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How to Create the Best Online Booking System for Your Hotel

When you’re listing your hotel on a range of OTAs (online travel agencies), as well as your own business website, it can be tough to manage bookings from multiple platforms. 

An online booking management system helps you manage the day-to-day tasks of the booking process to keep it in motion. Not only can these systems keep on top of bookings, but in some cases, they can also accept online customer payments. 

According to research on hotel booking preferences, 65% of users prefer to book directly with the provider than OTAs when listings appear at the same price. Setting up an online booking management software that works across different platforms makes the booking process easier and quicker for both you and your guests. 

There are lots of online booking systems to choose from. While a lot of providers have similar features and components to their systems, it’s up to you to find the service that works best for your needs and improves customer experience. 

Here are some factors to consider when selecting an online booking system: 

Things to Consider As A Property Manager 

  • Price 

One of the most important factors when selecting an online booking and management system is how much it’s going to cost. 

While pricier systems will offer more, the ability to upgrade your system to a different package as and when you can afford to, means you can start with a package that fits your budget initially. 

Online booking systems tend to have different payment structures – paid monthly, by commission or made up of user fees – so make sure you select a payment structure that works for you. 

There are also additional fees that appear in certain systems, which includes: 

  1. initial set-up costs 
  2. booking fee charges 
  3. costs for handling credit card payments 
  4. costs for adding additional users like cleaners 
  5. extra charges for simple updates 

Get to grips with the different features on offer, and how they can be used to improve the online booking process for your hotel. 

  • External calendar sync 

The ability to sync calendars from each platform into an external calendar will make it more convenient for you to manage bookings. 

Find an online booking management system that can synchronise calendars across different sites. While not the only option, one way to do this is using a channel manager. 

channel manager is a tool that enables you to list all your hotel rooms on all connected booking sites at the same time. 

The purpose of a channel manager is to update the availability of rooms in real-time on all sites being advertised. When a booking is made, it will automatically update your availability calendars, saving time and reducing the risk of double booking. 

A tool that is widely used in the hotel industry is iCal (short for iCalendar). To put it simply, iCal is a file format that is capable of representing information in a calendar on a time basis. 

iCal allows you to report on the availability of a type of accommodation in a streamlined and easily accessible calendar. While you can synchronise bookings between calendars on multiple OTAs and independent booking sites using iCal, the only information you can save is the availability of accommodation. 

  • Insight reports 

Ideally, the online booking management system you choose will be able to report advanced insights into your hotel business and customers. 

Reporting features allow you to look closely at analytics to see how your business operates on a daily basis. Get a better understanding of customer demographics and receive information on real-time cash flow with reporting features. 

It is worth looking into how insights are being determined, to make sure it is accurate and reliable. Establishing patterns can help you figure out what is working and what isn’t, which can shape the next steps going forward in your hotel business. 

  • Customer Support 

By selecting a provider for your online booking management system, you become a customer. So easy-to-access customer support is vital to make sure any immediate problems are handled before they impact your customers. 

With start-up guides, training videos and technical support on hand to answer any queries, all your difficulties working with the system can be addressed. 

How quickly these issues will be resolved depends on what communication channels are available. While you may receive instant responses with a phone call or live chat, on the other hand, email or contact form may take longer. 

As guests should be able to book accommodation outside of business hours, ideally 24/7, it is important to check how much downtime the system experiences to fix bugs and update the software.  

Features That Will Improve the Booking & Enquiry Process For Customers 

  • A ‘book now’ button for your website 

Including a ‘book now’ button on your hotel website can speed up the booking process for customers, creating a smooth booking experience. 

While potential guests may have visited your website to browse for accommodation initially, the option to book means that if they find a listing of their liking, they won’t have to waste their time trying to find the appropriate page to book.

  • Automated emails to confirm bookings 

Many customers expect an email to be sent to their email address once a booking has been secured. 

Rather than manually sending out emails to customers, automate this process with an online booking management system so customers receive their emails instantly to confirm details. 

These emails can also act as reminders when it comes close to the date of their arrival at your hotel. 

  • Chat tool for answering customers’ enquiries 

Setting up a chat tool on your website can be useful for guests that want to clarify something before they book at your hotel. 

Not only can owners build a rapport with their guests through a chat function, but can also allow a guest to ask specific questions that can’t be answered through a FAQs page. 

Bridging the gap between an email and phone call, a chat tool enables you to instantly answer guest enquiries as best as possible. 

  • Option to book through social media 

If potential guests happen to find your hotel through your social media, then an option for them to book there directly is useful because this brings in more customers from social platforms.  

The ability for customers to book through social media gives you more payment avenues, adding to your revenue overall. 

Our final statement 

The right online booking management system will make the booking process simpler and quicker, boosting bookings for your hotel property. 

With the booking software automating repetitive tasks, such as replying to email enquiries and sending out arrival information, you can save time and focus on other elements that improve the customer’s experience with your business. 

By operating around the clock, your hotel can take bookings 24/7, which is convenient for your customers. Managing the availability of rooms through this system reduces the chance of guests double booking. 

Research is essential when it comes to finding the best online booking management system for your business. If you choose to go with a provider, make sure you’ve considered the factors listed above in your final decision. 

Even though it can be a costly upfront investment, selecting the right system that caters to your personal needs and requirements can make the booking and enquiry process more effective for your customers in the long term. 

Need assistance managing your online bookings for your hotel? Visit the Keey website for more information! 

