To make sure you're getting the most of your Collins software, we’ve put together a few of our Top Tips for you to read through - the sooner you put these into good practice to keep Collins updated, the more efficient Collins can be!
#1: Is the Status of your booking updated? Make sure to always change the status of all your new enquiries by clicking on the red TAKE label. This will change the status from new to in progress. This is an important alert for any other users that you are now dealing with the enquiry. Do note this will not send anything to the guest. Please see more information on this here.
#2: Keep track of what is happening with your enquiries. Get into the habit of attaching at least one Booking Label to your In Progress enquiries. This is the crux of helping you convert provisional bookings and can save you so much time by instantly seeing what stage the booking is at. Please also have a look through our guide on the Importance of using labels here.
Along with labelling your Enquiries, you can also set Follow-Ups for yourself so the system can remind you to chase customers.
i.e. if you’re awaiting a deposit from a customer, you can create a label called ‘Awaiting Deposit’ which you can label the enquiry with. Then set a ‘Follow-up’ for a future date. On that day in your Enquiries page > check your Notification Centre > Follow-Up Required > here will lie a list of your Reminders for that day, treat it like your ‘To-do list’.
For a visual guide - please take a few minutes to watch our training video on using Labels and Follow-ups here.
#3: Provisionally hold and place confirmed bookings on tables. If you take auto-confirm bookings alongside enquiries, remember to always assign a booking into a table within the venue. By assigning a booking to a table as soon as you confirm it with the customer, this will save you from double-booking areas. If you regularly book out a group of tables as an ‘Area’ you can set up the Area as a Zone in your Admin. If you create zones, you can then get reports of how busy your zones look in terms of bookings and enquiries in the Monthly Overview, Weekly Overview and in your Bookings Overview Calendar.
If a booking has not been assigned to a table, you will be warned within the Diary page in the Unassigned section at the top of the page or by an empty orange box alongside the customer’s booking on the left-hand side check-in list in the Diary and Floorplan.
#4: Keep an eye on today’s enquiries. If you have enquiries open throughout the day, make sure to check the notifications centre’s section called TODAY’S ENQUIRIES. This should be treated as top priority to get dealt with (confirmed or rejected) otherwise the enquiry will be marked as LOST. To change the status, make sure to hit either CONFIRM + SAVE or REJECT + SAVE within the enquiry page:
Don't forget to send a confirmation/cancellation email to the customer when the booking is confirmed/rejected. By default, the system will NOT automatically send an email to the customer unless you have specifically set it to do so within the settings for the booking type. To send an email to the customer, head to the Messages tab within the booking/enquiry > click COMPOSE EMAIL and under TYPE OF EMAIL choose the relevant template to send:
#5: Keep checking Collins for new alerts and notifications. Keep an eye on your Notification centre within the Enquiries page and keep it up to date, so you are always on top on new alerts! You can either clear all notifications from the Enquiries page or within the customer’s individual enquiry as detailed in this guide.
Useful tip - If you have Auto-confirm setup, do make sure to regularly check 'Auto-confirmed Notes' alerts. These are any notes that the customer wrote in the Special Requests box at the time of booking.
#6: Save time by always having email templates ready to send. To save you a lot of time when managing your enquiries, you can create Email Templates of messages that you regularly copy & paste into emails i.e. Terms and Conditions, Confirmed Message, Fully Booked Message etc plus you can add attachments like Menus, pictures, leaflets etc to your system. When you create an email (Messages tab > Compose Email) you will have two fields with drop-down boxes containing all your ‘Attachments’ and ‘Predefined messages’ so you can easily attach/insert into the body of the email. To start creating templates and adding attachments, have a look through our guide here.
Please also take some time to watch our handy training video that runs through taking an enquiry and what you can do in each section of the enquiry here.
#7: Keep on top of your customer details and regulars. Use your 'Find a Customer' tool to quickly find details of guests that have been with you before. When adding a new enquiry/booking, if you put their name/email address or phone number in the 'Find a Customer' field, Collins will bring up any records matching the search and if you then select it, it will generate their details for you, making it super fast to add their booking in!
The system will also display a ‘Customer Profile’ with any customer labels, DOB, any comments about the customer i.e. No show/Previous complaint/Likes Table 2, and if they have any past or future bookings this will display at the bottom of the profile.
#8: Avoid no-shows and secure against last-minute cancellations. To secure against no-shows on the night, you can Authenticate customer’s card details so that if they don’t turn up for the booking/violate the terms and conditions then you can claim the required amount from the card. This is a functionality that comes with the system, ready for you to use. Please see more information on this process here.
For Auto-confirmed bookings you can also Authenticate the customer's card details at the point of booking to be able to bill them for no shows or late cancellation - Here is a guide on how to set this up.
Should you want to take payments through the system to secure larger groups/events, you can also use our Collins Pay feature. Please get in touch with your account manager for more information.
#9: Make sure the team knows what bookings are coming in. To see a list of your Bookings for that day, you can print off two types of Runsheets from your Diary and Runsheet pages.
If you are entering runsheet notes, pre-orders and payments on bookings regularly then you’ll need to print off your Customised Runsheet - this then gives you tick box options of all the details you can see on this. To make your life easier, you can also preset what sections are automatically included in your runsheets daily, to save you time ticking them each time.
If you don’t need to see much information and simply want to print off a nice shortlist of bookings in order of Arrival Time, download your Short Runsheet.
We also have a handy training video on Downloading your Run sheet for the day that you can watch here.
#10: Keep track of your walk-in trade and guests in live service. You can also use Collins in live service to add walk-ins and check guests in as they arrive, mark their booking stages and then mark them as left to indicate they have gone. We have a useful training video to show you how to use Collins in service in the Diary or the Floorplan.
IMPORTANT: Something not looking right? Think it might be a technical issue? Please use our 'Report an Issue' option or email firstname.lastname@example.org