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Booking errors and double bookings
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Hells Bells



Joined: 30 Apr 2005
Posts: 13118
Location: French Alps

PostPosted: Sun Jul 17, 2016 8:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I haven't double-booked, but have had one occasion where guests arrived a day earlier than expected. M was about an hour away enjoying a day out with her family, but apartment was ready (and unoccupied) and she was able to get the cleaner to go and meet them.
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croatian_villa



Joined: 25 Jun 2012
Posts: 69
Location: Croatia & U.K

PostPosted: Sun Jul 17, 2016 12:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've never double booked so far.

I keep a master spreadsheet for each year with all confirmed bookings that I update regardless of where the holiday was booked.

I also keep a directory structure on my computer 2016 with folders July,August,Sep etc with vacation dates inside each folder "July 1st to July 10th" etc. I keep the signed rental agreements inside each folder.

By maintaining a master spreadsheet it helps me double check before I confirm.
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Hells Bells



Joined: 30 Apr 2005
Posts: 13118
Location: French Alps

PostPosted: Sun Jul 17, 2016 12:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

PIms is my master spreadsheet
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Sam V



Joined: 20 Nov 2009
Posts: 1610
Location: Villa in Gale, Algarve, Portugal. At home in Fetcham, Surrey, UK

PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2016 1:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interestingly, since my double booking scenario last week, it had definitely been playing on my mind how this happened and how I can prevent it happening again.

I've been having a mooch about on my OD dashboard, firstly to try and establish why my emails from OD are being sent to my personal email. I've just had a look at the hospitality settings, I thought I had turned all this off, it appears not. Including the double booking I've had a total of three online bookings; the other two have happily completed their holidays, but according to OD my hospitality shows they were both being sent several 'automatic emails' from the Hospitality, I've no idea what they were told, I can only find an option to 'disable' and enter a reason! In addition, I've also just found in Hospitality that there is the option for 'Owner Notification' all of mine are set as 'disabled' - did I do this thinking I was opting out of Hospitality emails to guests, or are they at their original settings set up by OD? But again, I can't actually see what us being said in the emails. I had just hoped this could be a means for me to make a personal message to guests booking online and help me monitor the booking process without missing something... Like a double booking!
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jenboyle1959



Joined: 16 Apr 2012
Posts: 224
Location: millport

PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2016 8:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

this thread is making me hyperventilate. Sad
I have double booked once. About five years ago, when I was just starting. Guest phoned to book, changed his mind several times about which week he wanted. We were away at the time, and I got home... and entered the wrong dates onto my website.I simply failed to notice that the week he had been toying with was already booked. He obviously didn't notice the discrepancy on any of the paper work I sent him, but at the time, I only sent one receipt that mentioned dates. ( Now I have two) . He then phoned me all cheery like to ask about his arrival times, and... I realised I had double booked. I actually thought I might be going to lose control of bladder and bowels and vomit all at the same time. Very Happy
Luckily I had a free week a little later on, and I was able to simply move his booking.
Now I have : a wall chart. coloured stickers on booked dates. Changeover is shown by a change of colour. I have a seperate chart for each cottage/ apartment. ( I have three ).
A diary; guest name and cottage booked entered in colour coded highlighter so I know which apartment, and each booking has a reference number so that i can easily find it in .....
The book; guest's names, contact details, etc go here. the booking reference is at the top of each booking.
Only when this has been filled out do I update Trip Advisor and my own online calendar.
Then I have a cup of tea.
[/b]
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LaderaCottage



Joined: 10 Jun 2015
Posts: 48
Location: Kyrenia N Cyprus

PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2016 4:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think one spin off from the HomeAway/Owners Direct greed of taking money off guests who believe this "Book with Confidence Guarantee" rubbish, and then not paying over the rental money to the owner of the property until well after the guest checks in, is that some very disgruntled owners may well decide to take the bookings from OD like this as back up, whilst continuing to advertise the dates elsewhere. The whole impersonal approach works both ways, for if you can not form some sort of relationship with your guest who are encouraged to hit buttons from the Hospitality Manager rather than emailing you, this hardly bodes well for empathy now does it?

