Overbookings are the ultimate lose-lose scenario. Hospitality professionals lose precious time and revenue, while guests lose their preferred accommodation – not to mention their temper. In this blog post, we explain the impact overbookings can have on your business, and suggest how one simple piece of technology can help you avoid them.
There’s nothing quite like that sinking feeling when you spot a booking error. Has it happened to you yet? Picture this: it’s check-in time, and your guests are arriving all upbeat having reached their holiday destination. All they want to do is drop off their bags, freshen up and explore their new surroundings.
You greet them with a warm smile, politely ask for their name and check their ID. Everything seems to be in order. You review your reservations diary to decide which room to assign. Gulp. That’s when it dawns on you. “I’m very sorry, madam, but I’m afraid your room has been double-booked...”
The impact of overbookings on your business
As if experiencing that uncomfortable, stress-inducing situation isn’t enough, there are plenty of other reasons to take measures to prevent accidental double bookings.
Firstly, it’s going to cost you financially. Even if the room mishap was a genuine mistake, it’s your responsibility to rehouse the guest at another property. And if it’s peak season, it will cost you time as well as money to find a hotel with rooms to spare.
Secondly, unintentional double bookings can damage your online reputation. An annoyed, upset guest is likely to vent their frustration with a negative review on sites like TripAdvisor. This could influence other travellers to book another property, and will impact your business in the long run.
However, if you’ve apologised profusely, offered the disgruntled guest a free or discounted stay in the future, or managed to find them alternative accommodation, the would-be negative review can actually have a happy ending.
Most guests will mention your efforts to resolve the error in their review, so you’ll at least come off as professional, caring and guest-friendly to potential new bookers. We’re all human after all, and everyone makes a mistake now and then.
How technology can help you avoid overbookings
Still, some property owners are so desperate to avoid all of the above situations that they keep one room aside at all times in case of accidental overbookings. That’s understandable, but it also means they’re not maximising their potential revenue.
Among small to mid-sized hotels, overbookings mainly occur for two reasons. The first is the reliance on manually managing reservations, using simple pen-and-paper cross-checks or whiteboard charts, which is likely to result in more human errors. The second involves trying to use these less reliable methods to manage property sales and available rooms across various online channels.
But in today’s online world, it’s much harder to keep on top of all your bookings when they’re coming from so many different channels. That’s where reservation management technology can step in and make life a lot simpler.
These programs simplify everything around bookings and availability. They’re secure and easy to use, they save you time and help eliminate mistakes, and they actually present you with more opportunities to sell your rooms.