It’s a fact of life that not all people are honest. Usually only a small percentage of the wider population suffer from this trait but it can often have devastating ramifications for those affected, property managers and owners alike.
Christmas, a time when you are at your busiest, is a prime time when you might encounter this dishonesty. You’ve probably experienced this before; where a potential guest pays for their stay by credit card over the phone, or online when making the booking, only to subsequently cancel their stay at short notice outside of your policy dates.
Most often a credit card number has been taken and payment processed in accordance with your cancellation policy, only for the charge to be contested by the customer. Most banks will generally side with their client, the paying guest, subsequently leaving you and your unit owner both out of pocket and feeling pretty jaded when payment is revoked.
An easy way to avoid this is to ask the guest to confirm their booking by return email, authorizing the amount to be charged to their card on the “no cancellation date” you provided to them within the same email. Confirm the amount that will be processed on that date unless notification of cancellation via email is sent to you prior. Make sure this is very clearly defined in your terms and conditions which they have to acknowledge when first booking. Perhaps also include a link to these in your confirmation email.
Many properties also send a confirmation to the client on the day prior advising that payment will be taken the next day in line with your terms and conditions.
The best way to avoid this scenario is to entice your guest to pay the final amount to your bank account via EFT on the date that your cancellation policy kicks in. Explain you’re saving them credit card fees and perhaps offer them a bottle of wine on arrival for doing so. If this doesn’t do the trick, then perhaps it’s time to open an account with PayPal.
PayPal allows its customers to pay merchants securely using their credit card, and because of their strict security measures, anything paid for via PayPal is sent directly to the merchant. This will ensure any credit card payments made are not only secure for your guests but also for you and your owners!
Want to read more about how to set-up a PayPal account? Click here
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