Homestay Systems - Bookings

Bookings can be created in two ways. They can be created by a client making an online booking using the front end of your website, or you can enter a booking manually into the back end. In the back end you have a few more fields to fill in and a bit more flexibility. You can also make changes to bookings in the back end, which is not possible in the front end.

Creating Bookings in the Back End

When you click the New button on the Booking List screen, you reach the “New Booking” screen:

Enter as many details as you wish and use Save or Apply to save the booking. You can click the “Get Prices” button to have the system automatically calculate, or re-calculate, the Base Price of the booking. Whenever the system calculates the base price, it also calculates the payment schedule. You can also enter the Base Price yourself and click the “Get Schedule” button to just calculate the payment schedule.

Here’s a detailed explanation of each field and feature.

The Get Prices Button
The Get Prices button completely re-calculates the price of the booking from the prices you have setup for the unit. It over-writes the contents of the Base Price, Security Deposit, Total Extras, and the entire Payment Schedule. However, once you have ticked any of the checkboxes to indicate that payments have been received, you cannot use the Get Prices button.

The Get Schedule Button
The Get Schedule button re-constructs the payment schedule, using the amounts present in the Base Price, Total Extras, and Security Deposit fields. The idea here is that you might need to set one or more of those amounts manually, but still wish to have Rentalot re-calculate the payment schedule. The calculation is based on the Payment Schedule.

Number of Price Periods
This is automatically calculated when you use the “Get Prices” button to automatically price the booking. It is the number of price periods overlapped by the booking. It also appears on some reports. You can change the number if you don’t adhere to the system’s pricing scheme (see below).

Calculation of Price Periods and Total Price
Rentalot adds up the prices of all the individual price periods covered by the booking to calculate the total price. If a client wants to book part of a price period, he is charged the full price of any price period overlapped by the booking. If this is not your policy, we will cover that in a moment.

The “Get Prices” button calculates the base price of the booking, including the price of any price period that is overlapped by the booking. In the screenshot on the previous page, the client has requested Thursday the 17th of May 2012 to Thursday the 31st of May 2012. But our price periods are Monday to Monday, so Rentalot has included the following price periods:

Monday 14th of May 2012 - Monday 21st of May at £1,850
Monday 21st of May 2012 - Monday 28th of July at £1,850
Monday 28th of May 2012 - Monday 4th June at £2,600

Giving 3 price periods and a total calculated base price of £6,300. In the screenshot above we also had a discount configured which came to £630, giving a total base price of £5,670.

You may have a different pricing policy altogether, or you may have negotiated a special deal with the client. When you create a booking in the back end like this, you can simply overtype the Base Price with whatever price has been agreed. RThe system will then be quite happy to manage the booking at the entered price.

Just remember that if you use the “Get Prices” button (see below), the system will once again recalculate the booking price in its own way.

If the booking is eligible for a discount, the calculated discount will be placed in this field and stored with the booking. This field is for reference only and plays no part in any other calculations. The base price of the booking is the price charged to the customer, net of any discounts. You can also use this field to record or include any exceptional discounts offered to the customer. Discounts are shown and totalled on the financial report, but are only for your reference.

A booking can be one of four states:

  • Provisional. The booking is not yet confirmed by payment of an initial payment. On the front-end availability tables, the price periods overlapped by the booking will be shown as provisionally

  • Booked. The booking is confirmed. On the front-end availability tables, the price periods overlapped by the booking will be shown as unavailable.

  • Cancelled. The booking has been cancelled. On the front-end availability tables, the price periods overlapped by the booking will be shown as available. You might want to keep cancelled bookings in the system, for example because you might have retained some payments from them.

  • Completed. The booking end date has passed and all transactions are complete for the booking. You should manually set bookings to this state once all activities for the booking have been completed.

You can freely switch a booking between any of the states at any time.

Date Booked and Lead Source
These items appear on the Lead Source Report for tracking the effectiveness of your advertising campaigns. Lead Sources are configured in Configuration - Lead Sources.

