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GrandKlintDK

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hi all!
We on our way to moving to Spain to start our own B&B, at first we'll be moving in to a newly build apartment and renting out 2 rooms to figure out how we'll do and what to be aware of. Our future plan is to buy somewhere bigger with 4-5 bedrooms for renting out. My question is now. Do you use a booking system on your websites or how do your costumers book and pay deposit? Do they just email you and then you email back and foward and have them money transfer the deposit amount of do you have some sort of payment and booking system on your website?
We've talked to some different people, who might be able to set up a HTML-coding for booking to add to our website (which i will be designing myself) for a price, but i really don't know if it is worth it and is it worth it having a complete payment part? Would it be okay to be using something like google check-out or paypal or would it seems like a joke then?
Thanks! :)
 

EmptyNest

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You must have on line booking for your website. If you go to the RESOURCES section here you will find information about companies that provide on line services. I would not go with PAYPAL. There are other companies out there you can sign up for and take payments.
Have you all attended any classes or read anything about running a B & B. This is some basic information you really do need. Do not get into this unprepared. Read and study first.
 

wendydk

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You must have on line booking for your website. If you go to the RESOURCES section here you will find information about companies that provide on line services. I would not go with PAYPAL. There are other companies out there you can sign up for and take payments.
Have you all attended any classes or read anything about running a B & B. This is some basic information you really do need. Do not get into this unprepared. Read and study first..
catlady said:
Have you all attended any classes or read anything about running a B & B. This is some basic information you really do need. Do not get into this unprepared. Read and study first.
I wholeheartedly agree with CatLady...this is something you should already have researched BEFORE you decide to move to Spain and open a B&B. Definitely, you need some kind of online booking, and definitely you will need a credit card processing merchant account...paypal is not the way to go here...a very unprofessional way to do business as a B&B.
I would say that you have alot of reading to do, and/or classes to take BEFORE you take any steps toward this business. Reading all the postings on this forum is a good way to get started.
 

Joey Camb

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I would say that the ability to take card payments is vital we use third party web sites Such as Booking.com and Laterooms who send you the card details of the customer via secure email and or Fax then to take the deposit you simply punch it into your card machine. Do make sure that if you do it this way you make it very clear you will be charging a deposit in your terms and conditions as people havn't got a clue what they have paid for or not paid for. Some friends of mine always charge the first night in full and have found this dramatically reduces people messing them about however it does cause a problem now and again when people book a long time in advance and their card is charged right away. People can also phone and give card details that way. But the most important part is that it is secure! and relatively simple for the customer to do otherwise they will give up and go somewhere easier to deal with. People (I am sure the others on here will agree with me) have a very short attention span and given any degree of difficulty in checking avaliability and or booking and paying you will lose the sale. We use the KISS principle (Keep it simple stupid) As a good project look at a lot of B&B web sites and see what you would do and wouldn't do take a ton of notes. I don't claim to be an expert but I know what I like and don't like!
 

GrandKlintDK

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Thank you all for your comments.
I'm pretty sure you're all right about me reading up on the fact of running a B&B. This will not be our main source of income when we move there right away, but it is a way to find out it we're really up for starting a B&B for real, which means we have to get it all right before even trying or we'll be of really bad from the start.
I've googled a lot about starting a B&B and i will keep on during that, i'll try going to the local library to see if i can find something good to read. I have my business education and do not have any trouble with the accountant part - luckily, but the logistics and preparing i can see i have a long way to go. If we we're just starting something up in Denmark (where we are from) it would be a lot easier, but we're moving to a completely new country as well, which means a bunch of new laws, way of living and all that. BUT we're trying and maybe we'll get there sometime. We're going there in december to talk to my girl friend, who is a realestate agent and has her own B&B already, hopefully shee'll be able to give some lessons in what to prepare for.
Please be patience with me as i'm only still learning of all this :)
Hugs Sofie
 

