How to Create a Group with Billing to a City Ledger Account
The following article discusses how to set up a group where either a portion, or all of the charges are to be Direct Billed to a City Ledger Account.
With City Account Billing you are not only able transfer Room & Tax to the City Ledger but also other Incidental Charges as well. (NOTE: Incidental Charges must be setup to “route” to folio 8 in order for the transfer to occur).
The steps to creating a Group with billing to a City Account are the exact same as creating an Individual Pay Group, with the exception of certain information entered on the Contact & Billing Info tab.
- Fill in the General tab of the Primary section.
- Note the tabs at the bottom of the window.
- Name – the name of the Group
- Group ID – this is a code that specific to this group. A group code can only be used once so it is important to make it unique to avoid errors when creating future groups for the same company. The suggested format is the initials of the group, followed by the arrival date. This code is mandatory should you wish for the group to be able to book reservations using the eRes Online Booking Engine.
- Client Type – select Client Type for this group.
- Room Charge Code – select Room Charge Transaction Code
- Arrival Date – select the group arrival date
- Nights – input the number of nights the group will be staying
- Departure Date - will auto populate after the Nights are selected
- Guests can arrive and depart outside the block – this section allows you to setup pre & post nights for the group. If you wish to enter pre or post nights, check this box and then enter the number of pre nights next to “Days Before” and the number of post nights next to “Days After”
- Active – check this box to make this Group active
- Cut-off Days – the number of days before the Arrival Date that you would like for the block to release
- Cut-off Type – select if the Group Block is to be released by Whole Block (the entire block will be released on the Cut off Date) or by One Day (the block will release one day at a time beginning with the first date set in the Cut off Date)
- Block Type – select if the Group Block will be Solid (the rooms are taken out of inventory) or Transparent (the rooms are not taken out of inventory)
- Source of Business – select the source of business from the pull down menu
- Attach note - this note will be placed on all picked up reservations under “Reservation Notes”. Typically this note is regarding billing instructions for the group (ie: "All charges to be paid by the individual guests" or "Room & Tax to be covered by the group Master Account")
Contact & Billing Info tab
Fill in the Contact & Billing Info tab of the Primary screen
- Folio Number - Use the drop down menu to select folio number 8. When room & taxes are to be transferred to a City Account upon check-out the Folio Number MUST be set to 8.
- Apply to existing reservations - Only check this box when changing the billing for a group from Folio 1 to Folio 8 (or vice versa). Checking this box will ensure all existing reservations for this group are updated with the correct Folio number.
- Bill to City Account – check this box to open the Bill To drop down menu
- Bill To – if the City Account already exists, use the Bill To drop down menu to search for the existing City Account. If the City Account does not yet exist, check the Create a New Account check-box to the left, and then type the name of the account and desired Credit Limit manually into this area. Once the information is saved it will create the City Account in the City Ledger Module for you.
- Credit Limit – if a City Account is selected from the Bill To drop down menu, the credit limit with auto populate with the credit limit for the selected City Account. If you have manually entered a City Account, you will also manually enter the Credit Limit that applies to the City Account. NOTE: The Credit Limit should always be enough to cover all charges that are expected to be transferred to the City Ledger upon check-out. If an account has insufficient credit, it will prevent the PMS from being able to check out to that account.
- Create a New Account – Only check this box if you wish to attach a City Account to this group that does not already exist in the City Ledger Module. Checking this box allows you to create a new City Ledger Account by entering the City Account name into the Bill To field, then assigning an account Credit Limit by entering the desired credit limit into the Credit Limit area.
- Use account to fill up address – if a City Account is selected from the Bill To drop down menu, you may check this box and the address information below will populate with the same address found on the City Account
- Address information – if you did not use the Use account to fill up address checkbox feature above, manually fill in the contact information for this group
When finished, select the Post button in the bottom right hand corner of the screen.
Folio 1 vs. Folio 8
When setting up billing for a Group, there are two available options for where to route the Room & Tax charges:
- Folio 1 - To be used when the guest is personally responsible for settlement of any stay-related charges on their bill. This would typically be used for any Individual Pay scenarios.
- Folio 8 - To be used when a 3rd Party is covering all, or a portion of the charges on the bill. This would typically be used when charges are being billed to a House (Master) Account, or a City Ledger Account.
