Support Guide

Notifications (Booking Status)

    TABLE OF CONTENTS

  1. Notification Options
  2. • Subject
  3. • Notification Type
  4. • Deliver
  5. – Scheduled Emails
  6. • Recipient
  7. • iCal Event Request
  8. • Message Format
  9. • Apply To
  10. • Email
  11. Email Variables
  12. • Custom Email Variables
  13. Live Preview
  14. Duplicating a Notification
  15. Tips for Sending HTML Email
Where do I access this in Checkfront?
Email notifications can be configured at Manage > Notifications in your Checkfront dashboard

 

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

 

Booking Status Notifications

Booking Status Notifications are the emails sent to your customer to confirm the actions that have taken place regarding their booking. Such notifications may include a booking confirmation, notice of changes made to the booking, or a request for payment. This notification type is called Booking.

 

Booking Status Notification

 

Configuring these email notifications is quick and easy. We even provide a variety of variables which enable you to automatically populate your emails with as much or as little information as you desire. This might include the customer name, details of the item(s) they have booked and a copy of the invoice.

 
 


 

Notification Options

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

Subject

Obviously, this is the subject of the email. The field is editable, so you can input whatever you like in there.

 

Booking Status 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:

Booking Receipt For {$BOOKING_DATE} ({$BOOKING_ID}).

This would automatically insert the date of the booking and the booking ID into the subject field.

Notification Type

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 Booking Status notification. You would choose the Inventory Level option if you were wanting to create a warning once your inventory drops to a certain level.

 

Notification Type Booking

 

You would choose the Inventory Level option if you were wanting to create a notification to inform your staff when the availability on certain items drops below a pre-set threshold. You would choose Gift Certificates to create a notification which can be sent to the gift certificate recipient and/or your staff members after purchase. You can, of course, create all three types of notification, just not at the same time!

Booking Status

This is the status that is required to trigger the notification. You can create multiple notifications for a single status.

 

Booking Status

 

Notifications are triggered when the status of a booking changes, for example, PAID or CANCELLED. See booking statuses for a full list.

Deliver

By default, notifications are sent as soon as the event is triggered.

 

Notification Schedule

 

If you’d like to schedule the notification for a later time, select scheduled and choose either before or after the start, end or creation date of the booking.


Scheduled emails will be delivered on the same hour they were created. For instance, if a booking is created at 11am on Tuesday and the scheduled notification is 2 days before the booking, it will be sent at 11am on the scheduled day. Please note, on some occasions, mail can be delayed due to volume (including unscheduled mail), but generally adheres to this time frame.

See: follow up emails for Trip Advisor for more information.

Recipient

Set the recipient of the notification.

 

Recipient Inventory Level

 

To send the notification to the customer, 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. The notification can be sent to both staff members and the customer at the same time.

iCal Event Request

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

 

iCal Event 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

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.

Apply To

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.

Email

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 you text with bolding and italics etc. using a standard WYSIWYG editor.

 

Booking Status Email

 

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.

Please Note:
When different items, with different notifications, are added to the same booking, the customer will receive an email for each individual item, rather than one notification containing all the information.

 


 

Email Variables

Dynamic email variables can be included in both HTML and text emails, as well as the subject. When a notification is sent out, the variable you have added to the email body will be replaced, automatically, by the relevant information from your system. For example, you may begin the email with Dear {$CUSTOMER_NAME}. When the notification is delivered to the customer, the variable will have been replaced with whatever they entered as their name during the booking process. The email will, therefore, begin something like Dear John Doe.

Here are the system email variables you can use:

{$COMPANY_NAME} – name of your company.
{$CHECKFRONT_URL} – URL of your Checkfront account i.e. myaccount.checkfront.com.
{$ACCOUNT_ID} – ID of the staff account which was used to make the booking.
{$CREATED_BY} – where did the booking come from i.e. Staff or Website.

{$CUSTOMER_NAME} – name of the customer.
{$CUSTOMER_FIRST_NAME} – first name of the customer, if using this field on your booking form.
{$CUSTOMER_LAST_NAME} – last name of the customer, if using this field on your booking form.
{$CUSTOMER_EMAIL} – email address of the customer.

{$BOOKING_ID} – unique booking ID.
{$BOOKING_TOTAL} – total amount for the booking. Will include currency formatting.
{$BOOKING_STATUS} – current status of the booking such as Deposit or Paid.
{$BOOKING_QTY} – quantity booked on the invoice.
{$BOOKING_ITEMS} – name of item(s) being booked. Multiple items will be comma separated.
{$BOOKING_DATE} – date of booking. May include a date range or time depending on the booking.
{$BOOKING_START_DATE} – starting date of the booking.
{$BOOKING_END_DATE} – ending date of the booking.
{$BOOKING_TIME} – time for which the booking has been made.
{$BOOKING_START_TIME} – starting time of the booking.
{$BOOKING_END_TIME} – ending time of the booking.
{$BOOKING_DETAILS} – details of item(s) being booked. This is from the details box provided in the item setup. Multiple items will be separated by a new line and include the item name.
{$BOOKING_EXTRA_DETAILS} – extra details added to your items.
{$BOOKING_ITEMS_URL} – URL to the individual items included in the booking.
{$BOOKING_RATES} – list of items booked with their respective rates.
{$BOOKING_ADMIN_URL} – link to the booking in your Checkfront account backend.
{$BOOKING_PAYMENT_URL} – link to payment page for this booking. If no balance is due this will redirect to receipt (BOOKING_URL) page.
{$BOOKING_CANCEL_URL} – direct link to for a customer to cancel their booking.
{$BOOKING_PDF_URL} – direct link to a PDF of the booking.
{$BOOKING_URL} – URL to the receipt of the booking, along with links to PDF and Payment pages.

{$BOOKING_LOCATION_LINKS} – name of item(s) booked with location address, hyperlinked to Google Maps.
{$SINGLE_ITEM_LOCATION_LINK} – hyperlinked address to Google Maps of item booked.
{$SINGLE_ITEM_ADDRESS} – address of item’s location, with no hyperlink to Google Maps.
{$SINGLE_ITEM_LOCATION_URL} – hyperlinked URL to item’s location on Google Maps. No actual address is printed.

{%EMBED_INVOICE} – this macro will embed a full invoice into the email. Differs depending on Text or HTML.

 

Custom Email Variables

In addition to the system email variables, outlined above, you can also create your own custom variables based on the custom fields added to your booking form. For example, if you have created a custom field asking for the favourite colour of the person booking, you can create an email variable to record this in a notification.

 

Field ID Colour

 

All you need to do is add the Field ID, in this case colour, to the variable template. So, it would look something like this:

{$COLOUR}

 
 


 

Live Preview

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 Button
 

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.

 
Email Previews
 

 


 

Duplicating a Notification

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!

 
Duplicate 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

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.

Images
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.

Test!
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.