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Booking a year ahead - slow to commit

 
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SPJ



Joined: 28 Dec 2015
Posts: 94
Location: Aquitaine

PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2016 6:30 am    Post subject: Booking a year ahead - slow to commit Reply with quote

For the first time I've a family who want to stay this time next year. I had an ecstatic email from them when I said I could take them and we are now five days on from their original enquiry and still no sign of completed booking form or deposit.

Normally I would have dismissed them by now as time-wasters, but I wonder if for people whose holiday is a year away there's not the same sense of urgency or commitment.

I'd be grateful please for any suggestions / thoughts from those who have experience of guests booking a year ahead and how best to manage the process. Am I worrying unnecessarily?

Thanks Sue
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russellt



Joined: 09 Dec 2014
Posts: 328
Location: Ivybridge, Devon, UK

PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2016 6:49 am    Post subject: Re: Booking a year ahead - slow to commit Reply with quote

SPJ wrote:

Normally I would have dismissed them by now as time-wasters,


IMHO, you may be in danger of over-reacting. For normal bookings, we say we'll hold the dates for a few days in lieu of the booking form being returned, and the deposit paid.

However, we've had a few 'same time next year' bookings. I think you have to take a slightly more leisurely approach, because there isn't the same level of urgency and life does tend to get in the way of the guest's good intentions.

So, you just need to gently elevate the booking in their list of priorities. We'd normally send a reminder after a week or so to say that we have not received the booking confirmation/deposit and cannot hold the dates for much longer without that.

The usual response is an apology, a deposit payment and comment along the lines of 'sorry, day-to-day life got in the way'. If you don't hear anything after sending a reminder, then you have a clear conscience to sell the dates to someone else.
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SPJ



Joined: 28 Dec 2015
Posts: 94
Location: Aquitaine

PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2016 7:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Russellt, thanks for your reply. I think the "same time next year" brigade is a very different scenario and I would be totally relaxed with someone who has already stayed here and I know.

This is someone new and I virtually had his life-story in his first email and I'm just wondering whether something's not quite right. Too friendly? And then not committing? Just wonder whether something's going on?
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Joanna



Joined: 23 Aug 2007
Posts: 847
Location: Chester, North West England & Sidmouth, East Devon

PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2016 8:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You've got plenty of time to find another booking so I wouldn't worry. I usually tell guests that I'll hold dates for a specific amount of time (depending on how close they are) and let them know that if I haven't heard from them by then I'll release the dates.

In this case I might give them 2 weeks from sending out the booking form. Then after 2 weeks send an email along the lines of 'since we haven't heard from you we're about to make those dates available to other guests again. If you would still like to secure them pease return the booking form and deposit right away'.

I wouldn't chase after that. Either they'll book or you'll never hear from then again. although I did have someone once send back the booking form but no payment. After I'd chased her every couple of days she even said she'd sent it when she hadn't. After about a week I returned her booking form, saying we hadn't accepted the booking and breathed a sigh of relief. Imagine trying to get the balance payment.
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Joint owner of Baker's Cottage in Chester & Chandler's Cottage in Sidmouth
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SPJ



Joined: 28 Dec 2015
Posts: 94
Location: Aquitaine

PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2016 8:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Jo, I'll follow your advice. I am beginning to wonder if I want them to stay - as you say, imagine chasing them for the final amount! Who knows, perhaps they've posted it to France - that will be a first in this age of emails and online banking!
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Casscat



Joined: 05 Jul 2014
Posts: 2661
Location: Andalucía

PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2016 10:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Personally I would not block out the dates at all until there is a firm commitment, i.e. the payment of a deposit. I usually get enquiries for the following summer in July and August because people know that the 'good stuff' gets booked up very quickly. If the finca was actually on the rentals market next year pretty much my whole summer would already be filled. August is prime time so really 'holding' dates is not wise. As a courtesy I would tell the original enquirers if you receive a request that crosses over their dates and ask for their immediate booking confirmation.
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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: Fri Aug 05, 2016 10:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would just hold the dates for now, I'd also send them another email asking if they are still interested. As some guests sometimes need to communicate with other family members I also state that I can hold the dates on a first refusal, basis ie if I get another enquiry the first guest then has 24 hours to pay a deposit or the date go to the other guests.
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SPJ



Joined: 28 Dec 2015
Posts: 94
Location: Aquitaine

PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2016 10:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Sam and Casscat for your replies. I've kept the calendar open and already sent them follow-up email asking if all was well. I'll now sit it out for 2 weeks from emailing the booking form unless I have another enquiry that overlaps and then I'll chase them.

I just wondered whether this is usual behaviour for people booking a year in advance and thinking that they have all the time in the world to confirm?

I'm used to getting a returned booking form and money in the bank in 24 hours or so from telling guests the cottage is available.
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SPJ



Joined: 28 Dec 2015
Posts: 94
Location: Aquitaine

PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2016 1:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Having made all sorts of promises about putting the form in the post etc etc, delighted to say, they're not coming. Surprise, surprise! What a relief!
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Fleur



Joined: 25 Jan 2011
Posts: 403
Location: S.W. France

PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2016 4:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Doh! Time wasters! However you've probably had a lucky escape. Smile
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SPJ



Joined: 28 Dec 2015
Posts: 94
Location: Aquitaine

PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2016 7:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fleur wrote:
you've probably had a lucky escape. Smile


I'm certain of that Fleur. Smile I've spent the last few days saying to my husband "I hope they don't come!" Prayers answered thankfully!
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