Stand up to being stood up: five tips for coping with no-shows

4 min. read
Published 30 May. 2019

The dreaded no-show is equivalent to being stood up on a first date. And it's equally as devastating.

You've prepared the room, left a welcome note, and hung around at reception to welcome the weary travellers. A lot of hard work and time wasted – all for nothing. Then damage limitation is an issue. You can't reach the guest, they're angry that you want to charge them.  A tricky process, all in all.

We understand the struggle, so we've compiled a five-part survival guide to help you out. 

1. Make things crystal clear
Highlight your check-in times. Add any arrival notes into guests' bookings, so you don't waste hours tracking down people who've already warned you they'll be late.

Be upfront about your cancellation policies, too. This helps guests stick to the rules, and ensures they have no excuse to complain if they miss the deadline. 

2. Keep count
It's easy to make mistakes. If a guest calls to cancel, the wrong booking might be deleted. If the guest calls to change the date, similar mistakes can be made.

That's where booking ID numbers come in They're short, specific and cut out the confusion.

We send guests their booking reference in an automatic confirmation email. The reference number is visible on the booking itself and on any spreadsheets containing that booking. 

3. Ask guests to put their money where their mouth is
There's no escaping the fact that people sometimes just like to change their mind. Charging a booking deposit is a great way to encourage potential guests to show a little more commitment. This can be a fixed price or a percentage of the total cost – or you can take full payment at time of booking. All payments made will be clearly marked against a guest's booking within Inn Style. They'll also show up in confirmation emails.

4. Get them up to speed
So – what about the people who simply forget?

These offenders might have booked months ago. They might be corporate guests who have people to make their bookings for them. Confirmation emails and polite reminders closer to the date are therefore extremely useful. Just head to the Notifications tab of Inn Style, and we'll automatically do this for you. You can also create your own customised emails using our templates.

No excuses for those sieve-like memories anymore!

5. Take their digits
You've explained and warned and reminded – good work! But, sigh,  someone at some point will still go AWOL. If you've only got a name and a number, this isn't a lot of help. It probably means you're left out of pocket.

Or does it?

With Inn Style, a guest is required to provide their name, phone number, address and email at time of booking. When they pay a deposit through Stripe (our integrated payment system), their card details are securely stored within their booking. 

If the customer does arrive, these details can be used to make further payments. If they're a no-show, you can process your agreed fee. Stripe's rules are simple: you're able to re-charge a card at any point, but it's your responsibility to make sure this is okay with the customer. So, in the case of a no-show, make sure you've tried a few phone calls and sent an explanatory email first.

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