It goes without saying that computers have revolutionized the hospitality industry. Reservations, scheduling, and property management all are much more efficient with the proper software for your business. This is why a reservation system is so important to today’s hoteliers and rental owners. A free system helps you to expand your marketing to more points of origin.
Free Online Reservation System
A free online reservation system will probably give you all of the features you need, including the ability to update your calendar. A careful comparison is necessary, though, to make sure you are getting all of the functions with the free version that you would with a paid counterpart.
With your free online reservation system, you should be able to:
- Manage offline bookings
- Take partial payments
- Support various payment gateways
- Update your calendar
- Booking of multiple rooms
- Allow smartphone updates
- Accept cancellations
- Issue refunds
- Send email verification
- Post fees and taxes
- Apply discounts
Manage Offline Bookings
From day one, your free online reservation system will accept and manage offline bookings and give you the flexibility to make appointments to talk with potential staff. Lots of vacation rentals take reservations over the phone or through walk-in. These types don’t have to throw off your diary. Simply enter the details on your site, and your software will automatically add it to your calendar.
Take Partial Payments
You have the freedom with to require a deposit to reserve a room or block of rooms. You can determine whether or not the deposit is refundable, or if a certain percentage is refundable. You can also accept partial payment for the amount and make appointments for final billing.
Billing is automatic with your free online reservation system. Once the guests make their selection, they are taken to the checkout page. This page displays all of the payment options you accept, including credit cards, PayPal, and more. Here, your guests can make secure online payments.
A free online reservation system will automatically update your calendar. Therefore, even when a guest is reserving multiple rooms, your website will show those changes without any team member having to enter the data.
Book Multiple Rooms
For block booking, your guests will need as much information about rates and discounts as possible. This should be visible even on a free online reservation system. Guests will be able to reserve multiple rooms either connecting or separate, without needing appointments to go over details.
Allow Smartphone Updates
Recent studies show that 90% of people shopping use their smartphones while they are shopping. How does this affect hotel reservations? With an accessible system, it means that guests can connect to your website no matter where they are. They don’t have to be at their computers to check your diary or schedule appointments. They can simply go to your site and make their reservations on their phone.
In addition to this, you can make updates no matter where you are. As long as you have internet access, you can update availability, rates, specials, and more from your smartphone, iPad, or tablet. Mobile adaptability is important for any online company, but especially for vacation rentals. Check to see if your system is mobile friendly before using it.
Cancellations, Refunds, Taxes, Fees
Any automatic system should be able to handle cancellations and refunds. In some cases and as an owner, you may occasionally have to send refunds manually. Though it should be automatic if not. Fees and taxes will be displayed on the checkout page as well. These all affect the final total, and disclosure of all fees is required.