How To Customize Your Reservations for the Holiday Season

The only thing scarier than the monsters roaming the streets on Halloween is how quickly the holiday season will be upon us after the last piece of candy has been handed out. The next couple of months will be one of the busiest times for both restaurants and customers alike. We’d like to help your restaurant get prepared early so that managing your reservations will be one less thing for you to worry about during the holidays.

Check out the following tips to get Yelp Reservations set up for your restaurant during the holidays.

Notify Customers of Your Holiday Hours

Pre-booking Notes

If there are certain dates you will be closed this holiday season, be sure to let your customers know using Pre-Booking Notes. To update your pre-booking notes, log into your Yelp Reservations account on a laptop or desktop computer, and go to Configure > Reservations > Accept Online Reservations > Pre-Booking Notes. Click “Edit,” enter in your desired message in the text box, and hit Save. This message will appear for any guest looking to book a reservation online. A simple “Please Note: We will be closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day this year. Happy holidays!” should suffice.

Yelp Reservations Pre-Booking Notes

Set Up Your Holiday Schedule

In addition to pre-booking notes, you can also prevent guests from being able to select and book on the days you will be closed by deleting the sheets scheduled on those dates. Once again, make sure that you are logged into your Yelp Reservations account and go to Configure > Schedule. On the calendar, navigate to the dates you will be closed using the arrows at the top, click on the date(s), and delete the sheets scheduled on that date. Make sure to select “Only [Date].”

Yelp Reservations Delete Sheets

Plan for Special Holiday Events

If your restaurant will be open during the holidays, but you’ll be offering something different from your regular service, i.e., different hours or a special prix-fixe menu, you’ll want to focus on creating special holiday sheets. For more information about creating sheets, please check out this video: https://vimeo.com/71527406

Go to Configure > Sheets > Create New Sheet, and name your sheet something recognizable like “Xmas Eve Dinner 2016.” You can adjust your first and last seating times for this particular holiday dinner, as well as your Advanced Sheet settings. Two key features on the sheets that we suggest taking advantage of for the holidays are Credit Card Holds and Sheet Notes.

Yelp Reservations Sheets

Credit Card Holds

If you wish to require your guests to enter in a credit card in order to book a reservation for a special holiday event, enable the credit card holds feature. First, go to Configure > Reservations > Enable Credit Card Holds for Reservations. Click Edit to enter your cancellation policy in the text box, and hit Save. Pro Tip: Copy your cancellation policy now, so you won’t have to re-type it in a later step.

Enter the mailing address where you would like Yelp Reservations to mail you a check at the end of the month for any cancellation fees that you charge.

If this credit card policy will only apply for a special holiday event, make sure “Enable credit card holds for online reservations” is toggled off.

Yelp Reservations Credit Card Holds

To activate the credit card policy for the special holiday event, head back to Configure > Sheets > Edit Sheet for the holiday sheet you created. Underneath Advanced Sheet Settings, turn on the “Override Global CC Hold” switch and paste your credit card policy for the event into the text box. You can also set the minimum party size that requires a credit card hold.

Yelp Reservations Enable Credit Card Holds

Communicate Special Messages With Sheet Notes

If there is a specific message that you would like to convey only to guests booking for your holiday event, you will want to set up the Sheet Notes for your holiday sheet. Go to Configure > Sheets > Edit Sheet for your holiday sheet, and you will find Sheet Notes under the Advanced Sheet Settings section. You can let your guests know things you’ll be offering that are specific to the holiday dates such as a prix-fixe menu, how much it costs per person, etc.

Yelp Reservations Sheet Notes

Once you are done creating your holiday sheets, make sure to schedule them on the calendar so that the Yelp Reservations system will know which days to use your holiday hours. Go to Configure > Schedule, and navigate to the date you would like to use your holiday sheet. Click on the date, and click “Add Sheet” or “Replace” (if there is already a sheet scheduled on that date) next to the appropriate shift. Select “Only [Date],” locate your holiday sheet, and hit Schedule. Repeat as necessary for other dates when you would like to use your holiday settings.

Yelp Reservations Sheet Calendar

And you’re all set for the holidays! Consider this an early holiday gift to yourself. Happy Reservations!

For more information about Yelp Reservations, visit our site or call us at 888-254-5315.