EmptyNest

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Thank you all for your comments.
I'm pretty sure you're all right about me reading up on the fact of running a B&B. This will not be our main source of income when we move there right away, but it is a way to find out it we're really up for starting a B&B for real, which means we have to get it all right before even trying or we'll be of really bad from the start.
I've googled a lot about starting a B&B and i will keep on during that, i'll try going to the local library to see if i can find something good to read. I have my business education and do not have any trouble with the accountant part - luckily, but the logistics and preparing i can see i have a long way to go. If we we're just starting something up in Denmark (where we are from) it would be a lot easier, but we're moving to a completely new country as well, which means a bunch of new laws, way of living and all that. BUT we're trying and maybe we'll get there sometime. We're going there in december to talk to my girl friend, who is a realestate agent and has her own B&B already, hopefully shee'll be able to give some lessons in what to prepare for.
Please be patience with me as i'm only still learning of all this :)
Hugs Sofie.
Please do read all you can. And sorry to say, don't take your friend's word for anything that applies to zoning and the local law. You must have that from the proper authorities. And, your friend...even though she has a B&B may not be doing things according to the rules. You must be aware of the legalities before you do anything. And that only comes from the proper authorities. I do not know if there is a B & B Association in Spain, but you should check around. Just because you read it on line...doesn't make it right.
 

agoodman

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You do NOT want to do your own development for an online booking system .... There are plenty of established systems out there with secure payment processing - you DEFINATELY want one that handles European vat and regulations
I am always amazed that there are Inns out there that don't want online booking because they want to "talk to" the guest. Here's the issue - the guests don't want to always talk to us. They want to be able to book 24/7 and you can always talk to the guest once they have made their reservation to re-iterate policies etc but of course online (auto confirms) are much better than anything else - esp when you need to prove anything to the cc companies, just present a copy of your conf and $$
 

HighMountainLodge

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You really need to research Spanish laws about innkeeping as a first step. My experiences with the country are outdated (Franco was still alive the first few times I visited Spain). At that time, there was a very strict star system that rated lodging properties. Now, since Spain is in the eurozone, I daresay that has changed, but even if you have the expectation that the laws are the same across the EU, you really need to verify that.
The days are long past just about anywhere in the world where you can decide to open a B&B out of your home. Health laws. Tax laws. Zoning laws. The list is incredibly long and complex.
Do your homework before you venture too far into the business. If you have chosen a particular place to live, then scout out the business possibilities. If you can, live there for a while in an apartment while gathering information about the location, potential guests, etc.
And, forgive me, but how fluent are you in Spanish? If you are fluent, are you able to pick up the dialectic nuances of the region you plan to live in? The English you've written on this forum is completely understandable, but it is clear that you are not a native speaker of English. When you find yourself living in a completely different culture, with a completely different language, subtle differences of language can be hugely important. Your ability to pick up on nuances of language in your new country will be critical.
Being Dutch and accustomed to speaking a variety of languages, perhaps what I'm writing sounds patronizing to you. I don't mean to be.
Bottom line: the more you know, and the more you anticipate about your new life, the less likely you will be to have sleepless nights of worry.
Good luck!
Tom
 

casavista

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Concerning the on-line booking method. I agree it probably works for most Inns but It would not work in my case,and it may not be good for you if you own an Inn like mine. I have three rooms with three different prices,$85-$110-$150. Lets say I have on-line booking and someone rents the $110 room for say a Sat. night. later someone else wants a three night stay, that same Sat and the Fri before and Sun. after, doesn't want the smaller room without a view buy also doesn't want to spend $450. They see the room they want is taken so they move on to some place else. Now, Same scenario only this time they e-mail me, now I rent the room to the second requesters and give a free upgrade to the $150 room to the people who took the room for one night originally. I haven't lost the three night rental and the people love the fact they recieved a free upgrade. believe me, this has happened way more than once.<agoodman> is correct about people wanting to book immediately so you have to stay on top of your mail and phone. Good luck
 

