We are proud to present to you the beta version of our new Booking Enquiry module. The new module supplements the existing tools for electronic guest communication with a new one – for servicing guest enquiries. Now you can use the following features: generate and send an enquiry reply to a guest and then create a booking based on the guest enquiry. We are working on the second part of the module, which will enable guests to complete their bookings in the hotel's web reservation system on the basis of the received enquiry reply.
We believe that the new instrument will help you increase your sales, enhance your hotel image from the very start of your communication with guests and it will provide you with more flexible tools for personalised offers and special prices.
Creation of Booking Enquiry
We have added the creation of a new booking enquiry to the Rate&Availability screen . This way the new feature naturally follows the steps of a conversation with a guest – i.e. while answering the guest's questions regarding availability and prices, you can add the products the guest is interested in to the booking enquiry reply. At the end of your conversation, you can send the guest an email with the discussed products.
To create a booking enquiry reply:
- Open the Rate&Availability screen.
- From the Booking Enquiry menu (top right), click the 'New' button and fill in the guest's details.
- Enter the period, room types and rates on the Rate&Availability screen as usual
- Next to the 'Book' button, we have a small button for each product. Click it.
- Fill in the number of rooms (when working with room types only) and click 'Add to Enquiry'
- On the Booking Enquiry menu (top right), you will see the number of the rooms you have added.
- You can add rooms for different periods, room types, rates and number of guests.
The rooms added to an enquiry retain the prices they had at the moment of adding. This lets you know the price you offered the guest. By default, this price is only informative and the booking will be created at the current prices. We have added an option for fixing the price, so that the client can make a booking at the price initially offered by you, even when the rate has changed. See below how to fix certain prices.
Booking Enquiry Editing
The Rate&Availability screen remembers your last Booking Enquiry. Even if you leave the screen, this reply will be available to you when you return to this screen. You can create a new Booking Enquiry or remove the current one from the screen by clicking the small drop-down menu button (the rightmost one on the Booking Enquiry menu).
To edit guest details:
- Click the button with the enquiry number and surname of a guest.
- Change the data and save.
To edit the rooms added to a booking enquiry reply:
- Click the 'Edit Rooms' button
- You can remove a row through the 'X' button and save.
- You can add more rooms from the Rate&Availability screen.
Also you can search for a specific enquiry by going to 'Booking' – 'Booking Enquiry Search'. Find the enquiry and click 'Open on the Rate and Availability screen' to add more rooms or alternatively use any other feature of this screen.
Sending Email or Printing
To email the Booking Enquiry reply to your guest, you can use our standard form, which provides certain customisation options. You can also build an entirely new custom form with your own design and arrangement (see below).
To print or email a booking enquiry reply to a guest:
- Choose the 'Next' button from the Booking Enquiry menu. Before clicking the 'Print/Send' button, you can once again check all the details.
- Additionally, you can further customise the email before sending it by adding specific notes above and under the grid with rooms. Click 'Edit' and enter the specific notes. Save.
- An archive of all emails sent is maintained. It can be viewed in the Email section of any Booking Enquiry.
Check for changed prices and price fixing
Another aspect of the enquiry management is their prices. The Booking Enquiries in Clock PMS answers the following questions:
- What prices have you offered your guests?
- Have the current prices changed compared to the ones you sent?
- How to fix certain prices, so that the guest can book at the prices in the enquiry reply regardless of the changes to the current ones?
What prices have you offered your guests?
A Booking Enquiry shows the prices of the rooms at the moment of their adding. These are not fixed prices, but informative ones showing what you have offered the guest.
Have the current prices changed compared to the ones you sent?
Here is how you check this:
- Click the 'Edit Rooms' button and select 'Check current prices and show differences'.
- The rows with price changes are highlighted, showing the old prices and the new ones.
