Systems in place to use Checkfront as a hotel

Hey guys! We are a small hotel running on checkfront. At the moment we have inventory listed with a separate spreadsheet for room numbers and assigning rooms. We have to enter all this manually and then use their name to assign room numbers in checkfront. The whole process works but has a lot of room for error.

 Was curious to see if anyone else uses this software for hotels? If so, how do you manage the rooms and such? Does anyone have any help integration ideas for streamlining this process? Thank you. 

Comments

  • Hello Griffin,

    This is definitely a great place to get some feedback from our other users. 

    But at support, we also have the benefit of being able to see the configurations our clients have created and how they handle certain problems, such as assigning room numbers. So, if you would like, you can email us at support@checkfront.com so we can see what you have so far and if we can make any suggestions to reduce the amount of manual work for you.

    Some common solutions are to have the room numbers set up in Checkfront as separate items. You can then add a room to a booking after it comes in so it can be tracked through Checkfront. It sounds like this may be what you are doing now, but I am not certain.

    Another option would be to even allow the customer to select their own room number. By having the room numbers as items in Checkfront, you could then group them into a parent/child grouping. The parent item can then be attached to the appropriate customer-facing item as a required addon. This will make it so that when the customer books, they will be required to also select a room number from the list of available rooms. 

    Whatever solution you may prefer, or currently have set up, I would love to hear from you at support@checkfront.com so I can take a look!

    All the best,

    Chase - Checkfront Support Team
  • We use it for our small Hotel and also to track restaurant items and a small bakery and more.  Each room is defined as a separate Item and are in Category = "Hotel" (or whatever you want).  Clients book a specific room thru our website.  If you have more than 1 room of the same type then you can set how much inventory you have of each room type.  When a guest checks in you will have to manually assign them to the physical room unless you set up each and every room as it's own "item" and force the client to book the physical room instead of the Room Type. We also have categories for Restaurant, Bar, Bakery, Events, Rentals, Transportation, etc. This allows us to create a single invoice for each customer. The system is relatively easy to set up but has 3 significant weaknesses you need to be aware of from our perspective in using the system over the last 18 months.

    Financial reports are based on Sales in a particular month.  This does not work in the hotel business when we are continually refunding clients deposits at some future date for cancellations. We need financials based on actual fulfilled reservations in a given month based on Check-Out date. And over year end it is even worse as I have to do a bunch of custom extracts and excel work to get close to what we need. We sell rooms 3 to 6 months in advance and probably 50% of those are cancelled or changed.  So you can imagine the difficulties of managing your financials based on Sales. Also if you have multiple properties, you can set up different categories for them but there is no way to separate the financials even by Category reporting. The reports get screwed up if you add items from other categories like transportation, etc. Otherwise you have to have a Transportation category for each property, even as was our case, when shuttling guests around the country and to/from our 2 properties.

    Discounts/Events do not work very well. We can easily set up seasonal events and some Special Events that override Seasonal but if any dates overlap, then all Discounts and Events are applied. There is no precedence or priority that we can set.  We were giving away rooms at 40-60% off until we finally figured out why. We have clients (e.g. Business) that we provide specific rates to.  We expected to use the Discount code for this but unfortunately they are additive to any other pricing event that is active in the system. You cannot create a Discount code that sets a specific price or discount level (based on your rack rate) unless there are no other pricing events in the system whatsoever. So now we have to manually set the rate of every single business client and make the reservation for them. We published Discount codes in magazines, to business clients, and certain other populations (e.g. Canadians) and then had to retract them all and stop using them.  So now we manually enter them and then manually adjust the price on the invoice and we have to do this on almost every reservation we have.

    Automatic notifications are easy to create and are great to confirm reservations, send automatic reminders, payment confirmations, etc.  But our restaurant, Bar and Bakery are open to the public.  We send clients confirmations of their purchases via email ( a nice touch).  But if a hotel client uses any of those, then they get an email for the room, one for the bakery, one for the restaurant, etc. when they check-out and make their final payment. They only have 1 invoice but now then they feel 'spammed' instead of happy because they don't need the paper.

    The final is not a System weakness per se. They do have multiple releases per year but the development is done in a vacuum as if this were an Android or IOS app developed by some kid who releases fixes or new features based on their own decisions. Checkfront does not publish any Release plans and there is no effective way to influence the priority of bug fixes or enhancements and every release is a surprise as to the content. So it is very difficult to decide if you should invest in a workaround that will take a lot of work to undo, or even to hang around as a client.

    A couple other less critical items:
    • You cannot customize the actual layout of the invoice. There is some flexibility to control content but not much.
    • There is no cross reference capability for figuring our which Parameters (e.g. # of guests) are used on which items or which Items exist as package alternatives in other Items. So it can take us hours to make a simple change to a parameter because we have to hunt down manually where else it was used.  So you have to rely completely on Paper documentation.
    • You can't create a discount that applies to a Category and is applied to the invoice as a whole.  In some case we give hotel clients a discount on all their meals or bar tab.  We have to discount each item individually as we add it to the invoice instead of just applying a 10% discount at the invoice level to any food they purchase.
    Things that are good:
    • The support team is responsive and you can usually count on an answer in a few hours or less.
    • You can probably have the basics up and running in a couple weeks. We have been adding as we go and add new Restaurant or Bar or other things.  I can set up a new item usually in less than 5 minutes, even to account for a special request a client had that we charged them for.
    • Managing inventory of "things" is easy.  You can set how many of each item you can sell in a particular time frame (Day, Night, time slot).
    • The Item level reporting is good and you can see what you sold by item or by category.

    Hope this is helpful.
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