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01/04/2018

I'm a new innkeeper and new to the forum. How do you all handle deposits? I followed the previous owner's policy of charging guests only when they showed up. As I discovered that policy has created headaches and lost income when they cancel. Do many take the full charge at reservation time or do you take a partial payment or no payment until the guest shows up? 

Be gentle. 

Thanks!

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John G

 

ChrisandShelley's picture
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04/13/2014

Since we went to being able to charge through our reservation system, things have gotten a lot easier. We always had a $25 cancellation fee, but we found it hard to charge that when people are so nice (supposedly). But since we started charging a $25 deposit right at the time of the reservation, we always get the cancellation fee regardless of the reason. Our system automatically charges their card when they finish an online booking. For phone reservations, we charge it right there when we have them on the phone. Best thing we ever did.

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Christopher and Shelley Smith, Innkeepers
The Wildflower Bed & Breakfast, Mountain View, AR

 

Highlands John's picture
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04/16/2010

Funny how having to hand over their card details and pay something concentrates the mind, isn't it!

The best thing we ever did was to move all our card processing to Stripe, much simpler than previous methods for guests to enter their details and Stripe hold the card details we can also impose charges for last minute cancellations without worrying about us keeping card info. If someone phones to book I still charge the card through Stripe.

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11/21/2017

We don't refund at all for any cancellation less than 14 days from their date of arrival unless it's due to weather.  So we take a $25 deposit at the time they book if its more than 14 days away.  If less than 14 it's payment in full.  

We require all stays to be paid in full at least a week before they arrive.  That way, we know we're not dealing with stolen credit cards, etc.

The exception is if the booking is through airBNB then Air makes payment to us on the day the person checks out.

 

OnTheShore's picture
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08/28/2011

25% downpayment at the time of booking, non-refundable in the event of cancellation unless we succeed in renting the accommodation to someone else.

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seashanty's picture
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06/02/2008

One night stay deposit per room. refundable up to 14 days before reservation minus a $35 cancellation fee. Tax and balance charged at checkin. If it was just a one night stay, I charged the whole thing in advance including tax. 

However, if someone made a reservation for an entire week or more, 1/2 the total stay as a deposit with same rules as above.  So if the total was going to be $2000, plus tax, I required a $1000. deposit.

I sometimes had three rooms book together for long stays, also all rooms to a group, big deposits for such reservations because if they cancel you've got a lot of rooms to fill in short time. I required 30 days notice for cancelation for those. Why? Because those rooms were locked out for months ahead of my busy summer season. Back in May, people trying to book a room for a certain week in August were not able to ...  All those missed opportunities for room reservations to be made.

Good luck.

 

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Joined:
02/15/2017

Full payment at time of booking.

Cancelation is fully refundable (less $35 fee) up until 14 days of arrival.

Less than 14 days cancelation - 50% refund, less $35,

48 hrs or less prior to arrival - no refund.

Have hardly had any cancelations.

Lee2014's picture
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12/11/2014

  One night deposit per room and a $25 cancellation.

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Arks's picture
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05/22/2010

Lee2014 wrote:

  One night deposit per room and a $25 cancellation.

Same here.

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Lee2014's picture
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12/11/2014

Arks wrote:

Lee2014 wrote:

  One night deposit per room and a $25 cancellation.

Same here.

   I am doing something right!  Grin! cool

Morticia's picture
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05/22/2008

Take a deposit! One night, some %, whatever works for you. When guests have some skin the deal, they tend to show up as scheduled.

Have a modest fee for cancelling outside the cancellation time. Some people will hold the room until the last moment. If your cancellation period is 14 days, they cancel 15 days out. At least you get paid for the time you spent making the reservation and then cancelling it.

If you use something like Square to do your payments, they refund you the processing fees, when you refund the guest so you're not out that money, too.

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Highlands John's picture
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04/16/2010

We will not accept a booking without a 25% non-refundable deposit, all our deposits are processed through Stripe, which holds the card details for later charges.

We charge the full room rate on any cancellations less than 5 days warning if we are unable to re-let the room.

We've had to do this because in short people take the P***.

I've had people cancel a 7 night booking peak season with 2 days notice  because "the weather forecast looks good so we decided to spend the week in the garden rather than go away", just this summer I had a 2 night 2 room cancellation the day before because "we've decided to change our itinerary". others include...... the car broke down, the ferry was cancelled, someone died, we didn't realise how far it is, I broke my leg, I have an operation.

Generic's picture
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02/24/2011

It depends on where you are. We still don't take deposits on direct reservations and I haven't had a cancellation with charge in about a year. BUT I take deposits equal to one night, no refunds, on all reservations via third-party websites.

It really depends on the country and how the people view their commitments and contracts.

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Joined:
04/02/2014

If you don't want last minute cancellations and no-shows, charge a 50% deposit when they book.  Also if they book within your cancellation policy (ours is 14 days which means they can't check the 10 day weather report and cancel because of rain), then we charge the full amount.  Have a $25 cancellation policy too - it weeds out those who are likely to cancel/no show and it covers your time/cost to run and refund the deposit.  Good luck.

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