Setting Up for E-mail Requests
|Top Previous Next|
We refer to "E-mail requests" rather loosely throughout this documentation, but be aware that not just any E-mail request can be handled. A request must have a certain structure in order for Campground Master to extract the data from the E-mail text automatically, using Parsing Rules that you define. The request text is assumed to be some type of web form submission or formatted confirmation from a 3rd-party online reservation service. For instance, most web forms send an E-mail to you that have one field on each line, with a field name followed by the data. The parsing rules allow much more flexibility than that, but that's the general idea. See the Parsing Rules section for more details and examples.
In order to retrieve E-mail requests automatically, the requests must be available in a "POP3" mailbox. This is an Internet mail standard. However some E-mail services don't make this available, like America Online, and web-based E-mail services like Hotmail or Yahoo may not allow POP3 access. If you don't have a POP3 mailbox, then you will have to copy the text out of the E-mail and use the "Paste & Process" option to process the requests.
You will also need to make sure that any firewall or other security software allows Campground Master the appropriate types of access to the Internet. For instance it will need POP3 access to retrieve requests directly from E-mail, and FTP access to upload availability to your own web site.
It's also strongly recommended that you have a POP3 mailbox set up exclusively for online requests. While any non-request E-mails can be ignored automatically, there are other problems with trying to retrieve requests from the same mailbox as you use for your own mail. The main problem is that when you retrieve your E-mail from another program like Outlook, any requests that might already be in your mailbox will be deleted from the POP3 server -- so Campground Master can't retrieve them automatically. You would then have to copy them and use the Paste & Process option to manually process them. This can quickly turn into a nuisance and possibly missed reservations.
Of course if you're taking reservation requests from a form on your own web site, you may also want to show the current site availability and update it as often as possible. For this you can use the Export to Web Vacancy Grid functionality. This is covered in a separate section, but in general this is assumed to be the "upload" half of E-mail request processing.
To set up Campground Master to retrieve online reservation requests from E-mail messages (e.g. web site form submissions or online service confirmations, or from your own web site's reservation form), the following areas need to be addressed. (See the related sections for details.)
•Make sure the Reservations data field "Resv_Online_Request_ID" is enabled.
•Make sure you have a POP3 E-mail mailbox available that will receive the E-mail requests.
•Set up the POP3 connection settings for downloading E-mail (must at least be "Enabled" for some other setup functions to be available).
•Set up one or more Parsing Sets to extract the data from the E-mail. You'll need to know the format of the requests -- if using your own web site form, you might want to tweak it to make parsing easier and get as much information as possible in the format Campground Master uses.
•Enable the Site data fields "Site_Online_Email_ID" and/or "Site_Online_Email_Type" if the site name or type in the requests will not be exactly the same as the site name and type used in Campground Master. You also need to decide how you want to handle requests -- e.g. assign a site yourself, or use the customer's requested site if possible, etc.
•Fill in the Site data fields above with the appropriate values.
Online Connections - E-mail Requests
Online Setup - Parsing Sets
Online Setup - Site Data Fields
Retrieving Online Reservations
Completed Web form example with parsing rules