Room Booking Software 101: Features, Benefits & What to Avoid

room booking software

When you have an accommodations business, making it easy to book a room or site is essential for increasing bookings. It’s like that old movie Field of Dreams: “If you build it, he will come.”

At first, it might seem easy to manage bookings the old-school way, with pen and paper or a spreadsheet. But these methods aren’t great for the current way that people seek out and book at campgrounds and hotels.

These days, searching for accommodations of any kind starts with an online search. A potential guest might immediately go to Google, or they might seek recommendations on social media. 

Next, your potential guest needs to contact you to book. You might think that simply listing a phone number anywhere and everywhere is enough, but here’s where it gets interesting:

  • People prefer booking online versus having to call an accommodation business over the phone. Some reasons behind why include that they can book whenever they want (not just during set business hours), they can share and store important information about their booking, and they feel like they have more direct control over the booking experience. 
  • 75% of millennials avoid phone calls due to them being seen as time-consuming. And it’s important to remember that millennials aren’t the teenagers of today; they are adults with careers and children, and if they haven’t already become an essential generation of customers for your business to target, then they will be soon.
  • Since COVID, more people use OTAs for accommodation bookings. The Quality Counts: The Value of OTA Travelers report for 2020 conducted by Expedia reveals that 57% of the 1,900 US domestic travelers surveyed prefer to use online travel agencies (OTAs) for booking accommodations. This is because these platforms allow potential guests to compare locations and take advantage of unique promotions and deals. 

Simply put, if you’re not taking advantage of the internet to increase your bookings and meet your customers where they’re at, you’re missing out on a lot of potential revenue for your business.

The first step to getting on board with online bookings is to invest in an online room reservation system. This is a key piece of software that every accommodation operator should have in their tech stack to ensure that guests can easily book accommodations without hassle. 

The software helps manage:

  • Room inventory
  • Pricing for different rooms or sites
  • Bookings availability
  • Promotions and discounts

Plus, an online room booking system will integrate with OTAs so that you can list your property (or properties) on multiple OTA websites to attract as many guests as possible.

Let’s take a closer look at the features and benefits of a room reservation system, with a special note about why you should be cautious about free options versus paid. 

Importance of a Room Reservation System

Aside from the fact that having a room reservation system allows you to reach more potential guests online, probably one of the most important reasons why your accommodations business should invest in room booking software is to make the booking process easier and more effective for your guests, yourself, and your staff.

When you’re manually tracking bookings, the potential for mistakes is extremely high, especially if you have many rooms, camping sites, and multiple properties. A single typo or accidental deletion can quickly cause mass confusion. In addition, keeping the particulars of each booking straight requires countless hours of administrative work, especially when you have multiple types of different accommodations, rules for enjoyment, and other requirements to keep in mind.

Room reservation software takes the complexity of booking management into account and helps facilitate a natural, streamlined booking process from start to finish for every single guest.

Key Features of Room Reservation Software

features of room reservation software

Important features of room booking software include:

1. Centralize Rates, Inventory, and Bookings Management

Rates, inventory, and bookings are the three cores of any accommodations business. By expertly managing all three, you can provide an exceptional experience for your guests

Instead of having key information scattered across multiple pieces of software where its usefulness is limited to one purpose, room booking software can centralize information so that it can become a part of the puzzle for determining how well your business is functioning. For example, the number of bookings you’re getting might correlate directly with an increase or decrease in rates, but you would never know that unless the two pieces of information are able to be analyzed and considered together in identifying patterns and trends. Plus, it’s much easier to make educated and confident business decisions when you have all the information you need at a glance.

2. Integration with OTAs

Online travel agency websites have become extremely important for accommodation businesses of all types to take advantage of, from hotels to RV parks to campgrounds. These websites attract customers by offering special deals and discounts, the ability to compare different accommodation options in an area, and more. OTAs are known for being big drivers of traffic for direct bookings as well, as usually when a guest determines that they like a particular accommodation business, they will book directly with that business next time rather than going through the OTA. Listing your business on multiple OTAs is good practice as you’ll attract more customers, so it’s important to seek out room booking software that will allow you to manage multiple listings through a channel management system easily.

Your all-in-one, online room booking software

Newbook is your all in one online room booking software. Talk to us today to learn how you can improve operations and increase bookings for your business.

