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Welcome to OrbWeaver's Business Resource Lab

B&B Basics: adding Online Reservations to your site.

Your customers expect it... you couldn't afford it... online reservations have been the stumbling block of many a small inn's site.

If you're like many a small inn or bed and breakfast your online reservations consist of a hyperlink which either opens an email program so the customer can send a request... or a page which serves the same function. This requires that your customer email you, ask about availability or request a specific room, you reply, if the room isn't available offering an alternative... several emails are exchanged... and then your guest must call you to finalize the reservation.

This looks great on paper... lots of one on one communication with the guest... that personal touch so missing in today's business world...

Who are we kidding? Your customer wants to sit down, make a buying decision, and complete the transaction as quickly and as painlessly as possible. Unless they have a specific question, they don't want to be exchanging volumes of email with you. And they certainly don't want to have to go through the fuss and bother of picking up the phone!

Up until quite recently, online reservation systems were cumbersome and costly. No more. A fast paced firm in Vermont has designed a package suitable for lodging properties large and small, and priced it so a smaller property can add reservations functionality to their site quickly and easily... at a very low cost.

The fee is a nominal 3% per reservation through the system based on check-ins.
 
To access this software and view the many installed features, visit www.findyourroom.com

 Use Mary's B&B, our sample hotel site.
- you can book a reservation against the B&B
- you can access the hotel control panel using userid/password:  DEMO/SITE
 
You will note that we have a Gift Certificate module that can be activated and used in addition to the reservation system.  A link such as “Purchase a Gift Certificate” can be added the hotel website.
 
Currently credit card transactions are handled by the hotel by pulling up the reservation, and retrieving the CC#.  Credit Card data is automatically deleted from the data base after 5 days for security reasons. The booking engine creates e-mail to the guest and the hotel whenever a reservation is booked.
 
Calendar availability has been installed in addition to the option of the user inputting a date.  The availability calendar appears and then the guest can pick dates and display week availability.  Hotel Marketing reports say this is the best way to sell rooms over the Internet.  If the first choice is not available they can easily choose another date without becoming discouraged. This feature makes FindYourRooms.com particularly attractive to properties with a limited number of rooms. You want that guest to stay with you, not to move on to another property out of discouragement!
 
A Comprehensive Guide to the System can be accessed here.
 
Under development are the following features that will be added to the standard system:
 
1. Bulk email lists and e-mail generation.  All internet reservations and form requests automatically update an e-mail table.  And the hotel can buy a list and import the list into the table.  The hotel can then generate their own e-mail brochures regarding specials and other offers.  Duplicate names are automatically deleted, and recipients can opt-out of the list.
 
2. URL referral tracking from bookings and web site visits. We will have the capability to track the referral URL and prepare summary reports.  This will help to target internet marketing efforts.
 
3. Additional hotel reports to show trends by month, state of origin, etc.
 
Note that the above enhancements are Internet marketing oriented so that hotels can enhance their Internet presence.  In addition to these features we also have resources and tools to help interested hotels with Internet marketing and advertising.  This relationship would be on an individual basis between FindYourRoom and the hotel.
 
4. Automated Credit Card processing to bill the deposit or full stay, with payment direct to the hotel accounts. (FindYourRoom's policy is to always have funds flowing directly to the hotels. FindYourRoom does not want to handle funds, or get involved with cancellations and charge backs. We charge a service fee to the hotels at the end of the month.)
 
5. Additional Hotel Billing options:  First night deposit with and without tax. Full stay with and without tax.  Package Specials sales.

 

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