Hotel overbookings: Let us learn to tame them
July 10, 2018 eZee Technosys
Hotel overbookings have been quite a repetitive term in the hospitality industry. Ever wondered what that is? Hotel overbookings are the condition a hotel faces when a single hotel room has been booked by more than one guest for the same time. It is quite a common situation in the hospitality industry especially, during the peak season.
See, there are several reasons for hotel overbookings but they usually happen when you have displayed the same rooms on several OTAs and other online booking platforms, which actually gives you a very wide exposure across the world. As your hotel and its facilities are learned about by a large number of travelers, it often happens that more than one looker happen to book the same room from any of these platforms.
Many a time, the reason of hotel overbookings can also be the manual changes of your inventory to your connected platforms. Such an action makes you prone to overbookings. That can be one of the major mistakes you’re making in your hotel distribution strategy currently. The manual handling can be more dangerous when you have the disparity of rates over different OTAs.
Why? Because you can’t be as fast as flash but, the bookings can be. Hotel overbookings can bring a dent to the hotel reputation but if handled well, they can add stars to your hotel practices.
Now let’s see how can hotel overbookings be toxic for your business…
Imagine, one of your rooms was mistakenly overbooked on one certain day and your guest is at the front office asking to check in and you have to inform them that they can not have their room. Why? Because it was overbooked. This may enrage your guest and he may go berserk about it, and you may end up with negative remarks about your services on the internet which would travel at the speed of light. (Believe me, it happens!)
It is not an exclusive fact that one bad review can kill a hundred good feedbacks. That’s right, you are in trouble here. Moreover, it will lead to the cancellation of the room booking, implying that even if the guest did not check in to your hotel; you’ll have to pay commissions to OTAs. So that is a loss of revenue and reputation both.
But wait, I’ll tell you how to manage these overbookings
See, the hospitality industry is not an industry where you can backfire on your guest. Especially, when they are going bonkers on you because you did not give the service they have already paid for. There are endless strategies to avoid overbookings, but I have some overbooking solutions which you can surely execute:
- Explain to him that the room he booked was overbooked and how common it is when the bookings are carried out on online platforms, and propose your alternate solution very calmly.
- You can give him an upgraded room as you were not able to give him the room he had booked. You can also consider offering him your facilities for free and make his experience better.
Basically, give him your best services and compel him to add good words on the internet.
But what if the guest does not agree?
- Well, you can ask him if he would like to stay in a room at another hotel nearby having the same price values for as long as their desired room is available.
An add-on can be you offering your hotel’s best deals for their next stay.
Hotel overbooking solution may work in your favor if you’re careful about few things:
- First, close all the ends of online platforms once you’re all sold out. This will clear all your chances of getting any bookings further.
- Perform accurate night audit at your hotel. Yes, it helps. You should perform night audits regularly as they give closure to all the transactions of the day with a distinct picture of your occupied rooms and available rooms. This way overbooked rooms can be easily picked if there are any.
- Once you’re sure of overbooked rooms, find out the source from which the room was overbooked and analyze the probability of cancellations against incoming bookings.
- Contact your guests to know if their dates are flexible. If yes, you can easily move their arrival date to another with their consent. If not, then you can offer your upgraded rooms with some amenities.
- If ever they disagree, you can contact the particular platform and cancel their booking.
But, hotel overbookings can prove to be amiable too
Yes, you read it right. Hotel overbookings can be benevolent if conducted in the right way. Besides, they even add up to your revenue. In fact, a lot of institutes run through the plus points of hotel overbooking strategies in their courses and how can these methods be adapted.
Let it be any other day or a peak season, most guests are less likely to use the resources they have booked for. So the chances are, some of them may cancel their bookings (don’t forget there are last minute no shows too).
In these scenarios, hotel overbookings can work as a backup plan as you have more than one guest for a single room. By the way you shouldn’t forget to collect cancellation charges. To practice this trick, you need to try balancing the pull and push of available rooms against occupied rooms.
For which you need a hotel channel manager.
Hotel channel managers are extensively developed to improvise hotel operations and tame overbookings. They act as a catalyst in presenting hotels online. In other words, a hotel channel manager is a system that instantly updates the availability of hotel rooms to OTAs and other online platforms, and fetches bookings orderly.
This way a channel manager makes it easier for a hotel to get online bookings without falling into the trap of hotel overbookings. Moreover, it also lets you avoid the mess of rate disparity.
So, how does a channel manager tame hotel overbookings?
It is a simple mechanism:
- To start with, your existing hotel booking engine or a hotel management system has to be integrated with a hotel channel manager and then this integrated system must be connected to the online booking platforms to distribute your inventory effectively.
- As soon as any one of these platform receives the booking, this integrated system quickly updates the availability everywhere immediately and ferries the details on a single dashboard.
- Moreover, once the rate is updated from the dashboard, it pushes the updated rates to all the connected channels. This particular two way integration is called (extensible markup language) XML integration.
- So, the channel manager does this updation automatically and you do not have to log in to each platform separately, this way even the rate disparity can also taken care of.
- As a result, you save both time and money and of course, there are least chances of hotel overbookings.
Now, how to know which channel manager is apt enough for you?
Choosing a hotel right channel manager is a tough choice. You should always classify your needs and what a particular channel manager is providing and then, of course, the rates. Opt for a channel manager that gives you a smooth and quick interface with OTAs, GDS, vacation rental portals and even metasearch engines.
For that you should follow this link to find a detailed buyer guide, designed just to help you decide faster on your hotel channel manager.
Investing in a shite channel manager that serves no purpose would lead to nothing but a waste of fortune. For a hotel channel manager, it is very essential to push the details as fast as a bullet.
eZee Centrix has a milestone to this for being the quickest in the industry. Check that out.