Routing / Deposit tab
If additional incidental charges (ie: Telephone, Parking, etc…) also need to be routed to the City Ledger Account upon check-out, this must be set up in the Routing/Deposit tab. To set up routing for incidental charges, proceed to the Routing/Deposit tab of the Primary section.
In the top left hand corner we see the House Accounts section and in the list of House Accounts is Account #0. This is the account used to setup additional routing for all guests within a group.
NOTE: If you wish to only route incidental charges for a few guests within the group then routing must be setup on each individual guest reservation.
In this example, we wish to route "Guest WiFi Access" to Folio 8 (because only charges on Folio 8 will be transferred to the City Ledger upon check-out).
- Transaction Group – select which Transaction Group where the desired Transaction Code is located (ie: Other Charges)
- Transaction Code – select the desired Transaction Code to route (in this example, "WiFi" is for Guest WiFi Access)
- Folio – select Folio 8
When finished, select the Add button to add the Transaction Code to the Routing Instructions on the right. Repeat these steps to add any other Transaction Codes that need to be routed.
Once the all the required Routing Instructions appear in the list on the right, click Post to save.
"WiFi" will now post to Folio 8 on every guest folio in the group. Since all charges from Folio 8 will be transferred to the City Ledger upon check-out, any "WiFi" charges will also transfer to the City Ledger, in addition to the Room & Tax charges.
Things to remember about Groups with City Ledger Billing
- Folio number must be set to 8 in the Contacts and Billing Info tab
- You can check the Use Account to fill up Address box to use the address from the attached City Ledger Account to populate the Group Contact Address
- For any additional Incidental Charges to be routed to the City Ledger Account, the routing instructions must be set up in the Routing/Deposit tab
- City Ledger Billing is intended for use with groups that will be invoiced after departure (as opposed to settling upon check-out - See the article How to Create a Group with Billing to a House Account for that billing scenario)
- City Ledger Invoices show charges broken out by individual guest names on the final bill
- For guests whose charges are NOT being routed to a City Ledger Account, the routing on their individual reservations must be updated to Folio 1. This can be done on the Rooming List tab, please see the article How to Create a Group Reservation using the Group Rooming List for more information.
Fill in the Travel Agent tab of the Primary Section (If this group was not booked via a Travel Agent then you may skip this tab).
If the Group was booked by a Travel Agent and you wish to track the Travel Agent Commission, you will need to attach the Travel Agent to the Group.
- Use the drop down menu to select a Travel Agent from the list of Travel Agents that are currently set up in the Travel Agent Module. Once a Travel Agent is selected the IATA number and Default Commission Rate will populate to the right of the Travel Agent Name.
- If the Travel Agent has a different commission that the one indicated, enter the name of the Travel Agent in the Contact box, then enter the new commission rate in the Override Com % box
- If the Travel Agent does not yet have a profile, click the Binoculars button (next to the drop-down menu) to open up the Travel Agent Module so that a new Travel Agent may be created.
- Once a Travel Agent has been selected, click Post.
Attach rates via the Rates Section.
NOTE: Group Rates should always be attached at the same time the group is created. If Group Rates are not attached, then Forecast Reports will not report on the potential Group Revenue for the group, as they will have no basis for calculation.
Attaching Rates to the Group
When assigning a Rate Plan to a Group you have a few options:
- Create a unique Rate Plan specifically for the Group. This is useful if a group stays several times during the year, and always has the same rate.
- Create a generic Group Rate for use with all Groups. Using the "Override Default Rate" feature, this generic Group Rate can be overridden in the Group Wizard to create a unique rate for each group, based on their individual Group Contract.
- Create Group Rate Plans based on the Market Segmentation of the Groups (ie: SMERF Group Rate, Corporate Group Rate, Wedding Group Rate, etc...). The right rate can then be attached to the appropriate group, and be overridden using the "Override Default Rate" feature to customize the rate based on the Group Contract. This allows reporting on Market Segmentation based on the Rate Plans assigned to each group.
- Assign a Manual Rate (this is the least recommended option)
If proceeding with Options 1, 2 or 3, the rate will need to be attached to the group via the Rate Wizard. Click the Rate Wizard button to open the Rate Wizard Module.
The Rate Wizard Module will open. If you do not already have a Rate Plan created for this Group, use the green + sign to add a rate at this time. (Please see How to create a Rate Plan using the Rate Wizard if unsure of how to build a new rate).
