Automated Reservation System for Your Hotel: A Guide

Are you tired of the hassle and headaches of managing hotel reservations manually?

If you're like many hoteliers, juggling bookings, cancellations, and room availability can be overwhelming.

But fear not, because help is at hand: automated reservation systems.

In this guide, we'll dive into this game-changer for hotels of all sizes, including yours.

By the end of this article, you'll understand the purpose of an automated reservation system, the key qualities to look for, and the step-by-step process to integrate it into your operations.

Ready to streamline your booking process and elevate your guest experience?

Let's show you how.

What Is the Purpose of an Automated Reservation System

An automated reservation system is your hotel's modern solution to the age-old challenge of managing bookings.

Its primary aim? To simplify the process, boost efficiency, maximize revenue, and leave guests smiling.

In other words, automated reservation systems bring convenience to both hotels and guests alike.

benefits of an automated reservation system

Source: WebBookingPro

Imagine this: a potential guest visits your website at 2 a.m., halfway across the world, eager to book a room.

With a manual system, they'd likely hit a dead end, but with automation, they can secure their stay instantly, without waiting for office hours.

That's the beauty of the automated reservation system's 24/7 availability—it caters to your guests' needs around the clock, enhancing their experience and boosting conversion rates.

But it's about optimizing your operations, too.

Automating your reservation process frees up valuable time for your staff.

No more tedious data entry, phone calls, or manual email sending—instead, they can redirect their time and energy towards more value-added tasks.

From personalized service to attending to special requests, your staff can focus on what matters the most: creating memorable stays for your guests.

Brian Leon, the CEO of Choice Hotels Canada, emphasizes this correlation:

a quote about how manual tasks at hotels should be automated so that the staff can focus on customer service

Illustration: WebBookingPro / Quote: Hotelier Magazine

However, streamlining administrative tasks does not just save time, but also reduces the risk of errors.

Picture your front desk bustling with activity, phones ringing off the hook, and staff multitasking to keep up with guest inquiries and check-ins.

In the midst of this chaos, it's all too easy for reservation details to get lost in the shuffle or overlooked entirely.

However, automated reservation systems are designed to minimize human error through standardized processes and real-time data synchronization.

By centralizing booking information and automating updates across all relevant platforms, these systems eliminate the risk of double bookings, missed reservations, and even inaccurate rates.

This means that guests can book with confidence, knowing that their reservation is accurate and secure.

Finally, let's talk revenue.

By offering seamless booking experiences, you're more likely to attract and retain customers.

According to research, approximately 63% of the total revenue generated by hotel chains comes from bookings made through online channels.

So since the majority of hotel guests book online, not making it possible for them to do so creates the risk of losing them to the competition.

Or the risk of receiving a negative review like the one below.

negative tripadvisor review screenshot

Source: TripAdvisor

What's more, with features like upselling prompts or dynamic pricing—which are features of any good reservation system—you can maximize each booking's value.

Think about it: a guest booking a room might be enticed to add on a spa package or upgrade to a suite, boosting your bottom line without any extra effort on your part.

In essence, an automated reservation system is the backbone of a modern hotel's operations.

It's the tool that keeps things running smoothly behind the scenes, while also elevating the guest experience from the moment they decide to stay at your hotel.

So whether you're a small bed and breakfast or a sprawling resort, embracing automated reservations isn't just a choice anymore.

It's what customers expect from today's fast-paced hospitality industry.

And it will benefit you, too.

Qualities to Look for in an Automated Reservation System

However, not all automated reservation systems are designed equally.

Consider the cautionary tale shared by a frustrated hotelier on Reddit and their ordeal with one reservation system.

screenshot of a reddit comment about issues with an automated reservation system

Source: Reddit

Despite sending confirmation letters to guests with their hotel's address, the actual reservations were mysteriously diverted to an inn located a good 30 minutes away.

This mishap likely occurred due to a lack of proper integration between the reservation system and other systems that the hotel uses.

And it took three months of persistent phone calls and escalating complaints before the issue was fixed.

This anecdote shows that you must be vigilant when selecting an automated reservation system and its provider.

To help you out, we will explain what four qualities you should look for when deciding on the reservation system for your hotel.

Ease of Use

First and foremost, the reservation system has to be easy to use—for you and your team, but also for your guests.

For your staff, the ease of use means fewer headaches and more time dedicated to delivering exceptional service rather than grappling with technology.

