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The OwnerRez Blog

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Guest reminder emails for payments and security deposits

Happy Thursday, everyone!

I wanted to take a second to talk about something that users have been asking about for a few weeks - the payment reminder emails that are automatically sent to guests.

What's the deal with reminder emails?

If you have guests that pay by check or PayPal, no second payment or security deposit is automatically scheduled.  How do those guests remember to send their second payment?

Maybe you entered a manual booking and forget to schedule the second payment?

The system now sends payment reminder emails for any booking where there's an outstanding balance and second payment is not already scheduled.  Payment reminder emails are sent 10, 5 and 1 day(s) before the due date of the second payment.  The due date is based on the quote or property billing rules for that booking.

You can control how the reminder emails look through email templates.  Want to change the wording, add styling, add other fields, remind the guest about other booking information at the same time?  You can.  Go nuts with your own custom template.

This template exists for both payments and security deposits.

Again, the reminders are sent 10, 5 and 1 day before the due date of the payment or security deposit, and only where no scheduled payment or security deposit already exists.

But what if I don't want this?  How do I turn it off?!

We've already gotten a lot of feedback about this feature, and some users were pretty unhappy that guests were getting blasted with (possibly untrue or irrelevant) reminders about payment.

To combat that, we made sure to include a lot of options for turning it off and every level: properties, quotes or bookings.

For a particular booking, if you know the guest never needs any of these reminders, you can turn them off under the Payment and Security Deposit tabs.  Just hit the Skip button.

If you want it skipped for someone before they even book, you can do that on the quote you send them.  Go into the quote billing settings and flip it off there.  The booking that results from the quote will automatically have the reminders turned off.

If you never ever want reminders going out, for any reason, you can kill them globally on the property.  Open the property, go to Rules and turn them off. 

Remember that there is a setting for both the payments and security deposits.  You need to turn them both off anywhere you're disabling them.

Manual bookings ask you about the reminders right on the create page

To make it even easier to kill reminder emails, the manual create-booking page asks you right when you're creating the booking if you want the guest to get a reminder.

This mitigates the problem of you, for instance, bringing in a manual booking from Airbnb and then forgetting to turn off the reminders.  You're asked immediately when creating the booking.

The default setting for these checkboxes depends on what the property is set to. If the property has reminders disabled, the create-booking page will have them disabled by default.

How can we do payment reminders better?

As soon as this feature went live a few weeks ago, a lot of users sent in feedback.  Some loved it - it saved them having to remind guests offline - but other users hated it and didn't want to nag or bother guests about paying when that was already covered other ways.

We do feel that payment and security deposit reminders emails are a necessary feature in OwnerRez.  We've seen many situations where having a reminder would have saved problems.  For instance, a 2nd payment wasn't scheduled and the booking wasn't fully paid when the guest showed up on arrival day.

But how can we do it better?  Talk to us and send ideas.  We already have some upgrades we'd like to do around this process, but your feedback is valuable.  Contact Us or add posts to the forums; we're listening.

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5 Comments (add yours)

Apr 14, 16
7:48 pm
Nancy E says:

Glad to see this here because I was just coming to ask about this.

I was updating a booking for which I've already received a $500 reservation deposit by check. I filled out the first payment and indicated I'd gotten paid by check. I clicked on Schedule New Payment to get the second (final) payment set up 60 days prior. I set the dates I wanted the reminder sent. However, I don't know at this time whether the guest would like to pay by check or credit card. So I tried leaving that part blank, but it would not allow me to save the payment request without including a credit card number.

It would be great if we could schedule it to go out without indicating which payment they need to make, I'd like to leave that up to them. This is also important down the road when I have international clients and I might suggest different ways to pay altogether than what I suggest to US clients.

So is it possible for me to schedule a second payment and not include the credit card number? That would be very helpful.

I also have a question about security deposit information. I would like to include information for them about how the security deposit will be reserved when this second payment notice goes out. Up until this time, my quotes to them haven't includes security deposit information at all. I don't want to surprise folks with the information about needing to reserve a security deposit. I'd like to communicate that to them somehow in advance so they know what to expect. In addition, I have some repeat clients whom I do not want to charge security deposits. I need to make sure I have that option as well. Not sure yet if I do, I haven't gotten that far yet in booking since most of mine are many months away yet.

Thanks!


Apr 14, 16
8:27 pm
Michelle J says:

Nancy, the reminder emails (that this blog post talks about) is exactly for the situation you're talking about.

If no scheduled payment is entered, the system will send this reminder email WITH A LINK to the guest for payment. So no need to do anything on your part - the reminder email (if you have it turned on) will ask the guest at the appropriate time automatically.

Whether they pay by check or credit card depends on which payment methods you have configured. Go to Settings > Payment Methods and add credit card type (like the SecureNet one you mentioned) and a check type too. If you add a check payment method, guests will see information about where they should send checks to.

-Michelle

Apr 14, 16
8:36 pm
Michelle J says:

On the 2nd part... there are several ways you can tell them about the security deposit ahead of time. You can use the email responses (either when responding to the inquiry or later sending the quote email). There are email templates you can amend to change the default messages that out for those responses. So, for instance, you could include a paragraph that warns them about the security deposit.

-Michelle

May 29, 16
5:17 am
Ella says:

It would be great if we could set up on our end WHEN the remainders are sent. For example, I don't want security deposit reminders sent 10, 5 and 1 day before it's due, to me that's too often. I would like them srnt 5 and 1 day before due date only.
Ella

May 29, 16
9:22 am
Sam Westcott says:

@Ella: you're right. Ideally these would be triggers and you could set as many of them as you wanted (and when you wanted). I'm going to create a dev ticket for this, though no promises on ETA. ~Sam

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We are an online booking service for vacation rental property that helps managers and owners save time, create quotes and bookings faster, look professional and keep detailed records without needing an accountant or staff.