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Reservation on the hotel industry is defined as ‘blocking a particular type of guest
room (e.g. single room, double room, deluxe room, executive room, suite etc.), for a
definite duration of time (i.e. number of days of stay), for a particular guest’.

• The main function of the reservation process is to match room requests with room

Types of Reservations:
Hotels accept reservatioin for their rooms and suites only after checking various
factors, such as availability of rooms and suites, sales forecast, room rates profile of
guests, and their importance to the hotel, etc. The reservation made by the guest
could be tentative, confirmed or waitlisted. Once a reservation request is confirmed by
a guest, the hotel will make a guaranteed or non-guaranteed reservation as per the
guest’s requirement.

1. Tentative: It is a reservation request that a prospective guest makes on a

tentative basis for particular stay dates. The hotel holds the room for the guest till
a cut off date by which the guest should confirm the reservation. Upon
confirmation from the guest the hotel changes the tentative reservation to a
confirmed reservation, otherwise it cancels the tentative reservation, and updates
its records accordingly.

2. Waitlisted: A reservation is waitlisted when the requested category of room is

not available for the requested dates. The waitlisted reservation is confirmed when
the hotel receives a cancellation request for a room of the same category. The
hotel informs the guest at the time of processing the reservation that the
reservation request of the guest is being put on waitlist and may be confirmed at a
later date if some rooms are made available due to cancellation. This situation
normally occurs in high occupancy periods like a long weekend or festival/ fair time
or season time.

3.Confirmed: Once a guest confirms a reservation request the hotel blocks a

room for specified stay date and send written confirmation of the same to the

A. Guaranteed Reservation: Insures that the hotel will hold a room for the guest until
a specific time following the guest’s scheduled arrival date [i.e. Check-out time or
start of the hotel’s day Shift or any time the lodging property chooses]. On return,
the guest shall guarantee his/her reservation of room unless reservation is properly
canceled. In order to guarantee a reservation, guests might opt for one of the
following methods:
i. Prepayment guaranteed reservation: A guaranteed reservation requires the
payment of the room rent or a specified amount in advance, known as pre-
payment. As the hotel holds the room for the guest even after the cancellation
hours, prepayment protects the hotel from any loss of revenue in case of a last
moment cancellation or a no-show. The guest can do so by depositing cash or
using credit card.
ii. Travel agent guaranteed reservation: Travel Agencies & Tour operators make
bulk purchases of rooms at a relatively low contracted price. They guarantee the
hotel a minimum number of room nights in a particular period and agree to pay
the room charges even if they are unable to fill the number of rooms as per their
agreement with the hotel.
iii. Corporate guaranteed reservation: In this case a company or a corporate body
may enter into a contract with the hotel whereby the company guarantees
payment for its employees or sponsored guests and accepts the financial
responsibilities for any no-shows. The hotel in turn agrees to provide the
mutually agreed number of room nights to the clients or employees of the
company during a certain period of time. Hotels guarantee this reservation on
the basis of a letter from the company called a BTC letter acknowledging the
guest as its employee or client and agreeing to pay her bills as per the contract.
iv. Miscellaneous Charge Order: AN MCO is an accountable IATA document similar
to an old style airline ticket used to process the payment of travel arrangement
by airlines but normally pay for services other tha n airlines. A MCO may be used
to purchase most services offered by airlines, hotels and tour operators.
v. Allotment: Allotment is a set of rooms booked for a particular period of time for a
company or a group. This type of reservation is made for training, conferences or
conventions, and private parties. A guest may be asked for a booking reference
or any other verification before she is provided a room in the allotment.

• Reservation agents shall make sure to encourage their guests to guarantee

their reservations especially in the high season

B. Non-guaranteed Reservation: When a guest confirms her reservation at a hotel but

does not guarantee it with an advance deposit, it is treated as non-guaranteed
reservation. In this type of reservation, the hotel agrees to hold the room until a
stated reservation cancellation hour (Usually 6 p.m.) on the day of arrival. If the
guest does not arrive by the cancellation hour, the hotel is free to release the room
to any other guest. This enables the hotel to cover the probable loss due to a no-
show. Hotels nearing full occupancy might accept only guaranteed reservation
once a specified number of expected arrivals is achieved.

