How to collect B&B guests' deposits online?
November 15, 2011 2:19 PM   Subscribe

My hope is to find a secure and inexpensive method for collecting my client's B&B guest deposits online, but I am unsure how to proceed?! My newest client is an already existing B&B that wants to attract new guests, in return a portion of the stay rate (aka my commission) will be allotted for me and my services. Works for me in theory, but unsure how to go about collecting the funds...

How can I, as their independent marketing/sales consultant, best set up a way to collect the deposit? Things to know:

1) I am also creating their website, and I suppose I could set up a paypal account to require a deposit and the balance can be paid on arrival. But, I'm not sure if Paypal is the most reputable way to do that if there are better options out there.

2) As it exists, the B&B has only been requiring payment when the guest arrives, so there is not an existing platform to piggyback on.

3) They would prefer that I collect my commission in advance rather than receive it from the B&B after the stay. This is mostly due to logistics as the property is located in Italy and I am American (with both American and Italian bank accounts, if this is relevant). They are getting up in age and prefer the cash based transactions on their end and the idea of dealing with transfers and balances back to me is not so appealing to them.

My hope is to find the simplest method for collecting the B&B guests deposits online, ideally integrating this option into the new website for the B&B. If not, I'm happy to send a request for deposit via a confirmation email, but again looking for the best technology to accomplish that!

Thanks in advance for any insights.
posted by jazzybelle to Technology (1 answer total)
I run a B&B type thing in Australia. We can use a booking channel to operate our booking calendar, take bookings, deposits and payments via credit card. To do this we need a merchant agreement with a bank who processes the credit card payments for a percentage. We also pay a percentage to the booking channel. So around 8% of our booking payments go to pay for these two services. In other words, there is no cheap or free systems to do this using credit cards.

However, if you were to run the calendar and the bookings, you could achieve what you need by requiring the guest to make a non-refundable deposit into your Italian or American bank account by direct transfer equal to the commission you would be receiving. The guest will then pay the balance to the B&B owners directly during their stay.

By the way, running the calendar for bookings can be tricky. Will the B&B owners let you know when they have direct bookings? If not you could be caught out by selling rooms that are not actually available. This is my nightmare scenario so we are very very careful about keeping an integrated calendar.

You can look up 'hotel booking software' and see what's around. Most of them appear to be around $200+ for the software. If you find a good cheap one, please let me know!
posted by Kerasia at 2:50 PM on November 15, 2011

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