- If you want to resend the enquiry reply with the new prices, click the 'Recalculate and update prices' button . Then send the enquiry reply to the client. Please have in mind that this does not fix the prices. If you want to make sure that that the guest will book at the prices of the enquiry reply instead of the current ones, see below.
How to fix certain prices, so that the guest can book at these prices regardless of the changes to the current ones?
If you want to fix a given price, fill it in the the 'Manual price' field and select a currency. Thus entered, the price will be transferred to the 'Manual Price' field of the booking and the guest will be able to book at the offered price.
From an Enquiry to a Booking
There are two options for an enquiry to become a booking:
- It can be done by the hotel after receiving an email or telephone call from a guest with a request for a booking based on the enquiry. Here is how you can do it:
- Find the guest's enquiry ('Bookings' - 'Booking Enquiry Search')
- Open it.
- Click 'Create Booking' button next to the respective room.
- Click the link of the newly created booking to edit it or send confirmation.
- Soon clients will also be able to do it ( the feature is still at a developmental stage). Guests will visit a special page, part of your web reservation system. There a booking will easily be created on the basis of the data from the enquiry reply in a click. Apart from saving time, a client can also take advantage of special prices and packages, if offered.
Enquiry Form Customisation
If you decide to use the standard enquiry form - here is how you can customise it:
- Title. It is at the top. If not set, the hotel name appears there. It can be changed from 'Settings' - 'Languages and Texts' - 'Booking Enquiry' - 'Title'.
- Logo ( top left). It uses the logo you have uploaded as 'Confirmation Logo' from 'Settings' – 'Logos / Image Library'
- Contact Info (top right). The contact info entered in 'Languages and Texts' - 'Booking Confirmation - Cancellation - Page' - 'Page - Hotel contacts label' is used.
- Name. You can change or translate the default name of the document to be sent. Instead of 'Booking Enquiry', you can choose 'Offer', 'Price Quotation', etc. To do so, go to 'Languages and Texts' - 'Booking Enquiry' - 'Name'.
- Header. A text that appears in the space between the guest contact info and the grid with prices. You can edit it from 'Languages and Texts' - 'Booking Enquiry' - 'Header'.
- Footer. A text appearing under the grid with prices. You can edit it from from 'Languages and Texts' - 'Booking Enquiry' - 'Footer'.
You can also build your custom Booking Enquiry form using HTML. This way the form can contain dynamic data coming from the defined parameters. The creation of this custom form is similar to the creation of other custom forms – custom confirmation, folio, guest emails, registration cards, etc. You can set up the custom booking enquiry form from 'Settings' - 'Booking Enquiry Template'. After completing the template, click 'Use a custom booking enquiry template' to enable it. Soon we will add a sample template to give a starting point.
Booking - Required fields and Default values
We have added a new setting. Use it to set which fields of a booking to be required ones. You can do so from the New Booking screen or the Booking Edit screen. In practice, it means that if you open and edit an old booking with empty, but now required fields, you will have to fill in these fields to save the booking. These required fields setting applies to these two screens only – 'New Booking' and 'Booking Edit' and does affect the rest of the booking sources for the system. In other words, the bookings received from the channel manager, WRS, through the file import or the API are not checked by the system for compliance with the required fields setting.
The fields which can be set to be required ones are:
Adults, Children, Meal, Rate, Guarantee Option, Guaranteed, Arrival Time, Departure Time, Transfer Arrival, Transfer Departure, Charge transfers, Country, Language, Marketing source, Marketing channel, Restaurant
Default values. Now you can set default values for the fields of a booking. These default values will apply to the fields of a booking when started from the 'New Booking' screen only. The setting will not affect the other booking sources (channel manager, WRS, through the file import or the API ).
When you start a booking from another screen (Rate&Availability, Room Calendar, etc.), the values coming from these screens have priority over the set default values. So if you start a new booking from the Rate&Availability screen, the values selected by you on this screen (period, rate, room type, adults and children, etc.) will override the existing default values for the booking fields.
