Booking charges

Introduction

You can easily raise charges against your bookings and then send a notification to the customer. Using your existing Stripe integration, you can also receive online payments for booking charges, providing customers and churches a simple, secure and efficient means of managing payments. You can even record manual payments received by other methods like cash, cheque and BACS. We even help you keep track of all the charges that are due for payment, highlighting overdue charges so you can chase them up! This functionality will suit both larger conferencing venues with complex bookings and smaller venues that simply hire out their church or rooms for weddings and parties.

Booking Charges from ChurchSuite on Vimeo.

In this article

Overview of intended functionality
Configuring the Bookings module for raising booking charges
Adding charges to a booking
Handling refunds and negative charges
Removing charges from a booking
Sending the booking page to a customer
Reporting bookings charges

Overview of intended functionality

Booking charges can be raised against sequence bookings and stand alone bookings for a single date. For sequence bookings, charges are raised against the sequence. In this way you have lots of flexibility about the frequency of charges raised within a sequence - so you can raise charges weekly, monthly, quarterly, or for the entire sequence, if you wish. You can raise multiple charges against each booking or sequence, perhaps for deposits, instalments, extras or full charges.

For each booking "Type" you can create a brand to match your booking and conferencing styling, which may be different to your other church ministries. Custom branding shows in the customer-facing booking page your customers see, and also in your branded email communications.

For each booking "Type" you can set whether online payments are enabled by default, so you can disable online payments by default for your internal-facing booking types where charges are not relevant, but enable them by default for your external, commercial bookings, if you wish. You can even add type-specific payment instructions - for example, if wedding bookings are paid to a different bank account to your other bookings.

To help manage all the various booking customers you may have for a particular organisation, you can group customers together by company and specify the job title of each customer within the company. The customer page helpfully lists all the customers "At this company", so you can quickly switch to a different customers within the same company.

You can add internal notes against bookings. These notes are not visible on the customer-facing booking page sent to customers.

In the Bookings module settings there are Embed options to add a custom message that will display on all your booking pages, which will be visible to customers when they access the page - ideal for giving details of your terms and conditions, cancellation policy or your admin address and contact details.

For each charge raised, specify the charge name and description, an optional invoice number, and the amount and the due date. You can also set whether the charge is to be visible; hidden charges do not show on the booking page until set visible. ChurchSuite will help you manage the payment status of your charges, so you can easily see charges that are due, overdue, refunded and partially refunded. While online charge payments automatically update the charge payment status to "paid", you can also manually manage other payment methods and set a charge as 'paid' and enter the payment details; ideal for recording payments received by cash, cheque and bank transfer (BACS).

When viewing a booking you'll see a table of all charges for that booking or sequence. From here you can easily add, edit, duplicate or remove charges.

The charge "history" provides a helpful audit trail of all charges, payments and communications related to the booking or sequence.

Each booking or sequence has its own unique booking page that can be sent to customers as a booking confirmation. In this way you can easily communicate variations of terms of hire and send requests for payments - the booking page always shows the latest booking details.

The customer-facing booking page shows all dates in the booking sequence, the booking details, charges and payment details, and the responses to all booking type and resource questions. When configuring booking types and resources, you can set whether question responses are visible or hidden on the booking page sent to customers, meaning that you can hide internal-use questions that are not relevant to the customer but are relevant to your bookings team.

Note, the "booking charges" functionality is not intended to be a replacement for a church's existing accounting/finance systems that may be used for invoicing purposes. An optional invoice number field is provided for cross-referencing charges raised in ChurchSuite to your paper invoices and/or accounting system.

The Bookings module reports include a number of customer and charge-related reports to help churches manage and report on bookings, customers and charges. When viewed from within the Bookings module, the Stripe Transfers report shows a detailed breakdown of online payments received in respect of booking charges.

Configuring the Bookings module for raising booking charges

There is very little configuration required to begin raising booking charges and processing payments received from customers. You'll get the most from the functionality by following these simple suggested configuration steps. Begin by ensuring the feature has been enabled in the Bookings module's settings - scroll down the settings page and select to 'enable booking charges'.

