You can manage all of your reservations with an automated reservation system. The software is easy to install and will interface with your website and channel manager. With a guest reservation system, access to your vacation rental property will be maximized across your site and with every OTA. There are several features of a guest reservation system that will appeal to even an owner of a small hotel or travel business.
Features of the Best Guest Reservation System
The best guest reservation system will increase the efficiency of your hotel or rental management, keeping your site updated as soon as a guest books. There’s more, though. A good reservation system will also have:
- Guest messaging
- An auto-responder
- Templates for intriguing emails
- Centralized calendar
- Manual access
Your customer relationship management (CRM) will be a major factor in whether or not someone decides to travel with you again. Quick, responsive booking and immediate confirmation make a traveler feel secure. It takes some of the worry out of their travel plans, enabling them to enjoy their journey.
Guest messaging should be comprehensive and quick. You need to be able to see all correspondence with a particular guest in one place. With the right guest reservation system, you will be able to see everything you need to know about your visitor, and schedule any messages at that time.
A great deal of admin time is spent sending out emails, newsletters, booking confirmations, arrival instructions, and more. Anyone in the vacation rental industry knows that this type of repetitive work is not only time consuming, but it is also fraught with opportunity for mistakes.
A guest reservation system can automate most of that communication. There will always be those guests who need one-on-one attention, but an auto-responder will eliminate much of the miscommunication. This is also a great marketing tool, because guests receive immediate notification of their actions. One of the simplest, most common actions of a hotel manager can be thoroughly automated.
The way an auto-responder works is that the guest’s actions trigger certain emails. For example. when soeone books, it triggers the sending of a confirmation email. When they send payment, it prompts a payment receipt. You can schedule ahead of time, for instance, instructions that should be sent out in advance of guests’ arrival. The key is to keep your message as personal as possible, considering that it is automated. Keep it updated, and keep the tone appropriate.
Your emails, whether manual or automated, need to convey important messages. Look for a template that will make your emails visually stimulating without being too wordy. Keep details useful and friendly, and include a nice graphic or photograph of your home to entice your guests to keep reading. Your guests will look forward to their destination after a long day traveling.
What happens when a traveler decides to reserve your accommodation? The first thing that happens is that you, or a member of your staff, has to update information on the website, showing that room as unavailable. There is a beginning and an ending date on that reservation, which must be entered. Then, you have to make sure it shows up on the calendar.
But that is just the start. Next, you have to visit each of the OTAs with whom you contract, and update those calendars. It is the same if you change the rates at one of your hotels, or offer a discount.
With a guest reservation system, management of your reservations couldn’t be more simple. All repetitive tasks are automated to make life easier. This means that when you post seasonal rates, they will automatically apply to all similar property.
Your system will allow you to enter special rates for manual quotes. This provides you with the ability to treat a particular traveler with a special discount without messing up your computer. As a hotel or rental owner, you know how hard it is to keep every renter happy.
With this in mind, it is important for hotel management to have the ability to manually enter fees, discounts, and other rate changes.
Finally, your guest reservation system should be accessible to mobile devices. This means the site will adapt to any sized screen, download quickly, and not freeze up a smartphone. Given that over 50% of travelers use mobile operating systems to book hotels, it is foolish of managers to ignore such a major advantage.