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I agree with you Mikhaylovan82, sometimes the ratings are very confusing. I think you must concentrate on your overall score and accept that everybody is different. It is very hard for people to give anyone full marks for everything. I get the same thing with the "Location" score. Everybody can see where I am before they book ... located in the middle of the town, with busy traffic and sometimes lots of pedestrians, I'm not on a farm or a beach or in the mountains, and it is obvious from my pictures, and yet I get 10 for everything and 7.5 for location :-/
Yes, I have also experienced confusion around payment. Sometimes guests think they have paid by credit card, but they haven't and it is a bit embarrassing. I usually print the guest record sheet from the extranet to show as proof. I had some guests who paid for their stay directly to Booking.com, well in advance of their trip. It was a full month stay, and so it represented quite a bit of money. Receiving the payout from Booking.com in the middle of the month after they left (they left in January and I was paid in February) was very hard on my cash flow. I have since then been trying to get guests to pay directly into my account instead, and am still working out if I can use PayPal to support this. While I do have card facilities, they demand that the card and the cardholder be present when I process a transaction. so virtual credit cards are useless to me.
I have a quick template, I always send using PULSE, as soon as my phone beeps with a special ringtone...
Thank you for your booking at [PROPERTY_NAME]. We are delighted to host you from [CHECKIN_DATE] for [CHECKOUT_DATE].
Our facilities are easily accessed on a “self-check in” basis (if you have a local cell phone, I can set it up to open the driveway gate) however, please let us know your expected arrival time, and we will be sure to look out for you at Suites on 74. I am also on WhatsApp (+27 MY NUM BERR) and adding me as a contact can be helpful as we can communicate around your arrival.
We provide coffee, tea, milk, sugar and rusks in the apartment's kitchen as part of the service.
If you have any special needs, please let us know so that we can make your stay as comfortable as possible.
We will prepare an invoice for the total price and present it to you for payment when you arrive. If you would like to see specific personal or company information on the invoice, do send us the details and we will make the updates.
We will contact you with a request for a deposit and re-confirmation if another guest requests the same dates and we have not heard from you.
We look forward to welcoming you to Suites on 74!
It usually gets a "Thanks" type response, and sometimes a special request follows, mostly the guest then calls me directly to discuss something. When they are silent, and they are arriving within a month, or there is demand for the apartments, I send this one....
Please reconfirm your reservation to stay at Suites on 74 from [CHECKIN_DATE] urgently. We are sending you this message because we have not heard from you and are receiving enquiries for the same date from other potential guests.
We look forward to being of service!
Kind regards,Gisela Wullschleger
Suites on 74, Worcester
And If I don't hear from them I send them a quick short ultimatum about payment by electronic funds transfer, to which most reply swiftly, usually by calling my number or messaging me. If they don't I open the room by adding a room on the calendar, and I start initiating the cancellation process which booking,com allows on the extranet.
I get a lot of people saying how much they love receiving my messages! On the day they arrive, I sms them to tell them when the room is ready, where to find the keys, how to enter at the gate, where to park, what time the staff are available to meet them and what they should do if they arrive late. On the day they leave, I message them to indicate whether they need to leave by check out time, or if they have an hour or two lee-way on departure time, which staff member is on duty to bid them good bye and where they should leave the keys.
Over-communicating is really not a concern!
Thanks for the comments in response to my post!
I thought it was good to just advertise on Booking.com, but now I realise that it is commonplace to be on other sites as well... thanks monet208 :-)
Cassid, I decided from the start not to be inflexible with cancellations, so I have a very friendly cancellation policy, but it is taking some work as I have learned that there is no such things as "over-communicating" ! A strict policy requires a credit card facility which can process cards without the card being in your hand. I have a very simple but effective mobile credit card machine, and unfortunately it does not work without the card being available. I am reviewing this strategy, and looking into a different type of credit card facility. Once I have that, I will update my cancellation policy and take the non-refundable deposit route.
Leandre, thanks for your comment, I didn't phone booking.com consultants this time, but I did e-mail them, and I got one of those standard "step by step" responses regarding how to record a "No-Show". After that I didn't really feel like speaking to anyone :-) My bad! I'm really happy with booking.com and their website and especially PULSE, but this experience has forced me to re-evaluate some of my policies!
I am Gisela Wullschleger. I spent a year renovating the property I own Worcester, and during April 2017 listed it on Booking.com. It was wonderful to welcome guests from around the world and South Africa to stay in the four apartments we offer as self catering rooms. The reviews have been good, and perhaps the years of helping my Mom with her Bed and Breakfast in Cape Town, have contributed to that! Thanks Mom! We focussed on keeping the finishes easy to clean, and making sure that the decor is "timeless". I have a generous heart and love to see people smile, so the hospitality industry fills my days with the most enjoyable work!
I look forward to travelling one day, to see some of our Partner's places, but for now, the Booking.com website is satisfying my wanderlust!
Thanks for the Forum and for allowing me to share with you!
Suites on 74, Worcester, Western Cape South Africa