For your guests, it means a seamless booking experience without the frustration of navigating complex systems.

An intuitive interface is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to ease of use.

Look for a straightforward system that guides the user through different tasks—from making bookings to managing guest details.

Clear design is essential here.

Another thing that ease of use entails is good support from the system provider—which this hotelier on Reddit reminds us of.

reddit comment screenshot highlighting the importance of good customer support from a software provider

Source: Reddit

Not every staff member will immediately grasp all the features and abilities of the system, and it makes sense.

But that’s why it is so important to select a provider with great customer support—by phone, email, or with a database of videos and helpful articles.

Otherwise, you may face the same challenges as this hotelier.

Furthermore, the reservation system—and especially the booking engine part that guests see—needs to be easy to use on mobile devices.

This is crucial, given that more and more guests book rooms through their phones.

Revenue Hub’s research, for example, shows that already in 2021, more than 40% of hotel guests booked rooms through their phones, and that number continues to grow.

statistic showing the importance of mobile accessibility of hotel reservations

Illustration: WebBookingPro / Data: Revenue Hub

So, to recap, you need a system that is easy to use, has a straightforward design, can be used on phones, is intuitive, and has excellent customer support.

Not much to ask for in the 21st century, is it?

Seamless Integration

Your reservation system should sync seamlessly with other critical hotel systems, including your property management system (PMS), accounting software, booking engine, and channel manager.

When data flows seamlessly from one system to another, it allows immediate data visibility, minimizes errors, and boosts efficiency.

For instance, when your reservation system integrates with your channel manager, you can change prices and room availability from one place across all channels you use to accept reservations—such as various OTAs and your own website.

webbookingpro tool screenshot

Source: WebBookingPro

This is one of the best features of our central reservation system—WebBookingPro.

This tool is equipped with a property management system, channel manager, revenue manager, and booking engine.

webbookingpro tool screenshot

Source: WebBookingPro

And even if you’re already using a different PMS, WebBookingPro seamlessly integrates with it, providing comprehensive visibility into all your hotel's operations.

Let's recap what such streamlined integration between all these tools means:

  • Automating data synchronization across various channels saves staff time and effort spent on manual updates.
  • Instant visibility and accurate information on room availability lead to smoother booking experiences for guests.
  • Integration with revenue management tools enables dynamic pricing and optimizes revenue generation.
  • Data flowing between systems gives you access to comprehensive reports and analytics, which empowers you to make informed decisions.

All in all, seamlessly integrating with other tools is another quality you must look for in an automated reservation system.

Only then will you be able to achieve its full potential—streamlined operations, enhanced guest satisfaction, and maximized revenue potential.

Real-Time Updates

Stale information is the enemy of hotels and guests alike.

Imagine a guest eagerly booking a room for a long-awaited vacation, only to find upon arrival that their room had been double booked.

Little did they know that the information on the booking engine was not updated.

Such scenarios are a headache for both sides—and happen more often than you'd like.

And, of course, they result in negative reviews and damage the hotel's credibility.

screenshot of a negative tripadvisor review

Source: TripAdvisor

However, with a reservation system that provides real-time updates on room availability, rates, and bookings, this frustration can be avoided.

An automated system synchronizes reservations from various platforms, ensuring no confusion regarding booking dates, room availability, or prices.

And real-time updates hold particular significance in terms of pricing.

By continuously measuring vital parameters such as demand and occupancy in real time, the system can calculate optimal prices.

Such real-time insights can then suggest when you should raise and lower prices to achieve higher room occupancy.

To conclude, real-time updates are essential for more than just one reason.

From showing accurate information to guests when making reservations to helping you increase room occupancy, this is the quality you simply can't afford to overlook.

High Level of Data Security

In today's digital age, the convenience of technology also brings along the responsibility of safeguarding sensitive guest data.

As Trustwave's Chief Information Security Officer, Kory Daniels, aptly puts it:

a quote about the importance of guest data security in the hotel industry

Illustration: WebBookingPro / Quote: Trustwave

Unfortunately, data breaches are not uncommon in the hospitality industry, with nearly one-third of organizations (31%) reporting a breach in their history, according to Trustwave's 2023 report.

And it happens to both small and big hotels.

For example, in late 2018, the Marriott hotel chain suffered a significant breach, compromising hundreds of millions of customer records, including sensitive information like credit card and passport numbers.

