Set up Taxes, Options, Seasons, Dates and Rates
Platinum Subscribers only
The system defines Dates, Rates, Options and Taxes that are independent of a particular property. Once defined, these are grouped together and assigned to each property. This means that if you have more than one property you can define, say, a single set of Dates that can be assigned to all properties and even the same rates. It makes it easy to manage more than one property and easy to change a property to a different set of rates without losing the old ones.
Complete each tab from top to bottom, in order, to ensure that you have completed the right information for later inputs.
Please view this short presentation to see how the whole system works before completing your setup:
... you'll need the free PowerPoint Viewer 2007 for this, found here:
If you have problems with the viewer then try the PDF (with no helpful animations):
All possible taxes are defined first, if you have more than one property with different taxes then define them all individually first.
Once all taxes are defined, they are then grouped into Lists that can be assigned to each property's accommodation rate and each individual option. Often, some options may have more or fewer taxes than the accommodation does. This way it's easy to assign different taxes and tax combinations to different options.
You can also set a tax schedule if the tax rates change over time - if you know that the tax will change in 6 months time then you can set this now and ensure that quotes more than six months out will add the correct tax.
These are items that may or may not be included as part of a reservation, such as pool heat, spa heat or gas grill rental. These may or may not incur a charge and if not then you would only include items where you would need to inform the guest or your property manager/cleaner whether the option is taken or not.
If you have items that are always included (eg. a mandatory Cleaning Fee or Pool Heating) but you'd like to itemize them to the guest rather than include it in the accommodation rate then you should define them here too. To make them appear for every quote you'll need to include them in every the Option Include List per the directions here.
All possible options are defined first, across all of your properties. The type of rate associated with the option is defined here, but not the rate - that is done later. Here are the Option types:
This is for a one-off item such as a Delivery Fee
- Per night
This is for options that are charged per day, such as Pool or Spa heat
- Per week
This is for options that are charged per week - amounts are pro-rated if not whole weeks.
- Per Item
When there are items that the guest can more than one of and there is a charge for each then use this type. For example, you may charge a Pet Fee per pet - use this option type for that. Later, enter the amount per Pet. This is the only option type that has a number field rather than a checkbox in the reservation and quotes system.
- Percentage of Rent
This is for amounts that are proportional to the amount of rent charged (before tax). For example a processing or commission fee.
- Percentage of Rent+Tax
This is the same as the Percentage of Rent except that the Percentage is taken on the Rent + Tax amount.
There are a number of built-in System Options too:
- Cash Only
This option does not permit credit card payments at all. Use this to offer discounts for cash payments.
The ability to restrict credit card payments only affects users of the integrated credit card system.
- Cash For Balance
This option restricts credit card payments to the Booking Deposit amount only. Once the Booking Deposit amount has been paid (by any means, credit card or otherwise) then the credit card cannot be used to pay any more. Use this to offer discounts for cash payments but allow the initial Booking Deposit to be paid by credit card so that the booking can be confirmed more quickly.
The ability to restrict credit card payments only affects users of the integrated credit card system.
Once all options are defined, they are grouped into Lists of options that can be assigned to a property. At the same time, each option can be set to be Published to the traveler so that they can see it and be permitted to select/de-select it at the time of booking. There are 2 levels of publication here:
If checked then this option will be presented to the owner in the Inquiry Response system as something that can be offered to the Guest.
If the other 2 checkboxes (below) are not checked, then if this option is included in a quote the Guest cannot change the selection - it will always be included.
- Publish always
The guest will always be able to see and choose/unchoose this option at time of booking.
- Publish if quoted
The guest making the booking will only see the option if it is included/checked in the original quote sent to them and then be able to choose/unchoose it at time of booking. For example, use this with the Cash-only system option to offer discounts to certain guests but not let just any guest take the discount. If this option was published always, then every guest would be able to see and choose the option when booking. This way you can be more choosey.
The rate will have already been set during the quote and the prices adjust automatically for the guest during booking.
A tax list that you defined earlier is also assigned to the option list items here.
