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Automated payments: frequently asked questions
Automated payments: frequently asked questions
Updated over a week ago

Important to know:

  • To access payments and features, log in > Payments page.

  • The full features of Automated payments can only be used with the SiteMinder Pay gateway.

What is Automated payments and how does it work?

Automated payments is a feature that lets you set up payment rules to charge guests automatically at different times in their booking journey. A maximum of two automatic charges can be set up, adding up to the full cost of the booking.

Multiple rules can be set up and applied to various reservations. Every rule has conditions that determine which reservation it applies to, for example: card type, rate plans, and channels.

Example:

Create a rule that is triggered if a reservation meets all of these conditions:

  • “OTA Collect” card type

  • “Double room” rate plan

  • Direct booking channel

Configure the rule to make two automatic charges after it has been triggered:

  1. Charge one: on the check-in day for the first night’s stay (deposit).

  2. Charge two: the remaining amount on the check-out day.

Which channels are supported by Automated payments?

Automated payments can be used for reservations from the following channels:

  • Direct booking

  • Booking.com

  • Expedia

  • Hotelbeds

Sometimes the channel may not send our platform the full virtual credit card (VCC) details. If our platform does not receive the full VCC details, the payment cannot be processed using Automated payments. You will need to manually process the payment (go to Reservations > find and open the reservation > click Process payment).

What regions are supported by Automated payments?

  • Direct booking and Booking.com are supported in all regions.

  • Expedia’s VCC reservations are only supported in Australia and New Zealand, though standard credit card reservations are supported in all regions.

  • Hotelbeds are supported by all regions (except for Luxembourg, Slovenia and Slovakia).

How many payments can be made by a rule?

A maximum of two automatic payments can be configured as a payment rule.

Can a payment rule be applied to multiple rate plans?

No, each payment rule can only apply to one rate plan, but can be applied to multiple channels.

What happens if no rule matches a reservation?

Reservations that do not have an automated payment rule matched to them will not be processed automatically. They will need to be manually processed.

Automated payments only supports a limited selection of channels. Reservations received through other channels will have to be manually processed.

What payment types or amounts can be configured?

Several types of charges can be configured as a payment rule:

  • Full amount - the total amount of the reservation. No second payment is needed.

  • First night’s stay - the amount of a single night’s stay. The remaining nights are charged in the second payment.

  • Custom percentage - a percentage of the total amount. The remaining percentage is charged in the second payment.

The second payment is always the Additional amount, because it is the remaining amount of the reservation that was not paid in the first payment.

When can payments be charged?

There are several options for when to charge either payment:

  • Once booking is confirmed — charged once the booking is confirmed.

  • Prior to check-in — charged a number of days before the check-in date. You can configure the number of days, and the time of day to make the charge.

  • Check-in day — charged on the date of check-in at a specific time of day.

  • Check-out day — charged on the date of check-out at a specific time of day.

For virtual credit card reservations, these options are not available. The details of the virtual credit card determine when the payment will be processed (the activation date), and the amount to charge.

What is card validation?

Card validation is the process of checking that the card has not expired and the details are correct. When a payment is scheduled to be processed by Automatic payments, the guest’s credit card is automatically validated after the reservation has been made.

If the card passes validation, you will see a green Card validated banner under the Credit Card details section on the Reservation page.

Only payments that are processed by Automated payments will have card validation applied. If authentication is required for cards from EU guests that have Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) requirements, you will be notified by e-mail.

What happens if a card fails validation?

If a credit card does not pass card validation:

  • then Automatic payments will not be scheduled;

  • you will need to contact the guest to request a different card, and process the payment manually.

How will I know if a card fails validation?

If the card fails validation:

  • you will be notified by e-mail;

  • you will see a red Card validation failed banner under the Credit Card details section on the Reservation page.

Can Automated payments pre-authorise charges?

No, Automated payments cannot pre-authorise charges, and this should be done manually.

When I create a new rule, are previous reservations processed?

No, a new rule does not apply to past reservations even if they match the rule. Rules are only triggered by new reservations that match the conditions of the rule.

