New reservation system needed

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Camge's picture
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Hi, we are looking to switch to a new reservation system from resn-x-s . I know a lot of you use res key, and would love more info on it. If anyone else has a system they  love to use I would love to hear about it. Thanks in advance. We are only 4 rooms!

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Is anyone familiar with availabilityonline.com booking system? or rezovation.com?

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I had never heard of availabilityonline.com until you posted about it but I wouldn't even consider that system.  It's expensive and doesn't seem to have all the features it should.  I'm currently using Reservation Key but I am probably going to switch to beds24.com.  Beds24.com is half the price of Reservation Key and talks to airbnb and all of the other OTA's and there is no additional charge for that.  Reservation Key requires you use another service for something like another $25 or $35 a month.

 

Reservation Key is $25/month for our 2 rooms. Beds24 is I think $11 a month and that includes it talking to about 30 or 40 different OTAs.

 

While I love all of the features of Reservation Key, it lacks a lot in the quality of the interface in terms of looking super professional.  I can tell the person behind it is a developer like me and not a designer.  I envy people who are good designers.   I spent a full day just making the calendar/search widget look professional when I shouldn't have to do that.  Also, I don't much like how the reservation pages display to guests.  I can fix it, but again its my time.

I started to trial (free) beds24.com and so far I really like what I see.  But I didn't have enough availability to give it a decent trial.  They are going to give me another free 15 day trial when I will have the available time to spend with it.

 

SereniTea wrote:

Is anyone familiar with availabilityonline.com booking system? or rezovation.com?

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Thank you so much for the info Smiling i'm brand new to this and trying to determine the best reservation tool and Beds24 looks like a great option. Thanks so much.

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The only "OTA" we are using now is AirBnB, but we have in the past used VRBO, FlipKey, VacationHomeRentals, and TripAdvisor's "pay per click" program (forget what it is called).  ResKey does integrate with TripAdvisor (or at least it did and probably still does, unless TA has changed their interface). For the others, we used ResKey to drive the availability calendars on the other sites using iCal links (well, at the time, VRBO/HomeAway wouldn't accept incoming iCal links, because they assumed that their calendar would be your master calendar -- grrr!). We only used the iCal links in one direction (ResKey out to the others), but ResKey can also take in availability information (but not full Reservation details) via iCal links. 

For us, the pace of incoming reservations is generally slow enough that we can get away with adding reservations coming through third parties manually without too much worry about double bookings. Most of our calendar gets filled up with returning guests and others who contact us directly -- we actually don't get that many guests who make their reservations online through ResKey themselves, most of them e-mail us... (and most of our downpayments/deposits are done by checks in the mail...)

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Arks's picture
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I use Authorize.net directly, so reservations are made and deposit paid on the spot, and Authorize saves the card info at their end, so I can charge the balance due when the guests arrive, or charge a new reservation several months later to the same card, as long as the card hasn't expired. Issuing refunds is also seamless from within ResKey.

If I had it to do over again, I'd use InnPayment, which does the same as Authorize, but is cheaper. If I switched now, I'd lose all the CC data in my system now (stored in Authorize). Starting over with a new payment system would be a little complicated, so I've just stuck with Authorize.

Lots of people use PayPal, but I think Authorize has the most customers because the user experience is so seamless through the ResKey system.

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How are you handling your payment processing with reservation key?  Do you use the option to just collect credit card numbers or do you use automatic payment?  If automatic, what service are you using for that?

 

Right now we use Square for processing CC's but when I finish the web site and have online booking I'll need a means of handling the credit cards.  I haven't seen any booking system yet that integrates with square.

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We use the PayPal integration in ResKey to collect deposits; the guest also has the option to send us an e-mail to let us know that they have put a check in the mail (in which case, their reservation shows as "pending" rather than "confirmed").

We use Square for processing cards in person, and for manually sending electronic invoices where the payer can go to a secure link to enter their credit card details directly with Square (could also do the invoicing with PayPal). We try to avoid manually entering the payer's card information into Square ourselves, because the "card not present" rate is so much higher than swiped/dipped, or payer-entered (which falls somewhere in between).

