Notifications (Gift Certificates)

Estimated reading time: 7 min


The purpose of this guide is to look at the Gift Certificate Notifications. If you are looking for information on Booking Status Notifications, please click here. If you are interested in Inventory Level Notifications, please click here. Or, for Twilio Notifications, click here.

If you’ve worked with Checkfront’s system notifications before, you will already have an idea of how these work. After activating the Gift Certificates add-on, a new notification type will become available in your account. This notification type is called Giftcert.




By default, the system will create a simple notification that will be sent out to the recipient after purchase by a customer. The subject of this notification is Congratulations, you have received a Gift Certificate. To edit this, navigate to Manage > Notifications in your Checkfront dashboard.


Select Notification


You will see the notification in the resulting list and all you need to do is click on the subject to open the edit mode (see above).


Notification Options

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So, let’s take a look at the configurable options available to you upon arriving at the notifications screen in your Checkfront dashboard…


Obviously, this is the subject of the email. The field is editable, so you can choose to keep the default subject, which is created when you activate the gift certificates add-on, or you can enter your own subject instead.


Gift Certificate Subject


The subject line can include standard system email variables, or your own custom variables which you may have created in the field editor. For example, you may wish to input a subject such as:

Congratulations {$CUSTOMER_NAME}, you have received a Gift Certificate.

This would automatically insert the customer’s name into the subject field.


Notification Type

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This field enables you to choose the type of notification you wish to configure. For the purpose of this guide, we are looking at the Gift Certificate notification.


Gift Certificate Notification Type


You would choose Booking Status if you were wanting to create a notification to inform your customers of any updates to their bookings. You would choose the Inventory Level option if you were wanting to create a warning once your inventory drops to a certain level. You can, of course, create all three types of notification, just not at the same time!



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Set the recipient of the notification.


Gift Certificate Notification Recipient


To send the notification to the customer who made the purchase, select Customer. To deliver the message to your staff, select one of the available accounts, or All Staff to reach everybody with a staff account.


iCal Event Request

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If you’d like to attach an iCal event request to the notification email, then check this box.


Attach iCal Request


When the customer receives the email, they will be able to click on the iCal link and have the booking added to their personal calendar.


Message Format

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You have the option of sending both Text and HTML emails.


Message Format


When both options are provided, the recipient’s mail client will determine which format to display based on their preferences.

HTML Emails

HTML emails allow you to provide rich content in your receipts and notifications. HTML emails are recommended when embedding an invoice or if you require special formatting. However, it’s recommended that you supply both text and HTML for best compatibility. Please see tips on HTML emails below. While editing an HTML email, you can switch between WYSIWYG and source mode by clicking on the “<>” button in the toolbar.

If you wish to override the default CSS included with outgoing emails in Checkfront, include a <body> tag in your notification. You should also include some default styling.

Text Emails

Text emails cannot contain any formatting elements such as bold, colours or other HTML elements. If your customer’s email client is set to prefer text, it will see this version.


The apply to field enables you to create notifications for a specific item(s) only. This is particularly handy for businesses who need to send out different information depending on the item(s) that the customer has booked. For example, when a tour booking has been completed and updated to PAID status, you may wish to send out a notification consisting of details on the tour and its meeting location etc. You may then have a different email for a hotel room booking that has been updated to PAID. You don’t need any information about tour meeting places etc, but rather directions to the hotel and information about the check-in process.


Apply To Drop-Down


You have the ability to select an entire category, or, click on the arrow to the right of each category to slide out a list of individual items (see above). These items can then be chosen individually, allowing you to create notifications on a per item basis.


The Email section is where you actually input the body of your email. You can type whatever you like in here, including email variables (described below). The editor provides the ability to format your text with bolding and italics etc. using a standard WYSIWYG editor.


Email HTML Gift Certs


You can configure both the HTML and plain text notifications from this section.


Email Tabs


Use the tabs at the top to switch between the two views.


Email Variables

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As with all notifications in Checkfront, you can add or remove variables to customize the recipient email as per your needs. When the email is delivered to the recipient, the variable you embed in the body of the email will be replaced by the relevant data that it pertains to in Checkfront. For example, if you include the variable {$COMPANY_NAME}, then this will be replaced with the name of your company in the email.

