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Kesous

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Greetings:
I am new here, and introducing myself. I am doing research for my employer who is about to open a Bed and Breakfast. We are in Arizona. It will be small - only 4 guest rooms.
My current research is about reservation services and software. So far what I am seeing on the web suggests that for such a small enterprise we do not necessarily need an internet reservation service, but should have some form of in-keepers software.
Questions: 1. Is there truly an advantage to having a reservation service, even if the inn is very small?
2. Can any of you give recomendations for inn-keeping software that is user friendly and reasonably simple, yet has all of the features one would need for a small B&B?
thanks, Kesous
 

Innkeeper To Go

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1. If you don't have an online reservation service, you will drastically reduce the inn's chances for success. Even the smallest of inns should have a functional website that includes the ability to book rooms online.
2. See a recent thread on this forum about reservation software for LOTS of recommendations. There are many different reservation systems out there. For a small inn of 4 rooms, I find Webervations to be very easy to use and quite affordable. Other innkeepers like other systems, so take a look at their recommendations and check out the options that make sense.
And welcome to the forum! Best of luck to you and your employer with the new inn!
 

Innkeep

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I agree, online reservations are the way to go. I also have a 4 room inn and have found Webervations to be economical and easy to use. This is not a service, i.e. no commission, only an annual fee which is based on the number of rooms in the inn. Best of luck to you.
 

gillumhouse

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Go to the serch box on this page and type in guest management and you will get a list of resourses and discussions we have had on the subject.
I was interrupted as I wrote so did not see the other replies until just now. There is a difference between a reservation service and online reservations. Whoever said you did not need a reservation service was probably correct. What you DO NEED is online reservations so guests can book online 24/7. I have 3 rooms and I would not be without it.
 

The Farmers Daughter

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We are currently playing a mix of Holiday and Classical and will revert back to classical after Jan 1st.
 

EmptyNest

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I don't know what you are reading but it is wrong. You MUST have on line availability and some reservation capability or you are going to severely limit the people who will come to you. I am sure there are other old school folks out there who will tell you different. But in this day and age, you must be internet savvy and use it wisely to compete..even with a small B & B. There is lots of information here already on reservation software. DO a search and you will find lots of info.
 

egoodell

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We have two suites and use online booking. We use Webervations and a small management software. The management software is not online, Webervations is.
For such a small amount of money that Webervations costs, you would be losing dollars to save pennies. 95% of our bookings are ONLINE.
You will not suceed in this day and age without online reservations. Period.
Riki
 

Morticia

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No matter how small, you definitely want online booking capability for your guests. Something else to consider is whether there is expansion possibility in the future. If so, it's better to have everything in place now rather than having to retrace your steps down the road.
 

Kesous

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Oh, thanks everyone!
Actually, I wasn't even considering not having a website.....that is completely necessary these days. I was referring to an internet booking service that you pay for, and through which reservations are made. Is it better to do that than to have a website where they can email in a request for a reservation?
I found the Webervations website online earlier today before I found this forum, and thought it looked pretty good, so thanks for the comments on that. I will definitely look up those other threads as well, and read everyone's recomendations.
Thanks for the warm welcome. I will probably be a regular here!
Kesous :)
 

wendydk

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Reservations Services, while discussed in some of the older "How to" books, have by and large gone the way of the Dinosaurs, with the exception of a very few in the larger cities. They book rooms for private owners who do not advertise themselves as B&Bs.
 

Innkeeper To Go

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Oh, thanks everyone!
Actually, I wasn't even considering not having a website.....that is completely necessary these days. I was referring to an internet booking service that you pay for, and through which reservations are made. Is it better to do that than to have a website where they can email in a request for a reservation?
I found the Webervations website online earlier today before I found this forum, and thought it looked pretty good, so thanks for the comments on that. I will definitely look up those other threads as well, and read everyone's recomendations.
Thanks for the warm welcome. I will probably be a regular here!
Kesous :).
An internet booking service is definitely NOT something you need. Just the ability to sell your own rooms online.
If you do consider signing up with an online booking service, though, I'd recommend booking.com as they are very good source of European guests (and at a really reasonable rate).
But you may find that you won't need a service like that at all as long as you can get good online visibility on your own.
 