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Is there a fee for using the invoice system on square? Above and beyond the cost of processing the card?

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Morticia wrote:

Is there a fee for using the invoice system on square? Above and beyond the cost of processing the card?

From what I understand of it, with the guest entering the numbers and info, it is the same as card present, no fee more than the flat 2.75%.

 

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The rate for invoicing was bumped last year up to 2.9% + 0.30 per transaction.

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MNVineyardBB wrote:

How are you handling your payment processing with reservation key?  

We use Authorize.net, in our case the service is packaged through the bank that provides our credit card machine, but you can work with Authorize directly if you choose.

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I do not take deposits with rezkey - my choice. Most the others with rezkey do take deposits and full payments. The only thing I take deposits for is my Elopement packages and that is a CHECK for 25% (a check cannot have a chargeback if they cancel - I had one cancel 3 weeks prior hence the deposit nad the decision for a check). I rarely have a room cancellation and then it is far enough out that it would not be in a time to be charged anyway.

I use Square to process cards.

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I'm another happy ReservationKey customer! The system is great, reliable, offers a ton of reports, looks very polished, integrates seamlessly with credit card processors and MyAllocator, and it automatically adjusts to mobile-phone format -- *not* just "mobile-friendly" (you know, like those shrunken web pages that you can't read!). This is crucial because half of my website hits are via mobile phones. Plus the owner of ResKey, John, has great customer service skills and replies promptly to emails. Prices start at $20/month.

MyAllocator pulls the reservations from all OTAs and automatically plugs them into ResKey. It's $25/month. It's worth it to me because when I was trying to manage OTA reservations manually, I had 2 accidental double-bookings which were a bad experience for me, the guests, and hurt my standings with the OTAs. I have no idea if B&B.con can be integrated with ResKey directly, but it is integrated into my system via MyAllocator.

Last few item related to B&B.con and OTAs: My listing on the OTAs has a generic description of "queen bed, private bath". I do not list all of my rooms individually on the OTAs, and only 1 room is linked to myAllocator -- the room that used to have the lowest occupancy in previous years. By doing this, my OTA listings all have an urgent call-to-action message in red font: "In high demand! Only 1 room left!" When an OTA reservation comes in, I can move those guests to any room I want that has a queen bed & private bath. Also, ResKey allows me to send custom email messages to the OTA guests vs my direct bookings. The OTA guests get an email stressing our check in/out times (OTA guests seem even more oblivious to these details than others), telling them they HAVE to contact the OTA to cancel because we can't cancel reservations made via a 3rd party site, and stating that if they wanted a specific room they needed to book direct. I consider room choice to be a benefit provided only to my direct bookings. I'm not selling my 2-person Jacuzzi suite for $99 a night. If you wanted that room, shoulda called me!

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Morticia's picture
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So, my allocator is only $25/month? No commission based on sales?

Generic's picture
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Just $25 a month, no commissions. Nothing per connection. Just $25 a month flat.

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Momma Smurf's picture
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Nope.  Go to to myAllocator and it's $41 a month now.  Unless there's a RK discount, she says hopefully.

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Momma Smurf wrote:

Nope.  Go to to myAllocator and it's $41 a month now.  Unless there's a RK discount, she says hopefully.

I doubt they ever heard of RK. I'm guessing the $25 is for existing customers under the old rate for the current period, but will go up to $41 at the expiration of their current period. I'm happy to be rid of them!

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Morticia wrote:

So, my allocator is only $25/month? No commission based on sales?

Yes, until I dropped them last month, I was paying them $25/month to pick up my ResKey calendar and pass it on to Booking. And that's up from $17/month I was paying up until April 2016. No additional charge based on sales. Flat $25/month for a  place the size of mine (5 rooms).

Morticia's picture
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Another question - is it $25/connection or for unlimited connections to OTA's?

So, $25 to connect to booking, $25 to connect to air, $25 to connect to exp? Or $25 to connect to all bazillion of them?

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Morticia wrote:

Another question - is it $25/connection or for unlimited connections to OTA's?

