How do you handle far-advance multi-day reservations?

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Arks

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Big festival in the area this weekend. I sold my first rooms for this weekend a year ago, so I raised the rates 50% and still sold the last remaining rooms 9 months ago. Every one of them was booked for 3 nights. So a significant amount of money for a 3-night stay at a marked up rate.

I was clueless and just processed these my usual way: first night charged with reservation, remaining nights charged upon arrival. Arrival instructions emailed the day the reservation is made.

Worked pretty well, I guess. Had one who emailed me a few days ago asking me to resend arrival info as they'd lost it. Understandable, and easy to fix for the future, if I can remember to do it, by setting up, at time they reserve, to have the arrival info be automatically resent a week before arrival date.

What got me last night was that one of them never showed up. At 9 p.m. I went to the computer to charge the remaining balance due, and the card was declined. I shouldn't be surprised. My own cards get canceled and new numbers issued occasionally when the bank fraud dept. suspects my card number has been compromised. I'm sure the card they booked with last year has been replaced. Obviously these folks aren't coming, and aren't paying.

I got paid up-front for last night, and I've cancelled the rest of the nights on the reservation. Luckily, I've already rented them to someone on the waiting list I kept, so all is well.

But I'm wondering what others do to avoid this happening on reservations made far in advance. I'm hesitant to ask them to pay the full amount, $600+, a year in advance. It's a popular festival, but not THAT popular. So I'm thinking I should set a ResKey reminder to go to myself a month before arrival on these far advance reservations, and charge the balance, or at least do a test of the card, a few weeks before arrival, so I have time to contact them, or cancel the room and offer to someone else if the card doesn't work.

I know some don't allow reservations so far in advance, but I like to get them when they're in the mood to make the reservation, and it worked fine this time for all except this one room.

I welcome suggestions. How do you handle this?
 

TheBeachHouse

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Perhaps you charge the room at the two week mark, or the point where you consider the reservation non-refundable. Two weeks is plenty of time to contact the guest and, if needed, reopen the room.
 

gillumhouse

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I allow up to a year in advance. Years ago I had one book a year in advance for a horse show. I had not thought anything of it until on another forum someone remarked how people forget (this was pre-ReservationKey). Getting nervous about it, I contacted them - yep, they had forgotten all about it and were not coming. I had time to clear the books, no I did not charge. With RezKey, they get a 3-day reminder automatically.
 

Arks

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With RezKey, they get a 3-day reminder automatically.
I think I'll also start having it automatically re-send the arrival info 2 weeks before arrival on these folks who book way in advance. Amazing I've been doing this 9 years now, and am STILL tweaking things to make it all run smoothly!
 

gillumhouse

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I think I'll also start having it automatically re-send the arrival info 2 weeks before arrival on these folks who book way in advance. Amazing I've been doing this 9 years now, and am STILL tweaking things to make it all run smoothly!

suggest you send the reminder the day before your cancel policy kicks in with the we are now charging the balance of your stay. Thank you for choosing......... IF they were going to cancel - THAT should get their attention.
 

Generic

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We changed a few procedures this year. We accept bookings 6 months in advance.
We send out several reminders, including one 3 days in advance. But we now also use the electronic check-in which can be done up to 5 days in advance. We have a link to it in the confirmation email as well. And they don't get the check-in information unless they fill the electronic check-in. A few... wait until the last minute.

But the new check-in form asks them a few questions about COVID-19 as well as as the conditions of the reservation (to remind them)

The email says: Please do this… now, by clicking {{checkinlink}}

Since I serve breakfast it has a reminder for allergies (which we may have already filled). A reminder about check-in time and asks breakfast time.
 

Morticia

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We had big weekends that were booked a year in advance: graduation, parents weekend, fiber festival. I always sent a reminder on January 1. Then again 3 months before. The 3 month one is where the cancellations came in.

You could do as suggested and take the balance at a month out, or whatever. Gives you a better chance of rebooking at a good rate.
 

seashanty

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I handle rentals for a wedding venue. Ceremonies mostly. These are reserved a year in advance mostly.
Non Refundable Deposit required to reserve the space. Exceptions sometimes given at our discretion.

Balance is due one month before the event. This gives us time to hopefully rent the space to someone else.

I’m in touch three months in advance to ask if they have any questions or requests and reminding them about the balance due. Hint, hint.

I send out a notice a week ahead of time that we are going to charge their card on xyz date. If the card fails, I assume that the expiration date or even the card number has been changed by their financial institution and move positively in that direction. With fingers crossed.

They have 48 hours to respond with payment or they forfeit the space. It sounds harsh, but it’s very hard to get last minute bookings for a wedding venue.

Good luck!
 

Jay Curci

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We changed a few procedures this year. We accept bookings 6 months in advance.
We send out several reminders, including one 3 days in advance. But we now also use the electronic check-in which can be done up to 5 days in advance. We have a link to it in the confirmation email as well. And they don't get the check-in information unless they fill the electronic check-in. A few... wait until the last minute.

But the new check-in form asks them a few questions about COVID-19 as well as as the conditions of the reservation (to remind them)

The email says: Please do this… now, by clicking {{checkinlink}}

Since I serve breakfast it has a reminder for allergies (which we may have already filled). A reminder about check-in time and asks breakfast time.
Graduation is booked a year in advance for us. We get 50% down and review the Policy. If cancelled and not re-booked they are responsible for the weekend stay! We have not had many issues - a few - but not enough to change anything - we also charge the balance January-February for a Mid-May Weekend date. If cancelled and we are able to re-book - same rules apply 25 per night booking charge. The rates are pumped up to align with Market Demand as well. Communication is the KEY. We have a Drag Strip with a lot of out of towners coming in to race. If it rains - no race - we have gone over this with the racers and Spectators and it seems they mostly do not want to take the risk - we get a few bookings here and there!
 

Generic

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We have a Drag Strip with a lot of out of towners coming in to race. If it rains - no race - we have gone over this with the racers and Spectators and it seems they mostly do not want to take the risk - we get a few bookings here and there!
We used to have NASCAR in town as well as the F1 Grand Prix. They are VERY different crowds. NASCAR decided to threaten leaving the city if they didn't get some "support" (extra cash) and all the hotels and restaurants in the city yelled at the city to NOT give it to them. They brought done the average daily spend in the summer, significantly. The city said no... they left and no one has regretted it since. In fact, the large NASCAR races... left the whole country.
You may be much better off not taking them than the losses in the long run.
 
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