Option rates are defined in Lists of option/rate combinations. An Options List is assigned to each Date Range/Season combination later on so you will define as many lists as you have changes in option rates. Often, option rates are changed each year and may be different for multiple properties - so you are likely to need a different list for each year and possibly for each property that you have. In our vacation rentals, we have 2 properties and have 2 lists for each year where the pool and spa heat prices change.
When quoting for dates you may wish to automatically include certain options at some times of the year and not at others (such as pool heat only during the colder seasons). You can define Lists of options here that can be assigned to each date range (defined later) for automatic inclusion in quotes. Define as many lists as you have combinations of options - in our vacation rentals we use 2 lists, "Nothing Included" and "Pool & Spa" that we assign across the year as appropriate.
Seasons are the way you refer to rate periods over the year and usually repeat from year to year - Low, Mid, High and Holiday are common.
Define all possible seasons here - you can have as many as you want. The rates associated with each season are defined later. It is recommended that you don't enter separate seasons for Holidays that have the same rate (eg Christmas and Easter) - just enter one season name for them and you can distinguish between these later.
Dates are split into 2 types - "Regular" and "Special". Regular dates are the usual, larger periods of seasonal rates such as your Low, Mid and High seasons. When defining these do not leave gaps for shorter periods such as holidays - these shorter periods are defined as Special Dates. Special Dates override any Regular dates that they may overlap. They are defined separately to make it easier to add or change one set of dates without having to go and change many others around them.
Assign a Start, End and Season for each Regular and Special period. If you have a minimum number of nights then enter that here too - this enforces a minimum charge and not a minimum occupancy. If you want to quote some options by default then choose the Option Includes List that you defined earlier. Finally, if you want to distinguish this set of dates from others with the same season (eg. Christmas and Easter are both "Holiday" seasons) then enter a distinguishing Code (eg. XMAS and ESTR) - this will only show up for you to see when reviewing the quote.
Note: Minimum nights can be more than the period defined! For a holiday such as Christmas, you may have a 7 day minimum but rather than define exactly which 7 days are covered you could set the period to be the 3 days over Christmas and the min nights to be 7. Then if any of the 3 days in the period are included in a quote then the minimum 7 nights charge will used. We use this for our rentals over Christmas and New Year where we don't care too much what the arrival date is as long as we get a whole 7 or 14 nights booking - we set the periods to be 24-27Dec for Christmas and 28Dec-2Jan for New Year, each with 7 night minimums. Dates that overlap both periods cause the 14 night minimum to activate so this catches those trying to stay over Christmas and New Year with 8 nights.
Finally, the accommodation rates. The rates work by assigning an amount to each season for each year. This makes it easy to change all season rates for a year at the same time - if all of your low season periods for a year are too low then update this in one place and every low season period in that year will adjust.
Enter the rates for each season in each year. You'll see space for Monthly, Weekly, Weekday and Weekend rates - you do not need to enter values for each, preferably just enter one rate and the rest will be calculated automatically for you by pro-rating the amount that you do provide (optionally with an adjustment)...
...If you wish to have non-prorated amounts for, say the daily and monthly rates after defining the Weekly rate then you can do this automatically too if you are OK with the amounts being calculated using the same variation for all seasons within a particular property. See the Setup>Main >> Property>Quote Tab for setting up percentages for assigning to each of the Monthly, Weekly, Weekday and Weekend rates. One % should be 100% and is the reference amount, all other % will be a percentage of that 100% amount.
For example, say you define the Weekly % as 100% and the Weekend % as 25% - then when quoting for 2 weekend days where the weekly rate is $1000 a quote for $500 (2 x 25% of $1000) for the weekend will be generated. We use 25% for weekends and 17% for weekdays - this adds up to more than 100% over 7 days!! - but the system will not quote more than the weekly rate for 7 or fewer days so it all works out in the end. We use this premium on the daily rates rather than adding a short-stay cleaning charge and it also allows us to charge more for the more popular weekend days - just like hotels do.
Assign to a Property
Now that you have everything set up, assign the Dates, Rates, Options and Taxes to each of your properties. There's a drop-down list of what you have defined with "default" showing if there's only one item defined by you in that list. Select the item you want to apply, "default" being the typical choice - especially if you only have one property.
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