Bookings module settings

Within the Bookings module settings is an "Embed" section where you can set a custom message that is shown at the bottom of the booking page that your customers will see. For example, this message could be used to set out your terms and conditions, cancellation policy, payment terms and your church address and contact details. Remember to save your changes before navigating away from the module settings.

Stripe card payment integration

If you wish to provide customers with the option to pay their booking charges online then, if not already done so, you will first need to complete the Stripe integration (Administrator > Integrations). See the related support article at the end of this article for further details. You may already have a Stripe integration completed for event ticket payments and online donations - no further changes are required to receive booking payments.

Receiving online card payments through Stripe

Stripe is the payment provider ChurchSuite uses for all card payments (events and bookings) and donations (giving). One-off and recurring card payments accepted through Stripe are subject to a 2.4% + 20p (no cap) transaction fee for European cards (and 2.9% +20p for non-European cards). This transaction fee consists of two parts - a 1.4% + 20p transaction fee to Stripe and a 1% transaction fee to ChurchSuite. For more information click here.

Charity Discount for UK Churches: Churches that are registered charities with the Charity Commission (and have a charity number) are able to access a special charity rate of 2.2% + 20p for European cards (and 2.9% + 20p for International and American Express cards). The transaction fee consists of two parts - a 1.2% + 20p transaction fee to Stripe and a 1% transaction fee to ChurchSuite. When you complete your Stripe integration you'll receive an email explaining how to claim charity rates.

Accepting online payments helps customers and churches to manage their booking payments in a simple, secure and efficient way - increasing security, reducing dual control and cash handling, saving unnecessary trips to the bank to deposit cash and cheques, and saving additional administrative burden for your bookings and finance teams. Stripe's fees are among the lowest of any card handler in the world!

Booking "Types" configuration

For churches whose lettings are branded differently to their main church branding, you can optionally set custom Branding for your booking Types. Brands are added in Administrator >Brands - see related support article for further details. Once a brand has been added you can assign a brand to a booking type - all bookings for that type will follow that branding.

For each booking Type you can also add custom payment instructions that show on the customer booking page in the "Charges" section. If you wish to accept online payments for bookings of this Type by default, check to "enable payment". Note that this option is simply a default setting - you can override this when adding a booking, choosing to disable online payment for individual bookings if you wish.

Continuing down the booking "Types" setup, you can configure the payment confirmation email that will be sent to the booking contact/customer when someone makes an online payment. By default ChurchSuite will always send an online payment confirmation email containing full details of the payment transaction. The payment data shown in the email is in a partially obfuscated format. You can also type a custom payment confirmation email. ChurchSuite will append the payment transaction information to the end of your email. Confirmation emails are logged in the Recent Activity > Communication section for the customer, not the booking.

For each of the Type "questions" you have created, optionally set whether certain questions are hidden; meaning that the question and response will not be shown on the customer-facing booking page, and only visible internally when a user is viewing the booking within ChurchSuite. This is especially helpful when you have type-related booking questions that are not relevant to the customer - perhaps only relevant to your bookings team, caretaker, or overseers for that booking type.

As you configure each of your booking Types, remember to save your changes before navigating away from the page.

Booking "Resources" configuration

As with booking Types, there are optional settings that you can configure for each of your Resources. From the Resources menu in the Bookings module, select a resource and click "Edit resource", or select "Edit resource" from the resource action cog, as shown in the next screenshot.

Scroll down to the Resource "Questions". As with "Type" questions, you can optionally set certain questions to be hidden, meaning that the question and response will not be shown on the customer-facing booking page, and only visible internally when a user is viewing the booking within ChurchSuite. This is helpful when you have resource-related booking questions that are not relevant to the customer - perhaps only relevant to your bookings team, caretaker or the overseers for that resource.

As you configure each of your Resources, remember to save your changes before navigating away from the page.

Adding charges to a booking

Charges are added against a booking on the booking page in the Bookings modules. Scroll down the page to the charges table. The table is always visible, even if there are not any charges raised yet.

