Taking reservations everywhere for free

Looking for an easy, free way to take reservations that you can check any place?

Over time we have adapted our reservation process.  We take about 60% of our reservations by phone, the rest are made online.  This post is about the reservations we take by phone.  Our main goals is to have a system that is easy, free and accessible any place from a mobile phone.

We use three tools which might surprise you because they are so easy and inexpensive – 1.) 3×5 index cards, 2.) a pocket calendar and 3.) google calendar app.

Index Cards
We learned that it is really easy to give each reservation a unique index card.  This is an easy tool that allows you to write down a reservation no matter where you are in a consistent manner.  Below is a picture of our standard reservation information.  Once the reservation has been paid, I mark through the credit card information with a black marker for security reasons and keep the index cards filed by date.

photo (5)I keep a supply of these in my pocket calendar so I’m ready any time.  You will find that you never get a reservation call when you are in front of the computer.  It seems to happen to me every time I go out to run errands, but with this system I’m prepared.

I also use the card to write down anything special the guest mentions so that I can remember it when they arrive like special dietary needs or why they are visiting the area.  I make sure that each index card gets:

1.) a confirmation email (I mark a “C” in the upper right corner),

2.) marked on my shared google calendar (I circle the “C” in the upper right corner),

3.) added to may monthly booking calculator, discussed in a later post (I mark an “I” in the upper right corner) and

4.) added to my online booking calendar (I mark a “w” for webervations in the upper right corner).

Pocket Calendar
Every reservation I make gets recorded in my pocket calendar.  I assign a letter to each of my rooms “c” for chocolate room, “g” for green room, etc.  I mark the pocket calendar right after the call so that I’m sure not to double book.  There is nothing worse than forgetting someone or double booking.  Take a look at a picture of my pocket calendar.  It helps to keep a pencil handy because it is much neater and less confusing to be able to erase cancellations.

Google Calendar
Every day I mark the reservations I’ve taken in my google calendar.   This is a free google app and there is an Iphone app that can be downloaded so it is easy to access.
photo (3)

This calendar can be shared with whoever you like which is handy because if you have more than one person answering the phone or taking reservations they can look at the reservation calendar any place, any time.  I make each room a different color and I put the guest’s name in.  This is not the answer for inns larger than eight rooms, but I have six and it works great.  

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

LeeAnn Unfred April 23, 2013 at 9:50 pm

What do you use for an online booking system? I do the gmail calendar and its on my phone also but our BNB at this does not use on line booking, I can see me double booking a room by not keeping up with it Thanks

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andrea April 24, 2013 at 5:34 pm

LeeAnn,
I also use google calendar so I can have on my phone as well. I find it is very slow on the phone so I keep a paper calendar in my purse, a tiny one with ONLY my reservations in it. I think that having online booking increased my reservations. I highly recommend Webervations and they will “customize” your reservation page so it doesn’t look like customers are leaving your site for a very small fee. The service itself is super cheap. I figure if I have someone call and book in the same day and I haven’t updated it I just apologize and say I don’t have a room.

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