Hotel Reservation System: The Method Behind the Magic

Marketing 13 minute read 30th November 2023

Are you familiar with the actual process behind a hotel reservation system? One of the backbones of hotel property management is a system that deals with online reservations. With such a system, the modern hotel industry would likely thrive. A reservation system is genuinely the method behind the magic. Such systems boost guest experience by streamlining the online booking process.

They also handle automatic administrative tasks and have key features that simplify staff’s lives. In short, having a reservation system for your hotel is the best. It helps make your booking system more reliable and relieves your team of meager duties.

In this guide, we’ll explain just why having a central reservation system is so vital in the hospitality industry. Whether there is an official channel manager or free or paid software, reservation systems can revolutionize your property. By learning why and how you should book systems, you can take on the skills to drive that change.

Are you ready to learn about the method behind the magic of modern hotels? Here’s our complete guide to the world of online booking systems.

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Why Use Hotel Reservation Systems?

So, before we get into the nitty gritty practical details, why should you use hotel reservation systems? The main reason is that managing reservations is very time-consuming and prone to human error. That means that if you can outsource this task to (more reliable) technology, you’ll have a more effective business. This has many benefits, including relieving staff burnout and leaving more time for hands-on customer service.

Aside from that, though, there are some extra benefits of having a system for online bookings. These are the top benefits:

  • Real-time availability updates for customers

Instead of having to wait until opening hours or physically contact someone, customers get real-time availability updates. This could be a ‘we are booked out’ sign or even gray or red dates that guests cannot click. It offers a real-time availability - or lack of availability - message for customers. This is straightforward and keeps things convenient.

  • It makes you run more efficiently

Booking systems are also efficient. It means that you can run your business more smoothly. It handles things like room allocation and yield management. This creates a more passive system with less drainage of your time and energy - great, right? By making bookings more efficient, this frees up your time for other things like marketing and customer service.

  • It is cost-effective - even if you make an upfront investment

Finally, it is really cost-effective. For instance, reducing the number of hours your paid staff or yourself dedicate to manually managing bookings. Even if you invest upfront in booking system software, you will save yourself on paid hours. It is one of those things where you have to invest to save.

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How Much To Budget for a Hotel Booking Reservation System?

How much should you budget for a hotel booking reservation system? That is a great question. You might find a free property management system that works great for you. Or you might head for a mid-range option for a few thousand a year. Or you might want a system created for you, which can reach five figures in cost, especially for custom systems. In short, it depends on what functions you need. It also depends on how big your business is and, therefore, what volume of bookings your system has to manage.

Generally, a central reservation system costs around $10 monthly to a few thousand. A popular option for low budgets is Sirvoy, which charges $10 per month on a subscription model. But you can also reach out to private programmers and system creators who can design a custom-made reservation system.

These projects can reach as high as $55,000 in total or up to $200 an hour. As you can see, the overall answer is that it depends on what you want. Asking how much to budget for a hotel booking system is like asking how long is a piece of string.

We can definitely provide you with some rough guidelines. Generally, if you want a non-custom system with support and good features, we’d budget $10-40 per month. If you want a custom system with unique features tailor-made for you, it will be more expensive.

For this, we’d budget above $20,000 as an upfront investment. For most businesses, a subscription-based reservation system is the most viable and effective option. This is definitely something to keep in mind as you head out shopping for suitable system solutions.

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How To Set Up a Hotel Online Reservation System?

How do you set up a hotel online reservation system? The short answer is that unless you can create software - which would be very impressive - you don’t. Setting up a reservation system involves shopping for the best deals with all the essential features you need. The actual setup process after that will then depend on which software package you choose. There is a basic set of steps you should follow, though, and we’ll run through what to keep in mind.

1. Crack Your Budget

First things first, you need to really crack your budget. You need to understand precisely how much you can afford, with the exact wiggle room for the right package. This way, you can be led smartly and financially informed through these next steps. For some businesses, this could be $100 a month. Or, for some, this could be $20,000, or you want to keep this under $40 a month. Whatever your budget, you’ll be able to find a solution. But you just need it in mind to make choosing easier.

2. Get to Grips With What Key Features You Need

Next, you need to know what essential features you need. These could be automatic room assignment tools or remote payment processing. Whatever you need, you need to get clear on at this stage. Really understanding your requirements at this stage will help you pick the right system. The last thing you want to do is have to backtrack later, right?

3. Decide Whether You Want Custom or Non-Custom

At this stage, you’ll have a good idea about whether you want - or need - a custom system. Do you have a budget of over $20,000? And are the key features you need not regularly part of subscription-based system software? If you answer yes to both, custom software is a great idea. If not, then don’t bother, and it isn’t a realistic option. As a general rule, everyone can manage just fine with non-customs.

4. Shop Around and Compare Systems

Finally, you can start shopping around and comparing systems. You should look at pricing, reviews, and functionality. You should also consider what key features each plan offers. Remember that guests won’t be seeing your end of this system. This is just for staff and yourself to operate. Therefore, the most important thing is that it is functional, efficient, and usable.

5. Have a Demo and Purchase if It Goes Well

Lastly, you can book a demo to get a better taste of the system. If all goes well, you can go ahead and purchase or subscribe. This is the final step in setting up an online reservations system. However, you should continue to review the system’s efficiency as you continue. Remember that your needs and requirements for key features may change. It is a good idea to keep checking your system. This way, you can stay as effective as possible.

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Final Thoughts: Is a Reservation System Worthwhile?

So, is a reservation system worthwhile? Absolutely. In fact, booking systems are so helpful that most hotels could not function without one. Online reservations are a part of the modern world, and you’ll struggle to operate without one. If you are on the fence about investing in such software for your business, we recommend making the jump. It is a tax-deductible business expense.

Plus, you’ll massively free up your own and staff’s time for different essential tasks. It is a great way to make your booking system passive and boost your business.

While we’re on the subject of making your business processes passive, another great idea is to set up WiFi marketing. You can always improve your existing hotel WiFi. Through WiFi marketing, you can utilize guest WiFi to create a passive marketing system. It is simple.

All you do is invest in a captive portal system, which blocks WiFi access until guests input their contact details. It works as a treat. With all these details, you can sync an automatic email or SMS marketing campaign. The details funnel straight in and out as marketing content.

Here at Beambox, we have a brilliant all-in-one WiFi marketing platform. Start your Beambox free trial today. A hotel reservation system is just the beginning.

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