Many new hostels are focused so much on the guests that they are willing to take a payment from them, at their best convenience. As pleasant of an experience this might be for the guests. This is a major No-No. It is just too risky for the hostel. No matter how convenient it could be for the guests, consider these top reasons why a payment upon arrival policy is best, for both you and your guests.
It’s Makes Everything Easy
With a pay in advance policy, you save yourself and your staff the hassle of tracking payments and tracking down guests to get a payment before they leave. Your guests are busy exploring and entertaining themselves, and will most likely be spending more time out of your hostel than in it. Your staff will be working normal operations and catering to all the guests. Time-wise, this makes obtaining a payment a logistical nightmare, which can only work in the smallest of hostels. A pay upon arrival policy opens up more time for you to focus on what the guest really needs for an amazing stay, such as attraction recommendations and the fun events.
There is always some hostel, somewhere, who doesn’t mind the hassle… they eventually change their policy after getting burnt by a guest or two…
It is Safer for All Your Guests
Look at the transaction as the guest investing in their experience rather than paying for a service. When they put the money in, they will then focus on getting the best out of it. Payment up front also filters out many unruly guests, who are looking to abuse the system. Guests who haven’t paid would not care so much about the experience either, and can be loud and disrespectful to your staff and other guests.
Even worse, they could be targeting hostels with such a policy to take advantage of it. They aren’t only looking to steal bednights from you, but perhaps the possessions of your other guests too. Even if theft isn’t the on their minds, a guest in a tight spot financially might steal if a good opportunity comes up, desperate times can lead to desperate measures. Paying up from makes sure your guests have money, and lowers the chance of theft and boosts the security for all your guests.
Sort Out the Issues Early
If the payment doesn’t go though when they arrive, at least you have some time to work with. A lot of times there can be a hold on the bank card, or something, which can take time to call across time zones within business hours. This way you can get the issue sorted out and paid before they depart. Now, this can only be done if you are willing and able to make exceptions. There should be exceptions, for the most extreme circumstances. If they cant pay for the full stay, at least try to get them to pay for their first night, and/or hold some kind of collateral.
A pay upon arrival policy opens up more time for you to focus on what the guest really needs for an amazing stay
You Can Sell Extras
When they’re about to pay, perhaps you can mention the other services you offer, which will be cheaper in advance. This moment of transfer is a moment to inform them about these services, such as laundry, pub crawls, upgrades, tours, etc. So use this time wisely, and you can expand your margins all while helping all your guests have a great time.
Requiring the payment at check-in is what is best for both you and all your guests. Even hotels require this, where you pay for the ancillaries when you check-out. There is always some hostel, somewhere, who doesn’t mind the hassle, and from my experience, they eventually change their policy after getting burnt by a guest or two, or they just don’t care about losing money.
If that is the case, then I still recommend having a pay upon arrival policy, and donate your money where it can make a difference rather than throwing it away.