Sources of Reservations:
A hotel receives reservation requests from different sources like direct guests, central
reservation or global distribution system, travel agencies, companies etc. Some of
them are mentioned as under:

1. Central reservation systems:

CRS is a computer based reservation system which enables guests to make
reservations in any of the participating lodging properties at any destination in a single
call. The majority of Lodging Properties belongs to one or more Central Reservation
Systems. A central reservation system is composed of a central reservation office,
member hotels connected together via communication devices, and potential guests.
Central Reservation Office [CRO] offers its services via a 24-hours toll free telephone
number(s) [Green Numbers]. Hotel members of the central reservation system shall
provide and exchange accurate room availability data to central reservation offices. To
illustrate, central reservation offices and member hotels shall communicate (on real
time) any reservation transaction. This is possible, nowadays, with the sophisticated
communication equipment available. These very equipment shall be provided by
central reservation offices to its member hotels. Such equipment may range from
telephones, facsimile machines, to personal computers, Internet connection etc. On
return, central reservation offices charges a fee for the utilization of its services which
might take the form of a flat fee and a variable fee, or a flat percentage of potential
room revenue, actual room revenue, and/or Rooms Division gross profit.
• Central Reservation Offices are divided into two:
A) Affiliate reservation network: This very network is referred to as the hotel chain’s
reservation system. In fact, it is composed of a CRO, and hotels, which are
members of the same chain. The main advantages of affiliate reservation network
a) Streamline the process of reservation
b) Reduce overall system costs
c) Attract business for or refer business to another chain property
d) Affiliate reservation networks might serve, in addition to its main function, other
duties like:
♣Serve as an inter property communication network
♣Serve as an accounting transfer tool
♣ Serve as a destination information center
♣ Serve as a connection with Global Distribution Systems [GDS]⇒ System
including several Central Reservation Offices connected to each other. Some examples
are Welcome net by Welcome Group of Hotels, Holidex by Holiday Inn Hotels, Image by
Hyatt Hotels and ITT by Sheraton Hotels.

B) Non-affiliate reservation network:

A non-affiliate reservation network is composed of central reservation office, potential
guests, and member independent hotels. Some examples are the Leading Hotels of
the World (LHW), Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH),

2. Intersell Agencies:
Intersell Agencies are special types of central reservation offices contracting to handle
reservation for more than one Product Line [ex: Handle at the same time Airline
Tickets, Car Rental, Hotel Reservation…]  “ One Call Does it All Approach “! Such
agencies as Expedia, Travelocity, Travelguru, MakeMyTrip etc. are rich source of
reservations for hotels.

3. Property Direct Reservation System:

Even though many of the five-star hotels rely heavily on central reservation offices and
intersell agencies, some potential guests might still find it convenient, and personal to
call directly the hotel to communicate a reservation inquiry. A reservation request that
a hotel receives directly from an individual (without a mediator) is known as the direct

4. Global Distribution System:

GDS is a worldwide computerized reservation network, which is used as a single point
of access for reserving hotel rooms, airline seats, rental cars and other travel related
items by travel agents, online reservation sites and large corporations. GDS provides a
bundle of products and services to the prospective user across geographical
boundaries and is a link between the producer and end users of travel products and
services. A Number of hotel reservations are made through GDS. The premier GDS are
Amadeus, Galalio, Sabre, and Worldspan which are owned and operated as joint
ventures by major airlines, car rental firms and hotel groups.

5. Agencies:
Many guests make their reservations through travel agents or tour operators. The
agent will normally take a pre-payment from the guest, send a confirmation to the
hotel and issue an accommodation voucher on their behalf. Travel agents receive (or
deduct) a commission for their services from the guest or the hotel or both. As hotels
receive bulk bookings and huge volume of business throughout the year from these
agencies these are offered very low rates for various room categories.

6. Corporate Bodies:
Hotels also receive bookings from companies (FMCGs, pharmaceutical etc.), NGOs
(such as Care, Oxfam, Red Cross, WHO etc.), and institutions (which may be
educational, financial, banking etc.). These companies also provide bulk reservations
to the hotel and get rooms at low rates.

