Booking Procedures and Event Finances

1. Before the event

a) The Member

  1. Choose your event from the Group Programme, which is advertised by various means — on the Group Website, by texts to your mobile, by alerts to your email or by a link from our website to your Google Calendar.
  2. Contact the event's organiser to express your interest in their event.
  3. If the organiser says there is a bed available for you, check if you need to pay a holding deposit and when the Full Payment is due.
  4. Make your payment to the Group Treasurer, as a cheque made out to Leicester Hiking and Hostelling Group by post. Or pay by cash or cheque, at a group meeting at The Western, 70 Western Road, LE3 0GA between 8.00 and 10.00p.m. If you prefer to pay direct to our account by bank transfer, please, ask the Group Treasurer for our bank details. The Group Treasurer does not collect payments whilst attending group events.
  5. If you are taking advantage of someone's cancelled booking, they will have already paid either a holding deposit or the Full Payment for the event. Please, confirm with the organiser who it is and their contact details, so that you can pay their money back to them and thus take over their booking. If they have only paid a holding deposit, you will also need to pay the remaining cost of the event to the Group Treasurer.


b) The Organiser

  1. Ask the Events Co-ordinator to confirm that the dates that you need are available on the Group Programme.
  2. Contact the hostel/bunkhouse of your choice and confirm that the dates that you want are available there, what is the price and the payment details. If the price and dates are suitable make a provisional booking.
  3. When you first contact the hostel/bunkhouse, please, check whether or not they operate a "mixed dorm policy" and if they do, can they offer you alternative single sex and/or sole occupancy rooms. If you do make a booking where rooms are likely to "mixed", even with non-group members of the same sex. Please, ensure that all of those interested in your event, know of this before they agree to go.
  4. Contact the Group Treasurer to arrange payment. To make sure that the correct payments are made, ensure that the Group Treasurer has copies of all the invoices that you receive. The Group Treasurer will then set the Full Payment needed for your event based on the figures that you provide. S/he will also set a deadline for the receipt of the Full Payment on the nearest Wednesday meeting before the final payment date that you have agreed with the hostel/bunkhouse. Please, do not make these calculations yourself or set your own payment deadline.
  5. Contact the Events Co-ordinator again to place your event on the Group Website along with the Group Treasurer's payment amount and deadline. Please, inform the Events Coordinator, if the hostel/bunkhouse operates a "mixed dorm policy" so that a warning can be posted along with your event on the Group Programme. Mobile texts and email alerts will then be sent out to inform the members.
  6. It is now up to you to "sell your event" please do not rely on the website, texts and email alerts alone. Remember, you are the only one that knows the room sizes and beds available on your event. When you start receiving contacts from interested members, if you have room for them, tell them to make an appropriate payment to the Group Treasurer. Do not wait until your weekend is full, please, pass all the names that you have onto the Group Treasurer as a soon as possible so that s/he knows from whom to expect Payments for your event.

    If the Group Treasurer receives a payment from someone not on your list, s/he will contact you, to confirm that you have a place for them. If you say no, their cheque will not be banked, or their bank transfer will be returned.

  7. About two weeks before the deadline:

    Contact the Group Treasurer to confirm who on your list have paid. If insufficient payments have been received, please, remind people that the deadline is now due and fill any remaining beds from your reserves. Only then where possible, cancel unwanted beds. Please, do not cancel any beds before you reach the set deadline; you may not have contacted everyone, and some people may be waiting to see if they can afford it or may have other commitments, before they can contact you. If you do cancel any beds, please, let the Group Treasurer know so that the correct final payment is made to the hostel/bunkhouse.

