Running a French Holiday Gite in Rural Brittany

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Impending holiday booking, rent not paid and I couldn't contact our forthcoming guests

A couple of weeks ago I realised that we had taken a guests holiday booking for August and although we'd had the 25% booking deposit some long time ago we still hadn't received the balance of their rent and their holiday dates were fast approaching.

Although we specify in the holiday rental booking conditions that the balance of the rent must be paid 8 weeks before the holiday start date, and we remind customers of the due date in the written booking confirmation, people do forget and I quite often have to send a little reminder email.

Unfortunately in this case I couldn't find an email address. I searched my mailbox on my laptop PC and it wasn't there, I searched my mailbox on my home PC and it wasn't there, and in fact I couldn't find any record of the booking request at all - no booking enquiries, no emails or anything.

Scratched my head for a few days and then remembered to look through my copies of the booking confirmations I'd written and sent out.

Struck Gold. On my home PC I found the customer name and address and confirmation of the holiday dates. Unfortunately no email address so I had to resort to 'manual methods' and write a letter reminding them that their holiday was in a few weeks and we'd still not received all the rental payment.

Sent the letter off, two weeks passed, and no reply !

I was beginning to get worried that if I couldn't contact the customer I'd have to consider leaving the week empty (not desirable as it was a peak season booking) or re-advertising it. I really needed to contact them to confirm whether they really still wanted to proceed with the booking or not.

BT Online Directory Enquiries came up trumps and I was able to find a phone number that matched the name and address I had. With some trepidation I phoned and of course everything was all right, they'd overlooked the payment being due, had been away on another holiday so had only just received my letter, of course they were going to send the cheque, etc, etc.

A few days later the errant cheque arrived in the post and I was able to finalise the booking. I only ever send out the full Gite travel directions when I've received the final rental payment so I had to wrap that up as well, but everything went OK in the end and they had a nice holiday.

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