7. Government Sector:
Hotels receive bookings from government sectors such as public sector undertakings,
embassies and consulates. As the government officials travel to different places on
official work and need accommodation at the place of visit, they constitute a major
source of revenue to the hotel.

8. Hotel Websites:
A hotel’s website is another potential source for receiving reservations. The website
contains a link for reservation requests. By clicking the link, guests can make a hotel
reservation as per their requirements at the comfort of their house/office/cyber café.
Most of the hotels provide photo galleries, descriptions of room categories and hotel
facilities and virtual tours of the hotel to aid the guest in selecting the hotel and the
room category.

Systems of Reservations:
Depending upon the needs of the hotel and the volume of business, a hotel may adopt
either manual or automatic system of reservation:

1) Manual System of Reservation: In this system all the reservation records are
maintained manually. This old system of reservation is suitable for a small property,
where the number of rooms is less and the volume of reservation requests is also low.

1.The Bookings Diary:

The requirement of a good manual reservations system is to provide a record of all
advance reservations arranged by date of arrival. This is met by the introduction of a
bookings diary.
The principal characteristics of the bookings diary are:

•One or more pages are used for each day, with the date prominently displayed at the
top of the page.
•The pages are usually contained in a binder, from which past days' pages are
removed so that the current date is always the first.
•New pages are inserted at the end, usually for at least a month ahead.
•The range of dates covered in the diary is determined by the maximum period for
which reservations in advance are received.
•Each reservation is entered in the diary when it is made, on the page devoted to the
date of arrival.


Bookings Diary
21 April 20XX
Room Room No of Length of Date of Date of
Name Remarks Terms
No Type Persons Stay Departure Booking
101 +B 2 Flowers £85.00 4N 25.04.00 13.03.XX
Mr J K
102 +S Spiller, Mr S 2 Arriving Late £85.00 4N 25.04.00 22.01.XX
Early Booking
103 =B James, Mr M 2 £75.00 4N 25.04.00 10.10.XX

Above is an example of a page from a bookings diary, some hotels may not have so
much information recorded as they rely on the reservation form for the detail of each
The Bookings Control Chart

The bookings or reservation control chart is a visual record, where the receptionist can
see at a glance the overall booking position of the hotel.

2. The Conventional Chart:

This chart works well in a smaller resort hotel where reservations tend to be for longer
periods such as a week or a fortnight and are made well in advance, and where
changes are fewer. Its usefulness becomes limited if guests stay for one or two nights
only - the entries on the chart being made difficult by limitations of space, or where
constant changes lead to mistakes or overbookings.
The following is an extract from a sample chart:


Bookings Control Chart
April 20XX
Room Room
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 To End of Month
No Type
101 +B * * * * * * * * * * * * *
102 +S * * * * * * * * * * * ** *
103 =B * * * * 8 * * * * * * * *

If Mr Smith and Mrs Smith were staying in Room 101 from 1st to 8th April, their name
would be pencilled in across the relevant dates with arrows showing arrival and
departure day. Entries are made in pencil to allow for alterations to be made in the
case of cancellations or a change of rooms.

The main characteristics of this type of chart are:

* A separate sheet is used for each calendar month, and the number of months
covered in advance is determined by the maximum period for which reservations are
* A reservation is usually recorded on the chart at the same time as the entry is made
in the bookings diary, this is normally done when the booking is accepted, and
therefore allocation of guests to particular rooms must take place at this time.
* In addition to advance reservations, entries must also be made in respect of each
'chance' letting, because the chart must provide at any time the present and future
room occupation.
* Any extension or reduction of the length of stay must be shown immediately for the
same reason.

3.The Density Chart:

In larger hotels with a shorter average length of stay, the allocation of rooms has
drawbacks if it is done when reservations are received. Therefore a different type of
chart is used, commonly called the Density Chart. Its main feature is that it merely
records the number of rooms of a particular kind booked for each night when the
reservations are received. Individual reservations are not identified with particular
room numbers until the date of arrival, when new arrivals are allocated to their rooms.