It's also possible to duplicate an existing charge to make it quicker to add similar charges to the same booking/sequence - simply select "Duplicate charge" from the action cog.

Accepting online payments for a booking

To accept online payments for charges, the Stripe integration must first be completed (see earlier), and the "Enable payment" box must be checked, otherwise the "Pay" button will not be visible to customers when they view the customer-facing booking page that you send them.

The "Pay" button will also only be visible on the customer-facing booking page if there are unpaid, visible charges, otherwise the button is hidden.

To raise a charge for a booking, click "Add charge" and begin adding the information requested. Negative amounts are permissible - see next section on "Refunds". By default all charges are visible in booking emails and on the customer-facing booking page. Note the option to hide certain charges, perhaps hiding them until they are approved by the customer, at which point they can be set visible. Adding an optional due date for a charge will help churches with managing and reporting of 'due' and 'overdue' charges. Press the "Add" button to save the new charge.

While online payments for charges will automatically mark charges with a "Paid" status, you can also record manual payments for a charge at any time. Checking the "Paid" box will reveal the payment method and payment date fields. Set these as appropriate and save your changes before closing the charge window.

The charges table lists each charge in the order they were added. Remember, for sequence bookings, this same table of charges will show when viewing the booking for any date in the sequence.

The charges table is also shown on the customer-facing booking page. Again, for sequence bookings, the same table of charges will show when the customer views the booking page for any date in the sequence covered by the booking page...

Top Tip!

While a booking contact can be either a "customer" from your Bookings module or a "contact" in your Address Book, you can create a customer from a contact - ideal if you're likely to be taking repeat bookings from that contact.

Select "Add customer" from the action cog next to contact name on the booking page. The cog option is only available for contacts of 'pay' bookings and is only visible once a booking charge has been added to the booking.

If ChurchSuite detects other bookings for the same contact, you will have the option of updating the booking contact for all selected bookings to the newly created customer.

Handling refunds and negative charges

When payment for a booking charge is submitted online through Stripe, it is possible to raise a full or partial refund for that payment. From the charges table, select "Refund charge" from the action cog.

On the "Refund payment" window that opens, select whether a full or partial refund (specify the amount) is to be processed. Confirm the refund as requested and click "Refund Payment". The payment is refunded back to the card originally used to pay (even if that card has subsequently expired). It is not possible to refund to a different card. All transaction fees are refunded (calculated pro-rata for partial refunds), so neither the church or customer incur the full fees where a refund has been processed.

The refund is then shown in the charges table and the charge is locked, preventing the payment status from being edited or the charge being removed.

The refund is also show in the charge "History".

It's also possible to enter a refund manually, perhaps for charges that have not been paid online through Stripe that you are refunding by another method. A manual refund is done by adding a negative charge amount. Entering a negative charge amount changes the "Add Charge" window title to "Add Refund". The payment status and charge visibility options are locked to prevent subsequent deletion, although the other refund details can still be edited further if needed.

Note: Negative charges are only intended to be used for manual refunds. They are not suitable for use as a means of adding discounts to a booking. Instead, discounts should be noted in the charge description and the charge amount set to reflect the "net of discount" amount the customer will pay, e.g.

Removing charges from a booking

Charges can only be removed (deleted) from a booking if they have not been paid. It is therefore possible to set a paid charge as unpaid and then remove the charge; simply select "Remove charge" from the action cog.

Once a charge has a Stripe payment against it the payment status is set to "paid". It is then not possible to later edit the payment status back to "unpaid", and neither can the charge be removed. However, it is possible to refund online payments for charges processed using Stripe - see previous section on "Handling refunds".

Sending the booking page to a customer

Introduction to the customer-facing booking page

For each booking, ChurchSuite creates a unique booking page. For booking sequences, the same booking page covers all dates in the sequence. If a date is added to a sequence, the date becomes part of the sequence booking page. The URL for the booking page can be embedded and distributed in your customer communications if you wish. The booking page is also the customer-facing page that your customers will use to view all the details of their booking(s) and any charges, much like a booking confirmation (although the booking page is considerably more!)

