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Should you use a booking system for your accommodation?

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Should you use a booking system for your accommodation?


Through our platforms Errant Surf and SurfaWhile we have been approached by loads of accommodations that were looking for extra visitbility online. Our platforms seemed very interesting and appealing to them and it could well be a solution for generating more bookings. And that’s a valid thought!

Is a booking system worth it?

Well, in the early years of our platforms, when the number of bookings we’ve generated were still considerably low, we still did our bookings and reservations by hand. And so did our partners. The great benefit is that a person looks at every booking and thus mistakes are much easier to recognize. However, the downside is that it takes a lot of time and manpower.

Ouch, that’s a lot of work!

In the process of growing, we figured out that there had to come a solution for u – we just simply couldn’t keep up with the way of working, given the ever increasing number of bookings. By not using a booking system but processing every detail of a booking manually, we were facing a number of disadvantages:

  • Every name, date of birth, surf level and dietary requests had to be communciated by hand. This would either go through an email or a spreadsheet
  • The booking details had to be typed up by hand and sent over across to our partners. The risk of making a small mistake always was present, leading us to double and triple check all bookings
  • And as soon the details of a booking (e.g. an extra person, additional surf lessons or a last minute dietary request) would change, a new email or message is required

Wouldn’t there be a solution to this?

There should be solutions to this – we surely wouldn’t be the only ones facing these problems. And even if it would cost us some money, we were convinced it was going to save a lot of time. Another benefit, as we believed, would be that the information regarding a certain booking between us and the partner would be much less sensitive to errors.

After our first 3-4 years doing everything by hand, we started to adopt a booking system that really has made our lives easier. The booking tool we are using is especially designed around promoting packages, which is accounting for the large majority of our total sales.

One of the challenges we are still facing are all the accommodations that stubbornly stick to their spreadsheets. We can only imagine this conservative approach to be due to the potential costs, the fear of changing or implementation or just a lack of understanding of how this can benefit your system.

A booking system is certainly worth it. It is going to cost you a bit more than your free-version spreadsheet but it’s going to save you a lot of time and other resources. Moreover, it’s so much less sensitive to errors and that’s well worth some money.

There are so many booking systems, where to start?

By far most accommodations nowadays really aim at promoting packages. The more you sell, the more you earn – simply put. And we cannot agree more to this. The booking engine we use has just that. You can always get in touch with us to ask for our experiences (olmo@surfawhile.com) and we could potentially even discuss the possibilities of getting your accommodation live on our platforms.

Olmo

Co-founder of SurfaWhile, with a passion for travel, surf, cooking, salsa, football and meeting new and interesting people.

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