One might suspect this would be an easy process, but with airbnb, vrbo and flipkey accepting bookings on your behalf, availability calendars feeding into various websites, and cell phones providing us the ability to take reservations while away from home, booking a reservation can actually be a bit complicated. To ensure that I don’t double book or forget that I have a guest arriving on a particular day, I follow a checklist…every time.
My fellow proprietors all have their own processes, and you might find something that works better for you than what I use, but here’s my process.
As soon as I get an e-mail or phone call for a booking, I check whatever calendar is easiest to get to, whether it be my day planner or my Google calendar which is accessible on my phone or any computer. My Google calendar, incidentally, is what feeds into my airbnb, vrbo, and flipkey calendars, and since the Google calendar is the “master” calendar, I always use that calendar if I don’t have my day planner.
If my calendar shows that the days requested are available, I grab a reservation checklist. This is something I typed up in Word. I purchased a Franklin Covey hole-punch for my Franklin Covey day planner, so I can keep a bunch of blanks ones in my day planner. The reservations checklist contains the following information and in this order:
# of guests:
Repeat guest? Yes No
Half n half? Yes No
Reason for coming:
Heard of guesthouse how:
Date of Booking:
_____ Update day planner
_____ Update Google calendar
_____ Enter into QB and save as PDF
_____ E-mail guest confirmation
_____ If guest completed comment card, make not of it in QB
If it’s an airbnb, vrbo, or flipkey booking, I exclude the street address line and the 3 credit card lines, and I add a line for the “airbnb/vrbo/flipkey” fee. I also change Price to Payout and I don’t save the invoice as a PDF after entering it into QuickBooks, since I’m not e-mailing it to them.
If I don’t have my day planner with me, I do NOT complete the reservation unless I’m 100% sure I’ll remember to transport the info onto the reservation checklist once I get to it. Trust me. It’s not worth it. What I do is tell them I’ll call them back once I have it. And I even warn them that if they don’t hear from me to please call me, since that means I forgot, which does happen. People are usually very willing to follow through by that evening if they haven’t heard back, since they want to secure the booking as much as I want them to.
Following the checklist, I gather all the info from the guest and then I follow the steps on the bottom of my checklist.
I keep all my pending reservations in a 6 x 9 binder organized by the month with tabs. When it becomes a new month, I move that monthly tab to the back of my binder. The past reservations get filed in my filing cabinet.
One last thing that’s probably worthy of mentioning. I don’t let the pending reservations binder leave my house, since it contains credit card info.
Hope you found this helpful. Happy bookings!