If using an existing rate for this group:
- Select the rate
- Click the Modify button to open it
- With the rate open, proceed to the Groups tab
- Select the "+" symbol next to Hotel Direct to expand the list to show all active groups
- Place a check-mark next to the group this rate will be attached to (if using a generic Group Rate, it may be attached to multiple groups at the same time. This is fine, as each time the rate is attached to a group using this process, the PMS copies the rate to the group as a duplicate. This means that each group has it's own unique instance of the rate on it, and any changes made to the rate on one group will not affect the rates on another group. This is what makes using one Group Rate for all groups possible)
- Click the Update button to save
NOTE: If you need to attach more rates to the group (ie. a "Comp" Rate Plan), repeat these steps on any other Rates needed.
Setting the Default Rate
Once the rate(s) is(are) attached, exit the Rate Wizard to return to the Group Wizard.
- Using the Group Default Rate drop down menu, select the default rate to be used when making a reservation for this group. (The rate selected here will be used by the PMS to calculate the Room Revenue totals for the Forecast Report).
- Click Post to save the selected rate as the Default for the Group.
Using Rate Override (to customize the rate for the group)
At this point, if you wish to Override the Rate of your Group Default Rate for this particular Group, you can select the Override Default Rate button located to the right of the Default Rate.
NOTE: When the "Group Rate" was attached to this group, it was in fact copied to the group as a new instance of the rate. Making any changes to the rate here via the Override Attached Rates feature will ONLY affect THIS group. Any other groups that may have the same "Group Rate" attached will NOT be affected by any rate changes made locally here. It will also NOT affect the original version of the rate in the Rate Wizard. This allows the user to make group-specific customizations to a rate without endangering the integrity of the same rate on another group.
There are two ways you can Override the Default Rate set for the Group:
- By Days in Group Block
- By Date Range
Option 1: In the Override Rates by Days in Group Block tab, the stay dates for the group are displayed (including pre & post nights). In this example, if I only want to change the rate of my Pre & Post nights, then I would un-check the desired dates under 2 Day Main Group Block on the left (or simply un-check the appropriate box on the far right side to remove a groups of days).
NOTE: The amounts showing in the Rate Template at the bottom are the price variances between Room Types, as they were pulled from the original rate in the Rate Wizard when this rate was copied over. In order to change them here, they need to be changed on the original rate in the Rate Wizard. Using rate variances on a Group Rate is optional. If you prefer to have a more customizable approach to the group rates, you may wish to make the Group Rate a tiered rate in the Rate Wizard. For more information on this, please see the How to Setup Tiering article in the Rates manual.
The next step is to update the Group Rate in the Rate Template below.
- Enter the new "base rate"
- Click Save
NOTE: This Rate Template works the same as the one located in the Rate Wizard. The base rate is entered into the top line, and the amounts from the template below are added onto that, creating different prices for different room types. For more information on using the template, see the How to Build a Rate Template article of the Rates manual.
The Rates Currently Set at the bottom of the Default Rate Override box will now reflect the rates that are set for this Group during its stay.
IMPORTANT NOTE: You can override rates at any time, even after a group has been created. However, if you have reservations already created for the group before overriding the rates, the pre-existing reservations rates will not change. Only new reservations created will show the updated rate, any existing reservations will need to be manually updated one by one.
Setting a new Default Rate for an individual Room Type
If more than one Rate Plan was attached to the Group, you can change the Default Rate for an individual Room Type if you wish by using the bottom section of the Rates tab.
- Select the desired Room Type
- Use the Default Rate drop down menu at the bottom of the screen to choose the desired Default Rate
- Click Post to save
Manually attaching a Rate Plan to an individual Room Type
It is possible to manually attach an individual Rate Plan to an individual Room Type.
- Choose the Room Type from the drop down
- Select the Rate Plan under the Available Rates
- Use the < arrow to move it to the Attached Rates side
Rates should be assigned to ALL room types, even if the room type is not included in the group block. This allows flexibility in the event that a guest needs to be moved to a room outside of the group block, ensuring there is a "Group Rate" available on that room type. Doing this will also allow any room used "outside" of the group block to still be reported on as part of the group.
