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Would love your feedback on KeepMeBooked (web-based innkeeping software)

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BruceGreig

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Hi folks,
I see there have been a few very detailed discussions of different guest management / booking software packages on this forum. I'd love if some of you (especially swirt and muirford, you guys really seem to know your stuff) could take a look at KeepMeBooked, a new web-based tool for managing reservations and guests, and taking online bookings.
We've tried to make it easy on the eye (no hunching and squinting at the screen) and pleasant to use. It is intended really to be just a few steps up from using pen-and-paper, so deliberately avoids having too many features / flexibility which brand new users might find daunting.
There is a two minute video demo here:
http://www.keepmebooked.com/frontpage/tour
And you can sign up for a free trial here:
http://www.keepmebooked.com/frontpage/pricing
Thanks in advance for your help. All comments (good and bad) most welcome.
Bruce
 

swirt

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Thanks Bruce, and welcome to Innspiring. I'll take a look and get back to you a bit later.
 

swirt

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Bruce,
I have to say this was pretty refreshing. We've been overrun here lately with people just spamming garbage for us to look at. It was nice to go see a new site with well thought out features and an approach that shows you've done your homework.
I really like the simplicity of it. From the video it seems to be easy to manage.
I was really impressed with the fact that you can enter the guest's contact info sort of free form and it interprets where the data belongs. I suggested that feature on this forum a year or so ago.
I'd love to see a demo of what the online calendar for guests and the process of them requesting a reservation would look like ... or better yet a demo we could try out without signing up to create my own demo (sometimes creating my own trial is a little too much to take on).
Can you expand a bit more on the accepting payments option? I see that you can use PayPal (which I tend to not recommend for B&B use) but it also indicates you can use other Payment Gateways. So conceivably this would work with Intuit Processing or others?? What payment info gets recorded in your system? Is your system PCI compliant? (may not need to be if it records nothing other than amounts and dates)
- I like the things you say on the site but sometimes I find the language confusing because you shift back and forth between saying what other companies offer (and their limitations) and what you offer. It is sometimes hard to separate out the two and see what YOU offer. You may want to spend some more time looking at better ways to break those out.
example from your site:
Online bookings
Do you need the capability to take bookings from your own website?
Does the software offer this, and how easy to implement is it?
With web-based software, it will be quite simple. With installed software, you'll need to think about how the availability data (stored on your computer) is going to be linked to your website (which probably isn't running on your computer).
(KeepMeBooked provides you with a few lines of HTML to paste into your existing site: that then displays a mini-calendar of your availability and allows visitors to book online)
It is difficult to separate out what you are offering (not software) from what others are offering (software).
example from your site:
What is the interface like?
A clear, uncluttered interface means the difference between hunching over your computer and squinting at the screen or effortlessly cruising from one task to the next.
(Decide for yourself, but we think KeepMeBooked is closer to effortless cruising than hunching-and-squinting)
For a question like this, show me, don't tell me (great now I have a Rush song playing in my head .. oh well, at least its a good song)
Your pricing is almost in the reasonable range. However yours lacks some of the features that would make it compete with many of the existing products. You are priced just under products that are full fledged Guest Management systems, but you don't seem to have some of those features like guest communication tools, or minimum stay requirements (edited to say wow you just added minimum stay requirements capabilities within the past day...impressive response time).
I guess I'll have to set up my own demo in order to say more. (again it may be a few days before I get a chance to do that).
 

Innkeep

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Bruce, I agree with Swirt. PayPal is not the way most of us prefer to go with our billing. As one who currently uses a combination of paper and online booking with no guest management software, I do see some possibilities for using this with my property. PayPal would be the biggest reason for me to not use your program.
 

BruceGreig

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Swirt / Innkeep,
Hey, thanks for taking the time to comment, really appreciate it.
Let me explain the PayPal thing: at the end of the online booking process, we pass the guest off to your choice of payment gateway to make their payment. That means we don't have to worry about PCI compliance because we don't actually see the card details at all. We just hand the guest over to the gateway page (hosted, for example, by PayPal, but customised with your name and logo etc.) and wait for confirmation back from the payment gateway that they completed the payment. We then mark the booking as paid, and the guest is returned to your site.
We can therefore integrate with any payment processor who provides a hosted payment page, and pretty every payment processor will offer this. Although (and I find this hard to believe, but seems to be the case) Intuit Payments don't:
https://idnforums.intuit.com/messageview.aspx?catid=50&threadid=12894
This kind of process (where the actual payment happens on a page hosted by the payment processor) is very common, and actually getting more common as merchants want to avoid the risk associated with actually handling the card details directly. You will probably have seen this kind of process when you buy things online yourself (not on a giant site like Amazon, but very many online retailers a level below the likes of Amazon will be processing payments on a page hosted by the card processor, not by the online retailer).
Innkeep: with you current online booking, do you take payments online? What process is used there, who is the card processor?
Swirt: I tried to keep the demo video as short as possible, hence there is lots that I didn't cover. But I'm going to do a second video covering some more detail for people that want to find out more before signing up.
You are right about that page comparing KeepMeBooked with other software be unclear, we can improve that page a lot.
And I must confess that minimum stay requirement was requested a few days earlier by another customer and was implemented in response to that!
Thanks again for your comments, much appreciated.
Bruce
 

