Being a hotelier today can be extremely rewarding but it also comes with a host of challenges that didn’t exist a decade back. Guests today demand exceptional service and while a positive experience can help drive even more bookings and develop the hotel’s brand much faster, unhappy guests have the potential to wreak havoc on a property’s reputation. With an increasingly large number of travelers taking to social media to talk openly about their experiences, hotels cannot afford let any errors creep into the guest-cycle.
The cloud based PMS has allowed independent hotels to improve their operating efficiency and automate many time-consuming tasks, freeing up time for the staff to better attend to guests and while this does have a positive effect on the guest experience, it doesn’t address any issues that could arise during earlier stages of the guest-cycle.
One such problem for hotels is double-bookings. Overbooked rooms put a lot of pressure on the establishment as well as the customer – in many instances, neither party is aware about what has taken place until the guest turns up at the front desk! This can turn into an extremely ugly situation for the hotel and severely tarnish its brand image.
How Do Double-Bookings Even Happen?
The internet’s role in booking hotel rooms and airline tickets has been expanding rapidly over the past few years, and the advent of cloud computing has only accelerated this growth. OTAs also spend millions of dollars annually on advertising and marketing operations, driving millions of users to their websites every month. As a result, a large volume of the bookings being made today come in from the web – the problem with this is the geographic diversity of booking avenues as well as the large number of booking platforms pushing the property’s inventory.
When a booking is made on any platform, the information is relayed from the channel manager back to the hotel’s PMS, which then processes the information before sending instructions to the channel manager to update the number of available rooms. The entire process may just take a few seconds but with the massive amount of bookings being made online today, there’s a high chance that multiple guests may book the same room before the hotel’s inventory has been updated on the OTA or booking platform.
As innocent as the error may be, guests aren’t likely to be too understanding when they learn about it at the front desk.
The Solution? Real-Time Integration
Regular integration isn’t enough anymore, not with the millions of visitors engaging travel sites today! The numbers clearly point to the fact that double bookings are an inevitability built into this online booking environment – unless your PMS and channel manager support real-time integration. Real-time integration enables the hotel’s PMS to instantaneously update the actual number of rooms across all booking platforms at the same time, leaving almost no room for double bookings and other such mix-ups.
Regardless of whether the booking comes in from an online platform like the hotel’s website, or an offline one such as the telephone, real-time integration ensures that the property’s room availability is updated across all avenues.
A hotel’s reputation in today internet dominated era depends almost entirely on its online reputation – which in turn is almost exclusively decided by the level of guest satisfaction it can ensure. By eliminating double-bookings and any other deterrents to the guest experience, independent properties can ensure long-term stability and even improved guest loyalty.