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Georgia's picture
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07/10/2012

 Hi there, I have been running a small B&B for the past 3 years and we are doing fairly well. However this season we have had over 15 cancelations, even a day before! We do not take deposits because the 2 years before this we have only had maybe 5 canceltions in total. We only charge 30euro per person sharing. I am unsure if I should start doing deposits and if so how much? I am only 22 and am not as firm in my knowledge about this. I am unable to get a credit card machine due to our location (no internet as I have to use special means even to get my laptop online), plus 15% cut of our payment is just too much. We would have to start raising prices and I really do not feel we should have to. I was looking at doing it on paypal but to be honest I cannot seem to find the exact tarifs, I will be calling them shortly though.
 

Any idea's on what I should do? I may make a lil less sense today I had a family of 6 who wanted a 6am breakfast and never came down to 9am... (mutters dark thoughts).

seashanty's picture
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06/02/2008

one night's stay ... and if it's a longer stay ... like 4 or more nights, i think i asked for 1/2 ... IN ADVANCE.  this makes the reservation REAL to people, when they have to hand over money in advance. 

if it was in advance of my cancellation window which was 14 days, i would refund LESS a $20 charge.  otherwise, no refund.  Believe me, this cut way down on cancellations. 

as many have said.

even if you have to take checks, DO IT. 

this rate of cancellation  means the potential guest is not taking their commitment to you seriously.  not fair to you!

 

 

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 I think we've missed the part about the difficulty getting online. But, if she takes bookings online, then she should be able to process online. My 2 cents worth. Smiling

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Kay Nein's picture
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02/13/2012

Like most of the other posts here, we do a deposit equal to one night's stay.  Cancel within 3 days of reservation & get it all back.  Less than 3 days & we keep $25.  It sounds like a pretty standard policy amongst those here.  I agree with Madeleine,  this makes it much easier for the guest to figure out how much they have to give you as long as you make it clear on your website. 

Paypal is wonderful and might be your best option despite the fees.  It's universally recognized.  I like Highland John's idea about getting the credit card information from them and then entering it yourself online.  I have a client who sells books at trade shows - she gets credit card information and then we spend the next day entering them all in online.  It's easy!  Since you have to go through a process to even get online, this is something that you could do at the end of the day to process everything that came in that day.  I prefer to get the credit card information over the phone as an immediate committment rather than telling them I'll send them a Paypal invoice or asking to mail a check.  This way you aren't waiting for them to get around to sending the money - you have it already. 

Good Luck!  (and welcome to the Forum )

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 Not standard at all.

Hillbilly's picture
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10/22/2011

You have a 3 day cancellation policy? Wow! With almost a full refund? What's the point in even messing with one? If this works for you great! If I was a guests and had booked a room at your place it would not bother me one bit to have to cancel if all I was going to be out was $25. I might even shop around for a last min deal and get a better rate even with you charging me $25!

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Highlands John's picture
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I don't quite understand giving back deposits, full stop! For us if you cancel you loose it, there's not much point taking a deposit if you are going to give it back if they cancel.

I will break this policy under certain circumstances like if they cancel well in advance and I know it had not stopped others from booking or the room will re-let, but I cerainly don't publish that fact.  

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Madeleine's picture
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09/29/2011

We give back the deposit with a week's notice. Less the $25. Yes, we get shoppers who wait until day 7 and then call us to cancel. I think the purpose, for us, with the deposit is to stop the original booker who is just holding rooms. If they know they're out the money right away, it's been charged to their card and they have to pay it when their statement comes in, then maybe they won't take up space by booking 6 months in advance.

There are places here with 72 hour notice policies as well. That's too close for us.

I do know that Euro B&B's are different and that the deposit is kept no matter how much notice is given. We're not at that point yet.

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Highlands John's picture
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Georgia wrote:

Any idea's on what I should do? I may make a lil less sense today I had a family of 6 who wanted a 6am breakfast and never came down to 9am... (mutters dark thoughts).

It says in the Breakfast information in our guest rooms "If you would like a call at 9.20 to make sure you don't miss breakfast please ask the night before. If you don't come down by 9.30 we will assume you don't want breakfast and will not distrub you".

Not down by 9.30....tough, it is all cleared away.

Highlands John's picture
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Hi Georgia,

Your story sounds exactly the same as us. Didn't take deposits for the first 2-3 years but after being let down by so many people, no shows as well as late cancellations, we started taking deposits.

The final straw came when we waited until 10.30pm for a two night booking to arrive at which point I phoned the mobile number they gave at booking. I obviously woke them up,

Me: "Hello this is xxx house, we were wondering what time you would be arriving this evening.?".

Them: "Oh, we didn't realise how far it is from Edinburgh to Inverness, so we decided to stay in Edinburgh instead".

Me: "And at which point did you plan on telling me this, I'm sitting here waiting for you with an empty room that I could of let out"

Them: "Oh, I suppose we should have called".

I went into DH and said, "That's it, deposits from everyone.. We now charge £10 per person per night deposit. We still get cancellations but at least we have some compensation and we've had 1 no-show in the past 4 years (as apposed to 4-5 a year).

 

Surprised to hear you can't get a card machine becuase of no broadband, our machine dials out even though we have broadband. It's a pain because it blocks the phone line or doesn't work if someone is on the phone.