Before this system can be adopted, all rooms have to be categorised into several main
types which are then grouped together on the chart, for example:

* 22 Twin with Bath

* 18 Twin with Shower
* 20 Double with Bath
* 12 Double with Shower
* 6 Single with Shower
Density Reservations Chart
April 20XX
Twin with Bath
No of
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 To End of Month
22 / / / / / / */ / / /
21 / / / / / / / / / / /
20 / / / / / / / / / / /
19 / / / / / / / / / / /
18 / / / / / / / / / / /
17 / / / / / / / / / / /
16 / / / / / / / / / / /

The above extract of the density chart shows part of the section for twin rooms with
bath for the first ten days of April 20XX. There are 22 of this room type and it can be
seen that on Thursday 6th there are 18 of these rooms vacant, more rooms are
occupied over the weekend and on Monday 10th there are again 18 twin rooms with
bath unoccupied. So at a glance, the receptionist can see how many rooms of a
particular type are available for letting. Each time a reservation is taken for another
room, a pencil dash is placed in the next available space at the bottom of a column.

The density chart works well in those hotels where all rooms of a particular type have
similar facilities and similar letting terms. As rooms are not allocated when booking, it
overcomes the problem of late departures and early arrivals trying to occupy the same
room at the same time! If a room is still occupied or being cleaned, then an early
arrival will be allocated whichever room is available.

Hotels using this type of chart, which is purely a record of numbers of rooms occupied
at a given time, have a greater reliance on their bookings diary to show all information
about their guests.

4. The Whitney System:

An alternative reservation system which can cope with the reservations in a medium-
sized hotel is the Whitney System. This is an American system and until
computerisation became more popular, it was virtually universal in America and in UK
hotels with American links.

The advantage of using the Whitney system is that it cuts down on the paperwork of
other manual systems for it uses Whitney cards placed in a metal holder which are
then fitted into a metal wall rack.

The cards are similar to the following - although hotels can design their own cards as
long as the size remains the same as that required for the rack:


Room Address Date


Colour coding can be introduced to suit the individual hotel and its clientele, and this
can be very useful for identifying different types of room, guest or tariff.

The wall rack consists of vertical columns arranged in date order which can be
extended to incorporate dates for all future reservations. The card is placed in its date
of arrival column and in alphabetical order of guest name arriving on that date. Cards
can be easily moved around, removed or inserted thereby being totally adaptable for
the ever-changing reservations process.

2. Automatic System of Reservations

Automated reformation stored in the reservation systems are computerized
reservation systems that are used to store and retrieve room status information and
conduct transactions. The information stored in the automated system is the same as
in the manual system. However, the processing of reservation request does not
require manual study of bed room journals, density charts or conventional charts. The
reservation assistant can check the availability of rooms by clicking on a link on the
computer. In this system the reservation information is keyed into the electronic
format of the reservation form, and this information is transferred to the central server
where the room status is updated automatically. When as reservation assistant
receives a reservation request, she checks whether the room is available or not using
this system. If the request is accepted, the system automatically blocks the room for
the desired duration of time and removes the room from the availability records. The
automated system saves the trouble of manually updating the records. It also
generates electronic confirmation letters that are sent to guests, email addresses or
postal addresses. The system is also equipped to automatically generate reports like
occupancy reports or forecasts and lists like expected arrivals list, expected departure
list, etc. and can itemize room availability for future periods by open dates, closed
dates, versus special event dates. In the case of non-availability of room type, the system
can further suggest alternative room types, rates, or even other nearby hotels. Central
Reservation Systems (CRS) and Global Distribution System (GDS) are examples of
automated Systems.

Processing Reservation Requests:

Every hotel has its own standard operating procedure to deal with a reservation
request from a guest. The SOP of responding to a guest’s reservation request is first
receiving the reservation inquiries, determining room availability and then accepting
or denying the request for reservation.

Receiving Reservation Inquiries:

While receiving a reservation request the reservation agent should ask for only that
information which will help in processing the reservation request faster.
The following information will help to determine the availability of the room requested
by the guest:
• Date & time of arrival
• Date & time of departure
• Number & type of rooms required
• Number of persons in the party

Determining Room Availability:

Using the information gathered in the desired at the time of receiving the reservation
request the reservation agent will ascertain whether the requested type of room is
available in desired number for the required duration. The reservation agent will use
the PMS’s room management system for determining the availability.

