If you own or manage a hotel or vacation rental, a reservation system can increase your efficiency and profit margins. Management of reservations, your online calendar, and much more are available with the right software. Your website is your window to reaching your guests, and with a reservation system, you will find that communication with guests is immediate, giving them the satisfaction of quick confirmations and receipts of payments.
Essential Features of a Reservation System
The best website reservation system will have a number of features that make your job easier and help you to run a profitable venture. Among these features, you will find:
- CRM, or customer relationship management software
- Calendar features
- Guest messaging
- Manual capabilities
- Auto responders
- Email templates
- SSL payment system
- Guest tracking
- Mobile capabilities
Free Online Reservation System
A free online reservation system may be offered with your software package. This can be a vital asset to your rental for several reasons.
A reservation system will give you a centralized calendar. This means that no matter where your guests are, or what kind of device they are using, they will be able to view your property calendar at will. This breaks down each of your units, whether those are suites, rooms, cabins, or a bed and breakfast configuration.
Potential guests can see availability at a glance. Each unit is listed, along with blackout days and rates. As the hotel manager, you can enter changes from whatever device you use. You can list any additional fees, discounts, and taxes, all available for your guests’ convenience through your free online reservation system.
Guest Reservation System
Your guest reservation system will also enable you to communicate more efficiently with your guests. Your inbox and guest information system will be centralized, giving you intuitive access to details pertaining to each guest. The ability to take care of all of a guest’s needs from one screen means efficient guest service and as a result, happier guests.
External listings will be included in your inbox, and you can manage all of the accounts accordingly. If, for example, you want to create a manual quote for a particular guest or for a block of rooms, it is easy to do online.
You can give your staff access to any aspect of your business, too. If you want to enable your front desk management to customize quotes for reservations, one click in your guest reservation system will take care of it. You and your team will also be able to approve incoming bookings manually via these types of systems.
Another winning feature of reservation systems is the automatic responder. No owner can neglect personal contact with their guests, but some features of vacation rentals need automation.
For example, when a guest makes a booking, he or she expects immediate confirmation of that reservation. With an auto-responder, this will happen. Or when your guest makes a payment, he or she wants an immediate receipt. Once again, the auto-responder takes care of this detail.
Any information you want your guests to have instantly can be scheduled into your auto-responder. So if you send a courtesy map, check-in instructions, current events listings, or check-out instructions, they can be automated. You can send a personal note, as well, if you wish, but the nuts and bolts of your business will be reliably executed.
Reservation System WordPress
A reservation system for WordPress utilizes the most popular and efficient CMS, or content management system, on the internet.
WordPress enables you to create a professional company page that will display pictures of your facilities and their best features. WordPress offers a wide variety of free templates for your site, and there are even more templates available from professionals who develop customized WordPress themes.
The main benefit of a reservation system for WordPress is that coding is automatic. You can enter your content, and the template is already coded for SEO. As you enter content such as blog posts, it will walk you through each step to make sure your content is optimized, getting you the most attention from search engines which will in turn help you boost reservations.
In addition, WordPress offers plugins. Sometimes called add-ons, these plugins customize your site, emails, and social media postings so that search engines notice them and potential guests are engaged.
Templates make everything easier, and WordPress has a wide assortment. You can even find templates for your emails. These can be automated through your reservation system, and the template will catch the eye of your email recipients. An attractive email that offers valuable information or a discount is more likely to be opened. You can prepare them ahead of time, and automate the email campaign.
Secure Payment and Guest Tracking
Your guests need to know that their payments are secure. The SSL certificate should be prominently displayed, and the software behind it should be secure and dependable.
Guests also need to know what types of payments you take when accepting reservations. Your reservation system can take care of all of this for you. It will list every type of credit card you accept, along with instructions for bank transfers and checks, if you wish. More hotel owners are taking PayPal these days, and you can too through your reservation system.
The right reservation system will also help you track your guests. You should know if a guest has stayed with you before. People like it if they hear “Welcome back!” as it lets them know that their previous stay was appreciated. Your booking system can alert you if a guest is returning to your hotel.
The guest tracking system also allows you to take notes on each guest, noting their preferences, special requests, or any particular problems they encountered on their last stay.
Did you know that over half of guests book their vacation rental stay using their mobile phones? The place of mobile technology must not be underestimated. With so many people using their smartphones, iPhones, tablets, and iPads to do shop online, you would miss out on too many reservations without an optimized site.
Your website and reservation system should have a responsive design so that it will load onto mobile devices quickly. The images and text should be able to adapt to any size screen. Your reservation system especially should be responsive, because that is where your guests will be making their reservations.
If you don’t have a reservation system for your vacation rental, then get one. Whether you have a small business or a large hotel, you’ll see happier guests and smoother operations.