Afterall don't they say they will find alternative accommodation if all goes tits up? Making out they are like a travel agency? I think next year that there could be a new can of worms opening for them.

https://www.facebook.com/1591148397882561/photos/a.1591826037814797.1073741828.1591148397882561/1614726612191406/?type=3&theater
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Lets Go To Puglia



Joined: 14 Apr 2016
Posts: 149
Location: Puglia, Italy

PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2016 4:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I almost double booked last year.... It was a latish booking and we were already caught up with guests and changeovers etc. No excuse really.

We got an enquiry, responded and confirmed booking all within a few hours. I woke up in the early hours of the morning (not unusual - insomnia rules again) with niggling worries / anxiety issues. Checked my bookings spreadsheet, seemed okay. Checked emails and found the problem. A HA direct booking request confirmed and accepted had not been added to the bookings spreadsheet. I emailed the guest who, luckily for me, was very understanding. As she was in the middle of arranging a tour of southern Italy of which we were a part she was able to change her dates and we kept the booking.

Now with book now requests fromHA, as they still reveal the guests email address in the message centre, I treat the booking request the same as any other enquiry. My process is pretty much the same as many replies in this discussion.

1. Separate email address at website domain name used only for enquiries / bookings / guest contact. I like the idea of separate email for each property and will adopt that going forwards.

2. Details entered into booking spreadsheet which includes payment schedules and payment confirmation as well as additional guest info. Separate booking spreadsheets for each year.

3. Booking reference is made up with 2 letters identifying property followed by arrival/departure dates and number of adults / children. e. g AA201608200827_2 -1.

4. Folder created on computer for the booking with the reference as the folder name. I also include the guest name in the folder name. With this I can see at a glance all the bookings in property/date order. All documents and emails are stored in the folder.

5. Booking confirmation sent to guest. Currently this is a pdf emailed to guests. I'm in the process of making the booking confirmation an online form which stores the details on my website, visible (to me) anywhere and easily extracted to a spreadsheet.

6. When deposit is received update HA calendar which feeds all my other calendars.

This has been a useful exercise for me.... It has highlighted my biggest weakness, a total reliance on computer records. Backups have not been a strong point and need attention! Also I will start to print the booking confirmations just in case.

On a similar note this year I have twice forgotten to ask the guests to pay their security deposit the day before they travel. With the first one I didn't realise until I went to refund the non-existent deposit. With the second I woke up in the early hours of arrival day and had that light bulb moment. We take security deposits via PayPal and have WiFi for guests so the deposit was paid on arrival with no problems. I guess I need to set up some kind of personal reminder system, probably Google calendar, as aging and vino seem to be affecting my memory.
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TravelGirl



Joined: 21 Jul 2016
Posts: 19
Location: Orlando, Florida

PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2016 8:51 pm    Post subject: Problem Solved....Eventually Reply with quote

Before our property in Florida, we had another villa.

I used to run the bookings like an accountancy practice, cross referencing everything. Calendars, pen and paper, email confirmation, tick box sheets.

I carried this on when we got this new property, but ignorantly I have only just discovered synchronised bookings and management.

I now use a free online system and only have one online calendar and email box and both manage my personal website and enquiries through my marketing manager listing sites - airbnb, OD, the usual.

Was anyone else this late in discovering this? Life is so much easier now.
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Lets Go To Puglia



Joined: 14 Apr 2016
Posts: 149
Location: Puglia, Italy

PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2016 2:29 am    Post subject: Re: Problem Solved....Eventually Reply with quote

TravelGirl wrote:

I now use a free online system and only have one online calendar and email box and both manage my personal website and enquiries through my marketing manager listing sites - airbnb, OD, the usual.


