What is an automated reservation system?

An automated reservation system is a tool that syncs hotel bookings that are made through different channels and platforms. These systems place all this information in one place, making it far easier to manage. Hotel booking automation offers a hotelier a range of ways to automate otherwise manual tasks, from placing entries into your hotel calendar to sending emails and text messages to guests at key moments.

Most hotels, even those that are small and independent, now manage bookings through an automated reservation system. Because these tools are usually offered in the form of a subscription, there’s minimal upfront cost associated with implementing them. And such are the efficiency gains that an automated reservation system can deliver, that this investment is usually paid back in a quick and significant way.

Why is using an automated booking system important?

Automated reservation systems are designed to minimise confusion regarding hotel reservations: availability, pricing, booking dates and more. By organising information in a perfectly clear way, and making it easily accessible to all, they remove the need for guesswork and can significantly improve hotel efficiency and productivity.

These systems can automate much of the legwork and admin of running a hotel, like sending out booking confirmation emails, which can free you up to deliver an enhanced, more personalised and more seamless guest experience.

By taking care of much of the low value work, automated booking systems can dramatically reduce operational costs. Automation means you can employ fewer workers to do the same amount of work, and with the busywork taken care of, the value of the work that your team is responsible for will be higher.

The accuracy and automation offered by these systems can also result in:

  • Improved organisational decision-making, as you have a clearer view of your business.
  • Less strain during peak periods, as automation can take much of the extra workload.
  • Improved collaboration, as clear information means team members have a better understanding of where things sit and what needs to be done.

Top benefit of utilising an automated reservation system for your hotel

The number one benefit of implementing an automated reservation system? More bookings and more revenue. If you make it simple for a guest to book a room, and deliver a seamless guest experience, you’ll win more business.

An automated reservation system allows a guest to book instantly and directly with your hotel. There’s no need to call and confirm the booking, as a confirmation email is sent automatically. A good system will also ensure that your website price is always better than the price the customer can get through other booking channels.

Direct bookings make more money, and increasing them should be a focus for every hotelier. An automated reservation system offers the most effective way to do just that.

How to implement an automated reservation system

Implementing an automated reservation system can feel like a challenging task to a small, independent hotelier. But it needn’t be.

To understand how it’s done, let’s look at a case study. The Paradise Motel, a family-run business in Australia, knew that they needed to move on from manual processes. Here’s how they did it in 3 simple steps.

Step 1: Identify where processes are too manual

You may have a strong reputation in the region, like they did, so drumming up business wasn’t an issue. Their problem was the reservation system they had in place—had inherited a manual booking process from the previous owners.

This meant that keeping room inventory up to date across all distribution channels was difficult and time-consuming. Overbooking was a common occurrence.

“There was always the risk of overbooking. We have a 100% occupancy rate, and we’re fully booked every week, so we used to try and not put all of the motel rooms online, just in case of overbooking. We still had overbookings all the time,” said the motel owner-operators.

Not only did it cost their valuable time and resources, but it cost their motel revenue that could have been re-invested into the business.

“We had to find another hotel room for the guest in the event of an overbooking. The only other hotel in the area costs twice as much, so we had to pay the difference,” they added.

While it may have worked for its previous owners, it was clear that their motel would need to upgrade its reservation system to keep up with the industry.

Step 2: Research possible solutions

Running a paper based system would ultimately serve as a bottleneck to Paradise Motel’s growth.

One of them had previously managed reservations for a large hotel chain, so he knew technology out there existed to solve his problems. He needed a solution that would:

  • Automatically manage room inventory across online channels;
  • Save time and money spent in overbookings; and,
  • Be affordable.

Both of them started doing extensive research to figure out which system would suit a property of their size.

Step 3: Make the final decision

In their research, they found that many automated reservation systems were much too expensive for a property like their motel.

They mentioned that all of the existing systems were very expensive for a small hotel and it would have cost them roughly $3,500—at one point, they even considered setting up their own system at the same price.

Then they found Little Hotelier, an all-in-one automated reservation system. They put it under the spotlight, comparing it to other solutions out there.

“There are a lot of front desk systems with channel management features, but Little Hotelier is good value for what it costs – especially when compared to the option of trying to build it ourselves.”

In the end, Little Hotelier satisfied all their requirements. They decided that it was the best solution for their motel and began implementing it straight away.

The results of automated reservations

With hotel booking automation, the owner-operators can now focus on other important tasks,leaving inventory management up to Little Hotelier.

“Now, an online booking happens automatically 24 hours a day. We don’t have to answer the phone and it works when we’re not available. We even had a family emergency and no one was in the office but we still took bookings through Little Hotelier,” they reported.

Because of this freedom, their motel has started accepting direct online bookings, and integrated with more booking channels, without fear of overbooking.

They shared, “Part of the reason we didn’t use more channels was because of the risk of overbooking. Now, we’re on Hotels.com, TripConnect, and a whole heap of other channels through Little Hotelier.”

Experience hotel reservation automation with Little Hotelier

Little Hotelier has become the all-in-one solution that Curtis and Cheryl were looking for, stating that it has moved their motel away from a paper, manual-based system to a cloud-based online system. “Over the two years we have used it, Little Hotelier has evolved into a system that we couldn’t actually work without.”

If you’re ready to do the same as Paradise Hotel, minimising manual work, maximising automation, and making more money in the process, there’s no better partner than Little Hotelier.

  • Make more money with direct bookings: The Little Hotelier direct booking engine makes it easy for guests to book through your website, reducing admin and cutting out the OTA middleman.
  • Sync your booking channels: Never get double booked again. Use Little Hotelier to connect all your booking channels, then let the system automatically update all OTAs when a new booking is taken.
  • A single, simple portal: Gain complete control over your hotel business through a single portal – get a birds-eye view of bookings, operations and more.

By Shine Colcol

Shine is the SEO and Content Manager of Little Hotelier, the all-in-one software solution purpose-built to make the lives of small accommodation providers easier. With more than five years of experience and expertise in content strategy, creation, and management, Shine has produced informational content across various topics, mostly around improving daily operations and increasing business metrics. She aims to share well-researched articles in hopes of helping bed and breakfast owner-operators win more bookings and gain more control of their small property.