BruceGreig

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Swirt / Innkeep,
Hey, thanks for taking the time to comment, really appreciate it.
Let me explain the PayPal thing: at the end of the online booking process, we pass the guest off to your choice of payment gateway to make their payment. That means we don't have to worry about PCI compliance because we don't actually see the card details at all. We just hand the guest over to the gateway page (hosted, for example, by PayPal, but customised with your name and logo etc.) and wait for confirmation back from the payment gateway that they completed the payment. We then mark the booking as paid, and the guest is returned to your site.
We can therefore integrate with any payment processor who provides a hosted payment page, and pretty every payment processor will offer this. Although (and I find this hard to believe, but seems to be the case) Intuit Payments don't:
https://idnforums.intuit.com/messageview.aspx?catid=50&threadid=12894
This kind of process (where the actual payment happens on a page hosted by the payment processor) is very common, and actually getting more common as merchants want to avoid the risk associated with actually handling the card details directly. You will probably have seen this kind of process when you buy things online yourself (not on a giant site like Amazon, but very many online retailers a level below the likes of Amazon will be processing payments on a page hosted by the card processor, not by the online retailer).
Innkeep: with you current online booking, do you take payments online? What process is used there, who is the card processor?
Swirt: I tried to keep the demo video as short as possible, hence there is lots that I didn't cover. But I'm going to do a second video covering some more detail for people that want to find out more before signing up.
You are right about that page comparing KeepMeBooked with other software be unclear, we can improve that page a lot.
And I must confess that minimum stay requirement was requested a few days earlier by another customer and was implemented in response to that!
Thanks again for your comments, much appreciated.
Bruce.
Just a bit more on payments: the above only applies to online bookings. For payments you take over the phone or in person, you'd just use whatever process you normally use for this, and just record the amount of the payment in KeepMeBooked. You shouldn't really store the card number in KeepMeBooked (although it would be hard for us to stop you doing this in the booking notes field or whatever), as KeepMeBooked is not a PCI-compliant place to store card numbers.
I suspect, though, that lots of innkeepers do store information in non-PCI-compliant ways (e.g. storing on a local PC somehow, or writing down on paper would, I think, not be PCI-compliant ways of storing card details).
I suppose in future we could make the whole of KeepMeBooked PCI compliant, so you could store card details within KeepMeBooked itself but that would be a major undertaking (like $100k+ and many, many man-weeks of form filling and auditing), not something we'd be doing in the short term.
 

Innkeeper To Go

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Personally, I would not recommend any system that is not PCI compliant.
I won't work at an inn that is not PCI compliant and I will not knowingly refer any guests to an inn that is not PCI compliant.
Innkeepers who store any guest credit card data in a way that is not 100% safe are playing with fire.
IMHO
 

Innkeep

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Swirt / Innkeep,
Hey, thanks for taking the time to comment, really appreciate it.
Let me explain the PayPal thing: at the end of the online booking process, we pass the guest off to your choice of payment gateway to make their payment. That means we don't have to worry about PCI compliance because we don't actually see the card details at all. We just hand the guest over to the gateway page (hosted, for example, by PayPal, but customised with your name and logo etc.) and wait for confirmation back from the payment gateway that they completed the payment. We then mark the booking as paid, and the guest is returned to your site.
We can therefore integrate with any payment processor who provides a hosted payment page, and pretty every payment processor will offer this. Although (and I find this hard to believe, but seems to be the case) Intuit Payments don't:
https://idnforums.intuit.com/messageview.aspx?catid=50&threadid=12894
This kind of process (where the actual payment happens on a page hosted by the payment processor) is very common, and actually getting more common as merchants want to avoid the risk associated with actually handling the card details directly. You will probably have seen this kind of process when you buy things online yourself (not on a giant site like Amazon, but very many online retailers a level below the likes of Amazon will be processing payments on a page hosted by the card processor, not by the online retailer).
Innkeep: with you current online booking, do you take payments online? What process is used there, who is the card processor?
Swirt: I tried to keep the demo video as short as possible, hence there is lots that I didn't cover. But I'm going to do a second video covering some more detail for people that want to find out more before signing up.
You are right about that page comparing KeepMeBooked with other software be unclear, we can improve that page a lot.
And I must confess that minimum stay requirement was requested a few days earlier by another customer and was implemented in response to that!
Thanks again for your comments, much appreciated.
Bruce.
CC numbers are stored on a secure page on my online booking software, but I have the choice of manually keeing in the number for a deposit or waiting to swipe the card when the guest checks out, which is what I prefer to do, which really means that I wouldn't want an online CC billing service like paypal or intuit, but I would want a secure place online to store the cc numbers.
 

