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Some of my suggestions for Zak And WuBook
08-18-2015, 06:00 AM
Post: #1
Some of my suggestions for Zak And WuBook
Daniele and Rodrigo have asked me to offer feedback from my experience. We began using WuBook and Zak together in June and this is my very first time managing rooms in a bed and breakfast.

Some things I am learning:

Some English fixes to update/make it more native speaker sounding:

Driver's License
"Sounds good" --not "Sounds well"
Break room-->not "Breaks room"
Room Pricing-->not Rooms Pricing

As an English Speaker I would like to differentiate between the idea of a VOUCHER and an OFFER or PRELIMINARY RESERVATION in Zak. It seems like the same function in the program, but to me they are fundamentally different. An offer for me is unconfirmed and the receiver must take an action (in our case, insert a valid credit card number) in order to turn it into a real reservation. A VOUCHER on the other hand, already has the idea of a receipt/certificate with a value (for good/service earned, purchased or won).

I will let you know as I come across other recommendations for English improvements/clarification.

In terms of some technical issues/or some features I would like to see:

1. Zak gives me a warning before I 'break a room' into individual nights. I would like a warning before I can 'move' a room to different dates. I once created an overbooking situation by improperly moving a room, and I think it would have been avoided had I been warned that I was moving the arrival date to a day later. In other words--it would be great for ZAK to raise a virtual eyebrow at me if I take a reservation and modify the arrival and departure dates by simply dragging it/swapping it on the screen. This would be the case/risk with the resize/move feature. I think not with swap (right?).

I would love the system to be intelligent enough, especially for OTAS to say that the reservation is still coming in for XX dates and then warn/alert me if I shifted it in the calendar. In my case, i would always notify a third party like Booking.com if the guest wanted to modify the dates of the reservation so that the reservation itself shows those dates and then I would match them in Zak. Would love it if then Zak would be able to 'know' if a reservation is wrongly calendared.

On a same note, regarding some risks with moving, swapping and breaking rooms, here is a frequent problem I find with trying to move a longer reservation to a different room:

If I have a room booked for one night (with the following night unbooked), and another room booked that same night and the night after (so two nights), Zak won't let me swap rooms. Instead I have to break the two-night stay room, swap the one night and then move the other night, then delete the second night and resize. Can the swap function be improved so that as long as the reservations remain intact, you can swap without having to break a reservation into a ton of pieces?

The same is true for if I have one reservation for a room for 5 nights and another room I want to swap it with where there is a reservation for two nights, followed by a separate reservation for three nights (two different guests one after the other). I currently cannot swap because they are not identical, but must do a lot of breaking and moving or swapping, risking errors and making a mess in Zak... I would like to just flip flop the rooms considering the dates essentially all line up!

This would really be a huge improvement.

2. I noticed this evening that there is some new feature for Italian Alloggiati built into the area where you 'insert customers.' I will have to check this out. I still would love to see an STU/ISTAT plugin and I hear it is in the works. (You have a user/buyer ready and waiting because that monthly report is a bear. The details are not that different from Alloggiati information, either...)

3. About Statuses:

A. Can it be possible to create an ability to have two statuses per room? For example, if I want to highlight a room as needing twin beds but also indicate that it is a confirmed reservation (for me that means that I made contact with the guest), could it not be a has of two colors?? Currently I have to only use one... which is ok, but less effective.

B. In each reservation I would love to see a history of all the different STATUSES that I might have put the room through. Sometimes that helps me to answer a question I have about a reservation that is not otherwise obvious (because of the meanings I assigned to those colors).

4. For the Alloggiati plugin with Customer Insertion. If I select "Family Member", the designated "Family" individual must be in the same room. That's annoying if I have one family spread out over several rooms because I have to designate in each room one person as the head of family (and insert more info for that person). Same is true for groups/group members. Defeats the purpose, in a way!

