The art of asking for payment.

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River Wren

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I have recently been asked to do guest check ins. This is not normally something I do, so I am asking your advice.
Normally, I am a behind the scenes person ie: cooking, cleaning, laundry, gardening etc. The Inn where I have been asked to do this, takes payment at check in rather than check out. I have shadowed the owners on many occasions for training, but was curious as to how YOU ask?
For example, do you say ....
Welcome to the Maplewood Lodge....my name is Stephanie, let me show you to your room.
After the 'orientation tour' ask "What payment method would you like to use?" or something more graceful?
Anyway what do you do?
Thanks for any help.
 

Iris

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oh good question. I always feel awkward asking for payment.
I welcome the guests as I see them driving up and ask them into the office so that they can register and as they do that, I ask them which form of payment they wish to use today.
Something besides the point: What really surprises me is how many of them are perplexed that I even ask that, because "they have already given me their credit card number when they made the reservation". In my head I say "so what? Just because you have secured a reservation with that number doesn't mean you've been charged. did you not read your confirmation which states that you are expected to pay the full amount at arrival?"
 

JBloggs

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They ALL, to concurr with Iris, are shocked - "We did all of that online" and then "Which one did I give you?" Doesn't matter, hand me the card and I will swipe the card. :)
RW - You can use the term that is not too strong "Why don't we go ahead and settle up now..." and give them their statement to review and wait for them to hand you their card or cash.
 

Don Draper

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When I meet a guest at the front door I offer a handshake and say my name. When I get their names, I pull open our front desk drawer to grab their invoice, check the name/room and confirm the length of stay. Then I lay out the invoice to go over it with them, here's the total, here's the deposit amount you already left, and here's the balance that's due.
 

swirt

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We take payment at check-in too. When I check them in right before I have them sign the policies and bill I point to the bill and say, "we took a deposit of $X on DATE and this is your balance. How would you like to cover your balance?"
Half think nothing of it and hand me a card or cash ... others say can you just put it on the card on file?
 

Morticia

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'Hi! Welcome to Maplewood Lodge, my name is Stephanie. Let's get you checked in, show you around and get you settled into your room.' (At this point I pull out their paperwork showing what room they have, the charge and the policies.) 'This is your registration form with your room charge, if you have your credit card I'll run it and get that out of the way so you can relax.' (I know it sounds brutal to hit them with that right off the bat, but I get wanderers who will be pulled into the kitchen to get cookies and they don't wander back if I don't keep them on task!)
After payment they get the tour. I've tried doing it differently, without payment and they get to their rooms and disappear. With multiple rooms checking in at around the same time, waiting around for one guest to return to pay while trying to get other guests to their rooms is too much confusion.
I do get pushback on the immediate request for payment. "NOW? We have to pay NOW?" (Yeah, like a hotel lets you in without handing over your cc.) Or, "I thought we paid in advance for this?" (Nope, not here, maybe somewhere else on your trip.)
 

JBloggs

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I only take payment at check in if they are walk-ins or call from the road and show up for a room. or I don't trust them. :)
I have my reasons for doing so...read my thread about road raging evil guests who left fat and happy enjoying their stay this morning.
 

Morticia

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oh good question. I always feel awkward asking for payment.
I welcome the guests as I see them driving up and ask them into the office so that they can register and as they do that, I ask them which form of payment they wish to use today.
Something besides the point: What really surprises me is how many of them are perplexed that I even ask that, because "they have already given me their credit card number when they made the reservation". In my head I say "so what? Just because you have secured a reservation with that number doesn't mean you've been charged. did you not read your confirmation which states that you are expected to pay the full amount at arrival?".
IrisoftheWayfarer said:
Something besides the point: What really surprises me is how many of them are perplexed that I even ask that, because "they have already given me their credit card number when they made the reservation". In my head I say "so what? Just because you have secured a reservation with that number doesn't mean you've been charged. did you not read your confirmation which states that you are expected to pay the full amount at arrival?"
I think this may be because hotels ask if you want to charge the room to the 'cc of record.' When I get asked that, I tell them I need the cc for the machine. If they push further, I show them their statement which shows only the last 4 of the cc number and I say, 'That's all I have, I need to run the card to collect payment.'
 