So, $25 to connect to booking, $25 to connect to air, $25 to connect to exp? Or $25 to connect to all bazillion of them?

For $25/month you get all of them. Not $25 each. Here's a list of all the companies they connect to.

Momma Smurf's picture
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Do we get a discount with RK? Just went to the MA page and was given a price of $41 a month (5-6) rooms!!

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Momma Smurf wrote:

Do we get a discount with RK? Just went to the MA page and was given a price of $41 a month (5-6) rooms!!

Either they've upped it again (they nearly doubled it last time) since I dropped it a couple of weeks ago, or I was locked in at $25 for the rest of the year, or something. Because I never paid more than $25.

Last year John at ResKey said he was going to look into exporting/importing directly between ResKey and Booking, since that's the main one people use MA for, but he never got around to it. I think he could charge people extra for adding the feature. It could still be a lot cheaper than using MA.

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Arks wrote:

Morticia wrote:

So, my allocator is only $25/month? No commission based on sales?

Yes, until I dropped them last month, I was paying them $25/month to pick up my ResKey calendar and pass it on to Booking. And that's up from $17/month I was paying up until April 2016. No additional charge based on sales. Flat $25/month for a  place the size of mine (5 rooms).

Good to know. I've seen rates from flat fees of $8/transaction to 3%/transaction.

There's no way to budget for moving target fees.

What are you using now?

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Morticia wrote:

What are you using now?

I've grown old and grouchy. I dropped Booking, Air, V-R-B-O, all of them. It's just me and my website now. I get hits regularly from the local tourism assn. website, the state tourism website, the local chamber of commerce, etc., plus a lot of people just say I found you on Google or TA.

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Morticia wrote:

So, my allocator is only $25/month? No commission based on sales?

 

What doesn't make any sense is a reservation system where you need to purchase another 3rd party system to make it all work.  You shouldn't have to purchase the myallocator service, that functionality should be part of whatever reservation system that you go with.

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MNVineyardBB wrote:

Morticia wrote:

So, my allocator is only $25/month? No commission based on sales?

 

What doesn't make any sense is a reservation system where you need to purchase another 3rd party system to make it all work.  You shouldn't have to purchase the myallocator service, that functionality should be part of whatever reservation system that you go with.

All of the systems I've checked have had that as an add on, not built in.

So, in your spare time...

It's trying to figure out what works with what that's the bear here. My booking engine links with something that charges $800 to do the set up. That's absurd, so I haven't done it. Then there is a per use fee.

Looking for something less expensive than that.

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Morticia wrote:

MNVineyardBB wrote:

Morticia wrote:

So, my allocator is only $25/month? No commission based on sales?

 

What doesn't make any sense is a reservation system where you need to purchase another 3rd party system to make it all work.  You shouldn't have to purchase the myallocator service, that functionality should be part of whatever reservation system that you go with.

All of the systems I've checked have had that as an add on, not built in.

So, in your spare time...

It's trying to figure out what works with what that's the bear here. My booking engine links with something that charges $800 to do the set up. That's absurd, so I haven't done it. Then there is a per use fee.

Looking for something less expensive than that.

 

I haven't researched this one yet but a lot of people are recommending freetobook.  You might want to look it over to see if it would work for you.  The basic service is free and then if you want additional features there is a fee you pay.  For me, right now, I believe the free service would work.  We're only listed on Air so if I just need to go to the Air app on my phone and block out a date because I got a direct booking via my site, that's not a big deal.

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MNVineyardBB wrote:

Morticia wrote:

MNVineyardBB wrote:

Morticia wrote:

So, my allocator is only $25/month? No commission based on sales?

 

What doesn't make any sense is a reservation system where you need to purchase another 3rd party system to make it all work.  You shouldn't have to purchase the myallocator service, that functionality should be part of whatever reservation system that you go with.

All of the systems I've checked have had that as an add on, not built in.

So, in your spare time...

It's trying to figure out what works with what that's the bear here. My booking engine links with something that charges $800 to do the set up. That's absurd, so I haven't done it. Then there is a per use fee.

