Software Review: ResNexus Reservation System

Based on data from its sister company's directory (Destination Nexus) Reservation Nexus bills itself as the most popular and most used all-in-one reservation system for US bed and breakfasts and inns. With all due respect, data from a sister company (only), and excluding data from much larger directories, makes that conclusion just a little suspicious. Nevertheless, there is little doubt that ResNexus is one of the top reservation systems, both in popularity and in features. Because of its popularity, the apparently large set of features, and its effort to position itself as the top reservation system available, we were eager to give it a try at our Freeport Maine Bed & Breakfast. Since one of the claims made by ResNexus amounts to a claim that you will get more online bookings than with other systems, we decided to go ahead with a full month's trial, rather than just a brief demo of the product. That also allowed us to more fully explore its features, and to take advantage of its advertised "Red Carpet Service." Overview Like many modern reservation systems, ResNexus is a web-based system. Most of these fall short, either because they don't attempt to be a full-fledged property management system, or because they have not implemented a full-feature set as is found on more complete systems. That is not the case with ResNexus. Virtually every feature provided by the best systems has been implemented in ResNexus, and new features continue to be added. That said, there are still occasional perplexing design choices that make you wonder what the developers were thinking, and the pricing structure leaves something to be desired. User Interface Most of the user interface (web pages) seems to have a logical flow, and is relatively easy to navigate, so while the comments may seem negative,…

Software Review: Book At Once Property Management Software

Book At Once provides a powerful and innovative approach to their software for managing bed and breakfasts and other small lodging properties. For many, their power and innovation will be very attractive - especially in the free version. For others, it just may not be their cup of tea. Overview Book at Once is a German booking system, reaching out to become a worldwide provider, and particularly to reach the American, market. Book at Once has also become a vendor member of PAII, as part of its efforts to reach out to the US and international innkeeping market. One of the most interesting aspects of their product is that it is priced according to the features you select. The basic system is free, and that could be powerful enough for some properties. If not, additional feature bundles can be added for a monthly fee per room, or Book at Once can tailor a bundle to your needs and price it according to the features selected. Pricing for the product is given in Euros per room per month (easily converted to US Dollars or other currency), on the basis of a two year contract. We were given a full system for the review, so if you were to purchase a different option, your features may be different. The technical design of Book at Once makes it an enormously powerful system – so much so that as you use the system you are left with the feeling that it can do even more than you can see. That leaves great possibilities for future growth. User Interface [caption id="attachment_253" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Book At Once Dashboard"][/caption] In evaluating the user interface, we consider the layout of the screens (or web pages), ease of navigating the program, ease of entering (or changing) booking or guest…

A Simple Dashboard to Monitor Your Online Reputation

Recently the Professional Association of Innkeepers International (PAII) asked me to do a webinar on building a dashboard to aid in online reputation monitoring. I had read a really good article on the topic a year or so ago, so put some of that information to good use, added a bit of my own, and created the presentation. The presentation (slightly adapted) is below. One note from the audio (which isn't included) is that at the time of the presentation the site was not responding. Since I haven't actively used it in a while, I don't know if it is still in operation. Building a reputation management dashboard View more presentations from Scott Thomas.

Reviewing TripAdvisor: Low Marks for Responsibility

In recent weeks others in the travel and tourism industry have been highly critical of review site TripAdvisor for various shortcomings in its administration of its online lodging reviews (and other reviews, as well). The concerns expressed are world-wide, not simply the complaints of a few, in a small part of the world. This post is an attempt to gather and synthesize the concerns, to try to identify the core problem, and to suggest improvement. Recent Complaints About TripAdvisor In the United Kingdom, Paul White's Bed And Breakfast Club blog has taken TripAdvisor to task for allegedly fake reviews that have been maliciously posted to damage a property.  Paul suggests that TripAdvisor could have listed hotels give a code to their guests, that could be entered to validate the authenticity of the review. More recently, Heather Turner, in her Chef Forfeng's Blog, has questioned mysteriously disappearing reviews that were favorable to a property, vanishing from TripAdvisor. In addition on several innkeeping forums, such as the members-only forum for the Professional Association of Innkeepers International (PAII), or the public forum, innkeeper problems with TripAdvisor frequently surface. We have documented some of them here on AboutTheInn, as well, calling for greater responsibility from TripAdvisor, among others. Avoiding Responsibility Unfortunately, TripAdvisor's responses to nearly all of these concerns, whether made via blogs and forums, as mentioned above, TripAdvisor's own Owner's Forum, or efforts to make direct contact by phone or email, all seem to result in one of two standard responses. The first is utter silence - leaving the innkeeper with the clear impressions that (a) there is no procedure to handle problems innkeepers may have with the review process, and (b) TripAdvisor really doesn't care if the reviews are genuine or not. The second "response" is the provide boilerplate statements to…

Finally! Respond to reviews from Google Place page

As review sites like TripAdvisor, Yelp, and others, supplemented by the more specifically-targeted sites like the bed and breakfast directory reviews, become so very important to small lodging properties, Google did not miss out, and began adding reviews from many of these sites on their "Place Page" (formerly Local Business Center) for the business reviewed. Google's next step was to add the ability to review a property directly on the Place Page. This was a nice feature for reviewers, but a nightmare for businesses. Not only was the review anonymous, and entirely without any accountability, but the property owner could not respond to the review - even in cases of alleged fraud. Today Google announced a very welcome change to that practice, allowing verified business owners to post a reply. Google does suggest that you "be nice" in your reply, and provides some brief guidelines for responses, that would be well to be kept in mind in responding to any review. This should provide an even greater incentive for businesses to claim their Place Page to become a verified owner, and monitor it regularly, now that verified owners can respond to Google reviews.