Managing Room Inventory with Hotel Booking Software

In the busy hospitality industry, managing inventory is key because of the constant change in customer numbers. Since items like hotel rooms can’t be stored and sold later, making mistakes can be costly. To do well, hotels need to carefully manage their room availability, and using modern hotel room booking software helps a lot. However, the success of using such tools greatly depends on how well they are used.

In this guide, I’ll show you how hotel managers and professionals can use booking software to better manage their rooms, make more money, and keep guests happy.

Keeping Track of Inventory is Key in Hotels

For hotel managers, it’s crucial to get a grip on how they handle their inventory, which in this case, are hotel rooms. Since you can’t sell a room once the night has passed, unlike items in a store that can stay on the shelf, every empty room means lost money that you can’t get back.

Managing inventory in the hospitality industry isn’t just about knowing which rooms are available; it’s about smartly setting prices, deals, and rules to make sure every room is used as much as possible. This task needs good management skills and the right software tools to keep up with changes. That’s where hotel room booking software comes in.

Using Hotel Booking Software to Keep Track of Room Availability

The backbone of your hotel’s inventory management is undeniably your booking management software, or better know as a booking engine. However, adopting such software is not a magic bullet; it requires a thought-out approach that integrates the software seamlessly into your business operations.

The right software can empower your hotel to implement dynamic pricing, automate inventory tracking, and forecast demand with precision. This can lead to elevated efficiency, sustainable growth, and an expedited path to success.

Setting Up Accurate Room Categories and Rates

Ensuring that you have a clear and precise classification of your room categories is the first pillar of successful inventory management. This not only simplifies the booking process for your guests but also allows you to set appropriate rates that reflect the value of your offerings.

In hotel room booking software, detailing room amenities and designating them into categories—luxury suites, standard rooms, budget options, etc.—facilitates a smoother management of inventory. You can tie these categories to bespoke services, create packages, and align your pricing models more effectively, ensuring you are not only selling but also presenting your rooms in the best light.

Hotel Room Types And Price Examples

Hotels cater to various preferences and budgets by offering different room types:

  • Standard Rooms: These are the most affordable options, providing basic amenities including a queen-sized bed, TV, and private bathroom. Prices usually start at $100 per night.
  • Deluxe Rooms: These rooms offer more space and additional features such as a small seating area and possibly a better view. Rates begin at $150 per night.
  • Suites: For those seeking luxury, suites offer separate living areas, premium views, upscale bathroom facilities, and sometimes kitchenettes. Nightly rates exceed $250.

Each room type is designed to provide varying levels of comfort and convenience, ensuring accommodations for every guest’s needs.

Using Real-Time Information to Predict Demand and Adjust Prices

Gone are the days of shooting in the dark with pricing strategies. Modern hotel room booking software provides dynamic pricing tools that can access real-time data, which is a goldmine for forecasting demand and adjusting prices on the fly.

By analysing historical data, upcoming events, and current booking trends, the intelligent software can recommend the best prices to maximise occupancy and revenue. Dynamic pricing also allows you to automatically increase or decrease room rates to match demand, helping you stay profitable even during off-peak seasons.

Implementing Automated Inventory Controls

Human error is a significant risk when managing inventory. Using a hotel room booking software with minimises the risk of overbooking or double-booking rooms. This is because the software can automatically update availability in real-time based on confirmed reservations and cancellations.

Moreover, such software should have built in dynamic pricing tools that can adjust rates based on demand, occupancy levels, or any other predetermined rules. This eliminates the need for manual price changes and streamlines revenue management. This lets managers feel at ease because they know their hotel rooms are being sold at the best rate possible.

Integrating with Channel Managers for Seamless Distribution

Efficient inventory management is not just about controlling the internal distribution of rooms—it also necessitates a strategic approach to external sales, scaling your distribution without causing overselling issues.

Channel managers integrated with your hotel room booking software can help ensure your rooms are available across multiple sales platforms without risking overbooking. This means that once a room is booked through any channel, its availability is instantly updated across all other platforms. This also includes pricing updates, ensuring consistency and accuracy in your inventory management.

To access a channel manager, it’s best to choose an all-in-one hotel management software, such as Preno, which has it’s own built in channel manager. With this, you’ll also have access to insightful reports and analytics for a comprehensive overview of your inventory management.

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Adjusting Pricing, Promotions, and Restrictions According to Demand

Dynamic pricing is a sword that cuts both ways. You need to be both aggressive and responsive to market demands, knowing when to lower prices to attract more bookings and when to raise them to maximise revenue.

Implement seasonal promotions, weekend packages, or even last-minute deals within your hotel room booking software to entice different market segments. Simultaneously, be strategic with restrictions, such as minimum length of stay, to align your bookings with your revenue goals.

Again, using dynamic pricing is the easiest way to keep up with market trends, allowing you to amend pricing or restrictions whenever necessary. Ultimately, this strategy can boost your average daily rate and increase occupancy.

Maintaining a Diverse Distribution Strategy with a Channel Manager

When it comes to distribution, diversity is your ally. A channel manager can connect you to various online travel agencies (OTAs), your website, and potentially even walk-in customers, creating multiple revenue streams.