The fields which can be set to be default ones are:
Stay, Room/Room Type, Adults, Children, Meal, Rate, Guarantee Option, Guaranteed, Arrival Time, Departure Time, Transfer Arrival, Transfer Departure, Charge transfers, Country, Language, Marketing source, Marketing channel, Restaurant
To do the above "Settings" - "Booking Fields".
PBX interface / Call accounting
If you have a PBX (telephone system) and charge the calls of your guests, now you can take advantage of the new interface and integrate your PBX with the Clock PMS. Once installed, the new interface can be set up to work with your PBX and the made phone calls will directly be charged to the bills of your guests. The first version of the interface only supports its own charging system. Please let us know if you need the interface to support external charging systems. The PBX interface is a paid feature. Please contact us to get a quotation for your PBX.
Requirements: A PC with Windows XP or higher; depending on your PBX: COM port or COM to USB adapter; Ethernet. Clock PMS - API add-on installed. Contact our support team for more information, as well as to check if your PBX is compatible with our interface.
Clock PMS settings:
- Go to 'Settings' - 'Phone Call Settings' and fill in:
- Charge text, Revenue group, Revenue category – this data will be used for posting the charges to the folios of guests
- Pricing Method.Choose a method of call charging:
- Native Price – a price sent by the system itself. Use the 'Currency' field to set the currency of the charges to be posted to guest folios.
- Price per Unit. If calls are charged at units (aka Impulses) in your PBX, the phone call charge that is posted to the guest's folio is a result of the multiplication of the respective units by the price per unit. This price is set in the 'Price per unit' field. The currency of the posted charge will be the one set in the 'Currency' field.
- Price per Minute. Fill in the 'Price per minute' field. Each started minute of a phone call will be charged at this price. Once again the currency of the charge will be the one set in the 'Currency' field.
- Add phone line for each room. To do so, click 'Edit' in the 'Phone lines' section.
- Enter a phone line for each room. If you need to enter more than one line for a room, use a comma to separate the lines. Each phone line needs to be entered the way it is submitted by the PBX.
How the PBX interface works:
- The PBX sends information of each call made through a COM port or TCP/IP to the PC, where our local interface is installed (TCScanner.exe, SpoolPMS service).
- SpoolPMS connects to Clock PMS, using the Clock PMS API and sends the call. Note: The SpoolPMS connection to the API requires an enabled API add-on and set API user to access the API.
- The call data is received by Clock PMS and can be seen on the screen for phone call search ('Other' – 'Phone Call'). The calls have three statuses:
- Charged – the call is successfully charged to the folio of a booking
- Uncharged – the call is not charged to any booking. You can also find the related error.
- Ignored – you can ignore the phone calls which cannot be charged and describe the reason for that.
- Clock PMS determines the call price using the chosen pricing method.
- The mapping between rooms and phone lines is used for identifying which room a phone call comes from.
- Clock PMS looks for the checked-in booking for this room and check whether the call falls within the period of this booking. In case of multiple bookings found, the first one is selected.
- The call charge is posted to the first valid folio of the booking. In case of no valid folio, a new one is created.
- The call gets the Charged status.
Activity control. If the communication between the SpoolPMS service and Clock PMS stops for more than 5 minutes, a no communication warning appears on the Home screen of Clock PMS. Please contact your system administrator to look for a possible issue with your network or the PC where the interface is installed.
- New rate restriction - 'Last Minute days'. Use it to create last minute rates. For each rate or season, you can set the number of days before arrival for which the rate will be active. For example, if you enter '2' in the 'Last Minute days', this means that the rate will be active for guests arriving today, tomorrow or the day after tomorrow. If '0' set, the rate will be active only for guests arriving today. This restriction does not limit the length of a stay. The difference between this restriction and the other similar one – 'Max Days Before Arrival' is that the new restriction refers to the nights (but not to the arrivals) after the set number of days. You can use a combination of both these restrictions, if you want to limit the period within which nights to be charged at the last minute rate. For example, if you enter '1' in the 'Last Minute days' field and '7' in the 'Max Days Before Arrival' field, guests will be able to book for today and tomorrow, but their departures must be within 7 days as of today. The new restriction is supported by all the modules of the system, except for the Channel Manger. There it cannot operate, because it depends on arrivals, i.e. the result is different for each enquiry.
