Introduction and Question

Bed & Breakfast / Short Term Rental Host Forum

Help Support Bed & Breakfast / Short Term Rental Host Forum:

Miss O'Hara

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 3, 2011
Messages
67
Reaction score
0
Hi All,
My husband and I have just bought our first bed & breakfast...well, it was a b&b at one point and we hope to run it that way eventually but for now we're just an Inn and don't serve breakfast.
We're in over our heads a little bit, lol, but my husband is experienced with small buisnesses and we have a small buisness development center in our town that has been extremely helpful so far.
My question has to do with reservations and when you charge them. We've already got people talking to us about July and August and we're not for sure how/when to charge. Do you charge a deposit immedately for holding the room and the rest when they arrive? If so how much is your deposit?
Just reading through some of this forum I know there is a lot I don't know yet so if you have any other advice please feel free to share.
Thanks!
 

Alibi Ike

Well-known member
Staff member
Joined
Aug 8, 2010
Messages
2,928
Reaction score
0
How busy do you expect to be during those months? What do the other properties nearby do?
Might as well start off taking a deposit. Either one night or 50% whichever seems best to you. Make sure the guests know in advance you will be charging their credit card. No one likes a 'surprise' charge showing up. Right now you might actually need some cash flow, so charge the card when the rez is made. Make sure your cancellation policy is in line with other nearby properties. Neither more nor less strict.
You will get varying answers to the 'when do you collect the remainder- on arrival or departure?' I like to get it over with right away as guests here generally leave early in the morning while we are still serving breakfast. The cc machine is in the dining room, it's an old one and it makes an awful racket. NOT having to stop serving brekkie to run that loud machine is worth it to me. (PLUS, I don't worry about anyone scarpering without paying.)
Congrats on your new adventure!
 

EmptyNest

Well-known member
Joined
May 22, 2008
Messages
8,741
Reaction score
1

How to guarantee a reservation has been a big topic here. If you do a search you will find lots of different opinions.
However, I think the going feeling is get their credit card number when they make the reservation, charge them for a one night deposit right up front. Make sure they are aware you will be charging their card right then and there or else there is NOT a guaranteed reservation. Be sure you have a cancellation policy in place and they they agree to your policies. Otherwise, you will be facing chargebacks. We never used to do the deposit, just took their number and was trusting enough...no more..would I do that. Too many problems.
Do you have an up to date website? Do you have on line availability and reservations? IF NOT...get it done quickly. THis is a MUST. Are you planning on serving say a continental breakfast? That would be more expected and if not, it may cut down on your guest traffic. Why stay with you when they can get a free one at a local hotel. What is your niche and who are you going to be marketing to?
Lots of questions, I hope you are prepared and Good LUCK!
 

Copperhead

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 24, 2008
Messages
5,968
Reaction score
0

Congratulations! The advise Ike and Catlady have given is right on. Check the websites of the other properties in the area to review their polices and create yours to be in line.
I also agree with CL regarding breakfast... it is expected in some form these days even if it is a self-serve cont. breakfast with pastries, cereals, fruit, coffee and juice.
 

Joey Camb

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 2, 2010
Messages
4,793
Reaction score
0
Hello Im from the UK and the system here is a bit different but I definately concur on the getting them to pay any outstanding money on arrival not departure cos it is bedlam! Had a full house going out this morning and managed to catch about half of them but was messing about in the middle of breakfast collecting keys and taking money with the other ones plus some wanted to rebook for the next years petrol conference all at once. Not to be done lightly was temped to just charge all the cards the night before
 

Miss O'Hara

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 3, 2011
Messages
67
Reaction score
0