How You Can Elevate your Airbnb with a Guidebook

It can be easy to see an Airbnb stay as just another rather clinical transaction nowadays. It’s become incredibly common not to greet your guests in person. This is especially true now, in a post-COVID world. So, how can you ensure that your guests have a great experience?

An excellent way to impart your personality and hospitality on the guests even if you can’t be present is through a guidebook. This can either be in the form of an interactive digital guidebook, or one that is physically printed and placed in your property. 

Guidebooks serve a dual purpose. They both increase the value of the customer experience and also of your Airbnb. This is due to the fact that you can reuse the guidebook with all future guests, and it shouldn’t need updating very frequently. It is a low cost-addition to your business to boost customer experience, ratings, and therefore returns and recommendations. 

Guidebooks can be included with your welcome letter (find out how you can write a great Airbnb welcome letter). Combined, they create a great welcome pack for guests. They provide everything possibly needed for their stay and more.  

So, here’s how you can write a great guidebook, and what info you should be including! 

How Do I Write an Airbnb Guidebook?

There are a few ways to approach the formatting of this. The easiest way is to create it directly on Airbnb. You can do this through your ‘Info for Guests’ area on your listings. By doing this, it means it’s consistently attached to your property, and guests can access it easily at any time. 

You can also write your guidebook yourself though the creation of a word document. Make sure to format it as a PDF. This is so it can be easily downloaded or printed out by the guest to meet their preference. You can also leave this in your property yourself! Place it in an easy to spot location, such as the kitchen counter, so it can’t be missed! 

If all else fails, there are websites that can help you build a great interactive digital guidebook. For example, Hostfully, a vacation rental software partnered with Airbnb, is a very helpful resource. It can be used to create a detailed resource for your guests with professional visuals to enhance their user experience. 

In terms of the actual written content, there are a few things to keep in mind. Make sure you write in an easily accessible way. If you are working with a digital format, maybe add some accessibility features like text to speech in order to accommodate a wider audience. 

Write in short, concise sentences, and make sure the information you’re including is what will be most helpful to the guests. In other words, cut straight to the facts in as few words as possible. 

The guidebook needs to be made engaging. Some people will never read the information you send them. This makes them more likely to leave a negative review because of information they missed. In order to combat this, try to incorporate some personality, even a bit of humour, with clear headings for skimmers.

What Information Should I Include?

It is often expected that a good Airbnb host is like the concierge at a hotel. Always available with any information you may need for your stay. This is exactly what you want your guidebook to be: informative, helpful, and polite. Here are some things you may want to include. 

  • Include useful necessities in your area. One or two of each of the best or closest places for important items. So, things like supermarkets, laundromats, petrol stations, or pharmacies. 
  • Include things to do. Make sure to leave recommendations of different available forms of entertainment in your area. Include food and drink recommendations, the arts and culture of the area, any sightseeing opportunities or historical landmarks, good shopping, or great nightlife. 
  • Parking or driving services. Say where is best or cheapest to park in your area. Recommend any taxi or car services and how or where to hire a vehicle. Leave any pertinent numbers and any discount codes you may have for these services. 
  • Any specialised apps for the area. Be it for car services or food delivery, there may be some specific apps only available in your area. For example, there are some to find specialised food recommendations. A great example of something like this is HappyCow, which is to assist in finding vegan options in the area. 
  • Any rubbish or recycling information. This is key to ensure waste is disposed of correctly. It may differ from area to area, so it could be helpful to include this. 
  • Mention any cleaning procedures and services. If there is anything you require of the guests in terms of cleaning, it is best to include this in here. You may even be able to upsell to your guests through the guidebook. This can also be a good place to include any mid-stay professional cleaning opportunities you may provide. 
  • Any additional appliance or amenity instructions. Things like the Wi-Fi password (and router location) are usually included in the welcome letter. But any miscellaneous, ‘less important’ information can go in the guidebook. 

Remember, you don’t necessarily need to include all of this! These are just some helpful suggestions. Make sure you select what information you would find useful during an Airbnb stay. You can’t go wrong that way!

Tips and Tricks

Send this information a week or so prior. By being proactive, you ensure your guest has the time to read everything and plan accordingly. 

Write yourself an ‘FAQ’ list. Go through previous guest experiences of your Airbnb, or even your own experiences as a guest elsewhere. Use that as a springboard of things to answer and include in your guidebook. This way, you’re covering all bases! 

Include photos throughout.  Enrich your recommendations with images. The visual nature will be more eye catching. You can even take and add your own photos for a touch of personality! If your guidebook is digital, include hyperlinks. This can be to menus, maps, or reviews. It enriches the guests experience and ensures everything is in the same place. 

Make sure to include anything unique. This could be about your property or the area. Include hidden gems in the area or talk about desirable attributes to the property for example. Make your recommendations personal. Use your own experience of the city and the space to recommend diverse and less well travelled places. 

Make sure it stays up to date. Discuss new openings in town, or update on Covid protocols in your particular city. You can cater to the seasons and what’s available, with things like ice skating or Christmas markets!


The inclusion of a guidebook is a fantastic and easy way to upgrade your Airbnb. You can’t go wrong! Be personal, helpful, and accessible, and your effort will pay dividends. Remember, the better the experience, the higher the reviews and ratings for your business! 

Need help creating the perfect guidebook for your rental property? Here at Keey, we can help. Contact us today! 

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