What is the reservation process?

  • Jul 09, 2024
What is the reservation process?

The Reservation Process:

Here is a simple guide you can use to navigate through the steps involved in problem-solving. Booking a hotel can be as straightforward as picking up a phone or going on the Internet, selecting the desired dates and type of accommodation, giving some personal and billing details, and that is it. Although the front end of the reservation process might look simple, the back end, in the case of large companies handling bookings across properties and several distribution channels, is far from simple. Here is a step-by-step overview of what happens behind the scenes when you make a reservation: Here is a step-by-step overview of what happens behind the scenes when you make a reservation:

1. Availability Check

The first in the process of reservation is the check the availability of the demanded dates, the type of rooms, and other parameters that were offered by the guest. The reservation agent or the booking engine used in the hotel will link with the Property Management System to check availability and the current available rate for availability in the inventory at that time. The following is their response when what is being requested is available, they shall go ahead to collect the guest's information and make the reservation.

2. Capturing Guest Information

Personal details of the guests, mainly contact details such as their name, phone number, and email address are captured to begin the creation of a reservation record in the PMS. More information may also be collected including the name of the company, the physical location, the number of individuals on the guest list, member number (for the loyalty card members), special requirements, and the amount paid. Everything that the guest provides gets associated with the booking for quick retrieval and management of the guest.

3. Taking Deposit Payment

Nearly all accommodations demand an advanced deposit associated with booking, usually debited to a credit card. This payment is used to ensure the guest will honor the booked room and also makes them eligible for special cancellation terms. It can also be fixed by the property, which means from one night stay regular rate to the total rate of the stay. It is advisable to confirm whether certain corporate and government rates will need to deposit an initial amount or not.

4. Confirmation of Booking

After ensuring availability, asking for guest details, and taking deposit payments the last step in the reservation will be to confirm the final reservation with the PMS using a unique confirmation code. Guests are then informed of their booking through an automatic email or SMS with all the booking information. Special requests or any preferences of the customers are also recorded and documented against the respective reservation.

5. Distribution Through Channels

The reservation details are transmitted through other connected systems such as the booking engine on the reservation website, third-party booking platforms, and GDS among others to ensure the correct updates of the inventory across all channels. It takes the booked rooms off the list and makes it impossible for other guests to book the said room for the same period.

6. Room Assignment

The next stage in the process is the assignment of a particular room number within the reservation in line with the room availability, guest's preferences, and other implications in the hotel. It is also possible to swap rooms before the check-in time due to operational reasons.

7. Managing Changes & Cancellations

It is where the guest may change the date of arrival and departure or even cancel the booking in whole or in part before arrival The guest may require changes of name to that which will appear on the booking check-in system. These changes are well managed by the reservations team through charging appropriate fees, updating the information, refunding in case of early checkout, and informing the guest. There may be some grounds for change and cancellation fees such as emergency issues or quarantine measures.

8. Arrival Preparation

On the day of arrival, all the guests expected to arrive that day are reported to the front desk so that check-ins can be closely monitored. As early as today, the hotel calls the expected guests to request the estimated time of arrival. The operations team also handles all the pre-requests for example cots, cribs, late checkout, and so on.

9. Check-In

On arrival, guests are greeted appropriately and room cards are handed to them after proper identification and payment. Guest-specific comments, such as member preferences, are accessible for check-in personnel to be aware of. Each hotel policy may involve the provision of upgrading depending on the availability, help with early check-ins, and aid with late check-outs.

10. In-House Experience

From ordering food to requesting a car for the movie night, guest reservations are always available and open to all workers and can be booked for delivering exceptional service during the stay. The records are kept against the reservation also feedback from the guests and any incidents that occur are recorded for analysis.

11. Check-Out and Billing

At check-out procedures, the total charges on the guest's tab are summarized and adjusted against the reservation for all the charges, payments, and adjustments. This is where questions on check-out procedures, bills, and any request for changes or adjustments are sorted out before guests check out. Surveys seek guest feedback.

12. Post-Stay

Back-end processes produce new tasks for tidiness and make the room status available for selling again. Details of reservations are also stored in the PMS where they can be retrieved for auditing or looked up at any time in the future. Marketing departments may call for reviews or to let the customers know of promotions being offered to encourage them to come back while accommodation departments monitor and record guest stay behaviors.

Consequently, while booking a hotel, restaurant or flight seems rather basic, the operational model in the background is quite complex beginning with the inventory control, preparation of the room or a table for the arrival of guests, and ending with a post-stay report. The move toward automation and the integration of technology in the reservation process is about providing guests with efficient, uninterrupted, and hassle-free experiences and at the same time, the smooth flow of operations for the service providers through integrations across all channels and departments.

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