Morticia

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When I meet a guest at the front door I offer a handshake and say my name. When I get their names, I pull open our front desk drawer to grab their invoice, check the name/room and confirm the length of stay. Then I lay out the invoice to go over it with them, here's the total, here's the deposit amount you already left, and here's the balance that's due..
InnsiderInfo said:
When I meet a guest at the front door I offer a handshake and say my name. When I get their names, I pull open our front desk drawer to grab their invoice, check the name/room and confirm the length of stay. Then I lay out the invoice to go over it with them, here's the total, here's the deposit amount you already left, and here's the balance that's due.
Yup, that's about it. Make sure they understand how many nights and remind them of the cost. We've had guests who have stated at the door, 'We never booked for 4 nights. We booked for 3, we're not paying you for 4 nights.' (Oh, THOSE guests could just have left right then and there let me tell you. They were not happy at all the entire 3 nights they stayed.) I'm a little older and wiser now.
 

seashanty

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Hi, I'm Maggie ... your innkeeper. May I help you?' They tell me their names or that they are walkins. We're going with reserved for this example.
I say, 'let's get you checked in and get your key so you can relax.' You have to work with your setup ... there was my bathroom right off the kitchen and checkin area ... I sometimes asked if they needed to freshen up while I ran their credit card ...
Since I took the deposit always by credit card in advance I asked 'Do you want to put the balance on the same credit card you reserved your room with?' Mostly they'd pull out the card and hand it to me. Occasionally they'd say ... that card is no longer valid ... had fraudulent charges etc. I heard that a lot. Sometimes they'd ask if they couldn't just pay at checkout but I would answer (with a smile) that 'Our policy is to request payment at check-in.' This WAS stated in our policies so they knew that ahead of time if they bothered to read them. Just smile and wait with anticipation. Out comes the credit card.
After the credit card and computer did its thing, I'd get their signature and then we'd do the tour. I'd show them the common areas and up to their room.
Once you do it a few times, you will be fine.
Each innkeeper and setup is unique. I couldn't handle getting payment at checkOUT. Alone with potentially eight guest rooms full, I'd be cleaning and clearing breakfast ... it was hard enough to get everyone's keys back ... people wanted to chat, wanted hugs, wanted suggestions of where to go as they headed wherever, wanted that warmth to carry them out the door.
But ...
Whether it's before they stay, or after, follow your b&b's policy ... you just need to be confident and have your spiel prepared. Practice.
 

gillumhouse

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I do mine at checkout - only 3 rooms even if i am full so it is no biggie - especially since I am the only one who would be doing it so no thinking the other one did it.
Even if it were at check-in I would use the same words. Shall we take care of the dastardly details? Will this be cash check or charge? I do get a lot of the just use the card I gave you. I then explain I need the card to swipe it on the machine - whatever VS or MC they want to use.
 

seashanty

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haha ... 'Hi mr guest, shall we take care of the dastardly details? wait here while i get my witch hat!'
 

gillumhouse

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haha ... 'Hi mr guest, shall we take care of the dastardly details? wait here while i get my witch hat!'
.
(insert my best Margaret Hamilton impersonation)
 

YellowSocks

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I like "dastardly details."
I might say, "And here's the point where I hit you up for money."
or, "Are you exhausted or can we take care of the paperwork now?"
or (most of the time), "This is the library, and here is the slip for your deposit, your balance is..."
We take a one night deposit when they make the reservation. If it's a one night stay they only need to sign their slip and they're done.
If it's very late, or there are other mitigating circumstances, I might put off collecting payment, but it always feels odd to me to have it hanging out there. Better to get it done and over with.
=)
Kk.
 

gillumhouse

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I like "dastardly details."
I might say, "And here's the point where I hit you up for money."
or, "Are you exhausted or can we take care of the paperwork now?"
or (most of the time), "This is the library, and here is the slip for your deposit, your balance is..."
We take a one night deposit when they make the reservation. If it's a one night stay they only need to sign their slip and they're done.
If it's very late, or there are other mitigating circumstances, I might put off collecting payment, but it always feels odd to me to have it hanging out there. Better to get it done and over with.
=)
Kk..
By waiting until checkout - so he could see what we did for them - a guest recently told me how much to post to the card and it was quite a bit more than I would have been posting.
 

bbinnsitters

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I like "dastardly details."
I might say, "And here's the point where I hit you up for money."
or, "Are you exhausted or can we take care of the paperwork now?"
or (most of the time), "This is the library, and here is the slip for your deposit, your balance is..."
We take a one night deposit when they make the reservation. If it's a one night stay they only need to sign their slip and they're done.
If it's very late, or there are other mitigating circumstances, I might put off collecting payment, but it always feels odd to me to have it hanging out there. Better to get it done and over with.
=)
Kk..
By waiting until checkout - so he could see what we did for them - a guest recently told me how much to post to the card and it was quite a bit more than I would have been posting.
.
Nice! I sometimes find tips in the room, but this way you could actually thank the person giving you the tip!
 

birdwatcher

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We usually ask for payment at check in as well unless the guest is really a late check in then we do it the next morning. We print an invoice with the room and arrival and dearture the taxes and the menu for breakfast for their stay and after the greeting and such and before the "tour" I just say: " Did you want to take care of the bill? or how would you like to take care of your stay? or something to that effect. And they usually come up with well I gave you the credit card upon reservation, I reply well we don't usually use that card until you arrive so that we can swipe it on our machine.
People are usually pretty good and we find that the preliminary stuff is taken care of and we can go ahead with the tour and get to know eachother.
I think that guests expect to at least be approched about their bill like any other place of business.
 
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