How Does A Hotel Booking Software Work?
Don’t you wish you could just book hotel rooms like you book movie tickets? From the comfort of your homes, well in advance and without having to make confirmation calls?
Well, hotel booking software allows you to do exactly that.
‘But, how?’ you might be wondering, ‘Making a week-long accommodation reservation is much more complicated than making a 2-hour seat reservation, isn’t it?’
Yes, it is. This is why hotel booking software is much more complicated than seat-booking software as well.
This article will familiarize you with the concept of hotel booking software and tell you exactly how they work.
What is a Hotel Booking Software?
A hotel booking software is also known as a hotel reservation system. Its primary function is to enable a guest to directly book their rooms well in advance from the hotel website itself or through the hotel’s other distribution channels.
The guest does not need to make any calls to find out their room number. Neither does he have to wait at the front desk upon arriving to complete the laborious check-in process. There are many other added advantages of having hotel booking software that I am going to discuss soon. But the main aim of hotel booking software is to give the guest autonomy over making room selections as per the availability.
Now that you know what a hotel reservation system is, let’s get into…
How does a Hotel Booking Software Work?
The key facet of a hotel booking software is its advanced auto inventory management feature.
What is one of the key problems that all hotels face during the peak holiday season?
This problem of overbooking is seemingly impossible to eliminate because human error itself cannot be eliminated. There will always be employees who forget to mark a room as ‘reserved’ or ones who mark it too late when another booking has already been taken. And sometimes it’s not even their fault. As a hotelier, you probably have various agents and various booking channels through which the reservations are happening simultaneously. So, it’s impossible to coordinate every such channel and keep the inventory updated as per the real progression of time.
But is it truly impossible even with computerized software that provides you the required automation?
Nope. With hotel booking software, your inventory will be updated as soon as a guest makes a reservation in real-time. There is no need for human intervention at all. Moreover, the guests will also be shown the live rates of rooms when they are on the website. You don’t need to manually update room charges as per the rising demand. The hotel booking software itself will take care of the fluctuating rates.
Once you have managed the inventory properly, half your work is done. But that’s not all that a hotel booking software allows you to do. As promised, I am now going to discuss the other benefits of hotel booking software.
Functions Performed by a Hotel Booking Software
The primary function of hotel booking software is of course the auto inventory management. But there are several associated functions that it performs in the course of this:
Contactless Check-In and Check-Out
The check-in and check-out process can be done completely via the guest’s phone if you have hotel booking software. This has more benefits than you can possibly imagine.
First, of course, there is the advantage of this process is contactless. Post-2020, the tourism, and hotel industries have suffered terribly because of the COVID-19 induced travel restrictions. Guests are extremely wary of coming in contact with strangers for extended periods of time. The last thing they want is a half-hour wait at the front desk of your hotel with tons of strangers who have traveled from various places.
“Contactless” is the new buzzword and with a contactless check-in, you can ensure that your guests have full control over their arrival and stay. Check-outs can also be made completely contactless with a hotel booking software. The guests are simply provided a payment link.
This process increases guest satisfaction, yes, but how does it help you as a business owner?
Well, any hotel booking software reduces your need for human labor. Hotels are finding it increasingly difficult to hold on to their employees because of the market instability and frequent lockdowns. However, with hotel booking software, you don’t need a receptionist or a concierge to man the front desk 24×7.
The guests are provided with a digital key right when they book their rooms. This can either be a password or a QR code. So, they don’t actually need someone to be present at the front desk to hand them their room keys upon arriving. As you can understand, you can cut down on your labor cost by a lot with hotel booking software.
Your hotel’s check-out hour is 9 am but your flight is at 3 pm. What are you supposed to do for those 5-6 hours? Worse yet, what if you get informed that morning that your flight has been delayed?
Guests are forced to live with such anxieties in most hotels that do not provide flexible check-out hours. And it is truly bizarre how this problem has not been solved yet since this is such a common issue faced by so many people.
Well, this problem has indeed been addressed by the creators of hotel booking software like StayFlexi.
You aim to spend your holidays relaxing, right? You shouldn’t have to spend your time worrying about a rigid check-out schedule. And neither should you have to sit in the lobby for three hours because you’ve arrived early and it’s not time for check-in yet.
Hotels that opt for StayFlexi can make sure their guests can check-in as early as they want and check out as late as they want.