JBloggs

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Concerning the on-line booking method. I agree it probably works for most Inns but It would not work in my case,and it may not be good for you if you own an Inn like mine. I have three rooms with three different prices,$85-$110-$150. Lets say I have on-line booking and someone rents the $110 room for say a Sat. night. later someone else wants a three night stay, that same Sat and the Fri before and Sun. after, doesn't want the smaller room without a view buy also doesn't want to spend $450. They see the room they want is taken so they move on to some place else. Now, Same scenario only this time they e-mail me, now I rent the room to the second requesters and give a free upgrade to the $150 room to the people who took the room for one night originally. I haven't lost the three night rental and the people love the fact they recieved a free upgrade. believe me, this has happened way more than once.<agoodman> is correct about people wanting to book immediately so you have to stay on top of your mail and phone. Good luck.
casavista said:
Concerning the on-line booking method. I agree it probably works for most Inns but It would not work in my case,and it may not be good for you if you own an Inn like mine. I have three rooms with three different prices,$85-$110-$150. Lets say I have on-line booking and someone rents the $110 room for say a Sat. night. later someone else wants a three night stay, that same Sat and the Fri before and Sun. after, doesn't want the smaller room without a view buy also doesn't want to spend $450. They see the room they want is taken so they move on to some place else. Now, Same scenario only this time they e-mail me, now I rent the room to the second requesters and give a free upgrade to the $150 room to the people who took the room for one night originally. I haven't lost the three night rental and the people love the fact they recieved a free upgrade. believe me, this has happened way more than once.<agoodman> is correct about people wanting to book immediately so you have to stay on top of your mail and phone. Good luck
Why don't you make all the rooms the same price then? Or why don't you put an online special if you stay 2 nights you save X$, 3 nights you save XX$?
Sorry to say, but I think you are fooling yourself with this phone and email thing, there are prob on average 50% of people who won't call, ever (might be higher depends where you are located and who stays with you typically). So YOU ARE LOSING THOSE OFF THE GET GO, have you considered this? YOU ARE LOSING ALL OF THOSE as they will close your website and go to the next one.
I just looked at your B&B, there are a couple others innkeepers here in your area, not same isl, we lived there for 11 yrs and it being one of the tech capitals of our country... If you had a big button BOOK NOW you would not know yourself, you would be amazed!
For all the hard work to make it such a beautiful and inviting place, you are not bringing them in, but sending them away with out online reservations.
"Absence of proof is not proof of absence."
 

egoodell

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Concerning the on-line booking method. I agree it probably works for most Inns but It would not work in my case,and it may not be good for you if you own an Inn like mine. I have three rooms with three different prices,$85-$110-$150. Lets say I have on-line booking and someone rents the $110 room for say a Sat. night. later someone else wants a three night stay, that same Sat and the Fri before and Sun. after, doesn't want the smaller room without a view buy also doesn't want to spend $450. They see the room they want is taken so they move on to some place else. Now, Same scenario only this time they e-mail me, now I rent the room to the second requesters and give a free upgrade to the $150 room to the people who took the room for one night originally. I haven't lost the three night rental and the people love the fact they recieved a free upgrade. believe me, this has happened way more than once.<agoodman> is correct about people wanting to book immediately so you have to stay on top of your mail and phone. Good luck.
casavista said:
Concerning the on-line booking method. I agree it probably works for most Inns but It would not work in my case,and it may not be good for you if you own an Inn like mine. I have three rooms with three different prices,$85-$110-$150. Lets say I have on-line booking and someone rents the $110 room for say a Sat. night. later someone else wants a three night stay, that same Sat and the Fri before and Sun. after, doesn't want the smaller room without a view buy also doesn't want to spend $450. They see the room they want is taken so they move on to some place else. Now, Same scenario only this time they e-mail me, now I rent the room to the second requesters and give a free upgrade to the $150 room to the people who took the room for one night originally. I haven't lost the three night rental and the people love the fact they recieved a free upgrade. believe me, this has happened way more than once.<agoodman> is correct about people wanting to book immediately so you have to stay on top of your mail and phone. Good luck
I may or may not be reading your email correctly, but can't you fix all this by selecting the "reservation request" option like I do?
I dont have the reservation automomaticlly accept the reservation as 95% of my guests book the wine tour package.
I have to check that we have availability for the wine tour before accepting the reservation
If I have the space then I go to the system and accept the reservation and remove the room from active to occupied.
What is the difference between that and handling it on the phone? You still have all the requests and can accept as you decide. I think it is better as you can take a few minutes to check it out before accepting . On the phone you don't have that luxury.
I would be DEAD without online booking. We don't have the time to answer the phone that much - I work outside the B&B and can check them on my breaks while Chris is out driving tours etc.
Riki
 

