Letters: Send email from a BookingCenter PMS
Posted by Jesse Chieppa on 09 Jan 2008 03:49 PM
The email feature inside BookingCenter is no different than any other email application - it needs to be set correctly as described in the Reference Manual. However, in an effort to squelch SPAM, many Internet Service providers (ISPs) across the world are implementing authentication schemes for their email servers to prevent users of their networks from sending SPAM email. The authentication schemes are numerous and no one standard has emerged. BookingCenter does support most of them (Earthlink, AOL, Mindpsring, SBC, etc), but we are aware of problems with at least one major ISP, Verizon, through which BookingCenter can not send emails.
If the authentication will not work for sending email from within BookingCenter, then there are two options we know of:
- Send emails from another email program and use the 'Merge Letters' approach described in detail in the BookingCenter Reference Manual. Basically, this approach asks BookingCenter to send booking data to a third-party email tool (such as Outlook or Eudora) that can be authenticated against the ISP's scheme.
- Install your own SMTP server on your local area network and set BookingCenter to use that SMTP server as the server it sends emails through. There are numerous free SMTP servers for both Mac and Windows networks that can be used. BookingCenter can not help with this setup, but any local area network administrator can. For Macintosh networks, use http://www.VersionTracker.com to look for an SMTP server, and use http://www.Download.com to look for a Windows SMTP server. There are 'freeware' versions available for both platforms, and we recommend one called The Free SMTP Server - get it and download it and then place the 'Local Host' address of 127.0.0.1 under the Parameters | Internet Configuration | SMTP server address. This way, BookingCenter will send the email to the SMTP server running on your local Mac or PC (the Local Host address) and the SMTP server will deliver the email to the address it is intended to go. Use this approach as a way of circumventing restrictions of sending emails from with BookingCenter on your Local Area Network.
When installing Free SMTP Server, use auto-detect when it offers auto detect or specific DNS servers. Also, when it asks if the SMTP port 25 should be used, state 'YES' and leave that as default as well.
Once Free SMTP Server is running and the choices above have been made, alter the Parameters | Internet Configuration area to place 127.0.01 in the SMTP field, turn OFF 'Use SMTP Auth' and then quit, re-start BookingCenter, and then send an email to yourself from within BookingCenter. It does not matter which email option or booking is sent, this is just a test.
Use a service such as 'SMTP.com' which charges ~ $10/month to allow you to use their SMTP servers. We have found this especially useful for satellite users who use the Desktop PMS and often get unusual updating errors. Sign up for the service and place your 'From' email address (that was set in the Parameters | Company Info section of the Desktop Pro) into the 'Account Email' section of the SMTP.com service. From that point on, BookingCenter Desktop will notify our Central Reservation Service using the SMTP.com servers when an update happens.
As we get more information about an authentication scheme we don't support, we attempt to incorporate them into future versions of BookingCenter. But until a standard emerges, we can not expect to be current with all ISPs.