How to guarantee a reservation has been a big topic here. If you do a search you will find lots of different opinions.
However, I think the going feeling is get their credit card number when they make the reservation, charge them for a one night deposit right up front. Make sure they are aware you will be charging their card right then and there or else there is NOT a guaranteed reservation. Be sure you have a cancellation policy in place and they they agree to your policies. Otherwise, you will be facing chargebacks. We never used to do the deposit, just took their number and was trusting enough...no more..would I do that. Too many problems.
Do you have an up to date website? Do you have on line availability and reservations? IF NOT...get it done quickly. THis is a MUST. Are you planning on serving say a continental breakfast? That would be more expected and if not, it may cut down on your guest traffic. Why stay with you when they can get a free one at a local hotel. What is your niche and who are you going to be marketing to?
Lots of questions, I hope you are prepared and Good LUCK!.
catlady said:
Do you have an up to date website? Do you have on line availability and reservations? IF NOT...get it done quickly. THis is a MUST. Are you planning on serving say a continental breakfast? That would be more expected and if not, it may cut down on your guest traffic. Why stay with you when they can get a free one at a local hotel. What is your niche and who are you going to be marketing to?
Lots of questions, I hope you are prepared and Good LUCK!
We're working on the website, we just got the domain name transferred into our names yesterday. The previous owners have dragged their feet a little in getting us the things that we need. It will have an availability calendar and online booking. www.whiteroseinnemporia.com if anyone is interested. It's far from finished as my husband really just got started last night.
We have discussed a continental breakfast type of thing. This Inn is set up a little different from the b&b's I'm used to. There is a big front house that's broken up into seperate suites with they're own private entrances and bathrooms, there is no common area. There is a smaller house behind it which we will live in. Each room has it's own little kitchenette, one has a full kitchen, and it would be fairly easy to provide an in-room contiental type breakfast. The more I think about it the more I know we need to offer this espeically since it's been known as a b&b. I'm assuming we'd need a food license to do this though?
We live in a college town and we're mere blocks from campus. There are also several bigger industrial buisnesses. The previous owners had contracts with campus and several of the buisnesses and they kept them pretty full throughout the week. We are the only down town lodging and the only b&b/inn.
We're still working on a marketing plan but I know there are several events we can focus on, our down town is very active and hosts several big events a year. The other market I'm aiming at is weddings as we are close to several big church's and other popular venues.
 

Miss O'Hara

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 3, 2011
Messages
67
Reaction score
0
How busy do you expect to be during those months? What do the other properties nearby do?
Might as well start off taking a deposit. Either one night or 50% whichever seems best to you. Make sure the guests know in advance you will be charging their credit card. No one likes a 'surprise' charge showing up. Right now you might actually need some cash flow, so charge the card when the rez is made. Make sure your cancellation policy is in line with other nearby properties. Neither more nor less strict.
You will get varying answers to the 'when do you collect the remainder- on arrival or departure?' I like to get it over with right away as guests here generally leave early in the morning while we are still serving breakfast. The cc machine is in the dining room, it's an old one and it makes an awful racket. NOT having to stop serving brekkie to run that loud machine is worth it to me. (PLUS, I don't worry about anyone scarpering without paying.)
Congrats on your new adventure!.
Alibi Ike said:
How busy do you expect to be during those months? What do the other properties nearby do?
Might as well start off taking a deposit. Either one night or 50% whichever seems best to you. Make sure the guests know in advance you will be charging their credit card. No one likes a 'surprise' charge showing up. Right now you might actually need some cash flow, so charge the card when the rez is made. Make sure your cancellation policy is in line with other nearby properties. Neither more nor less strict.
This is a good point I hadn't thought about. Most of the rooms are rented by monthly renters atm, so we had a little cash flow immediately. Those renters should be leaving within the next month and we'll have to rely on reservations.
 