Morticia

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Oh, thanks everyone!
Actually, I wasn't even considering not having a website.....that is completely necessary these days. I was referring to an internet booking service that you pay for, and through which reservations are made. Is it better to do that than to have a website where they can email in a request for a reservation?
I found the Webervations website online earlier today before I found this forum, and thought it looked pretty good, so thanks for the comments on that. I will definitely look up those other threads as well, and read everyone's recomendations.
Thanks for the warm welcome. I will probably be a regular here!
Kesous :).
You will find a lot of the crowd here is adamant that guests should NOT be forced to 'request' a reservation. They should be able to book a room and have that room available to them when they show up. I, for one, will not fill out a form that says, 'You are requesting a reservation, we will get back to you IF we have room.'
Nope, I move on. Why should I give my cc info to someone who isn't even sure they have rooms open?
So, for me, this means having a real time system here. You book your room, it is offline, no one else can book it and no one else DID book it 20 minutes ago and I just didn't get around to updating the calendar. So you may want to look at that as a feature of any system you choose. One reason is that if guests are booking while you sleep, you're not awake to update the calendar.
PAYING for service, as in paying a commission for every booking is not the way to go in the long run. However, if you are just getting started, you may need to get into that long enough to build up clientele. Be wary about termination fees and just how your business will be positioned on these sites after you drop them. Some innkeepers have found it virtually impossible to get their listings off GDS once they get on them. What that will mean is anyone using GDS (think Expedia and the like) will see your listing as having 'no availability' all the time.
Fees for these booking systems can run you 30% or more of the room rate.
 

Innkeeper To Go

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Oh, thanks everyone!
Actually, I wasn't even considering not having a website.....that is completely necessary these days. I was referring to an internet booking service that you pay for, and through which reservations are made. Is it better to do that than to have a website where they can email in a request for a reservation?
I found the Webervations website online earlier today before I found this forum, and thought it looked pretty good, so thanks for the comments on that. I will definitely look up those other threads as well, and read everyone's recomendations.
Thanks for the warm welcome. I will probably be a regular here!
Kesous :).
You will find a lot of the crowd here is adamant that guests should NOT be forced to 'request' a reservation. They should be able to book a room and have that room available to them when they show up. I, for one, will not fill out a form that says, 'You are requesting a reservation, we will get back to you IF we have room.'
Nope, I move on. Why should I give my cc info to someone who isn't even sure they have rooms open?
So, for me, this means having a real time system here. You book your room, it is offline, no one else can book it and no one else DID book it 20 minutes ago and I just didn't get around to updating the calendar. So you may want to look at that as a feature of any system you choose. One reason is that if guests are booking while you sleep, you're not awake to update the calendar.
PAYING for service, as in paying a commission for every booking is not the way to go in the long run. However, if you are just getting started, you may need to get into that long enough to build up clientele. Be wary about termination fees and just how your business will be positioned on these sites after you drop them. Some innkeepers have found it virtually impossible to get their listings off GDS once they get on them. What that will mean is anyone using GDS (think Expedia and the like) will see your listing as having 'no availability' all the time.
Fees for these booking systems can run you 30% or more of the room rate.
.
Agreed. I NEVER complete those "request a reservation" form online. I just go to the next place. What's the point of having a website if it's not functional.
And yes, fees for booking services can be costly and are generally unnecessary. Booking.com, though, only charge 10% which is a bit of a bargain given their popularity in Europe. For someone trying to build a guest base, this is sometimes a good (and relatively inexpensive) addition to their own online reservations.
 

JBloggs

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Welcome! Yes online REAL TIME reservations - that YOU CONTROL. No other middle man/agency/service. This would be located ON YOUR WEBSITE. You want everything to come via YOUR website if possible...all roads should lead guests there (even directories for B&B's - you cant he guest to click over to your website to make the booking)
Guests see a room open, they fill out the form and book it, you get a confirmation email alert with all the information they filled in, including credit card details. The guest gets their confirmation with policies and directions and it is a done deal.
We no longer use travel agencies or services as such in this day and age. Not that they are not out there still...they are. The internet has revolutionized how B&B's operate - large and small.
All the best!
(PS FYI - - If you title the thread with a specific question - it will be easier to locate it later via the topic vs "newcomer questions" - this is a very active forum and they all start to blend together after a while, esp when side tracking occurs, and yes it will occur, already has I think on this thread)
 

seashanty

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webervations ... yes, yes and yes!
your website with a clickable button that says BOOK NOW and webervations takes it all for you, sends you an email that you've got a reservation. you retain control, you set it up the way you want it.
imagine, you are running the b&b, but you've gone to bed. it's 1:10 am my time, and here i am online. i decide i want to stay at some nice b&b. i find your website, i see great room pictures, like the sound of the place. i want to book a room NOW, not tomorrow sometime, right now. i don't want to send a reservation request, and wait for you to get back to me about whether or not the room i want is available. i want to book the room and know that i'm all set. with online reservations (like with webervations) i can do that ... you don't lose my booking to some other place.
or tomorrow, you have to get out and buy groceries and supplies because a storm is coming. i am a potential guest who calls your b&b but can't reach you because you're not there to answer the phone. maybe you have phone coverage but that person just happened to use the restroom when the phone rang (do you know how OFTEN this happens?) i hear a message but i want to book my room NOW. i hang up and go online. no option to book online so i seek out another place.
i know some innkeepers prefer to set things up so they get a reservation request and not an actual reservation. as a guest, i find it frustrating to wait for a return email or phone call saying 'sorry, no rooms available for the date(s) you requested.' then i have to start searching again. i am one of those impatient online people. i shop online, do research online, and book my reservations online.
webervations has a free trial. that's a good way to start.
oh and welcome!
 
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