  8. At the deadline:

    1. If all your expected Payments are banked, the Group Treasurer will arrange for the final payment to your hostel/bunkhouse.
    2. At this point, or shortly before it is the Organiser's job to arrange the transport for the event. Remember, that the drivers that you nominate before we go will travel free — see Appendix 1.
    3. It is also advisable, as the Organiser to contact all of your possible walk leaders before your event, to see if they are willing to lead walks for you.

c) The Group Treasurer

  1. When first contacted by the organiser of any event, the Treasurer will confirm the final price, any set individual overnight prices and the number of beds booked. S/he will discuss with the organiser their payment arrangements with the hostel/bunkhouse including any discounts, the details of any communal meals or other activities for which allowance should be made when setting the Full Payment and the payment deadline.
  2. Where a limited number of beds are booked, and these are all expected to be filled or the hostel/bunkhouse has agreed to charge only for the beds occupied, the individual accommodation cost will be the overnight charge times the number of nights staying. If booking a whole hostel/bunkhouse or there are too many beds where the numbers cannot be subsequently reduced, an estimate will be made of the number of beds likely to be filled (usually 75 to 80%) and the accommodation cost based on this. The Full Payment should at least cover all the accommodation costs plus the Admin Charge per night plus travel as a passenger from Leicester to the hostel/bunkhouse and the return. Fuel prices are usually set 10p per litre above the national average price for petrol at the time of booking, which then allows for fluctuations in fuel prices.
  3. The Group Treasurer will advise the organiser on the optional use of a holding deposit, which is where the member pays part of the Full Payment to retain their bed then pays the rest at or before the deadline. For very popular events or events booked a long time in advance, the usual holding deposit is £10. If a hostel/ bunkhouse expects the complete payment on booking, the minimum holding deposit is the price of the overnights plus the Admin Charge. All holding deposits are non-returnable.
  4. The Group Treasurer will try to attend all Wednesday meetings where a collection deadline has been set, to collect and then bank appropriate payments for the events. If the Group Treasurer cannot attend a meeting at which a payment deadline is set, s/he will arrange for a deputy, preferably the event organiser or the committee's General Assistant as a stand-in.
  5. When required the Group Treasurer makes or arranges for all payments to be made to the hostel/bunkhouse.
  6. If someone cancels after a holding deposit has been paid to the hostel/bunkhouse and beds are thus being held for them in the group's name, the Group Treasurer will only refund their Payment in full, if they have suffered a family bereavement — see Appendix 3B). However, s/he will liaise with the event organiser to find a replacement for any cancelling member. If a replacement cannot be found and the Organiser cannot cancel their beds, the cancelling member will be charged the price of the overnights, as if they were there. If their cancellation was so late that transport arrangements could not be changed, the cancelling member will also be included in the travel costs, to cover their "empty car seat" — see Appendix 1.

During the event and/or on arrival

a) The Member

  1. If the organiser has nominated you as a driver, make sure you have contacted all your passengers and arrange to transport them to the hostel/bunkhouse.
  2. If you are a passenger, ensure that you know who you are travelling with and when you are to be picked up.

b) The Organiser

  1. You are the first contact with the hostel/bunkhouse, please, ensure that all payments will be made and complete any further paperwork, e.g. room lists and fire lists.
  2. Similarly, you are the first contact for outside activities. Ensure everything is right, and that everyone that you have delegated responsibilities to are still OK with them.

Before leaving ensure all nominated drivers know to give their fuel costs to the Group Treasurer as soon as possible after the event is over.

c) The Group Treasurer

  1. If there is a pay on arrival arrangement, s/he makes the outstanding payments.
  2. S/he organises the payments for communal meals and/or communal activities.

If the Group Treasurer or a co-signatory is not on an event and a payment is required by cheque, s/he will produce the appropriate group cheque in advance. Or, s/he will arrange to make the payment by other means before your arrival, i.e. by bank transfer or by using a bank card that will be reimbursed.

3. After the event

a) The Member

On your return, you will usually receive a small refund of any unused money from your Full Payment. If you are a nominated driver, ensure that you promptly give the Group Treasurer your fuel cost on your return from the event. This will be refunded plus any of your unused Full Payment for the event.

b) The Organiser

Ensure that the Group Treasurer knows of any extra costs for which you want to claim. For example, any postage and/or essential phone calls related to the event. Remind the nominated drivers to give the Group Treasurer their fuel claims.

c) The Group Treasurer

Collect all the drivers' costs, any organiser's costs and complete the final calculations then make all refunds to those on the event, either as cheques in the post or as bank transfers to members' accounts. S/he will also collect any balances that are due.

Appendix 1 — Nominated Drivers

"Nominated drivers" are those who have been asked to drive by the Organiser, and have agreed to take, two or preferably three others to the event. A Nominated driver taking one passenger is only acceptable, if the seats in all of the other nominated drivers' cars are full!