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3. Take Bookings Directly From Your Website

To accommodate your repeat customers and new ones as well, it’s important that you prioritize bookings directly from your website. Most room booking software will include a plugin or the ability to create a landing page so you can easily facilitate bookings from multiple areas of your website. Look for solutions that give you the ability to customize your bookings to suit your business’s needs rather than make you fit into the software’s way of doing things. 

For example, if you have a campground or RV park, you’ll likely want software that allows you to create additional filtering options so that your guests can fill in information like the size of their RV (so only sites that will fit the unit will show up for them) and whether they want to only see sites with full hookups or specific hookups like power and water. You don’t want to make your direct booking process too complicated, but good room booking software should make it easy to add what you need without interrupting the natural flow of the booking. 

Newbook’s online booking system also has the option of an interactive map so guests can choose a site near trees, water, or other property features that appeal to them or easily see all the available sites that fit their specifications.

4. Offer Flexible Rates and Specials

OTAs aren’t the only places that can offer promotions, specials, and discounts. Your room booking software should allow you to incorporate any price adjustments you want, like if you want to offer a discount for booking for a longer period or offer special packages for couples or families. 

If you have dynamic pricing integrated into your room booking software (which is offered through Newbook), you can automatically adjust your prices based on seasonality, inventory availability, weather, and more. 

5. Ability to Offer Add-ons to Bookings

With online room booking software, the potential for upsells is significantly increased. The software can recommend appropriate add-ons for guests, like recommending a massage or breakfast in bed with a couple’s room booking. The ability to offer the right upsell to the right guest at the right time is imperative to enhancing the guest’s overall experience and maximizing revenue for your business. 

Benefits of a Room Booking System

An effective room booking system can bring many benefits to your accommodations business, from efficiency and process improvements to providing guests with a more convenient way to book. In addition, room booking software alleviates some of the administrative workload through automation functionality. 

Here are the main benefits that you can expect from room booking software:

1. Makes it Easy and Convenient for Guests to Book

When guests are booking online, they might not be booking during business hours. With an online room booking system, potential guests can book a room whenever they want without having to deal with an actual person to get it done. It’s also easier to offer online booking in multiple languages to accommodate international guests and provide visuals and other intuitive user interface elements to help guide them through the booking process.

2. Helps Increase Business Visibility Online

Room booking software helps increase online visibility for your accommodations business in a few ways:

  1. Syncs with OTAs so that you can list your business on multiple popular websites that people use to find, compare, and book accommodations
  2. Allows you to create your own website directly through the booking software that you can then promote in various places online, or integrate a booking plugin directly on your website to promote booking to website visitors 
  3. Makes it easy for guests to share a link to your website’s booking system on social media and other websites to attract new potential guests

3. Streamlines the Booking Process

It’s important that your business’s booking process is consistent and straightforward; otherwise, potential guests will get frustrated and back out of the booking process before it is complete. Have you ever wanted to buy something on a website only to get confused by the checkout process, or find out that it’s too long, and decide that you didn’t really need whatever you wanted to buy anyway? It’s the same with booking a room. If the process is too complicated or long, people won’t bother booking through you and will seek somewhere else with an easier process.

Room booking software ensures that your booking process is streamlined and straightforward from start to finish to minimize the number of guests that change their minds halfway through booking. It’s also important to recognize the value of a consistent experience. Booking online and in-person should be the same in terms of what information is expected from the guest.

Booking software helps ensure that staff members are booking the same way every time and not developing their own processes (which can happen with manual bookings) so that every guest gets the same booking experience every time. 

4. Allows Branding and Booking Flow Customization

Room booking software should allow for customization and white labeling so that different accommodation businesses can tailor the booking experience to match their needs. Labeling helps ensure the guest booking online gets a consistent experience throughout the process. If colors, branding, or the look and feel of the user interface aren’t consistent, the guest might feel like they made a mistake and accidentally clicked on the wrong option or that they’ve inadvertently become a victim of a fraudulent website. But when branding, colors, font, and style are consistent throughout, they’ll go through the process without a second thought.

Customization is also important, especially if you have multiple different rooms or sites that guests can choose from. For instance, a hotel might want guests to select the number of beds they want in a room, view preferences (e.g., ocean view or mountain view), and ground floor or upper floor. Having dropdown menus or filtering options for specific aspects of a room is important to ensure that guests can book the accommodations that they want. In addition, if a room that a guest wants isn’t available, the room booking software can dynamically recommend a different, similar room or let the guest know the times and dates that the original room will be available.