Looking for something less expensive than that.

 

I haven't researched this one yet but a lot of people are recommending freetobook.  You might want to look it over to see if it would work for you.  The basic service is free and then if you want additional features there is a fee you pay.  For me, right now, I believe the free service would work.  We're only listed on Air so if I just need to go to the Air app on my phone and block out a date because I got a direct booking via my site, that's not a big deal.

I thought about this one, but then I keep reading about people who have 'outgrown' FTB and want something with more bells and whistles.

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Sorry, but I disagree. RezKey i  reservation system, just as the OTAs are reservation systems. B.con does not update other calendars, why should RezKey? I do not use another system (OTA) why should I pay for the traffic cop (Allocator) who directs all the traffic from various systems (an extra John would have to charge for to integrate)? NONE of the reservation systems do what you are expecting.

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Well, I disagree with your disagreement! 

It doesn't cost anything extra for a reservation system to be able to update calendars on the OTA sites.  Which means you as a customer shouldn't pay anything extra either.  

It all comes down to the reservation software using the API (Application programming interface) that the OTA's publish.  That's just  a little bit of development time for a reservation system to implement the feature.  Pretty trivial, actually.

Anyway, I wouldn't use a reservation system that wouldn't update my calendars on all the other sites and I certainly wouldn't pay extra for it.

I will have to use a reservation system for a month or two while I write my own.  But eventually, when I'm done, I'll have a reservation system that is 100% free for me to use.  Smiling

 

 

gillumhouse wrote:

Sorry, but I disagree. RezKey i  reservation system, just as the OTAs are reservation systems. B.con does not update other calendars, why should RezKey? I do not use another system (OTA) why should I pay for the traffic cop (Allocator) who directs all the traffic from various systems (an extra John would have to charge for to integrate)? NONE of the reservation systems do what you are expecting.

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Gosh, I thought I was doing pretty well budgeting my reservation system. ResKey costs $20 a month and myAllocator is $25 a month. No hidden fees and the cost hasn't changed in 4 years. I double-checked and my December statement was $25 for myAllocator. My website hosting is free through google. I thought Resnexus & Resovations were a couple hundred a month?

For credit card processing, I use Authorize-dot-net (~$35/month, varies slightly based on # of "batches" processed per day) to capture the credit cards and feed the info to Elavon. I recently switched to Elavon after reading a recent forum on processors. It wasn't until someone else mentioned the name of my old cc processor that I realized how much I was paying in monthly fees! 

All total, the expense of my website, reservation system, integrated OTA software, and cc capturing system is $80. I haven't had Elavon long enough to comment on their fees.

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MNVinyardBB, sounds like a new business opportunity for you should you develop a system that does everything and choose to provide services to others at a reasonable rate like RK.

The issue I see is that those systems that do offer more features seem to charge much higher rates, it may not cost them more, but they seem to like us to pay more for the extra profit. 

For me I don't use OTA's or an Allocator to feed them so RK works quite well and I'm not forced to purchase something I don't use.

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Good for you. Meanwhile, this numpty is thrilled with what ReservationKey does. I am very happy you will be able to do it in a month or two.

Redbirds's picture
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Hi, everyone:

We are in a similar quandry re: new reservation system.  I am not sure the new b ed and br eak fast . com service is right for us, and I'm waiting on some answers from them;

1) Since we currently use Web er vations, (owned by them) does that mean that all of our guests who book through Web erv ations are subject to the 18% commission?

2) Do all of our reviews go away if we ditch b ed and br eak fast . com?  Yikes!

BTW, I've talked to John at res key and have signed up for the free month trial.  I like what I'm seeing so far...  he speaks highly of this list and the people on it.  Can we stay on b ed and br eak fast . com but drop our current reservation system and change to Res Key?

Any advice?  We cancelled our "training" today stating that we need more time.

Redbirdsd

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The new bedandbreakfast model is an OTA. Any reservations thru THAT system, not webervations, are subject to the 18% commission.

If you drop them, yes, you will lose all of the reviews made on there under the old system. You can build up your reviews on other sites to compensate.