Moreover, such breaches also result in financial losses and tarnish the hotel's reputation.

For example, Marriott International was fined $24 million, which only further shows how serious the repercussions of failing to protect guest data are.

To prevent such disasters, make sure to prioritize a reservation system that goes above and beyond to safeguard personal and financial information.

This means you should look for one that implements robust encryption protocols, ensures secure payment processing, and adheres to industry standards and regulations like GDPR and PCI DSS.

Below, you can see which measures we at WebBookingPro take to secure your and your guests' data:

webbookingpro security features screenshot

Source: WebBookingPro

Ultimately, your guests' trust is invaluable, and it's your duty to protect it at all costs.

Only by prioritizing a high level of data security in your search for an automated reservation system can you ensure a more secure booking process for your hotel guests.

How to Implement an Automated Reservation System

Now that you understand the key qualities of an excellent automated reservation system, it’s time to show you the steps to properly implement one in your hotel operations.

Let’s dive into it.

Define Your Requirements

First, you should know what you want from the reservation system.

And the best way to learn that is to talk to your staff.

Sit down with them, grab a cup of coffee, and open the floor to discussions.

Ask questions like:

questions to ask hotel employees when deciding on an automated reservation system

Source: WebBookingPro

They will uncover pain points, guiding you in the direction of features your reservation system must have—the room booking process, managing online reservations, check-in/check-out procedures, payment processing, room availability management, reporting, or something else.

Armed with insights from your team, compile a wishlist of features and functionalities that your ideal reservation system should have.

This list will help you navigate the sea of reservation systems in the market.

Choose the Best Match

The next step is to research and select a reservation system that meets the defined requirements.

And the one that also has the four qualities we explained today:

  • it has to be easy to use,
  • it has to seamlessly integrate with other tools you use,
  • it must provide real-time updates, and
  • it has to keep your and your guests' data secure.

Now, this requires your time and effort.

You must think well because the right reservation management system will become the backbone of your hotel's booking and management processes.

So, make sure to do thorough research, read other hoteliers’ reviews, and book free trials before making a decision.

This will give you the confidence that you've made the best choice for your hotel.

Customize the System

Now that you've found your perfect match, it's time to make it uniquely yours.

Think of customization as giving your system a makeover to suit your hotel's personality.

Here are some ideas of what you can do:

  • You can set up different room types within the system, such as standard rooms, suites, or deluxe rooms. Each room type may have its own specifications, amenities, and pricing.
  • Define the pricing structure for each room type based on factors like seasonality, occupancy, and demand. You can establish standard rates, discounts, promotional offers, and special packages as needed.
  • Maintain accurate availability calendars for each room type, updating them in real-time to reflect bookings, reservations, and changes in availability. This ensures that guests can only book rooms that are actually available.
  • Customize additional parameters as required, such as check-in/check-out times, cancellation policies, minimum stay requirements, room amenities, and any other relevant details.

The goal is to tailor the system to align closely with your hotel's unique operations, making it a breeze to manage bookings, provide accurate information to guests, and deliver a seamless experience overall.

Train Your Staff

Lastly, you must equip your team with the knowledge and skills they need to excel with the new reservation system.

This will enhance their performance and lead to improved service quality and reduced stress levels, as Dan Kornick, Chief Information Officer at Loews Hotels, rightly points out.

quote about the benefits of staff training in hotel industry

Illustration: WebBookingPro / Data: Oracle

And this goes for all staff members who will need to use the reservation system—including front desk staff responsible for managing bookings, housekeeping staff tasked with updating room statuses, and managerial staff involved in generating reports and analyzing data.

So, make sure that training extends to all of them.

Through thorough training, your staff will become proficient in using the reservation system, minimizing the risk of errors and maximizing productivity.

Ultimately, this proficiency is key to realizing the full benefits of the automated reservation system and delivering seamless experiences for guests.


And with that, we have reached the end.

Implementing an automated reservation system is that one transformative step that any hotel seeking to streamline operations, increase revenue, and enhance guest satisfaction should take.

But the point is to embrace the qualities we outlined today—ease of use, seamless integration, real-time updates, and a high level of data security—because only such a system will truly bring you an advantage in today's competitive hospitality landscape.

And remember: the journey towards implementing an automated reservation system begins with defining your requirements and talking to your staff.

They are most equipped to help you choose the best solution.

Good luck on your journey to better reservation management!

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