Just Basic Management
Reservation requests for lodging or visits will usually be made by telephone, through the mail or online. Experience has shown that most individuals who call for reservations expect to get through on the first or second attempt and few will continue trying... so try to keep telephone lines open and be sure that your first point of contact is knowledgeable about services and rates and is capable of keeping necessary records and reservations. Forms should be developed to ensure ease of and accurate recording of necessary information.
Once a deposit is received, prepare a confirmation and immediately send it to the guest. Keep a copy for your records. Ensure that the deposit/cancellation/refund policy is stated clearly on this form.
If you must have a mechanical device to answer your telephone, have a way for your customer to leave a number so you can call them back, and do so promptly. Let them know on your voice mail when you are returning or when they can expect a call.
Enter all reservations in a date book or on a calendar page. Make sure this documentation is readily available to those who are handling telephone requests.
The best time to set up a record-keeping system is before you start the business. Experience clearly indicates that the use of an adequate record-keeping system increases the chances of business survival. Too often, those entering a business think they must keep records only because it is required by the Internal Revenue Service. However, accurate and complete financial records can help the owner monitor the business and make plans for the future based on financial knowledge rather than guesswork. Contact an accountant who is familiar with home based business, and develop a simple accounting procedure that will make year-end calculations easy. Consider taking advantage of readily available computerized systems.