Personally, I think you should switch your reservation system away from webervations. It's old and not being updated.

You have to consider how much business bedandbreakfast brings you and whether the 18% commission is worth it to you. If I were using them, I would add an additional 20% to the rate of the rooms  listed with them to make up some of the commission.

Also take into consideration their payment policy - when do you get your money? What if the guest cancels, do you get paid anyway?

 

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Nope, not that I am happy, but the commission on B&B.com is 15% the first year less credit card fees. There is no longer any charge for accepting Gift Cards, so am re-enrolled in that program, shall see how it goes.  RK is in the midst of upgrading their themes!

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It's 15% for the first year? Is it an automatic renewal like they used to do?

What do you mean by 'less credit card fees'? Do they charge us additional for credit card processing? On top of the 15%?

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You can drop out any time, no inventory requirements.  Since they collect the credit card funds, you're saving whatever % in fees, thus reducing the overall 15% commission.

Generic's picture
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We use ResKey. We also have it hooked into MyAllocator and B&B.COM is on that. They get commission only on reservations they handle, so anything direct has no commission. 

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What do you pay for those systems? 

I am planning  to write my own reservation system because I also want to offer add-ons at the time of reservation like a wine/cheese basket or booking of a massage.  But I am curious what these other services are charging.  

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MNVineyardBB wrote:

What do you pay for those systems? 

https://reservationkey.com/pricing.asp

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What I want I have only found one system that does this and its far too expensive for me (£150 a month) I pay £50 - Feature I want is a way to set up a code for regulars so they always get the same rate ie have various guests who stay regularly and have an expenses limit of say £43 so I want them to be able to go online, see a room press book, put in the code and always get that rate - would save me a lot of faff if they could do it themselves.

Ie George stays every monday £39 room only but sometimes stays sundays and thursdays

Alan stays every monday and tuesday £39 per night with pack up breakfast - sometimes stays tues and wed if its a bank holiday

you get the idea. - I know all the deals, prices and rates but also don't expect that my staff do 

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Most systems do it, some more precise and some less precise and it always depends on how you set up the rooms. For example, I have my rooms set by name rather than by classified price But ask John at Reskey, because I'm sure it can be done. Here's the Discount code screens for ResKey....

But you can set it up on Reskey with a CODE that only applies to certain rooms and gives them their rate. 

Int the first area, you can set the code, but you can even specify if it's only available to people using a special page for booking. Below it, is a section where you can set up the restrictions. In the Advanced settings, you can specify which rooms it can apply to. 

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Someone else takes care of it, has to worry about it being up 99.999% of the time, handles the SSL, etc. So we can sit back and relax and not have to worry about programming errors, calculation errors, and even guests getting their confirmation.

Sure you can do it all yourself.... but then you have all the headaches, rate lookups and how about the connectivity with OTAs, etc.

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MNVineyardBB wrote:

What do you pay for those systems? 

I am planning  to write my own reservation system because I also want to offer add-ons at the time of reservation like a wine/cheese basket or booking of a massage.  But I am curious what these other services are charging.  

99% of us do not have the programming chops to write our own code to do reservations. Most systems range from $30 - $120/month. There are also free versions. Depends on what you need.

Many of them do package add ons at time of booking.

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Morticia,

 

Thanks for the info on the pricing.  I thought the pricing might be in that ballpark and that's more profit per month then I want to give up.  If it had been $12 or $15 I wouldn't bother writing something but there is nothing those sites offer that I can't pretty easily write on my own.  So I guess I'll go that route.  I have my own mail, web and database servers, too, so I don't pay anything. The only thing I would need is the SSL (security certificate) but that's okay as I can use it for other things, too.

Thanks for the info!

 

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ReservationKey already does that and much more. The monthly fee depends on how many rooms you have - a fair system to me since I have 3 rooms, I am not paying the same as a B & B with 10 rooms.

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I use ResKey with MyAllC to cover OTAs.

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We use Web Reserve and also Site Minder.  Site Minder closes rooms on Web Reserve when an outside search engine books it.   So no more double bookings.

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