Thinking about your Email Communication Sequence.
You should think carefully, and plan out, the exact sequence of emails that should be sent to guests, in various booking scenarios (i.e. a successful booking that stays; a booking that is rearranged; a booking that is cancelled; a booking where a particular booking extra has been chosen etc.).
Thinking about the sequence in an orderly way helps to ensure a clear and logical flow of communication, where information is provided at key points before and after the guest's stay. In most cases, this information flow can be both automated as well as personalised. This is a great example of the way SuperControl can save you time and make your life easier!
Email Basics: Creating Templates, using Tags and automating messages
Emails must first be set-up as Templates, and then they can be automated. Thus setting-up an automated email is a two stage process.
Guest/Booking Specific information- Email templates can be set-up with tags to pull through guest, property or booking-specific information, and the link to make payment via a payment processor can be added by appending the booking summary.
Automating your Email Templates make it easier to manage your guest communication. You can use automated emails to automatically send your guests arrival instructions, reminders to pay their balance, a thank-you message, or almost anything else they might need to know, at a point before arrival or after departure determined by you, or only when a criteria is met (such as if their balance remains unpaid past its due date). You can even send an email automatically only to bookings that have selected a particular booking extra, such as a dog guide only to those who have chosen to bring a dog?
Adding Attachments to Automated Emails-
It is possible to upload documents to attach to emails, whether these are sent manually in an individual booking or scheduled automatically.
2. Follow these instructions to automatically schedule one of your email templates. As part of this process, a list of all uploaded 'Global Documents' will appear. You can then tick which attachments should send as part of that automated email.
Start thinking about the sequence of emails that should occur from the time that the guest places a booking onwards. The sections below give some suggestions on this, for various basic booking scenarios.
Planning your email sequence: Direct Booking via your Website
1. The first thing the guest receives, once they have placed their booking via your Website Calendars is the Booking Summary Autoresponse. This is already set-up on your account- you do not need to set it up yourself, but you can nominate which template is sent, and also customise the automatically generated booking summary to an extent. Instructions on customising this can be found Here. If you offer Bank Transfer as a payment option for example, it is a good idea to add these in the footer of the Booking Summary. If you have different bank details for each property for example, so need them to be property specific, you can instead add them in the Rental/Pricing notes section of the Booking Extras section of each individual property. These will then appear in the header of the Booking Summary for that individual property only.
2. Deposit Paid Email If your guest paid their deposit amount by card at the time of booking, the deposit will automatically be marked as paid in the booking. This can be used to trigger an automatic acknowledgement of receipt of their deposit. This would also be triggered should the guest have made a Bank Transfer to you, and you manually mark that off as received in the booking.
A Deposit Paid email can be triggered by automating it by using the criteria shown below:
You might also wish to set-up an automated reminder email, to be sent only to those who have still failed to pay their deposit by Bank Transfer by some pre-defined point post-booking. You would create a reminder template. This could be automated using the set-up as below, and would only send, in this example to those guests whose booking remained unpaid 7 days after the date of booking.
You could set up further reminders if required.
3. Balance Due Email This would be set-up, as below, to be triggered at, or just before the point when the guest is due to make their balance payment, for example 30 days prior to arrival in the example above. Appending the Booking summary to this template will give the guest the Payment link to make a card payment for the amount due, as well as bank details should they prefer to make a Bank Transfer.
4. Balance Reminder If the Guest hasn't paid their deposit by some predefined point after receiving the Balance Due email, you could schedule one or more reminders, to go only to those guests whose booking remains unpaid. These are set-up as above, but with a different number of days prior to arrival.
5. Paid in Full This email is set-up as shown below, so that it will only send to bookings where the balance has been marked as paid.
6. Arrival Instructions These are usually sent close to the date of arrival, once it is unlikely that the guest will then cancel. The arrival email template might include directions, access information, instructions on key pick-up or what to bring. The template can be set-up as show below.