JBloggs

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"Online reservations are an amenity"
Y'all are so tired of me saying this, but again and again new innkeepers show up on the forum and argue that online reservations won't fit their place. New innkeepers, not necessarily new to the biz, but new to the forum.
 

Joey Camb

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Our phone rings to make a booking maybe once or twice a day online bookings about 1 an hour you do the maths.
 

Breakfast Diva

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You are losing WAY MORE money by not having online booking than you ever would by losing a booking every now and then using the scenario you gave.
Ok, I just took a few minutes to find your b&b online and look at others in your area. It seems that your area is in a time warp. I didn't find any b&b with online reservations! Can you imagine if you were the only b&b in your area that had online reservations? Your bookings would go up DRAMATICALLY!
Stick around here on the forum...there's a lot to learn here.
 

gillumhouse

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Concerning the on-line booking method. I agree it probably works for most Inns but It would not work in my case,and it may not be good for you if you own an Inn like mine. I have three rooms with three different prices,$85-$110-$150. Lets say I have on-line booking and someone rents the $110 room for say a Sat. night. later someone else wants a three night stay, that same Sat and the Fri before and Sun. after, doesn't want the smaller room without a view buy also doesn't want to spend $450. They see the room they want is taken so they move on to some place else. Now, Same scenario only this time they e-mail me, now I rent the room to the second requesters and give a free upgrade to the $150 room to the people who took the room for one night originally. I haven't lost the three night rental and the people love the fact they recieved a free upgrade. believe me, this has happened way more than once.<agoodman> is correct about people wanting to book immediately so you have to stay on top of your mail and phone. Good luck.
My online rez for my 3-guestroom B & B IS immediate as it takes the room out of inventory. I still have to call THEM for the credit card number because this old dog does not like cc numbers online (PCI compliance worries) AND I want to offer the option of paying with lovely cash or personal check to avoid cc fees - and I tell people that! It works!
I am in Podunk and yes, most of my guests still make the rez via phone, but I would never be without online rez. I have a different scenario than you do. 2 of my rooms share a bathroom BUT if they pvt bath is booked and the guest wants a pvt bath, they can opt for the pvt bath price and the third room does not get rented. THAT is available through my online rez. Look at www.reservationkey.com.
 

SiteValet

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I suggest you take a good look at KeepMeBooked. We talk to a lot of different online booking solution providers, and we like KMB the best. They're particularly well oriented to smaller properties, like B&Bs.
Find what suits you best, but this one is worth looking at.
DAVE
 

Breakfast Diva

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I suggest you take a good look at KeepMeBooked. We talk to a lot of different online booking solution providers, and we like KMB the best. They're particularly well oriented to smaller properties, like B&Bs.
Find what suits you best, but this one is worth looking at.
DAVE.
Sorry, but it's 3x more expensive, not as attractive or as functional as Reservation Key
 

souslechene

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"Bonjour" to all you guys over there... This is my first post here, from France.
Reading this forum from time to time, I find much differences (and similarities) between both sides of the Atlantic.
Online reservation system is a major difference with France. Few owners have one here. There are forms for booking enquiries, there are plannings on websites, but "Book now" button is not common.
This shows culture differences at both owners and clients level. May be in USA, guests are more used to it and thus need it more.
I am looking at such a solution and will try to arrange it in the coming year.
To help the "poor" GrandKlintDK, here is a link to an Owner's forum from Spain and in Spanish. This should be a good way to get additional information.
Might be that Spanish guests are not used to Online reservation systems & would not like to leave their card details online...
 