Ensure that each channel is optimised for the type of customer it attracts. Tailor your offerings and availability to suit the preferences and behaviours of those customers, leading to a higher conversion rate and more profitable partnerships.

Lowering Distribution Costs

While distribution via multiple channels is lucrative, it can also be costly. Be mindful of distribution fees and ensure that they do not eat into your margins. Compare the costs and benefits of each channel, terminating the underperforming ones, which will help you maintain profitability.

Choose your partnerships wisely and renegotiate terms when your standing in the market strengthens. You don’t want to be losing big cuts of your revenue to online travel agency (OTA) fees. With a well-thought-out approach, you can effectively manage distribution costs while maximising the reach of your inventory.

Whenever you can, it’s best to try and gain bookings through your booking engine on your website. This means that you won’t need to pay commission to the OTAs, leading to higher profits. However, having a diverse distribution strategy is still important as it allows for more exposure and potential bookings.

Understanding Your Market Segments

One of the key inputs for successful inventory management is a deep understanding of your market segments. Create detailed personas for your different customer groups and align your inventory management strategies to cater to their specific needs.

For instance, business travellers may require predictable availability, while leisure seekers might be more responsive to promotional incentives. By tailoring your approach according to the needs of your segments, you can optimise your inventory use and enhance customer satisfaction.

Types of travellers:

  • Business Travellers: Offer a business package with high-speed internet, comfortable workspaces, and express services. Target with airport transfers, quiet rooms, and business facilities.
  • Leisure Seekers: Provide packages featuring spas, pools, and tours. Attract with local attraction tickets, spa vouchers, and dining experiences.
  • Adventure Tourists: Ensure easy access to adventure activities. Engage by providing information and access to hiking, biking, and other local adventures.
  • Family Travellers: Cater to families by offering family-friendly accommodations, such as connecting rooms and child safety amenities. Enhance their experience with family discounts, complimentary breakfasts for children, and access to family-oriented attractions. Provide information on local parks, family-friendly restaurants, and events that cater to children of all ages.
  • Solo Travellers: Focus on safety, accessibility, and community. Offer solo travel guides, social events, and communal areas where they can meet other travelers. Highlight flexible booking options and personalised experiences that cater to their independent nature.
  • Luxury Seekers: Provide opulent experiences, emphasising premium services, exclusivity, and privacy. Tailor services with personal butlers, private tours, and gourmet dining options. Highlight the uniqueness and luxury elements of your property to attract those willing to pay a premium for exceptional experiences.
  • Budget-Conscious Travellers: Focus on offering value for money without sacrificing quality. Highlight affordable room options, discounts, and packages. Provide information on free or low-cost attractions near your hotel and tips for experiencing the destination on a budget.

Activating Marketing and Sales Synergies

To really get the most out of your sales and marketing, you need to make sure they’re working closely with how you manage your inventory. Think of it this way: use your hotel room booking software to the max by setting up really focused marketing campaigns. These shouldn’t just be about getting more people interested; they should also fit with what rooms you actually have available right now. That way, you’re always advertising rooms that guests can book straight away.

Boosting your strategy, if you mix your room info with your customer management system, you can really step up how personal your deals and conversations with guests feel. By using what you know about your guests, you can make offers and messages that really hit home with what they like. This kind of personal touch not only makes customers feel closer to your brand but also makes it more likely they’ll buy something from your marketing.

You can also do this by tailoring emails that resonate with your audience’s interests. For example, if you know a certain group of customers enjoys adventure activities, send them an email showcasing the outdoor adventures available near your property. Personalisation and targeted messaging can greatly enhance the effectiveness of your marketing efforts.

Getting your inventory management to work hand in hand with your sales and marketing plans is a game changer. It makes everything run smoother, helps you create better marketing campaigns, and sells more effectively. This smart move makes sure that every penny you spend on marketing is worth it, leading to more bookings and happier guests.

The Essence of Efficient Inventory Management

In short, managing your stock well is key to making money and growing in the hotel business. By using the right software to book rooms and being careful about how to use it, hotel managers can make the most of the rooms they have to offer and earn more from it. This not only leads to better revenue but also helps build a strong reputation in the market.

Remember, inventory management is an ongoing process that requires constant evaluation and fine-tuning. As your business evolves and market conditions change, it’s important to regularly review and adjust your strategies to ensure continued success. By staying informed about industry trends, understanding your market segments, and leveraging marketing and sales synergies, you can effectively manage your inventory and stay ahead in the competitive hotel industry.

With efficient inventory management, you can optimise occupancy rates and revenue, achieve higher profitability, and ultimately provide exceptional guest experiences that lead to loyal customers and positive word-of-mouth recommendations. So invest the time and resources into perfecting your inventory management strategies, and watch your hotel thrive.

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About the author

Kendra, the Marketing Content Manager at Preno, brings her expertise in Marketing and Communications to help hoteliers stay ahead of the curve. With a deep passion for the industry, she is committed to providing valuable insights and strategies for success.

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