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I ask my guests to pay 50% two months ahead of check-in and the remaining 50% one month ahead. (I accept only checks).
Twice in a row now I've found guests forget to send the first check and I've had to send a "gentle reminder" email.
Yes, I know they made the reservation months ago, but if it were me renting, I would have put a big red circle on my calendar a week ahead of time so I wouldn't forget.
So, I wonder how many of you send an invoice or reminder ahead of the due date and how many (like me) just hope that the guests are all as organized as I am?
I'm thinking I should send a chatty email, almost a newsletter, telling them all about what remodeling I've done over the winter and how excited I am about summer almost being here -- and, by the way, don't forget to send me your check! What do you think?
(And yes, those of you who can just charge their credit cards or who use Reservation manager have an advantage here, I know that, but my business model doesn't really allow me to lose 2.5% off the top).
Yes, I do send a reminder and an invoice. When I have a booking, I put a reminder on my calendar to send an invoice several weeks before the final payment is due. Initially, I e-mailed the invoice 2 weeks before the payment was due, but I found everyone was late. Once I started sending the invoice and reminder 3 weeks before the due date, things started coming in on time. Once I receive payment, I mark the invoice paid in full and list their payments and send it back to them. So far, it's going very well.
absolutely, every two weeks or so I look at my spreadsheet to see whose payment is coming due, and send them an email reminding them of their trip and the payment due, and point them to my blog to help them with their trip planning. We all get busy with our lives and forget things, and guess what, so do our guests.
I send a short and sweet email reminder 2 weeks before their due date. It includes their balance due, our address again, and a few links. Guests appreciate the reminder, and I tell them when they book that I will send the reminder. There is always a big sigh of relief that they don't have to remember the due date.
I use Lodgix for my reservations, and I have an email trigger set up for this (and other things). I automatically receive an email that reminds me to send my guests the reminder. Granted, I could have the system send the email, but I like to have hyperlinks to my blog, facebook, and website in the email, and the auto email doesn't do hyperlinks.
The chatty email you mentioned...as a guest, I would notice the chatty info and file it away to look at later, completely missing the balance due portion. Keeping a balance due email to a couple sentences with a short subject line is usually your best bet.
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I don't send a note until a payment is overdue.
I am likely in the minority of property owners and I would advise sending out reminders - depending on how reliable your guests are in making payments and how you feel about allowing a few days or week leeway for payments.
I find my guests are generally very reliable and do not need reminders.
Also, with a seasonal rental, I usually have only sixteen to twenty parties on my annual calendar. I have a simple payment structure (25% on signing lease, 25% on February 1, and the balance - 50% - and security deposit eight weeks prior to stay) and it's easy to track payments as they do, or do not, arrive in the mail.
When a payment does not arrive I write a brief email advising the party that my records indicate a payment is due and that I have not received it. I usually include some news about my home or the area (update to furnishings, new restaurant, etc). That's all that's required. I get an almost immediate response that the payment will be sent and the check appears in the mail in the next few days. Since it's usually one or two guests that overlook payment I don't see the point in sending an email to everyone.
I think a more active rental would require a more structured system.
At the time of the booking I require 50% of the rental fee as a reservation deposit, with the balance due 60 days before their arrival. If they book in advance, I email them an invoice for the balance due 90 days before their arrival. This gives them 30 days to "remember" to pay in full. I always email an invoice, in-full for reservations < 60 days before arrival, or for the balance due if > 60days before arrival.