How does overbooking happen?

If you have a solid distribution strategy in place for your accommodation, you are selling inventory across multiple booking channels. When your availabilities aren’t being synchronised automatically, double bookings can occur when two guests book the same room on two different channels. Even if you only take booking requests through your website, there’s always a risk of having to reject clients.

In our experience, hotels that struggle with overbookings keep track of reservations on paper and/or adjust availabilities by hand. Not only is this way of working prone to errors and overbookings, it’s also quite time consuming. As you can imagine, it’s not very realistic to stay on top of reservations day and night.

Why should hotels try to avoid overbooking?

A double booking is more than an administrative inconvenience for the hotel. More often than not, it leads to disputes with the customer and negatively impacts your revenue.  

The guest in question may need to be relocated to a different accommodation or upgraded (without charge), costing you money in both cases. At the same time, the client is likely to leave a bad review, which can damage your reputation and deter potential guests from booking with you. As such, overbooking can cause you to miss out on substantial future revenue.

Apart from the financial consequences, overbooking also puts your staff in an uncomfortable position. After all, who likes to be the bearer of bad news? Plus, they lose valuable time making phone calls, which leaves other important tasks unfinished.

What is the solution to prevent hotel overbooking?

As with most issues, prevention is better than cure! Bearing in mind that a good distribution mix is indispensable, the most effective and carefree solution to eliminate the risk of overbooking is a reliable Channel Manager. As the heart of your online distribution, the Cubilis Channel Manager keeps your availabilities synchronised across all connected OTAs, metasearch platforms and your website Booking Engine. It ensures that potential clients get accurate availability information in real time, allowing you to open 100% of your inventory on all channels if you want to.

Channel Manager availability overview
Channel Manager availability overview

In case an overbooking occurs, there are a few things you can do to protect the guest satisfaction and your hotel’s reputation. In order to be able to offer your client an alternative, it's highly important to maintain an accurate overview of your available rooms. Connect your Channel Manager to your Property Management System, so your availability is instantly adjusted after adding manual reservations or receiving cancellations. To limit no-shows and late cancellations, have your guests complete or authorise the payment in advance. It would be a shame for a room to be needlessly left empty!

As a 'last resort’, make arrangements with nearby hotels to accept each other's guests if needed. That way, you always have a quick, graceful solution at the ready.  

Ready to put an end to overbooking?

Get to know the Cubilis Channel Manager a bit better by requesting your free trial below.