Custom Fields Tags- You can set-up customised property-specific tags, which can then be used in generic email templates to pull through property-specific information to send to guests. A good example would be if a cluster of cottages each had their own entry keycode and assigned parking space. One or more custom tags could thereby be set-up in an arrival email template to inform guests of the access code and assigned parking space for their particular cottage. Using tags to do this avoids the need to create and automate a separate arrival email for each cottage.
SMS Arrival Text This arrival instructions template might also be sent via SMS as well/instead. This would be set-up as above, except that the Delivery method should be SMS rather than email.
If you wanted this to send on the day of arrival itself, select '0' for the Schedule days prior to arrival.
In the Admin menu, you can then go to the SMS Settings option in the drop-down menu. Here you can set the window within which SMS messages can be sent. You could therefore set a message if you wished to send at the beginning of the check-in window if needed.
Note- to use the SMS function, you need to buy SMS credits.
7. Thank-you Email This could be set to send on the day of, or shortly after departure, as shown in the example below, which was set to send 1 day post departure. Note that the Schedule Criteria 'If Balance Paid' was set. This is to make sure it doesn't get sent to any bookings who failed to pay their balance, but have not yet ben cancelled.
You might consider including in your template a promotional Voucher Code, to encourage a repeat booking.
8. Upfront Reviews This is our in-house reviews system. It is simple to set-up and easy to use. This will automatically send a review request to departing guests, and these reviews can then be displayed automatically on your website. To find out more, click Here.
9. Booking Extra Specific emails- It is possible to use booking extras to trigger an automated email.
In the example below, the 'Dog Friendly things to do in the area and Dog House Rules' email has been set-up to send automatically 7 days before the arrival date, but only to those bookings who both chose the 'Dog Fee' option AND have paid their Balance by the 7 day before arrival mark. Since it is dog specific, it should only go to those who have indicated that they are bringing a dog, and also should only go to fully paid bookings (since you might not want it to go to a booking that you are still chasing for their balance). If a booking is placed within 7 days of arrival, the box to 'Send on Booking Date if Booking placed after this' is ticked, so that those bookings to will receive it, so long as the criteria (bringing a dog and balance paid) are met.
You can also do this with Guest Demographic information, (i.e. first time guests, only guests with children etc.) along similar lines. You can also set-up emails that are triggered by specific booking extras, but where the recipient is a supplier (added in your address book) or a housekeeper rather than the guest.
10. Cancellation Email This can be set-up to send automatically when you cancel a booking in SuperControl. It should be set-up as below.
Planning your email sequence: Enquiry converted into a Booking or an Admin Booking
Any booking that you add manually, or any Enquiry that you convert manually into a booking, can be sent the automated booking summary if you wish. To do this, tick the box to 'email receipt to customer' before Saving the details, which will send a copy of your booking summary to the guest's email. If you include a payment link for card payment and/or bank details, this will give the guest all they need to make the deposit payment. You can also choose to send this manually, appended to any of your templates instead, once the booking is placed.
It will then receive emails as above, so long as those emails have been set to be sent to Admin bookings.
Planning your email sequence: Booking via a Third Party
Bookings placed via Third parties come in various forms, but fully integrated third-parties such as Booking.com, Airbnb and HomeAway, for example, can be specifically included or excluded from automated emails using the scheduling criteria.
The example below is a simple one. It has been set-up to send a balance reminder to all bookings, the balance of which is unpaid 30 days prior to arrival, EXCEPT those taken through Booking.com.
This one is more complex, where the email is to send only to Third Party bookings, but to also exclude three specific Third Parties (in this case Booking.com, HomeAway and Airbnb).
Planning your email sequence: Booking via Airbnb
Airbnb have a specific messaging system, and so any emails that need to be sent to Airbnb bookings from SuperControl should be set-up separately, following these instructions. This can only be set-up once you have completed the Airbnb integration.