What free online system are you using?
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Ciao, Debbie

Puglia Holiday Villas Facebook Page
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It's not the things you did you look back on and regret it's the things you didn't do!
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NeatandPicky



Joined: 30 Aug 2007
Posts: 353
Location: Pissouri Bay, Cyprus

PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2016 6:44 am    Post subject: Re: Problem Solved....Eventually Reply with quote

Lets Go To Puglia wrote:
TravelGirl wrote:

I now use a free online system and only have one online calendar and email box and both manage my personal website and enquiries through my marketing manager listing sites - airbnb, OD, the usual.


What free online system are you using?


It looks like TravelGirl is using https://www.homesandrooms.com/

But I'm confused about their pricing. There's a free trial. When this ends there's a 6 a month subscription. But there's also mention of a free forever "independence day" offer. Website looks lovely.
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TravelGirl



Joined: 21 Jul 2016
Posts: 19
Location: Orlando, Florida

PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2016 7:49 pm    Post subject: Re: Problem Solved....Eventually Reply with quote

Lets Go To Puglia wrote:
TravelGirl wrote:

I now use a free online system and only have one online calendar and email box and both manage my personal website and enquiries through my marketing manager listing sites - airbnb, OD, the usual.


What free online system are you using?


Hi, I'm not sure how to reply properly on this, hopefully this works?

I wasn't sure if I was allowed to mention websites, but the post below is correct. They are doing a limited offer for life, I have actually met the Founder of this website and it seems they are doing this as they have holiday let's themselves and just want to make things as easy and stress free for everyone... because of problems they themselves have faced.

It's good though. I even managed to get rid of my old website and get a new fresh one for free too (and kept my domain).

You can't beat a free service. Smile
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TravelGirl



Joined: 21 Jul 2016
Posts: 19
Location: Orlando, Florida

PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2016 7:54 pm    Post subject: Re: Problem Solved....Eventually Reply with quote

NeatandPicky wrote:
Lets Go To Puglia wrote:
TravelGirl wrote:

I now use a free online system and only have one online calendar and email box and both manage my personal website and enquiries through my marketing manager listing sites - airbnb, OD, the usual.


What free online system are you using?


It looks like TravelGirl is using https://www.homesandrooms.com/

But I'm confused about their pricing. There's a free trial. When this ends there's a 6 a month subscription. But there's also mention of a free forever "independence day" offer. Website looks lovely.



Hi,

Thank you for posting this. I didn't know if I was allowed to mention services/websites? You quickly figured it out though... are you a full time secret agent? Smile

Yes, it is them and they are doing a special promotion, but it's for life! If you contact them, they will call you and talk you through it, it was really simple. They are normal people and not sales mad as they don't want any money. There is no upfront cost and they market your property on over 40 listing sites. A fee you don't have to pay... you just wait for the bookings. Smile

Are you fully booked for summer already?

Have a nice evening.

PS - Is this the best way to reply to messages? I thought I was was a computer whizz, apparently I'm not. haha.
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greenbarn



Joined: 30 May 2009
Posts: 5901
Location: The Westmorland Dales, Cumbria

PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2016 9:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jenboyle1959 wrote:
I actually thought I might be going to lose control of bladder and bowels and vomit all at the same time.


Sounds about right..... Shocked
I'm looking for a career in advertising - how's this?
"Forget Immodium - reach for PIMS" Wink
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gozokerry



Joined: 31 Jan 2012
Posts: 157
Location: Gozo,Malta

PostPosted: Fri Jul 29, 2016 5:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been very close a couple of times and the escalation of emotions that starts with a routine check of the calendar and emails to a small feeling of doubt coupled with hope and then to chilling panic is worse than any horror movie!
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As Hamlet said ;-"There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so"
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e-richard



Joined: 17 Oct 2004
Posts: 4872
Location: Algarve, Portugal

PostPosted: Fri Jul 29, 2016 6:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

greenbarn wrote:
"Forget Immodium - reach for PIMS" Wink

GB, You're fired !
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PIMS: Holiday Rental Management system
They say we learn from our mistakes. That makes me a genius !
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