When viewing a booking in ChurchSuite click the "Go to Booking page" button to preview the customer-facing booking page in a new browser tab.

The booking page follows the branding you have set for the booking "Type" and includes the "booking page custom message" you have set in the Bookings module options - see next screenshot.

Note the "dates" panel. For sequence bookings, all dates in the sequence will be listed. The booking date being viewed is the date at the top of the list. Clicking on any of the other dates in the list will refresh the booking page to show details for that sequence date. In this way customers can view all the date-specific booking details from the one page, including resource timings and any "not hidden" type and resource question responses for each date. The same charges table is displayed for each date in the sequence. The "Pay" button will be shown if there are unpaid charges and the booking has online "Payment enabled".

Sending the booking page

When viewing the booking in ChurchSuite, select "Send booking" from the "Communicate" button menu.

Next, set the options to be included in the "Send booking" email. Note that these options only apply to the booking email that will be sent; the customer-facing booking page will always show all booking details set as visible. Click "Proceed" to continue and preview the email before sending.

From the above screen the email "compose" window is opened and the body content is pre-populated with all the booking information based on the options selected in the previous step. The email can be further edited at this point if desired, perhaps to add a personalised message into the email. The email template is pre-selected based on the branding set for the booking "type". Optional files can be attached if required e.g. a PDF of your terms and conditions, and the email can also be scheduled, rather than sent immediately. Click "Preview Email" to continue.

The finished, branded email is previewed, ready for your final review. The customer or booking contact is pre-set as a recipient, but this can be changed; adding or removing recipients as required. All recipients are always blind-copied. When you are happy with the finished email, click "Send Email" and your email will be sent/scheduled.

The sent booking is added to the charges history. Click "View history" on the charges table for the booking...

The "Booking Charges History" provides a detailed audit trail of all charge-related changes made to a booking or sequence, including a log of each time a "Send booking" email is sent. Click "+More" opens the sent email and open rate email tracking (if supported by the recipient email client) can be viewed.

Sent communications are also logged in the Recent Activity > Communication section at the bottom of the booking page in ChurchSuite. Note that the communication is only logged against the booking date that the email is generated from, even though the booking may relate to a sequence of dates. However, an identical log is recorded in the Recent Activity > Communication section for the customer.

Additionally, all sent communications are logged in the "Communication" report accessible via Bookings > Reports > Customer reports > Communication. This report can be further filtered to a particular communication method or user.

If the "Include booking page link" email option was checked when the booking email was generated, the customer will have a "More information" link embedded in the email (example extract below). This is the link that customers will use to open the booking page in their web browser.

Reporting bookings charges

In the Bookings module > Reports, there are a number of helpful reports about bookings, customers and charges and refunds. Here is a sample of some of the reports that relate to booking charges and refunds.

Charges report

This report lists all your booking charges and refund, and is filterable by customer/company and order-able by due date. Using this report you can filter charges for a range of amounts, those paid within a specified date range, charges based on their status (paid, unpaid, refunded, partially refunded or free), charges that are due, overdue or pending, and charges based their visibility. Remember to click "Generate" after changing the report filters. The result columns are also sortable - just click on a heading.

Full Details report

This report is ideal for extracting the full details of bookings for a given date range. The report can be optionally filtered by resource, booking type, and booking status (confirmed, pending or cancelled). The results of this report is a separate page for each booking within the date range. Note that you can select various options to include in the report. Click "Generate" after changing the report filters.

Stripe Transfers report

This report lists the Stripe bank transfers within a given date range, with a summary of which booking charges are included (along with all your other Stripe transfers for online tickets and donations). The report is in two parts - a summary of "All Activity" within the date range at the top...

...and the detail of each bank transfer underneath (example below), showing the booking name, reference, type, the fees deducted from the charges and the net amount deposited in your bank account.

Further detail related to each bank transfer can also be found in your Stripe control panel.

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