When you run a reservation-based business, you must walk a careful line and make some judgment calls about how many bookings to take. This is especially true if you offer your services in multiple places online or around town, and are juggling multiple booking calendars. If you limit the visibility of your listings, you risk not booking enough spaces to make a profit. But if you make everything visible to everyone, then two or more parties may reserve the same space at the same time—the dreaded double-booking. Overbooking can result in a bad reputation for your business, as there’s nothing more frustrating than a customer showing up for your accommodation or tour only to be told that they’re out of luck. It’s one of the biggest problems for those who do not have a dedicated booking system.
It’s easy to see how overbooking happens, especially if you’re trying to juggle booking calendars in multiple places all at once. But Checkfront can help you avoid accidentally overbooking your services.
How to avoid overbooking
Many of our customers who run tours or accommodation rentals try to spread the word a little by advertising their businesses in multiple locations. For instance, a cabin rental service may have a listing on an affiliate site, on TripAdvisor, and on their own website. Bookings come in from all three places, and it’s up to the business owner to keep each calendar and their master inventory up to date whenever a new reservation is made. It’s too easy to forget to update the calendar one day, and discover that someone on the affiliate has booked the same cabin for the same weekend as another customer did via TripAdvisor. In fact, this is one of the most common issues we hear about from businesses with no booking system, and it’s one of the first problems that our website booking system can solve.
With Checkfront’s hosted booking page and multiple site integrations, you don’t have to worry about accidental overlap with bookings. If a customer is on the hosted booking page, the inventory will adjust itself and display the change across all other instances of the system, across the web. For places like Homestay, you can display a read-only version of your calendar and direct customers to your main website if they wish to make a booking. It’s literally just as easy as that; once you start using Checkfront, you will consolidate all those booking sources into one easy place where there’s little room for confusion or double-bookings.
There are situations in which you will need to keep an eye on the inventory and make manual changes, but it’s vastly reduced. There are some situations where you can export an iCal file from Checkfront and put it on a site like AirBnB; customers can book from those pages, but it won’t be reflected in the back-end system because AirBnB doesn’t send that information back to Checkfront. It’s up to you to adjust things in your inventory in this case. And, of course, if you still sell your services anywhere and still use a manual calendar instead of Checkfront’s booking page, you’ll need to make the entries into your Checkfront dashboard. Nonetheless, this is a huge reduction in work on your end, which leaves you with more time to manage the other aspects of your business.