The Group has a policy that nominated drivers travel free. This recognises the wear and tear on their vehicles and potential breakdown/accident costs.

To calculate your driver's fuel cost:

  1. Completely fill your tank before picking up your first passenger.
  2. If you need to refill your tank during the event, do so and keep the receipt.
  3. On your return home completely refill your tank and keep the receipt.
  4. Add up your receipts and send the total to the Group Treasurer as soon as possible.

Calculation of the passengers' travel costs:

The Group Treasurer adds all the drivers' fuel costs together then divides the total equally between all the passengers. Each nominated driver then gets their actual fuel cost back plus the remainder of their unused payment for the event.

Any member can opt to drive independently (without passengers) at their own expense.

Appendix 2 — Special Cases

For most of our hostelling weekends, the above booking procedures are standard. However, there are others where these procedures are not. For instance, for "City Breaks" where we often use public transport, and members will be expected to buy their own bus or train tickets. The Group occasionally organises trips outside of the UK that may involve members making bookings with outside holiday firms and/or booking their own air tickets. For such events, members must keep in regular contact with the event organiser — they know the travel arrangements.

Appendix 3 — What if...?

A) What if an event's finances fall short? Who covers the shortfall?

Leicester Hiking and Hostelling Group keeps a certain amount of money in its bank account for safeguarding the payments made on forthcoming events, we call it the Group Fund. The Group expects to replace money paid from the Group Fund when collecting the Payments from members participating in each event. So, money is spent from the Group Fund but as it is continually replaced, it is referred to as "non-disposable", ideally it should not be lost. Occasionally, an event does not attract the expected interest and so small amounts paid out of the Group Fund may be lost. At first, the Group Fund pays for that shortfall and gets smaller. If our Group Fund continues to get smaller, the Group will lose its means to run its events, so any lost money needs to be replaced!

Remember that the Group makes an Admin Charges per night per member for each overnight filled. These surcharges are surplus to the running of each event and are collected in the Group Account as Group Surplus. Unlike the Group Fund, Group Surplus is "disposable" and for anything that the Group Treasurer spends this money on, its cost is not replaced. Since 2013, the Committee agreed that any member's refund or balance on a weekend that was £3 or less, would not be refunded or collected. Money collected in this way is also added to Group Surplus. Group Surplus can cover any small losses in the Group Fund, which are usually referred to as subsidies on events.

Although it was used unofficially for some years before, it has become the accepted practise in this Group since the 2008 AGM that for any block or sole occupancy booking (bookings where the Group has to pay for beds, whether or not they are filled by paying members) that the Group Treasurer divides the full cost of that booking between all of the participating members, i.e. s/he can vary the price of the overnight charged in order to protect the Group Fund. In practise, the Full Payment for all block or sole occupancy bookings are now set to allow for up to 25% non-occupancy of beds. If all the beds are filled, the cost of each overnight becomes less so each participating member will receive a refund after the event. For anyone cancelling on such an event our normal cancelation rules still apply; the cancelling member will be charged as if they were there unless a replacement is found to take over their booking.

However, there are still those rare occasions when the non-occupancy is greater than 25% even over 50%. On these occasions, the Group Treasurer, will liaise with the event Organiser and the participating members to set an extra balance to be collected. If a suitable balance cannot be agreed, the Group Treasurer will set an overnight price as high as possible within the original Payment and collect it from the participating and cancelling members. S/he will also replace as much as possible by subsidising from the money available in Group Surplus and Group Fund. Any losses from Group Fund will then be replaced from surpluses made in following years or, possibly by fundraising outside of the Group.

B) What if I am ill, injured or hospitalised and cannot attend an event? Do I automatically get a full refund?

Unfortunately, no, you will still be treated as a cancellation. Since the 2008 AGM, the only situation in which the Group Treasurer can give a cancelling member a full, automatic refund, is if that cancellation is due to a family bereavement, i.e. the death of a parent, sibling, child or close relative.

Other genuine circumstances, such as medical or health problems, will be considered by the Group Treasurer and if s/he can keep the event in budget a refund will be made. Any further "dispute" will be referred to the Group's Management Committee for discussion.