Can multiple rules apply to a single reservation?

No, each reservation can trigger one single rule. This is because each rule must use a unique combination of rate plan and channel.

  • If a rule matches the conditions of a reservation, the rule is triggered.

  • If a rule does not match, the next rule is attempted.

Can a reservation for multiple rooms be processed under Automated payments?

No, multiple room reservations cannot be processed by Automated payments. This should be processed manually.

What happens if a reservation is modified?

When a reservation is modified, it will be handled according to the payment status:

  • If no payments have been scheduled - the modified reservation will be treated as a new reservation. It can trigger a rule like a normal reservation.

  • If payments have been scheduled - these payments will be cancelled. The modified reservation will be treated as a new reservation.

  • If payments have already been processed - any further payments will be cancelled, the modified reservation will not be able to trigger any rules, and you will be notified by e-mail to process these payments manually.

  • If the rule has been archived - the rule will not trigger for the modified reservation.

What happens if a reservation is cancelled?

If a reservation is cancelled, related payments will be handled in the same way as when a reservation is modified. In addition, the reservation will not be able to trigger any more rules.

What happens if a rule is archived?

If a rule is archived, all scheduled payments will remain and will be charged at the scheduled time. You can cancel any of these scheduled payments if they are no longer required.

An archived rule won’t be triggered for any new reservations unless the rule is re-enabled.

What e-mail notifications will I receive from Automated payments?

Automated payments will process most payments automatically. However, you will receive an e-mail notification if you need to perform a manual task, including:

  • If a card has failed validation.

  • If a payment has failed.

  • If a reservation is modified after a payment has been processed.

  • If a reservation is cancelled after a payment has been processed.

For virtual credit card (VCC) reservations, you should check if the reservation was processed by Automated payments. If it has not been processed, you will need to manually process the payment (go to Reservations > find and open the reservation > click Process payment).

Can a rule be edited?

The names and descriptions of existing Automated payments rules can be edited. However, the configuration of the rule cannot be edited. Instead, the rule should be archived, and a new rule created.

Can a rule be deleted?

No, Automated payments rules cannot be deleted, but can be archived.

What do I do if a payment fails?

If a payment fails, you should first retry the payment. Go to Payments > Automated payments > Failed payments then search for the transaction and retry the payment.

If retrying the payment fails, then you will need to manually process this payment.

Can a scheduled payment be cancelled?

Yes, a scheduled payment can be cancelled before it has been processed. Go to Payments > Automated payments > Scheduled payments to search for scheduled payments by the date they are scheduled to be charged. You can then cancel any of these scheduled payments.

Can a payment be rescheduled?

Yes, a payment can be rescheduled to a new date. Go to Payments > Automated payments > Scheduled payments to search for a scheduled payment, either by the date it is scheduled to be charged or within the transaction details on the reservation page, click on the scheduled payment you wish to change, then change the date accordingly.

Are tax inclusive or tax exclusive amounts prioritised?

Automated payments prioritises tax inclusive amounts. This occurs when reservations include both tax inclusive and tax exclusive amounts.

Which direct booking rate configurations prevent the rate from being used with the Automated payments feature?

Some direct booking rate configurations cannot be used in conjunction with the platform’s Automated payments feature, so if a rate has any of the following configurations, Automated payments rules cannot be applied to it.

  • Deposit is enabled — with this setting enabled, a deposit needs to be collected automatically at the time of booking, but because the Automated payments feature provides a similar functionality, it cannot be used in tandem.

  • Some Reservation policy settings — the settings Pre-payment not needed to secure booking and Pre-payment needed if guests intend to check-in after do not require a guest to submit their credit card details at the time of booking. The Automated payments feature does, however, so it cannot be used with these settings.

If an Automated payments rule has already been applied to the rate plan, these configurations cannot be selected.

You can configure a direct booking rate by going to Direct booking > Direct booking rates > click on the name of any direct booking rate > in the dropdown menu, click Edit. A new window will open and you will see the relevant settings under Additional direct booking controls.

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