Currency and Exchange Rate
If you have agreed to accept payment in another currency, you can select it here. You might also have agreed on a specific exchange rate with the customer, so you can enter that here too. This rate will be stored with the booking. If you now click the Get Prices button, the system will re-price the booking in the selected currency at the agreed rate.

If you leave the Agreed Rate blank and click the Get Prices button, the system will find the latest customer rate from the Currency table and this rate becomes the agreed rate for this booking.

Price Notes
This is a text field containing details of the price calculation for this booking, including any discounts. You can edit this field and use it for any additional information you like.

Extras are configured in Configuration - Extras. You can enter the quantity of each Extra and click the “Get Prices” button to have the system calculate the total prices for you (in the booking currency), or you can enter the total amounts yourself.
In this screen, you are allowed to enter quantities higher than the maximum number configured for the extra. The maximum number is only enforced for online bookings in the front end.

Total Extras
This is the total cost of any extras the client has ordered. It forms part of the booking cost and is included in all calculations. If Extras are configured and any non-zero amounts are present in the individual Extras Total fields, the total of those fields is automatically entered into this field and you cannot change it. If there are no configured Extras, or all the individual Total fields are zero, you can manually enter an amount into this field, and that amount will be used in all calculations. This field will always be overwritten if you use the “Get Prices” button.

Security Deposit
This is the security deposit required from the client to cover breakages or excess cleaning, etc. It is automatically defaulted from the security deposit configured in Configuration - Payment schedule, and is also used to populate the "Amount to return" field. You can overwrite either of these amounts, but they will both be over-written if you click the Get Prices button.

Total Due
This is automatically calculated as the sum of the Base Price, Total Extras, and Security Deposit.

The Payment Schedule
The payment schedule is automatically calculated from the rules in the configuration page. You can overwrite any of the dates or amounts, but beware that they would be over-written if you click the Get Prices or Get Schedule buttons.

The paid indicators are used to note whether payments have been paid or not. These also form an important part of Rentalot's ability to track money owed, so it is important to tick these checkboxes as payments come in.

Total Payments
Total Payments is the total of the payments in the payment schedule. It should match the Total Due amount, so a discrepancy amount is shown next to it if it doesn't match. It is well worth spending time to get the payment amounts right, and check the relevant boxes as payments come in. If you do this properly, the Financial Report will show an accurate picture of your cashflow.

Amount to return
This is the amount to be returned to the client at the end of the holiday. Initially it is set to the default Security Deposit amount, but you can change it at any time if you intend to return less (or more) to the client. The tickbox is used to track money owing to customers, so it is important to tick it once the money has been returned.

Payment Link
At the bottom of the booking screen is a "Web link for subsequent payments". This is a link you can send to your client to make subsequent online payments. The link is unique to each booking. It only makes sense to send this link to your clients if you accept PayPal or Skrill as online payment methods.

Editing Existing Bookings

You can change any detail of any booking at any time. Just click on its link on the main booking page. You will probably do this regularly as the client communicates with you and makes various changes and payments.

The various details fields (the larger text areas) can hold virtually unlimited amounts of text (scrollbars appear as needed) and can be used to store all relevant details. The checkout details can be used to store details of the state of the property on checkout, with a full description of damaged and missing items.

Re-Pricing a Booking in a Different Currency
You can have the system calculate the price of a booking in any of your configured currencies. Just select the currency and enter the exchange rate you have agreed with the customer, or blank out the rate to use the latest rate stored in the system. When you click the Get Prices button, the system will calculate the booking price in the selected currency at the selected rate. The Base Price, Extras prices, and Security deposit are all converted at the booking rate, and the payment schedule is re-calculated accordingly.

Booking Errors

The booking page does extensive data validation, and will not allow you to enter inconsistent information, for example alphabetic phone numbers, invalid dates, non-numeric amounts, etc. The displayed messages should all be self-explanatory. Note that you cannot create a booking that overlaps with another booking for the same unit.