- Custom Screen Help.You can enter texts for several key screens, which will appear on the screen and remind your staff of specific procedures and operations.
- Reports. On the Reports screen, you can enter your own description texts for each report, as well as a text, which will appear in the lower right corner of the screen. To use this feature, you need to have the 'Settings' right granted. Click the small 'Comment' icon next to the respective report or links in the lower part of the screen. You can use rich text descriptions for your texts.
- Booking Screen. Various texts can be set to appear on the Booking screen or the Booking Edit screen. You can add a text to appear at the top or the bottom of the screen. To do so, find the links ('Custom screen help' - 'At the top/bottom of the page)) at the bottom of each of these screens.
- Home Screen. Enter a text to appear on the Home screen, so that it can be seen by all your employees. To do so, go to the Help menu in the navigation bar and select 'Home screen top and bottom'.
- POS home screen. Enter a text to appear at the top of the main screen. You can use it to remind your staff of ongoing promotions or stopped products. To do so, select 'Custom screen help' from the Help menu.
- POS reports. Similar to the PMS, you can set a help text for each report.
- Events - Cancellation. Now you can quickly cancel an event without causing the cancellation of the block, meeting room bookings and catering. When cancelling the event, you can specify if all event folios are to be cancelled or not. The cancellation button is situated on the event screen.
- Event – Company change. We have added an option for changing the company of an event. The company change leads to the change of the folio payer, i.e. the folio will be transferred to the newly set company. To change the event-associated company, open the event's Edit screen and change it in the company field.
- WRS - Departure date. A 'Departure date' field has been added to the first page of the WRS. This way clients can select what is easier for them – Stay or Departure date.
- WRS - Hide prices on the Availability Calendar. We have added a new setting to the WRS letting you hide the prices on the Availability Calendar, so that it shows only if there are available rooms. This setting makes the Calendar clearer to your guests in the cases with more complex rates used. For example, if you use packages depending on the stay length, the Calendar shows minimum price for each day. However, this is a package of 14 nights. The client may not understand this peculiarity and wonder why there is no such a price for 3-day stay. It is up to you to choose if minimum prices are to be shown, which stimulates sales or not, which makes the Calendar clearer to your guests.
- Tax Report. We have added a column with the Gross values for each tax.
- Booking – a short list of To-Dos. The short list of open To-Dos can be found at the screen near the Notes section, so that it is easier for your staff to see them.
- Import of checked-out bookings. Now you can import the checked-out bookings by arrival date for a period of up to 2 years back. No room charges are created for these bookings.
- Booking import - notes. When importing bookings, you can now add Notes and Client Requests
- To-Do – log information. On the To-Do edit screen, you can find information when and by whom a To-Do was created, edited and/or completed.
- Adyen. You can require the address of guests paying by credit card, if you use the address verification service. The related setting can be found in: 'Settings' - 'Adyen (Easy Encryption)' - 'Address verification' field.
- Registration Cards – the 'Next destination' did not appear
- In the automatic allocation of a room of the virtual room type, there were cases of incorrectly allocated rooms.
- Adyen. We have fixed the the issue when the Adyen notifications stopped being sent and some payments weren't registered in the folio.
- We fixed the the issue with the "Languages and Texts" system causing some texts not to appear, despite being entered.
- The following bug has also been fixed: The rate search did not work if rates contained letters not belonging to the English alphabet.
- The Add Multiple Rooms feature- it showed the virtual room types too.