We used Paypal for the first few years and it worked reasonably well. You can send money requests to people or with not too much jiggery-pokery you can add a link to your website to PayPal. The only thing which might be a little more complicated is if you charge a variable deposit like us (£10 per person per night), but you could always go for charging something like the first night.

We also looked at Paypal Console (I think it's called). You can take card details over the phone and then you enter them into Paypal to charge the card, but they wanted £25 a month for this facility which is the same as renting a machine (plus the fees are lower on a card machine).

People can pay with their payapl account or just using a card (it's sometime difficult to get this point over to people). "I Don't have a PayPal account"?......"So click the link on the screen that says "Don't have a Paypal account" "

The fees are variable depending on how much you use PayPal, more use, lower fees. So you won't get a straight answer to that. At this time of year I'm putting through around £500-£600 a month through my PayPal account and being charged 88p for a £20 transaction.

One think to consider when thinking about the PayPal fees and /or card machine charges is how much are you loosing from people letting you down.

 

 

Joey Camb's picture
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04/02/2010

we don't do deposits usually but if people book more than 50% of the property its a $40 a head (£20) deposit non-refundable which I find makes groups think twice about their numbers and motivates the group leader to get it together.

Also have you thought about electronic transfer or Barclays Pingit? neither require a terminal

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Madeleine's picture
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09/29/2011

We take a one night deposit. The guest can cancel up to 7 days prior to arrival for a full refund less a $25 fee. After that I ony refund if the room rebooks, but I still keep the $25.

We get about 100 cancellations in a year. I just had 4 yesterday. It does help to have the extra $25 per room and it covers the credit card processing for the deposits.

Be very careful with paypal as you are providing a service and not a tangible piece of merchandise. Paypal sides with the consumer on service-related disputes. There's not much covering you if the guests decide they want to stay for free.

Do you have a cellphone with internet access? If so, see if something called 'Square' is available where you live. You process credit cards thru your phone. There are a couple of other companies doing the same thing now.

If that doesn't work, you'll have to ask the guests to send cheques that you can cash at least 2 weeks before they arrive so you don't find out after they've gone that the cheques are no good.

 

Generic's picture
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02/24/2011

Hi Georgia 

In our case, we don't charge a deposit, but that also has to do with competition as we are in a large city. We have few cancellations inside of our cancellation period and they usually don't bother me. We do charge a deposit on large reservations, usually about half of the total value.

A few local B&Bs charge a deposit of one night, but refund less a flat fee of $25 for cancellations. Some charge just the cancellation fee as non-refundable. The point is that the fee is meant to make people think about their commitment to you.

For payments, you might want to look at Paypal, Worldpay and Samurai which might offer you a different type of payment system.

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Arks's picture
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05/22/2010

I take payment of the first night as the deposit at the time the reservation is made.

If they cancel with 1 week or more notice, they get the deposit back, less a $25 fee for my trouble.

With less than a week notice, they lose the deposit.

Can you check online to see what other places in your area do?

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Proud Texan's picture
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05/30/2008

Welcome!   I agree with Joey Bloggs.  One night's deposit upfront.   If they cancel way in advance,  then they get an 80% refund.   If they cancel last minute, then there is no refund and they get charged for the full amount of their stay.  Obviously, we can only do this because of credit cards.

I'm sorry your Irish banks charge so much for credit card processing.   If there is anyway around it, it's totally the way to go.   Paypal might indeed be the your answer.  

I wonder if you could use a credit card processor outside of Ireland to process credit cards?  This is the 21st century and everything is done online now.  I would make some inquiries.

The problem with taking reservations from non-Euro currency countries is that you will also be paying the currency exchange rates on top of any credit card fees.  In that case,  I would up your rate for those kinds of transactions.  The customer should pay the difference,  not you.

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10/07/2008

Many of us take a one night's deposit. So no matter how long they stay they have to pay the one night upfront when the reservation is made.

Other than asking them to send you a cheque, and I am sure many are overseas visitors, so that may not be feasible.  Is this one you looked into for Ireland? http://www.aibms.com/

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Welcome to the forum GA!

Credit card machines use phone lines, btw, most of them, mine does and many here have them set up that way. It is a more secure method. The percentage will not be 15%, it should be 3-5%, and as you may now agree, peace of mind knowing the money is there, and not a cancellation or no show would be worth it!

Hang in there, the answers are out there, we have a great bunch here who can give you plenty of info!

Georgia's picture
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07/10/2012

 I only have 2 banks to chose from in Ireland and the cheapest was 15%. If anyone has any other places I could try I would be much abbliged, may I ask who you go with for that percentage. I know a different country but no harm asking Eye-wink
I am still unsure how much I should charge for a deposit. Should I ask for 10% or 50%? For the larger bookings I am thinking 50% but I just don't have confidence in what is the best.

Madeleine's picture
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Georgia wrote:

I am still unsure how much I should charge for a deposit. Should I ask for 10% or 50%? For the larger bookings I am thinking 50% but I just don't have confidence in what is the best.

Look on websites of other properties near where you are, if there are any. Or, at properties located in a similar venue (near the sea). Can you contact the tourist board and ask them if there are any 'guidelines' you should use? That way you're not doing something completely different from everyone else.

I ask for one night. If they're only staying one night, they're paid up. If they're staying 4 nights it's 25%, but doing 'one night' makes it easier for the guest to figure out how much. No math involved!

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