‘How, though?’ you must be wondering, ‘If I allow a guest to extend their stay, where will I put the guest who is supposed to be arriving that day?’
The answer is simple: You need to shift them to another room. But, yes, this process can get incredibly complicated if done manually. You have to check the reservation calendar and the inventory and shift everything around and…
Well, you have to do none of this if you have hotel booking software. You see, a hotel booking software is meant to handle these permutations and combinations in no time. The moment a guest extends their stay, StayFlexi itself will shift the newly arriving guest’s booking to another room and inform them accordingly. And if no such empty rooms are available, the software will notify the ones seeking an extension that their request cannot be accommodated.
You might think this will create an unnecessary mess of the inventory. But the inventory itself is automated, so you don’t need to worry about fixing it manually. Time-based bookings not only improve customer satisfaction but also ensure that none of your rooms are underutilized.
Various guests want a warm plate of dinner already waiting for them when they arrive. But normally, hotels do not start catering to the guests till they have arrived at the hotel and checked in at the front desk. This means any hospitality measure has to wait 1-2 hours after check-in to begin.
StayFlexi does things differently. When your staff no longer has to worry about scrutinizing the guests’ IDs and credit card information and booking details for hours, they can actually focus on serving your guests.
When your guests book their rooms via your website, they can also make their preferences heard through this channel. For example, they might ask for fresh flowers or fruits in their rooms which your staff can arrange for as soon as they check-in before their arrival. If the guest checks in as soon as they board their flights, your staff has extra time to make these arrangements.
Moreover, you can obtain a significant amount of information from your guests while they are booking their rooms. Like the number of guests arriving, their dietary preferences, their ages, their location, their preferred time of checking in, etc. This data is incredibly useful for market research and then for planning further advertising plans.
This information also allows you to serve your guests in a much more personalized way. After all, you know everything about their wishes and demands before they even arrive.
As I have mentioned before, “contactless” is the new buzzword. Yes, you might think card payments are safe but they are really not. You are still using the same card machine that a dozen other people are using.
Hotel booking software not only makes the process of payment completely contactless. It also ensures that you’re not running at a loss.
Hotel booking software usually provides the guest with a payment link before their check-out. But that’s not all. StayFlexi, in particular, has a feature called the Flex Collect Automation.
Since most hotels take post-paid bookings, they lose out on a lot of money from cancellations. Flex Collect sends a notification to the guest that the booking will not be confirmed till they make a payment. This is how it prevents you from losing money and also dissuades the guests from making abrupt cancellations.
As we all know, the price of hotel rooms goes up or down based on the demand. This is why a Standard suite can turn into an Executive one during the peak season.
Hotel booking systems like StayFlexi, make sure that you can fix your room rates according to the season and the demand. You don’t need to update this manually per season. The guests will be shown the rates that you have set in the inventory when they try to search for rooms, in a particular season.
Single Cloud-Based Platform
Having a separate app designed for your hotel is not only costly. These apps also don’t get half the work done.
You’re not just trying to get an app that can perform a single function. Auto inventory management is tied to contactless check-ins which are in turn connected to cashless payments and more.
Each process is tied up to another. And if you have one app that performs only one function, it’s not enough to manage the entire hotel.
What you really need is a single system that manages how you run your entire property (or more than one property). This is called a Property Management System (PMS). A property management system is not just a hotel booking software. It takes care of everything, including storing your records on a cloud and providing you with analytics and audit reports.
Stayflexi is a PMS, not just a hotel reservation software. Yes, it does provide you with an auto inventory management function. But it also provides you with so much more, like smart housekeeping and the ability to accept 50+ foreign currencies as payment.
Since this is a cloud-based platform, you do not need to be scared of losing your data if you forget to update it. Investing in StayFlexi not only means investing in automation, but it also means relieving yourself of the duty of record-keeping and doing market research. And as I have already said, automation makes sure there is no room for human error. So, you are cutting down on your labor costs as well.
A hotel booking software might seem like a simple thing but it’s tied up to many more unthought-of advantages. And it boosts your revenue and cuts down on your spending in every possible way. Inventory management has never been easier.
It might seem like a small step towards digitizing a complicated manual process. But once you start using it, you’ll realize how this can transform the way you run your hospitality business.
Have any further questions on how exactly this hotel booking software works? Do let me know in the comments below!