What makes StayFlexi Different from other Hotel Booking Systems?
Long gone are the days when you had to directly walk into a hotel and ask them if they had a suite available. Neither do you depend upon travel agents. So, how do you book your hotel rooms now? Through Airbnb, Booking.com, or TripAdvisor, right?
It’s not that there are any problems associated with taking reservations from channels such as these. But every hotel prefers direct bookings through their own website for a reason. It’s way easier to build up a brand image that way.
For taking direct bookings, a Hotel Booking System is a must. Hotel Booking Systems allow your guests to make direct reservations. These reservations are immediately confirmed from your side after successful payment.
The chief benefit of having a Hotel Booking Software is the automations. These automations make sure that you don’t have to manually do everything and manage bookings across all channels. I’ll soon explore exactly how these automations work. But before that, you should know that a Hotel Booking Software often comes as a part of a Property Management System.
Property Management System (PMS) is basically the whole package. It is a single cloud-based platform that allows you to manage every aspect of managing your property. Accepting online reservations is one of the many functions that a PMS performs. A PMS like StayFlexi allows you to practice Smart Housekeeping and also provides you with regular analytics reports.
In this article, however, I am going to focus on the features of a Hotel Booking System solely.
Essential Features of a Hotel Booking System
Comprehensive Booking Portal
Your guest has to be presented with a booking portal that has all the relevant information in one place. This means that they should not be endlessly redirected or be forced to scroll down to find simple details. The number of available rooms should be listed clearly along with their current prices.
Your Hotel Booking System should ideally have ties to social media platforms as well. Guests might be trying to book rooms from those channels. Also, they must be provided an immediate confirmation after their payment is done. With a Hotel Booking System, these confirmations are sent as automated replies. You don’t have to manually control the whole process.
Also, with the new 5G, you can even offer the guests virtual tours of your hotel so that they can easily make up their minds. Make sure that this initial reservation portal contains all bits of information regarding your packages, add-ons, inclusions, etc.
Online Payment Option
Hotel Booking Systems make it very easy for the guest to pay online by creating and sending them payment links. At the end of their stay, additional payments are listed and another payment link is sent to the guests. This ensures that throughout the entirety of their stay, you don’t have to handle any cash or card payments.
Very often, hotels lose out on money from postpaid bookings when guests cancel abruptly. A PMS like StayFlexi makes sure that this doesn’t happen through a feature called Flex Collect. If a guest makes a postpaid booking through a channel like Booking.com, they are sent a notification. This informs them that their booking will only be confirmed after they have successfully completed the payment. A payment link is sent to them in tow.
This is one of the most beneficial features of a hotel booking system. Manually handling both prepaid and postpaid payments through various methods and channels is harrowing.
Auto Inventory Management
Inventory management of rooms is one of the toughest tasks in the hotel business. The inventory must be continually updated as rapid reservations happen. But this is easier said than done. Bookings, as you know, are done by various agents across various channels. It’s very hard to keep up with the pace of reservations, especially during the holiday season.
Managing this manually is the perfect recipe for scores of errors.
Perhaps the most important feature of a hotel booking system is auto inventory management. Every time a guest makes a booking, this is immediately updated in the inventory in real-time. This makes sure that you don’t accidentally overbook your rooms.
Also, if you invest in a Hotel Booking System, you no longer have to pay people to manually manage your inventory. The automated system is way more efficient and error-proof.
Central Reservation System and Channel Manager
The reason for having a Central Reservation System is simple. Your hotel is perhaps listed across various booking channels like Airbnb, TripAdvisor, Booking.com, etc. And the same rooms are listed on all those sites. To ensure that double-bookings don’t happen, you have to make sure every reservation is recorded in a single place.
This is exactly why having a Channel Manager is so extremely important. A PMS like StayFlexi ensures that you can connect to over 100 separate booking channels. A two-way-sync system makes sure that as soon as a room is booked, it’s communicated to every concerned party.
You can add as many channel managers as you want. The key to avoiding overbooking is to maintain parity between all booking channels. Having a single centralized reservation system prevents unnecessary fiascos.
Connect with whichever Online Travel Agency that you want. The same room rates and occupancy rates will be communicated across all the channels. This is another incredible feature of a hotel booking system.
