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Recently I had my website update with a 'book now' feature. I also set-up the payment solution with my bank. Now I have gotten my first online booking and I am not sure where I should be charging their credit card when I get the booking or on the day my guest arrives? Any comments welcome.
I would be so grateful to hear from other innkeepers to know what they think is kosher.
Jeremy @ www.jaresplace.ca
You should state in your policies and procedures how you will run credit cards. I normally run the card the day of check in and have the guest sign during check in.
We charge 1 night deposit when they book their room, or 1 night per room if it is a multi-night stay. Then we charge the balance at check-in and have the guest sign the registration sheet, and hand them a receipt and their keys. Charging the balance when they arrive has prevented "walk-outs" for us.
Mike is correct, you need to set up policies and get them posted on line and have them by the front desk. Policies need to include how you deal with no-shows, early departures, refunds for cancellations, fees for damages. You also should have them present the card at check-in, along with ID. We ran into a problem once when a mom sent her adult kids with her credit card, then "challenged" the stay, trying to get all her monies back. We had taken a photo copy of the card, her kid's ID, and print-outs of the mom's e-mail making the reservation and authorizing the credit card charge so we were covered.
Good Luck, and welcome to the world of On-line Transactions.
Unless you have a written deposit policy, you cannot debit the credit card until the day the guest arrives. What I would suggest you do is develop a policy for a minimal deposit amount (i.e. $25/night or booking, or whatever your preference is) so that you can test the credit card number. This information should be included in terms and conditions on your web site and in the confirmation e-mail.
Susan Poole, The B&B Coach
I am a new Tripatini member in New Zealand who with my wife have operated a B& B for the last eleven years. Our policy with regard to credit cards is to advise our cancellation policy and ask for the card details as a guarantee of a confirmed booking but we do not make any charge on the card till the guest is departing from us at the end of their stay. Then we ask them to present the card for processing. This enables us to include any additional charges on the one transaction. Whilst not the method used by all operators this system is quite common in New Zealand and seems very acceptable to our guests.
Trevor Knight, Hot Water Beach B&B
Hi Trevor - we have the same system as you and find it works very well. In eleven years we've only had a couple of no-shows who had actually given us false details so we couldn't charge them, otherwise the system has worked almost perfectly for us.
Daphne Titus-Rees, Daintree Valley Haven
Your question is really to do with your payment policy regardless of the means of payment. We charge a 50% deposit at the time the booking is confirmed. This is spelt out at the time the booking request is made. We aways following up a confirmed booking with a personalised email (in addition to system generated confirmation from our booking system) to which we attach a receipt for the deposit.
If you haven't already got one you should also have and publish a cancellation policy.
Hope this helps.
We run a 3 bed B&B here in New Zealand. For us to set up a credit card payment system would cost alot in overheads, we prefer to to use PayPal as a method of payment, PayPal charge only aproxametly 4% thats all, no monthly fees or requirements to have a additional merchant bank account , the guests and us are compleatly seperated and ither cannot gain access to bank acct numbers . We state cancilation and general policies clearly in our web page. We ask for payment in advance and will refund and confirm bookings as per our terms.We can reduce our tariffs because we dont have those banking overheads.
As others have noted, you must state your polices online making sure they are very clear, and you must get them to agree to those policies when they book online. This helps if there is ever a chargeback attempt.
As you have seen by other postings, there is a wide array of deposit policies used in our industry. Since mine is a little different than others mentioned, here ya go adding more to the thought process.
"Cancellations must be made by 5PM on X Date (my cancel date is 14 days prior to check in) , at which time your Credit Card on file will be charged a deposit of 1 night rental, which is non-refundable, with balance due on arrival. Cancellations made after the above date will be charged for their entire stay unless we are able to rebook the room for the entire period. A 10% fee will be deducted to all refunds. It is suggested that guests look into travelers insurance to cover any costs that may be lost due to unexpected travel problems."
It is wise to check around in your area for the policies others are using especially if they have been in business for a while. They have grasp what the market needs in your area.
Best of luck!
have my own hotels, tours in bali and beyond.
Now I have difficulties to set up online payment for my clients. It's difficult to have this application.
Is there any cheap online payment installation and easy to be used? is it also valid at leas to authorize Visa, Master Card .
Help me Please