Choosing your hotel room reservation software

Choosing Your Hotel Room Reservation Software

If your hotel has more than a handful of rooms, the chances are that you’ll have noticed the shortcomings of the traditional pencil and reservations book approach. Sure, it can work, but it’s a pain in the neck to erase all the old information and enter the new booking when someone changes their mind.

Which is where well designed hotel room reservation software comes into its own. Changing booking details and many other regular tasks are simple to accomplish and it’s a rare member of staff nowadays who isn’t at least partially computer literate.

So what should you look for when choosing reservation software for your hotel?

1. Check it will run on your computer.

Which sounds as though it’s stating the obvious but if the PC you’re planning on using is too old or, sometimes, too new it can make the difference between the software working and not working. If the computer is too old, there’s a good chance you should consider passing it down to your children or granchildren. If it’s too new, just check that there hasn’t been an operating system change that affects the program.

2. Check it is easy to use.

You don’t want to be spending too much time getting used to how the software operates. Modern software should be intuitive to use and you should be able to do most tasks without resorting to using the help file, although obviously there should be help available when you need it, especially for tasks you don’t do very often such as changing room prices or adding specials.

3. Check you can set user levels

Whilst you may trust your receptionists to deal with day to day room bookings you probably don’t want them to be able to change room rates or tax rates. And you likely don’t want them to have access to sensitive information such as occupancy rates, profitability and so on. The better software on the market will allow you to set levels for each user of the program so that they don’t stray outside their level of responsibility.

4. Check it produces invoices

One of the joys of using a computer is that it should be able to carry out the mundane tasks such as printing an invoice. There should be flexibility as to what to include and exclude from the printed invoice, establishment details, etc. There should also be a preview function so that if a guest enquires about how much their invoice will be, your reception staff can look it up on screen rather than waste paper and time printing off the invoice.

5. Support should be close at hand

Although modern computer programs rarely need support, it’s comforting to have telephone and email support so that if one of your employees manages to do something wrong, you can recover from the problem quickly and easily.

6. Cost

With specialist software such as hotel reservation software, there may be annual support charges and upgrade fees. Make sure that you know what is and isn’t included in the price you pay when you first purchase a program.

7. Free trial

Everyone from Microsoft downwards offers free trials on software — chances are that you had a trial of Microsoft Office when you last bought a computer. A free trial allows you to check whether the program meets your needs without a salesman breathing down your neck. The trial should be fully functional and any data that you enter during the trial should be still available once you purchase the software.

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