One of the most important features of a hotel booking system is that it is cloud-based. Having a cloud-based hotel booking software is a necessity for various reasons. First, your hotel booking system should be available from anywhere and everywhere. Your staff obviously won’t be stationed only in one place. A cloud-based system makes sure that your staff can access any data that they require while they’re on the go.
Second, hotel booking systems store a huge bulk of data. This includes data regarding your customers, your utility usage, your spendings, etc.
Of course, keeping a backup of this enormous bulk of data on your device is impossible. But storing this data on a cloud-based platform is no big deal. This also ensures that you can access this data whenever you wish to.
Data stored on the cloud never magically disappears. So, you can easily check the data that dates back to the past decade.
Cloud-based systems are much cheaper than traditional on-site softwares as well.
International Currency Acceptance
The reason most hotels invest in hotel booking systems is that they want to attract guests from everywhere in the world. This is the primary reason why state-of-the-art virtual tours of the property are provided as well.
Therefore, you must make sure that you can accept international currencies. As you might already know, a heavy additional charge is levied on international payments. Hotel Booking Systems makes sure that you can accept various kinds of foreign currencies with no additional tax.
A hotel booking system like StayFlexi allows you to accept 50+ popular currencies from all across the world. Along with this, most hotel booking systems allow you to communicate using a variety of foreign languages as well. Your guests should be able to pay via foreign currencies even when they buy from your POS outlets.
This is how hotel booking systems enable you to increase your hotel’s brand presence all across the world.
Personalized Discounts and Loyalty Rewards
If you are a frequent air traveller, you’ll know that very rarely do two passengers pay the same amount. Ticket prices vary so widely because various kinds of passengers book at various points in time.
The same is valid for hotel bookings. You should be offering different discounts to different groups of people. Let’s take two examples to understand why personalized discounts matter.
During the holiday season, your hotel must have tons of single rooms that go empty. This is the perfect time to offer discounts to your business guests. During the non-holiday season, your larger suites must go empty. You can fill these up by offering discounts to larger families. The fact that you can tailor a discount to suit your needs is one of the best features of a hotel booking system.
Not just this, you must have a dedicated loyalty program as well. Hotel Booking Systems allow you to categorize your guests based on data. A PMS like StayFlexi also allows you to create promo codes for your returning guests.
The key feature of a hotel booking system is that it makes your hotel website mobile-friendly. You don’t need to have a separate app designed for your hotel. StayFlexi, for example, comes with an Orchestra app and a mobile-optimized website as well.
Making your website mobile-friendly is especially essential during this pandemic. People are focusing on “cashless” and “contactless” as much as possible, for good reason.
Property Management Systems make sure that every separate process can be controlled by the guest via their mobile phones. Guests can make payments through the links that they are provided. They can also order food or other entertainment options from anywhere in the hotel through their mobile phones.
Due to the 5G, guests can even control the lighting or the temperature in their rooms with their mobiles. StayFlexi also allows guests to connect with the housekeeping staff via their mobiles.
The price of hotel rooms goes up or down based on the demand surrounding them. So not only do room prices vary seasonally, they vary on an hourly basis.
This dynamic pricing is impossible to manage if you plan to update it manually. Hotel Booking Systems allow you to set room rate templates which ensures that the varied pricing process is automated. This is one of the most useful features of a hotel booking system.
You can set occupancy goals with a hotel booking system like StayFlexi. As soon as a particular occupancy goal, your prices automatically get increased or reduced according to that. Your hotel booking system will increase your room prices by $10-15 as soon as your hotel reaches 70% occupancy. And the pricing will go down accordingly when the occupancy rate is low.
Self Check-In and Check-Out
Self-check-in and check-out options become easy to avail when you can directly book your rooms. You are provided with a digital key (a password or QR code) that you can use to unlock your room.
Therefore, you can check-in at any point in time you want. Maybe even right after you board the plane to reach your destination. This way the staff can start preparing for your arrival hours before you reach. And you don’t even need to wait in the queue! This is one of the best features of a hotel booking system.
Hotel Booking Systems are essential for running any hospitality business in 2021. The features of a hotel booking system must make it evident to you that it enhances the guests’ satisfaction. The best part is that it also reduces the room for human error because the automations handle everything.
Are you looking for a feature that I have not mentioned on this list? Well, StayFlexi is known for its flexibility. Customization is our forte. Let us know in the comments if there is something specific that you want and we’ll help you out!