5. Gives Guests More Control Over Their Stay

The ability to book online gives potential guests more control over how they structure their accommodation experience. Not only can they choose rooms or sites that match wants and needs, like the number of beds, views, size, and amenities, but they can also seamlessly choose add-ons and additional services at the same time that they book their room. Plus, online booking means that potential guests can book an available room whenever they want without having to adhere to business hours.

6. Reduces Administrative Workload

Instead of having to manually take care of every aspect of an individual booking, room booking software does it automatically. Things like guest name, room availability, check-in and check-out time, amenities and options that the guest prefers, and more are handled by the room booking system without the need for manual intervention by you or your staff.

In addition, the information gathered from room bookings can be incorporated into your property management system and revenue management system for various purposes, from marketing to reporting. 

Room Reservation System Free of Charge? Not So Fast.

When looking online for software, you might come across free online room booking system options that seem attractive. After all, free is free, right? Why pay for something when you don’t have to?

But like anything else, you usually get what you pay for in terms of quality and long-term usability when you opt for free software versus paid. The table below compares the differences that you can expect:

Free Online Room Booking System Paid Online Room Booking System
Booking FunctionalityOften limited to a certain number of bookings in a period of time. For example, Checkfront’s free online room booking system maxes out at 100 bookings annuallyIncludes features like real-time booking availability with no maximum number of bookings
OTA ListingsOften don’t include the option for OTA listingsEither unlimited OTA listings (as is the case with Newbook) or the vendor takes a commission on each booking
Users and AdministrationUsually limited to 1–3 users total, with few administration options (multi-factor authentication, Single Sign-OnUsually supports unlimited users and offers robust administration options, like user access and multiple secure sign-in options
Features AccessFeatures are often restricted in free versions, especially if the software has a paid plan that you can switch toAccess to either the entire or majority of the platform features (feature access may be restricted based on tiered plans with some vendors)

How Newbook’s Room Booking Online System Can Help Drive Business

newbook room booking software

The biggest benefit of using an online booking system is the exposure it gives to your business to help you reach a wider audience than you could before. Being able to take reservations through your website while at the same time taking advantage of OTAs is key to increasing your bookings and driving revenue.

Newbook’s online room booking system provides that functionality but is incorporated into a fully-featured PMS and revenue management system so that you can take full advantage of the invaluable information that your booking data provides. Imagine making more effective business decisions across all aspects of your business through a solid understanding of your customer base. You can enhance your marketing efforts by using data to understand which rooms and add-ons guests from specific areas prefer when booking.

Plus, Newbook’s software is extremely reliable and fast. Some room booking software providers boast that their solutions have a 99% uptime guarantee, but what does that actually mean? Let’s compare the difference between the 99% uptime that most providers boast versus Newbook, which provides an uptime rate of 99.99%:

Reliability RatingOutage Time
99%3 days, 15 hours, and 39 minutes annually
99.99%52 minutes and 35 seconds annually

As you can see, that .99% makes a huge difference when it comes to reliability! Would you rather deal with potential downtime of over 3 days that could lose you significant business or downtime of less than an hour that’s easy to recover from? We thought so.

booking system newbook


why room booking software

In the hospitality industry, embracing technology is not just an option; it’s a necessity. A robust room booking system provides a gateway to a world of possibilities for your business. As we’ve explored, the advantages are endless.

The benefits of comprehensive room booking software are undeniable, from streamlining operations and reducing administrative burdens to empowering guests with control over their stay. It’s about creating a seamless, intuitive experience, whether a guest is booking from the comfort of their home or on the go.

However tempting as free options might seem, their limitations can hinder your growth potential. Opting for a reliable, paid solution like Newbook opens the door to unlimited opportunities. With features like:

  • Real-time availability
  • Dynamic pricing
  • Integration with online travel agencies

Newbook amplifies your online presence and drives revenue.

Discover how Newbook can improve your accommodations business by getting in touch with us today.

Your all-in-one, online room booking software

Newbook is your all in one online room booking software. Talk to us today to learn how you can improve operations and increase bookings for your business.

Request a Demonstration

Request a Demonstration

Subject to Newbook’s Privacy Policy, you agree to allow Newbook to contact you via the contact details provided for scheduling and marketing purposes.
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