The system would need to be very visual, Home page would probably be a table representing the rooms in the hotel with at least a week to view. (Would be useful if you could zoom out to view a fortnight or month?) maybe home page would default to the current week, above the table is a box with today's date, type a different date (e.g. 22/6/2011) to make big jumps or a button ether side to jump 1 week, further button (Fast forward symbol)to jump 1 month
Other tabs across the top: Arrivals, Meals, housekeeping
Rooms would be colour coded automatically (available, reserved, blocked out for maintenance, Booked ie deposit paid, the name of a booked party would appear across the period they have booked, heavy lines on the table show where one booking ends and another begins.
Making a booking: Click on a given room on the first date to be booked to make a booking, this would bring up a booking window,
Modifying a booking: Double click an existing booking to make alterations, drag a booking into a different room or date to e.g. move the booking forward a weekend. Once done the system would prompt to send an email/letter informing guest of the change.
Cancelling a booking: if a booking is cancelled an email should be generated to send to the customer (we probably should also have a copy as proof along with the details of the cancelled booking held on a dater base. we would refund according to our terms and conditions.
Checking out, double click a booking on today's date choose option to check out, system totals up the total costs accrued over the stay including eg horse rides, meals, drinks etc deducts any deposit paid or discounts granted and generates an invoice. If a guest was booked for further days ie they are cutting their stay short, the system automatically deletes the future booking dates leaving them available to be rebooked. Maybe we could double click on the day they are booked to leave if we want to charge them for the whole stay.
Juggle bookings: often we need to move bookings around the rooms to e.g. accommodate a new booking for instance where an elderly person needs a downstairs room but a only an upstairs one is available. For olive to juggle bookings we could ether have a virtual room (drop bookings here while the other bookings are moved around then drop back into system) or allow bookings to be dragged into an already occupied room (a double booking warning would appear in calendar (eg red or flash ) and would stay until you move the original booking into a suitable available room.
General: system allows you to book by a set of rules ie only a single or double into a double room, but almost any combination into a family room, but the rules only pop up a warning so that you can override ir you want to bring an extra bed into the double for a child to share. (You would then make a note of the extra bed required under the room notes, which print out at the beginning of each day)
Ideally we should reformat our website enquiry form so that we can cut and paste from the emails we receive to avoid retyping info.
Required fields: Name, Address (postcode search but may be expensive?) Contact number, email, length of booking, type of room, credit card details (card details would save on system until 1 week after checking out) other requirements (a cot, pony trek, dietary requirement, dog kennel (only 2 available can we prevent double booking?) )
Tariffs, the system would work out the tariffs based on the number of adults and children booked into the room, (if some rooms charged at a higher rate maybe we could have set a tariff per person per night specific to each room?). We would also need to make some provision for discounts to be given or to charge as a set package e.g. the riding weekends on our web site. Could we charge a single room supplement automatically when a double is booked out to just 1 person.
Meals and extras: maybe a table across the bottom of the booking with tick boxes for the nights a meal is required. When people book they will often just book a meal on the first night, if a guest books a meal on a further day of their stay e.g. they are already here and ring at 3pm to book a meal we could bring up their booking and click on today's meal box. There would ideally also be space to add other items the guest has purchased, the more common items may be on buttons e.g. soft drinks or pony treks.
Confirmation: Window should prompt to ether send email confirmation or print a postal confirmation (whichever you chose should be automatic (add comment and then send or print, link to out terms and conditions included in text), the only way to shut the window without conforming to that would be to accept as a provisional booking
Group bookings: to book a number of rooms under the same name could we click shift click to add rooms grouped under one name e.g. a school group and use 1 booking window for the total number of people, 1 deposit and 1 set of contact details.
Provisional bookings will be highlighted in a given colour on the home page, when a provisional booking is made the guest will be given a default of 1 week to confirm the booking (operator can change this at their discresion e.g. shorten if its close to the date or if olive needs to book a week for a school group for next June she can set the date the booking will be held until for next April) an email will be sent automatically to the guest advising that the booking will be automatically cancelled on a given date if they don't confirm. In the home page window a daily prompt window will pop up at the beginning of a day double checking that it is ok to terminate the provisional booking before making a courtesy phone call.
Provision to lock a booking into a particular room with a reason e.g. downstairs (less able bodied or room requested regular customer, room next to rest of party)
A tab to show at a glance who is arriving, any early arrivals, special requirements highlighted (diets , bottle of wine on arrival, kennels etc ) any helpful notes e.g. returning customers welcome appropriately.
Also flag e.g. transport to be arranged from station?
Throws up a summary of who's booked in for dinner + any special dietary requirements.
A tab for the cleaners, shows at a glance (print out and take a copy with them) which room are leaving which ones need servicing (remainder are unused) also a place where notes can be placed for them e.g. there are cobwebs in the corridor!
Is it easy to stop double bookings occurring if the booking system is pen in more than one place e.g. in the office, in reception and online?
Would we need a secure set up area where we set up the tariffs for each room , the costs of a soft drink or the percentage deposit we require
Addition of Pony Trekking booking tab Linked to the house guests who are on riding holidays.
Taking online bookings from our own or third party web sites.
Different tariffs for different rooms e.g. suites and deluxe?
Database search allowing us to mail shot past customers based on what time of year they stayed, how long ago they stayed, guests who pony trekked. Some of the systems on the market recognise returning guests from their booking details so that you can welcome them back or give them a discount or tell them their not welcome to come again because they trashed their room last time...