Managing the reservations

Last year managing the reservations coming in became an almost full-time job at times as we ran right through the summer with the rooms over-listed and bookings were coming in at a fair pace over most of that time.

With the economic mess around the world it’s quite a different picture this year. Bookings everywhere locally are well down and so it’s even more important to over-list the rooms but in addition there’s much more work to be done in adjusting the prices in an attempt to fill the rooms.

Unfortunately, there are practical limits to the amount of over-listing that can be done. Typically we list about twice the number of rooms that we actually have but going much beyond that drastically increases the chances of double bookings at the peak of the peak times which would create much more work in proportion to the income that they might bring in.

You might think that when I say “adjusting the prices” that I mean lowering them. However, we’ve found that raising the prices can bring in more bookings than lowering them does and, of course, it brings in a lot more money too. In fact, it’s really only worthwhile to lower the prices of the cheapest rooms as that means that you come up on top of some searches. What raising the price does is to improve the image of the place in the minds of potential guests. After all, arguably the only “real” way they have of judging the quality of a hotel is by the prices of the rooms; some hotels rely on that false perception quite a lot as I’m sure some of you will have already discovered.

So, in practice, what we’ve been doing this year is lowering the prices of the cheapest rooms and raising those of the more expensive ones. It’s not bringing in quite so much business as last year (there just aren’t as many people around) but it does seem to be improving the occupancy numbers.

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