overbooking how to deal with it
07/07/2022 | by BedBooking

Overbooking – what is it, and how to avoid it?

Overbooking is a terrifying vision for almost every host of an accommodation facility. If you’ve experienced it the hard way, you know best how stressful and fatal it can be for your business. If the date is unfamiliar to you, it is worth getting to know it better and making sure you use the right tools. The phenomenon of overbooking will bypass your hotel, guesthouse, or house for rent.

Overbooking – what does it mean? 

Overbooking, or “over-sale”, is a phenomenon in which more bookings are accepted on a given date than it is possible to realize. This term is often used by airlines and large hotels. Both of them use this practice daily due to the statistics on cancellations. Overbooking allows hotels to minimize the loss incurred by canceling a reservation, and airlines can sell more tickets than seats on a plane.

Although large hotels use this procedure consciously and reap its benefits, the owners of small accommodation establishments should avoid booking imposed at all costs. They can do more harm than good. In the case of small guesthouses, overbooking is due to human error and the selection of inappropriate tools rather than deliberate actions.

Overbooking – how to deal with it? 

Unfortunately, overbooking for the owners of small accommodation facilities has only unpleasant consequences and is a problematic situation to mitigate. In the case of quick identification of a double reservation, i.e., before the guests arrive, we have many more possibilities. A phone call to apologize, an offer to transfer the booking to another date, and financial compensation, for example, in the form of a discount. These solutions should help, although your guests probably won’t be delighted anyway.

Sometimes, however, we become aware of a mistake when guests from both bookings arrive at the same time. Such a situation is associated with an inevitable conflict, and the guests are greatly upset. 

You’ve had an overbooking in your accommodation facility. What to do?

First, stay calm and agree on a satisfactory solution with the guests as soon as possible. Be honest and transparent with your guests. In this case, the return of the deposit is definitely not enough. Additional forms of compensation should also be considered, such as:

  • discount vouchers, 
  • free-of-charge accommodations,
  • or arranging and paying for accommodation in a place nearby. 

In addition, the question of determining which guests have priority to hold the reservation will only add to the tension. Even if we manage to smooth the situation, it is very possible that we will face a negative opinion on the Internet. So let’s do everything you can to avoid these unpleasant situations and if they have happened, do everything you can to prevent them from happening again.

It is usually problematic to inform guests when overbooking has occurred. The photo was taken by Shvets

Where does overbooking come from?

In a hospitality-based business, it’s worth being visible in many places. Reaching potential guests from different sides translates into higher apartment occupancy and helps in development. However, the multitude of booking sources and the lack of appropriate management tools are the most common reasons for overbooking. Booking websites, various social media channels, websites, recommendations – we receive reservations from all these places, often simultaneously. Of course, having a variety of sales channels is a good thing in a hospitality-based business. Unfortunately, it is effortless to make a mistake when manually controlling new reservations, and the system we work with is devoid of automatic synchronization with booking portals.

How to avoid overbooking? 

Using the right tools is the best way to avoid problems with future bookings. Nowadays, a reservation system integrated with portals such as Booking.com or Airbnb.com is the basis and an absolute must-have for hosts of accommodation facilities of all types. Furthermore, thanks to advanced technology, bookings made via external websites immediately appear in your booking calendar, preventing you from assigning new guests to a previously booked date. 

BedBooking will help you avoid overbooking

An example of such a tool is BedBooking, which, apart from a dedicated booking calendar, also has several functions and facilitations in the daily running of an accommodation facility. An unquestionable advantage is that the system allows you to run your own accommodation sales channel through your own website or social media profiles. This solution is automated, like bookings through well-known portals. Still, in this case, it is commission-free, so more money goes to our wallets. There is also no need to install BedBooking on a computer. It is an application and a completely secure website, not a program for booking accommodation. If you are concerned about selling accommodation yourself through the booking system, be sure to read this article.

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