Accommodation Booking Tutorial
Use SuperSaaS to create a booking system for a Bed & Breakfast or small Hotel
SuperSaaS is a general purpose booking system and therefore lacks some of the features found in specialized hotel reservation software. However, it is very suitable as low cost solution for accommodations with only a few rooms. This page shows an example set up for a Bed & Breakfast, resort property or a small hotel. You can see the end result in this demo reservation system. Features that may be of interest:
- Allow online booking or just show availability and handle booking by phone
- Enable online payment or handle payment yourself
- Send customized email confirmations and reminders
- Enforce booking policies on changing and canceling reservations
- Set prices based on season and on time left to book
- Integrates easily into your own site with minimal technical skills
Examples of different views
Step 1: How will customers find you?
Although you can use a SuperSaaS reservation calendar by itself, you will probably want a few web pages describing your rooms and listing contact information and such. If you don’t have a web page for your rooms yet there are many services on the internet that help you set these up.
When you create a reservation schedule you get a web link that points to your reservation system and looks something like “www.supersaas.com/ schedule/Your_Hotel”. If you own your own domain name then you can replace the supersaas.com part with your own domain name. You can then put that link on your web page with a label such as “book here” or “show availability”. You could also put that link on a handout or an email.
Step 2: Create an account
If you don’t have a SuperSaaS account yet click “Sign up” at the top of this page and fill out the form. Be sure to pick an account name that will make sense to your customers, since it will show up in your web address. The system will send you an email with a link to enable your account. After you click the link in your mail you can log in, which will take you to the Dashboard page.
Step 3: Create a schedule
In the right-hand menu you can click “New schedule” to go to the new schedule wizard. The wizard first asks whether you want a “resource”, a “capacity” or a “service” schedule. For this example you would typically choose a “resource” schedule, where each of your rooms is a resource. You can click the help link in the top right corner for a more detailed discussion about the difference between the two types of schedule. The remaining questions the wizard will ask should be self-explanatory. The final page in the wizard will give you the web address where your schedule is located.
Step 4: Customize options
For a Bed & Breakfast you will typically want the schedule to work with whole days, not with hours and minutes, as is the default. To do this click “Configure” and then on the “Resources” tab find the setting "Round all times to nearest: …" and select “day”. You may also want to set the minimum length of a reservation to 1 day. By default the system treats whole days as the 24 hours running from midnight to midnight. A one-day appointment will have its begin and end date on the same day. In a hotel setup it can be more convenient to work with a check-in and a checkout time that is somewhere in the middle of the day. If you enter a check-in and checkout time in the provided box (labeled “Start constraints”) then reservations will be shifted accordingly. A one-day appointment will then have its begin and end date on consecutive days.
Step 5: Setup pricing
Assuming you charge a daily rate for the accommodation you select “Depends on date, length or resource” under the heading “Price”. After you saved the page you can click the link “Set up pricing” to define the daily rates and seasonal rates. For example to raise the price by $50 in June you would define a price rule that says: “Perform action: Increase price by $50” if the date is “between 6/1 and 6/30”. To define a rate that is double on weekends you would select "Perform action: Increase price by 100%" if the weekday is “one of Saturday or Sunday”. Now, if it’s both June and a weekend should the system first add $50 or first increase by 100%? You decide that be ordering the price rules, which you do by dragging them with your mouse.
Feel free to click around all the other configuration pages to see what else you can do. For example, on the “Configure Process” page you can set up email reminders and specify what information people need to enter when booking. For a detailed explanation of all the options on the Process tab you can look at the tutorial to customize the workflow. If you don’t want to use the schedule for online booking, but just to show availability, then you can go to the “Access” tab and select the option “Only you can make any kind of change to the schedule”. You can find a detailed explanation of all the access options in the tutorial to control access to your schedule.
Step 6: Change the layout
For a B&B an overview of an entire month is probably more appropriate than the default week view. You can change this at the top of the “Layout” tab of the configuration page. If your days run from midnight to midnight (as opposed to having a check-in time somewhere during the day) you will want to set the visible hours to run from 0:00 to 24:00 to ensure that the entire chips are visible (set it to “Midnight to Midnight” if you use a 12 hour clock). You may also want to change the colors and the graphics on the schedule to match the colors on your own site by clicking the “Layout Colors” link on this page.
There are two places where you can change the Layout: firstly, the “Layout Settings” on the Dashboard page which applies to all the schedules on your account, and secondly the “Layout” tab you reach when you click the “Configure” button on a particular schedule. Changes to the latter apply only to that particular schedule. For a detailed explanation of all Layout options check out the tutorial on how to change the layout.
Step 7: Set opening hours
If you are not open all week you can use the “Opening Hours” page to close off the days when you’re not open. You find the “Opening Hours” page on a tab at the supervisor screen that you reach by clicking the “Supervise” button. On the days that you are open you will want to enter 0:00 as the opening time and 24:00 as the closing time, this enables the system to show availability correctly. (Use 12:00 am to 12:00 am on a 12-hour clock). In a previous step we set the minimum length of a reservation to 1 day (24 hours), so on days the opening hours are not set from 0:00 to 24:00 the system would otherwise assume there is not enough room for a reservation.
You can use the field “begin and end date” on the “Opening Hours” tab to restrict booking to a particular season and similarly the “Special days” tab allows you to block out periods that your rooms are not available. If your rooms are already booked over the phone or through another channel, it is better to enter them as reservations in the schedule rather than as special days. This will ensure the schedule is colored appropriately (i.e., “occupied” color rather than “holiday” color). Another option to show availability is by linking the schedule to a Google Calendar, the system will then only allow booking in spots that are not occupied in your Google Calendar. Information on how to link to a Google Calendar is in the tutorial on syncing.
Step 8: Try it out
Before you put the reservation system on your site you will first want to try out the system from your user’s point of view. As long as you’re logged in as administrator your schedule looks a bit different from what someone else will see. For example, a regular visitor typically should not be allowed to change other people’s appointments, whereas you of course can. Another important difference is that changes by the administrator do not trigger confirmation emails since this would flood your mailbox quickly while you are working on the site.
So, to get a good sense of what your customers will see it is a good idea to log out, go to the web address for your schedule, create a user account and then log back in. If you happen to have a second browser installed on your system then that is a much easier way to quickly check your site from a visitor’s perspective. Make sure you go to the web address for your own schedule, since this is where your customers will arrive, do not go to the SuperSaaS home page. There is a short write up with tips to try out your site if you are interested.
Step 9: Publish It
Once everything works to your satisfaction just put the link to the schedule on your web page, or send it to clients in an email. If you want tips on how to do that there is a write up on how to integrate a schedule into your site. You can also use your own domain name instead of supersaas.com, the set up is slightly more complex and is explained in the custom domain tutorial.
You can always come back and make additional changes to the schedule; almost all options can be reconfigured while the schedule remains running. Feel free to experiment with the different settings to see what happens to your schedule.