swirt

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Swirt / Innkeep,
Hey, thanks for taking the time to comment, really appreciate it.
Let me explain the PayPal thing: at the end of the online booking process, we pass the guest off to your choice of payment gateway to make their payment. That means we don't have to worry about PCI compliance because we don't actually see the card details at all. We just hand the guest over to the gateway page (hosted, for example, by PayPal, but customised with your name and logo etc.) and wait for confirmation back from the payment gateway that they completed the payment. We then mark the booking as paid, and the guest is returned to your site.
We can therefore integrate with any payment processor who provides a hosted payment page, and pretty every payment processor will offer this. Although (and I find this hard to believe, but seems to be the case) Intuit Payments don't:
https://idnforums.intuit.com/messageview.aspx?catid=50&threadid=12894
This kind of process (where the actual payment happens on a page hosted by the payment processor) is very common, and actually getting more common as merchants want to avoid the risk associated with actually handling the card details directly. You will probably have seen this kind of process when you buy things online yourself (not on a giant site like Amazon, but very many online retailers a level below the likes of Amazon will be processing payments on a page hosted by the card processor, not by the online retailer).
Innkeep: with you current online booking, do you take payments online? What process is used there, who is the card processor?
Swirt: I tried to keep the demo video as short as possible, hence there is lots that I didn't cover. But I'm going to do a second video covering some more detail for people that want to find out more before signing up.
You are right about that page comparing KeepMeBooked with other software be unclear, we can improve that page a lot.
And I must confess that minimum stay requirement was requested a few days earlier by another customer and was implemented in response to that!
Thanks again for your comments, much appreciated.
Bruce.
Just a bit more on payments: the above only applies to online bookings. For payments you take over the phone or in person, you'd just use whatever process you normally use for this, and just record the amount of the payment in KeepMeBooked. You shouldn't really store the card number in KeepMeBooked (although it would be hard for us to stop you doing this in the booking notes field or whatever), as KeepMeBooked is not a PCI-compliant place to store card numbers.
I suspect, though, that lots of innkeepers do store information in non-PCI-compliant ways (e.g. storing on a local PC somehow, or writing down on paper would, I think, not be PCI-compliant ways of storing card details).
I suppose in future we could make the whole of KeepMeBooked PCI compliant, so you could store card details within KeepMeBooked itself but that would be a major undertaking (like $100k+ and many, many man-weeks of form filling and auditing), not something we'd be doing in the short term.
.
You shouldn't really store the card number in KeepMeBooked (although it would be hard for us to stop you doing this in the booking notes field or whatever), as KeepMeBooked is not a PCI-compliant place to store card numbers.
I suggest saying the "Should not" part loudly and clearly.in your documentation. You wouldn't want your customers getting in trouble ... and I think it would be hard not to have your company get in trouble at the same time if a breach was traced back to your system.
 

swirt

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Personally, I would not recommend any system that is not PCI compliant.
I won't work at an inn that is not PCI compliant and I will not knowingly refer any guests to an inn that is not PCI compliant.
Innkeepers who store any guest credit card data in a way that is not 100% safe are playing with fire.
IMHO.
Innkeeper To Go said:
Personally, I would not recommend any system that is not PCI compliant.
This system is PCI compliant because it never asks for cc data and therefore doesn't store it.
 

Innkeeper To Go

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Personally, I would not recommend any system that is not PCI compliant.
I won't work at an inn that is not PCI compliant and I will not knowingly refer any guests to an inn that is not PCI compliant.
Innkeepers who store any guest credit card data in a way that is not 100% safe are playing with fire.
IMHO.
Innkeeper To Go said:
Personally, I would not recommend any system that is not PCI compliant.
This system is PCI compliant because it never asks for cc data and therefore doesn't store it.
.
I was actually responding to these statements:
I suspect, though, that lots of innkeepers do store information in non-PCI-compliant ways (e.g. storing on a local PC somehow, or writing down on paper would, I think, not be PCI-compliant ways of storing card details).
I suppose in future we could make the whole of KeepMeBooked PCI compliant, so you could store card details within KeepMeBooked itself but that would be a major undertaking (like $100k+ and many, many man-weeks of form filling and auditing), not something we'd be doing in the short term.
 

BruceGreig

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Thanks again for your comments.
On the PCI issue, I can see that even though we aren't offering to store card details it is possible that some users might still try to use KeepMeBooked (or any guest management software) to store guests' card details.
It may be possible to allow users to store card details using some third-party facility accessed from within KeepMeBooked (so we don't have to store the details ourselves, but still allow you to store and retrieve data via KeepMeBooked by linking to a PCI-compliant third-party storage facility.) I'll have a look into that.
 

BruceGreig

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I'd love to see a demo of what the online calendar for guests and the process of them requesting a reservation would look like ... or better yet a demo we could try out without signing up to create my own demo (sometimes creating my own trial is a little too much to take on).
Dummy version of the booking widget is now on the KeepMeBooked tour page (not linked to any payment gateway, so just sends a booking enquiry, but gives you an idea of what the process looks like for the guest):
 
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