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Madeleine's picture
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09/29/2011

Why you should always send a confirmation with your policies embedded...

 

We had a potential charge back situation. The guest's card company called us. We explained what happened, which was remarkably dissimilar to what the guest said happened (go figure), and the cc co said we could fight the charge back and win because the policies are clearly stated in the email confirmation.

Of course, that is one card company and one rep, who knows what another rep would have said!

Get your confirmations in order. And send them!

And, as we realized, send out reminders. Better to annoy with too many emails than not enough.

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Kay Nein's picture
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I know no one likes "rules", but our policies page is quite wordy and really too long to copy/paste into an email.  

What specific policies do you detail in the email confirmation?  Of course we want the cancellation policy, check-in & check out information in there, but are there other things (kids, pets) that you always include in your confirmations?

Madeleine's picture
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Kay Nein wrote:

I know no one likes "rules", but our policies page is quite wordy and really too long to copy/paste into an email.  

What specific policies do you detail in the email confirmation?  Of course we want the cancellation policy, check-in & check out information in there, but are there other things (kids, pets) that you always include in your confirmations?

You might want to tighten up the words or use bullets.

I include the whole list.

Check in/check out time (plus the blurb about how late arrivals ate handled) 

No pets

Children must be with you at all times/no kids left alone/no baby gear, please bring your own

Cancellation info (this is the longest one)

No smoking

Payment in full on arrival

When I have to print the confirmation to mail it to sometime who does not have email, it takes 2 sides of the paper.

I put the stuff they care about at the top... Dates and money! Allergies. Room description (because they don't always read online why this room is $40 less than that one). Directions. Links to things to do and restaurants.

I put the policies at the bottom. 

Arks's picture
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Kay Nein wrote:

I know no one likes "rules", but our policies page is quite wordy and really too long to copy/paste into an email.  

I have ResKey set to include my policies as a plain text attachment to the reservation confirmation e-mail they get immediately after paying. The confirmation e-mail says,

When you made your reservation you agreed to abide by my property's policies, which are attached to this e-mail and listed at [my website policies page]

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Kay Nein's picture
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I like that idea!

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Kay Nein wrote:

(kids, pets) that you always include in your confirmations?

anything YOU WOULD CHARGE A PENALTY FOR put in the confirmation, ie $500 if you smoking in the room, etc.

We had a dog in a room on Sat/Sun, the dork walked the dog right in front of the kitchen window while I am prepping breakfast and it craps in the yard and he walks off and leaves it there, AND it was a puppy.

Ok, I admit it was a cute puppy, but still broke the rules. When DH finally got in there he said "Come on in brother!" and was super nice, as they actually were, and the DID have a crate, so they got let off the hook. 

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Madeleine's picture
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I don't include penalty info in the confirmation. That's on the registration form where I get a signature. But it's a good idea to mention it in case, as happens with late arrivals, I don't get the Sig.

I'm going to add a blurb on the note that goes on the door for them. Mostly about the cost of a late check out. It seems the problem people are always the ones I don't check in.

My reasoning behind not mentioning dollar amounts comes from raising a kid who would balance the cost of the punishment against the pleasure of the crime and make a decision that way.

I don't want someone to think it's pouring outside and I would rather stay inside and smoke for $500. Because I know those people personally!

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Madeleine wrote:

I don't include penalty info in the confirmation. That's on the registration form where I get a signature. But it's a good idea to mention it in case, as happens with late arrivals, I don't get the Sig.

I'm going to add a blurb on the note that goes on the door for them. Mostly about the cost of a late check out. It seems the problem people are always the ones I don't check in.

My reasoning behind not mentioning dollar amounts comes from raising a kid who would balance the cost of the punishment against the pleasure of the crime and make a decision that way.

I don't want someone to think it's pouring outside and I would rather stay inside and smoke for $500. Because I know those people personally!

If they want to smoke they can pay me $500 on their way being escorted out the door. There is no reason for it today, get the smokeless cigarettes and LIGHT EM UP PEOPLE! GO AHEAD, ALL NIGHT LONG.

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Even when YOU DO this you still get to sit in charge-back hell for months. Be prepared. Fight the battles that are worth it in the end.

Kay Nein's picture
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02/13/2012

I'm glad you brought this up.  Recently we had a guest that stayed just one night and wanted to find a cabin to rent for a week.  I was helping her with the online reservation. Once she submitted her online reservation, she got an email with a link to a website where she had to review the policies and fill in her personal information to confirm that she'd read them.  Then once she submitted that form, she got the door code in one email and then the confirmation in another.  It was quite cumbersome, but I thought it was brilliant for CYA on the policies.  

We often take reservations over the phone and recently talked about how there is no "Check This Box If You've Read Our Policies" button over the phone.  While, I really thought the whole process was a pain for the cabin, I think we could shorten it for a phone reservation.  

Thoughts?

 

(I know many of you don't like phone reservations.  We don't mind.  We'd rather make it easiest on our guests and some of them just prefer to talk to someone.  No biggie...)

Madeleine's picture
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You can fill in the form the same way the guest would have. Then the policies check box comes up and you tell them the policies and check the box.

The folks we had got an email with all the policy info and that was good enough for the cc company. They did not book online.

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01/12/2013

For phone reservations, you can follow up with a confirmation email.  In the email, advise them to simply hit "Reply" to the email, indicating that they have read your policies (stating cancellation info).  This has covered my butt in the past. 

Madeleine's picture
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BananaE29 wrote:

For phone reservations, you can follow up with a confirmation email.  In the email, advise them to simply hit "Reply" to the email, indicating that they have read your policies (stating cancellation info).  This has covered my butt in the past. 

This never worked for us. I've had guests calling me from the road the day of arrival saying they were just now reading the confirmation and didn't realize they were supposed to reply back to us and did they still have a room.

It was more aggro for me because I was having to follow up on every rez.

Country Girl's picture
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02/20/2009

Good advice. I hope it all works out in your favor.

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