Creating a Manual Rate for a Group (not recommended)
If you wish to setup a Manual Rate:
- Select the Room Type using Room Type drop down menu
- Enter rates into the Manual Rate section (fill in all boxes, if any are left blank the rate will populate as $0.00)
- Select Manual Rate as your Default Rate
- Click Post to save
These 4 steps must be repeated for each Room Type in the inventory, as this process only deals with one Room Type at a time.
The next step is to input the Group Block, the rooms that are being held for this group to book.
In this view, the following fields are viewable:
- Room Type - a list of your active Room Types
- TOT - total inventory for each Room Type
- Avg Rate - the Average Rate (based on the Group Rate attached to the group in the Rates tab)
Then, broken down by Group Dates (this includes pre/post nights)
- INV - Available Inventory for each Room Type on each date
- BLK - Group Block (this number will decrease as reservations are created)
- PUP - Rooms Picked Up (this number will increase as reservations are created)
- REM - Remaining Rooms in Block (BLK - PUP)
To enter the Group Block, check Edit Mode located in the bottom left hand corner of the screen.
Entering the Block
Proceed to enter Group Block holds under the BLK column for Group Dates (including any pre/post nights). Once Group Block has been entered, select Post to save.
In the example below, Monday, October 26 & Thursday, October 29th are the Pre & Post nights, respectively. In many situations a property may decide to not hold rooms on the Pre & Post nights as there is often no guaranteed pickup for those nights. Instead they may decide to only hold rooms on the nights of the actual group block.
Checking the Totals
Once the block numbers have been entered and saved, we will now see updated block totals at the bottom of the column for each day.
If a group will be in house for a longer period of time, it may be easier to use the Block Holds feature. The Block Holds feature allows a fixed number of rooms to be held for a specific period of time.
Click Block Holds to open the module
Amending the Block
On occasion, the original block totals may need to be amended at a later time, either adding to, or decreasing the holds. There are two options available in the Block Holds screen; Hold Override, and Availability.
To understand how these options work, consider this. We have 1 room in block, and it has been picked up, so our remaining block is now 0.
- Hold Override - Using this option, we enter 5 rooms. This means the block is now 5 in total, the pickup is 1, and the remaining block is now 4. (Overrides the original block numbers. Any picked up rooms will be included in the new block and deducted from the total).
- Availability - Using this option, we enter 5 rooms. They add on to the original block of 1 room, creating a block of 6. Because the original 1 room was picked up, we are now left with a remaining block of 5. (Adds on to the original block. Any picked up rooms are added to the new block total).
Checking the Totals
Once the block numbers have been entered and saved, we will now see updated block totals at the bottom of the column for each day.
4. Guest Services (if applicable)
The Guest Services section allows you to pre-add Guest Services offered to guests with a group. Any services added here will be automatically added to all rooms picked up out of this group block.
Available services will be displayed on the right side of the screen. The Grouping pull down menu can be used to view specific Guest Service groupings. To attach a Guest Service to a Group follow these steps:
- Select the guest service you wish to add (ensure the black arrow is pointing towards the desired guest service)
- Click the Include button to move the selected service from the right side of the screen to the left. The left side is a listing of the services attached to this group
- If a service needs to be detached from the group, click the Revoke button to move it back to the right side
Once all desired Guest Services have been selected click on the Post button to save your changes.
For groups with individual pick up (guests are calling in to make reservations and are not entered via the Rooming List), these guest services will automatically attach to all reservations made for this group block. There is an option to manually remove the guest services from a reservation if they do not apply to a specific guest.
For groups with a Rooming List, you will have an option in the “Rooming List” section to identify which guests will have the guest services noted on their reservations.
NOTE: You may alter the price of a guest service by typing the new amount into the Price column and selecting Post to save the change.
5. Rooming List
Proceed to the Rooming List tab of the Group Wizard.
NOTE: A rooming list may be entered at the same time the group is being created, however once the rates and block are set for the group, you will need to close the Group Wizard and re-open it again before proceeding with entering the Rooming List, in order for the rates to properly load.
To enter a guest name into the Rooming List area, click on the First Name field and enter the guests first name and then click (or tab) to the Last Name field and enter the guest’s last name.
NOTE: THE VARIOUS ROOM TYPES OFFERED ARE INDICATED UNDER THE “ROOM TYPE” COLUMN. ENSURE THAT YOU ARE SELECTING THE CORRECT ROOM TYPE FOR THE GUEST NAME BEING ENTERED.