JBloggs

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"Bonjour" to all you guys over there... This is my first post here, from France.
Reading this forum from time to time, I find much differences (and similarities) between both sides of the Atlantic.
Online reservation system is a major difference with France. Few owners have one here. There are forms for booking enquiries, there are plannings on websites, but "Book now" button is not common.
This shows culture differences at both owners and clients level. May be in USA, guests are more used to it and thus need it more.
I am looking at such a solution and will try to arrange it in the coming year.
To help the "poor" GrandKlintDK, here is a link to an Owner's forum from Spain and in Spanish. This should be a good way to get additional information.
Might be that Spanish guests are not used to Online reservation systems & would not like to leave their card details online....
Actually it is our OVERSEAS guests who appreciate the online reservations most.
Culture difference in client and guest is just ignorance really. The US is always ahead of the curve, if you came to this forum and listened to American/Canadian innkeepers and what is working NOW for them here you too would be ahead of the curve overseas.
I remember 10 years ago eCommerce was UNKNOWN in Australia and now Aussie's all shop online, got right into eBay and all the online stores fell into place.
Absence of proof is not proof of absence. Saying Spanish guests won't book online without actually LETTING them book online, hm, what kind of experiment is that, it's not one, it is an empty statement. We go through this and have for years on this forum, once someone steps across the threshold to online reservations they never look back. If what you do works for you, then keep on doing it. We are always forward thinking here...making it easier for guests, and to increase our occupancy.
 

souslechene

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"Bonjour" to all you guys over there... This is my first post here, from France.
Reading this forum from time to time, I find much differences (and similarities) between both sides of the Atlantic.
Online reservation system is a major difference with France. Few owners have one here. There are forms for booking enquiries, there are plannings on websites, but "Book now" button is not common.
This shows culture differences at both owners and clients level. May be in USA, guests are more used to it and thus need it more.
I am looking at such a solution and will try to arrange it in the coming year.
To help the "poor" GrandKlintDK, here is a link to an Owner's forum from Spain and in Spanish. This should be a good way to get additional information.
Might be that Spanish guests are not used to Online reservation systems & would not like to leave their card details online....
Actually it is our OVERSEAS guests who appreciate the online reservations most.
Culture difference in client and guest is just ignorance really. The US is always ahead of the curve, if you came to this forum and listened to American/Canadian innkeepers and what is working NOW for them here you too would be ahead of the curve overseas.
I remember 10 years ago eCommerce was UNKNOWN in Australia and now Aussie's all shop online, got right into eBay and all the online stores fell into place.
Absence of proof is not proof of absence. Saying Spanish guests won't book online without actually LETTING them book online, hm, what kind of experiment is that, it's not one, it is an empty statement. We go through this and have for years on this forum, once someone steps across the threshold to online reservations they never look back. If what you do works for you, then keep on doing it. We are always forward thinking here...making it easier for guests, and to increase our occupancy.
.
I consider my activity as a business and I plan to set-up an online booking system in the coming year.
But many owners, here in France, are not doing this activity as a business. They do it as a side activity, a way to get busy, meet people and get some extra money. Quite a lot are retired people using the rooms freed by their kids. They are not even registered as a business. As such, "being ahead of the curve" is not what they look for.
As for your "empty statement", that was not a statement, just a what-if.
I agree with your "absence of proof..." but it depends of your targets. As for GrandKlintDK, is he in a stage where he looks to maximize the bookings or not. I do not know.
 
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