The variables you can use are as follows:

{$COMPANY_NAME} – name of your company.
{$CHECKFRONT_URL} – company’s Checkfront URL.
{$ACCOUNT_ID} – name of the staff member or partner who is responsible for initiating the purchase.
{$CREATED_BY} – who made the purchase – customer, staff, partner.

There are also specific gift certificate variables which can also be included in the recipient email. They are as follows:

{$GIFTCERT_CODE} – Gift certificate code, used to make purchases by the recipient.
{$GIFTCERT_TOTAL} – Original value of the gift certificate.
{$GIFTCERT_BALANCE} – Remaining balance on the gift certificate.
{$GIFTCERT_TO_NAME} – Recipient’s name.
{$GIFTCERT_FROM_NAME} – Gifter/sender’s name.
{$GIFTCERT_MESSAGE} – Message entered at the time of purchase.
{$GIFTCERT_EXPIRY} – Gift certificate expiry date.

You can include as many, or as few of these variables as you like, it’s totally up to you. Also, depending on how you wish to use the gift certificate system, you may decide not to send out a recipient email at all. If this is the case, simply uncheck the This notification is enabled box and click Save.

You may also decide that some of the data these variables print should not be displayed to the recipient. In this case, you can create a second gift certificate notification that does not get sent to the recipient, but any of your chosen staff members instead. You can create a new notification at Manage > Notifications, select Gift Certificates as the notification type and then customize the recipient list as per your needs. This “staff only” notification can be sent out in addition to the gift certificate recipient email.


Live Preview

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If you’d like to see how your email notification is going to look, including how the variables will print when replaced with live data, click on the Live Preview button in the left sidebar.

Live Preview

A pop-up window will appear, containing the content of your notification. You can switch between HTML and text views using the radio buttons in the bottom left corner of the window.


Duplicating a Notification

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If you are creating multiple inventory level notifications, you can design the email once, including the message you wish to use etc, but then copy this for the subsequent notifications. All you need to do then is change the threshold level and the item the notification should be applied to. You can copy a notification as many times as you like, saving yourself from entering all the information and message text separately each time!

Copy Notification

Click on the Copy button in the left sidebar to proceed. You will see a message saying that you are now editing an unsaved copy of a notification. Make your changes and click Create at the bottom.


Tips For Sending HTML Emails

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Creating notifications and emails that render the same across all email platforms can be tricky since all email clients have their own set of rules. That said, a finely tweaked HTML email can organize your notifications and receipts in ways not available through plain text.

Here are some tips for creating emails that will render correctly across all email platforms:


Keep it simple

You aren’t building a web page. Overly complex HTML emails can cause deliverability and formatting issues. Use the minimum formatting to provide an attractive and functional layout.


Use a Table Structure

Many platforms don’t support absolute positioning (float, margin, padding), so tables work much better as the framework for your design.


Use Inline CSS

It’s a pain, but it’s more reliable than using CSS in the header. Gmail for instance, strips out the CSS in all emails. If you use inline, your style won’t get lost for those Gmail recipients.



Avoid image-only emails. This is a BIG Spam flag and you’re more than likely to end up in the Junk folder. Email clients like to see text, so give it to them, and use as few images as possible.


Avoid Background Images

Many email clients don’t support this and your recipient will not see it.


Use ALT Tags

Images with ALT tags improve SEO and will display descriptive text if, for some reason, the image can’t be displayed. Also, correctly size your images before including them in your email and include the size dimensions. If you don’t specify the height and width dimensions, some email clients will set their own size for your image which could alter your email design.



Send tests to the most popular platforms and check out what it looks like for yourself. We would suggest sending at least one test to Outlook 2007 since it uses the support for HTML and CSS that is built into Word 2007 to display HTML email instead of Internet Explorer. Many times, emails look fine in Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc… but then they look completely different in Outlook.


Q: Can I configure separate notifications for each item booked?

A: Yes, this is a new feature to Checkfront notifications. See above for more details.

Q: Emails appear to be getting caught in my junk folder?

A: You may need to add a SPF record to your domain to authorize Checkfront to send on your behalf.


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