After the first & last name are entered the arrival date, nights, adults, children and rate will automatically populate. If any of these fields need to be adjusted, simply click on the field. A drop down menu will appear for the arrival date & rate, while arrows will appear allowing you to increase or decrease the number of nights, adults or children in the room.
The last 3 columns located in the Rooming List Section are Routed, Guest Services (G. Srv) and Folio Number (F. No).
- Routed – the routed field is associated with groups that have billing to a House Account. When group has billing set up to go to a House Account this box will be CHECKED to indicate that the reservation’s charges will be “routed” to the house account upon check-out. If you do not want a reservation to have its charges routed to the house account upon check-out, then you would simply un-check this box and hit POST.
- Guest Services (G. Srv) – if this box is checked then the guest reservation will include the guest services selected under the “Guest Services” section. This must be checked at the time of entering the name into the Rooming List. To add or delete guest services AFTER a reservation is created, right click on the reservation and select the “Update Guest Services” option which would allow us to add or delete guest services from within the Group Wizard.
- Folio Number (F. No) – the folio number indicated here will be the same folio number selected under the “Contacts & Billing Info Tab”. Typically when billing is set to go to a House Account or a City Account then the folio will automatically populate with “8”. If there are some reservations that will be responsible for their own charges then you may change the “8” to a “1” to indicate that all charges are to the individual.
Once all the names have been entered into the Rooming List with all the appropriate information, click the Post button. Once clicked, the guest reservations will be created according to the information entered.
NOTE: When looking at the Res ID column, if there is Res ID number present, it indicates an existing reservation for this group. Reservations that are in the process of being entered will display "New" under the Res ID column, until the Post button is clicked to save them.
Copy & Past Method
TIP: Another option when entering a Rooming List is to create all the reservations under the same name, which could then be changed out to the actual guest name at a later date. To simplify this process, we can use the "Copy & Paste" function.
First, enter the name that is to appear on all the reservations (do not hit Post at this time). Next, highlight the first name, right click and select "Copy".
Proceed to enter the Share information:
- First Name/Last Name - enter the first/last name of the guest share
- Use Folio - check this box if you wish for the share guest to have their own Folio # for charges
- Store Profile - check this box if you wish to store a Guest Profile for the Guest Share (You can also use this option to search for an existing profile)
- Split Room Charges Equally - check this box if you wish for Room Charges to be split equally among all Guest Shares upon check-out.
Select Post to save changes.
Other Rooming List Functions
Other functions within the Rooming List section are:
- Assign All Rooms – pressing this button will automatically assign room numbers to the reservations found in the Rooming List. You can also manually choose room numbers or change the auto assigned room numbers by using the drop-down list in the Room # column.
- Change Res - button allows us to change the details of the selected reservation within the Rooming List. Clicking this button will open the Modify Reservation Screen. (This feature can also be accessed by right clicking on a name in the Rooming List and selecting Change)
- Add Note – allows you to add Reservation Notes to a reservation found in the rooming list. NOTE: In the bottom left hand corner of the notes box you have the option to check the "Copy to all reservations" box, which will copy the note to all reservations within the Rooming List.
Back to back Reservations
The Rooming List only shows the number of Room Types entered into the Group Block, and does not take into account that a room may be used by more than one guest during the group dates.
In the below example, the group is booked for 2 nights, however Howard Peterson is only staying for the first night. Another guest will be using his room on the second night. Because there is no more space on the Rooming List to enter another reservation for the second guest in the OVSK Room Type, the second reservation cannot be made using the Rooming List screen.
In order to accommodate this type of situation, the second guest's reservation would need to be made as an Individual Reservation, using the New Res button. (Please consult the article How to Create a Group Reservation for Individual Pickup Reservations for more information).
The Notes tab is an area where internal notes about the group can be recorded. Anything entered in this area will not print out on any guest confirmations or folios.
TIP: A Group cannot be canceled if there are notes in the Notes tab. If you receive the following error message when trying to cancel a group, simply delete the notes found in the notes section and then proceed with the cancellation.
"THE DELETE STATEMENT CONFLICTED WITH THE REFERENCE CONSTRAINT "FK_GROUP_MEMOS_GROUPS". THE CONFLICT OCCURRED IN DATABASE "BNBEAST", TABLE "DBO.GROUP_MEMOS"."