5. I would really really like to be able to differentiate availability/limits for each OTA. If I want to give Booking.com less rooms and sell more directly via WuBook on our site, I am stuck because I cannot *not* offer the same rooms to Booking.com and they tend to see them faster.

6. In the "Welcome Message" section of the VOUCHER I had to shorten our message because it ends up creating a long scrolling scenario for the guest who is trying to confirm their credit card details. I had many guests unable to figure out how to submit their credit card numbers after inserting the info because the message created a horizontal scroll tab bar and the 'Submit' button was well off the screen. After too many frustrated clients, I have resorted to entering the credit card data in myself and submitting or talking them through the process. Is there not a way to have a substantial/longer welcome message *and* still have the SUBMIT button show up on the screen rather than have it go off screen to the right? Essentially there needs to be a WRAP TEXT sort of function and a horizontal width page limit.

OKAY, I think that is all for now... Will go investigate the updated Alloggiati functions showing up inside my reservations...

Thanks, always, for all the help!

Sarah
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08-20-2015, 12:44 AM
Post: #2
RE: Some of my suggestions for Zak And WuBook
Sarah,

it took me time to write down an answer and sorry, it will be uncomplete!
I'd prefer my tech collegues to give you a detailed answer.

So, basically, what I want to comment is point 5:
my point here is why to not offer rooms on all the OTA? I feel this is an error a lot of hoteliers incurres in. Which is the goal to not offer a certain room type on Booking.com or expedia, meanwhile you offer it in hostelworld?

Overall, if you already have those rooms in those OTAs..

I agree you probably, at some point, decide to close the sale for certain room type (or better, using tabla, you can close only the OTAs, not the direct booking engine) but this is possible through restrictions. Not availability values. And to do so, it is very easy from tabla or sytar.

Finally, discrimination must be done on restrictions, not availability. And you already can do it.

Am I wrong?
Big Grin

p.s.: many thanks for the detailed message and suggestions!
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08-20-2015, 04:01 AM
Post: #3
RE: Some of my suggestions for Zak And WuBook
Hi White,

Okay, to clarify I should say that we are small: 9-10 rooms, and we only sell online via WuBook's Booking Engine on our own web site and through Booking.com. I do not use other OTAs and don't need to at this point.

Why limit? ($$ Incentive-->>) Well, because I pay more to Booking.com for their commission than I do via WuBook (we are also contracted with WuBook differently through a third party and we do not pay commissions per booking but rather an annual fee). So that is my first reason---pay a commission or pay none. Booking outcompetes our direct sales about 9 to 1. So the savings is significant if availability is wider on our site and people are forced to book through us...

My second reason would be that we have some rooms that are very particular and in the Booking.com standardized format I cannot describe these special rooms as well as on our site and I find that I often have a mismatch of guest expectations with the result being an occasional fairly dissatisfied customer. I would prefer to avoid that. The problem is that if I do not put even these unusual/particular rooms online, as of yet, I cannot manage to sell them completely because we are not quite getting enough direct traffic.

I realize that I can put on restrictions, but that comes with it's own issues (I had some and finally removed them; alternatively I can use PROMO codes to encourage direct bookings, but that relies on guests landing on my website and seeing the promotion to get the discount, which right now they aren't really doing. At this point those seem like indirect fixes but not the direct one. Why not allow hoteliers to pick and choose?

Controlling through availability, as a date draws near I could finally release more rooms perhaps to a certain OTA, as needed. If I put them up in the beginning I possibly lose out on direct bookings...

This is just what I am seeing in a 2.5 month period. Perhaps I need to more actively manage restrictions, but I feel like my brain can more easily deal with juggling availability...
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08-21-2015, 09:39 PM
Post: #4
RE: Some of my suggestions for Zak And WuBook
Sarah,

what I am saying is: why to sell a room in Booking.com if you then do not want to sell it there (as it is not simple to standardize it in booking.com format)? Smile

Why to not delete that room type in the OTA?

Also, last but not least, in tabla u have an interesting botton..."No OTA".
Do you think to use it? Tongue
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