'm new here, currently testing HD to see how things work.

My problem: we receive reservations from TOs by automated e-mails (also faxes, which
are turned into emails). Some of our reservations come as attachements (PDF files), others are in the message body.
I heard from Marco that there is a tool inside HD allowing to fetch emails and then parse them to extract the important bits and insert into HD, but could not find any further info on this.

Has anyone experience with this ? Any documentation available ?

Re: Automating reservation insertion from tour operators' automated emails ?

Posted: Mon Apr 09, 2018 1:30 pm
by k-graham
Selecting Configure at top right of main menu, in program version 2.2.2. I see

Messages table

Download emails for availability enquiries from mail server:
(e.g. "imap.gmail.com")
Protocol:
Port: default
custom:
Username:
Password:
Enquiry messages identification: from
with subject containing
+
Change
Change the number of rows to
80
Change


Some instructions would be nice, it looks like the + sign should allow another from & subject

Re: Automating reservation insertion from tour operators' automated emails ?

Posted: Mon Apr 09, 2018 9:52 pm
by ddam
thanks for the hint, I hadn't seen that part. The way I understand it, this is about fetching the e-mails (optionaly filtering by subject and sender).

But once we have the messages, how do we process them (i.e. extract information and use that to insert a reservation) ? I will configure it anyways and see if some new options popup on the message table once messages are being fetched.

Re: Automating reservation insertion from tour operators' automated emails ?

Posted: Tue Apr 10, 2018 3:27 am
by k-graham
Are you having people fill out the availability_tpl.php form on line, this shows up in messages giving you the option to insert the reservation or reply with the availability form, then they may reply at which time in messages you could insert the reservation and it should then send that they have a reservation.

The above takes the proactive stance that they must fill out the online form, I know it can be difficult as there seems to be a resistance to Payment in Advance so try to suggest it as more of a quote. Also the more you need them to fill out the more likely they are to just call but it is sure nice if we already have the Price and availability out of the way.

For this reason I decided to go with Marco paid service as for my small hotel it was about the cost of me paying for a Secure Site Certificate - I've added the form to Facebook, as well as using bit.ly to create a shortened link and added it to Facebook Messenger and the free Whatsapp business for cellphone number so someone that wants to talk gets the form again on first call. After all when they do call we need to know date and rooms desired to provide a price and we need their email and phone to do anything regarding a reservation.

Can Marco's program pull more info out, I don't know but can the client be trained to at least enter date for Availability, that is the question.

Ken Graham
PlayaLindaHotelTapachula.com

Re: Automating reservation insertion from tour operators' automated emails ?

Posted: Wed Apr 11, 2018 7:29 am
by ddam
k-graham wrote:
Tue Apr 10, 2018 3:27 am
Are you having people fill out the availability_tpl.php form on line
No, not yet. But my questions is related to e-mails from tour operators, not direct clients.
k-graham wrote:
Tue Apr 10, 2018 3:27 am
For this reason I decided to go with Marco paid service
So did I :-)
k-graham wrote:
Tue Apr 10, 2018 3:27 am
Can Marco's program pull more info out
Marco said it could. I will ask him again about it and report back, once I'm done setting things up.

Re: Automating reservation insertion from tour operators' automated emails ?

Posted: Fri Jul 13, 2018 3:03 pm
by ddam
It turns out Hoteldruid (currently) cannot parse e-mail attachment (such as PDFs), which was required for this project. I turned up writing my own bash script using curl, pdfgrep and nokogiri, which seems like a promissing workaround.

Re: Automating reservation insertion from tour operators' automated emails ?

Posted: Fri Feb 22, 2019 12:50 am
by ddam
ddam wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 3:03 pm
It turns out Hoteldruid (currently) cannot parse e-mail attachment (such as PDFs), which was required for this project. I turned up writing my own bash script using curl, pdfgrep and nokogiri, which seems like a promissing workaround.
Following up, in case others have these needs: after some experimenting, I have given up on using a bash script for this task (for my level of skills, it was just too hard to debug, maintain and monitor, let alone share). Instead I have turned to Robotic Process Automation (RPA) (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robotic_process_automation).
There are a lot of tools for RPA, but the one which seemed best for me was UiPath (https://www.uipath.com): it's fully featured, has rich documentation, a well established user community and is free to use for small businesses.

I now have a robot inserting all bookings from four of our TOs, by reading the e-mails, extracting all relevant information and inserting that into hoteldruid. The process still does (and always will) require manual intervention in some cases, but definitely takes a big share of the boring, repetitive and error prone work off of our shoulders.

I believe RPA could be used for more tasks (all rule based tasks can be automated, in principle), and will be looking into more projects soon myself (e.g. filling-up pdf forms for authorities). In my view, this is the one tool that can turn hoteldruid even better !