Alibi Ike

Well-known member
Staff member
Joined
Aug 8, 2010
Messages
2,928
Reaction score
0

How to guarantee a reservation has been a big topic here. If you do a search you will find lots of different opinions.
However, I think the going feeling is get their credit card number when they make the reservation, charge them for a one night deposit right up front. Make sure they are aware you will be charging their card right then and there or else there is NOT a guaranteed reservation. Be sure you have a cancellation policy in place and they they agree to your policies. Otherwise, you will be facing chargebacks. We never used to do the deposit, just took their number and was trusting enough...no more..would I do that. Too many problems.
Do you have an up to date website? Do you have on line availability and reservations? IF NOT...get it done quickly. THis is a MUST. Are you planning on serving say a continental breakfast? That would be more expected and if not, it may cut down on your guest traffic. Why stay with you when they can get a free one at a local hotel. What is your niche and who are you going to be marketing to?
Lots of questions, I hope you are prepared and Good LUCK!.
catlady said:
Do you have an up to date website? Do you have on line availability and reservations? IF NOT...get it done quickly. THis is a MUST. Are you planning on serving say a continental breakfast? That would be more expected and if not, it may cut down on your guest traffic. Why stay with you when they can get a free one at a local hotel. What is your niche and who are you going to be marketing to?
Lots of questions, I hope you are prepared and Good LUCK!
We're working on the website, we just got the domain name transferred into our names yesterday. The previous owners have dragged their feet a little in getting us the things that we need. It will have an availability calendar and online booking. www.whiteroseinnemporia.com if anyone is interested. It's far from finished as my husband really just got started last night.
We have discussed a continental breakfast type of thing. This Inn is set up a little different from the b&b's I'm used to. There is a big front house that's broken up into seperate suites with they're own private entrances and bathrooms, there is no common area. There is a smaller house behind it which we will live in. Each room has it's own little kitchenette, one has a full kitchen, and it would be fairly easy to provide an in-room contiental type breakfast. The more I think about it the more I know we need to offer this espeically since it's been known as a b&b. I'm assuming we'd need a food license to do this though?
We live in a college town and we're mere blocks from campus. There are also several bigger industrial buisnesses. The previous owners had contracts with campus and several of the buisnesses and they kept them pretty full throughout the week. We are the only down town lodging and the only b&b/inn.
We're still working on a marketing plan but I know there are several events we can focus on, our down town is very active and hosts several big events a year. The other market I'm aiming at is weddings as we are close to several big church's and other popular venues.
.
If you have no central place to provide a sit-down breakfast, a delivered continental would work. Muffins, boxed cereals, coffee in a carafe. Pop it all into a basket and leave it outside each door at a set time. Or, have the ingredients in each kitchenette. The housekeeping staff can replenish daily. Small cartons of milk & juice in the fridge. Mini boxes of cereal. Bagels & muffins on a covered tray.
You can ask when the reservation is made. Explain what you have for brekkie foods and ask what the guest would like in the room on arrival.
 

Paradise

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 28, 2010
Messages
187
Reaction score
0
Good afternoon,
Congrats on your new business!
We take a 50% deposit with VISA/MC in order to make a reservation. The 50% is charged & an email confirmation is sent. The balance is due upon checkin. The deposit is refundable up to 30 days prior & cancellations within 48 hours are charged the full amount.
One night stays are charged a 100%, non-refundable deposit (because it's not enough money to warrant the cc fees any other way).
Good luck!
 

YellowSocks

Well-known member
Supporting Member
Joined
May 22, 2008
Messages
2,179
Reaction score
13

I take a one night deposit when they book, and charge the rest when they arrive. But be careful not to spend all that money... sometimes people do cancel.
=)
Kk.
 

MTLLodge

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 5, 2008
Messages
725
Reaction score
0
I do the same as YellowSocks. You came to the right place! Best of luck!!!
 

Generic

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 24, 2011
Messages
7,577
Reaction score
91
Our policy is a little different. We take absoluately no deposit whatsoever. We simply hold the card as a guarantee. They can cancel up to 7 days in advance and on the day of arrival the total is due. No shows are charged for the whole stay. We do exceptionally charge a deposit if someone wants more than three rooms or for special reservations over our 14 day limit.
I much prefer to not take a deposit and not deal with chargebacks. It is also more functional with chip & pin transactions, which need the physical card to process. We can and sometimes do post an "auth only" on the account a week ahead. It clears when we process the transaction.
Our cancellation rate is very low. I have had 15 cancellations within the 7 day limit in three years.
 
Top