Accepting or Denying Request for Reservation:

Once t he reservation agent has established the availability of the room for the guest,
she will either accept or deny the reservation request and conclude the processing the
reservation request. The manner in which the reservation agent interacts with the
guest and handles the reservation request goes a long way in determining the guest’s
impressions of the hotel.
If rooms are available as per accepted. The guest’s requirement the reservation
request is accepted. The following details are gathered from the guest while accepting
the reservations.
• Number of guests
• Designation (if corporate guest) & Company
• Contact details of the guest
• Time and mode of arrival
• Reservation classification (Tentative, confirmed etc.)
• Caller/booker’s name and contact number
• Special requirement like baby sitting, smoking room, single lady guest,
physically challenged guests etc.
The hotels should always honour the rate quoted and confirm to the guest. The agent
should always be updated on the following and answer the guest’s queries:
• Supplementary charges for extra services or amenities.
• Minimum stay requirements in effect for the dates requested.
• Special promotion in effect for the dates requested
• Applicable currency exchange rates
• Applicable taxes
• Applicable service charges
Once the availability of the rooms have been ascertained the hotel blocks a room, and
sends a confirmation letter to confirm the same. The hotel should communicate guests
by telephone, mail, or e-mail a Letter of Confirmation, which confirms the important
points of the reservation agreement. This very letter might be shown at the
registration process in order to accelerate the pace of registration and prove that the
guest has the right to have a room at the hotel.
Below are the main points that should be communicated in a confirmation letter:
a) Name and address of the guest
b) Date and time of arrival
c) Room type and rate
d) Length of stay
e) Number of persons in a group, if any
f) Reservation type [guaranteed or not]
g) Reservation confirmation number
h) Special requests, if any

Hotels shall communicate meaningful confirmation numbers to their potential guests.

These numbers shall have statistical meanings, which might help the hotel in
maintaining an efficient historical database. Here is an example:

312 02 G JC 6003

a) 312: Guest’s scheduled arrival date. In this case it is December 3rd.

b) 02: Group reservation. In this very system, 01 might mean Frequent Independent
c) G: means that the reservation is guaranteed. If N is written, it means non-
d) JC: are the initials of the reservation agent who processed the reservation (ex:
Jamel Chafra)
e) 6003: Consecutive numbering of all reservation confirmation numbers issued in the
current year.

The reservation department may choose to turn down a reservation request in the
following cases:
• The hotel is fully booked
• The guest is blacklisted (i.e. the hotel doesn’t want to accommodate the guest
for various reasons)
When denying specific requests, the agent should always be polite and helpful and do
the following:
• If the requested type of room is not available, apologize and explain to the guest
that this particular room is not available. Try to offer alternative accommodation
or dates at the hotel, and if this is unacceptable for the client try to offer
accommodation in sister hotel if applicable.
• If the hotels is fully booked appologise and explain that the hotel is fully booked.
Offer alternative dates or accommodation at the hotel, or in other hotel of the
group if applicable.

Amending Reservation:
When guests with confirmed reservation change their travel plans they convey the
same to the hotel. This change in the type of reservation (guaranteed, non-
guaranteed), date of arrival, duration of stay, type of room etc. is termed as
amendment. The reservation agent should note the caller’s name and telephone
number to avoid any confusion or problem that may arise at the time of arrival of the

Cancellation of Reservation:
The cancellation of a reservation occurs when a guest with a confirmed reservation
informs the hotel about her intention to cancel the reservation. As cancellation might
lead to the loss of revenue, hotels discourage cancellations by imposing retention
charges. In case of guaranteed reservation if the cancellation is not made before a
stipulated date and time the hotel may charge retention, which may be equal to the
rent of one night or more.

Reservation by Telephone
Discussion: For a front desk agent making proper reservation is the most important
job. Generally most of the reservation has been done by phone. Here you will learn
exactly what steps a front desk agent needs to follow to make a reservation in phone.

Steps You Should Follow:

Step-1: Answer the telephone within 3 rings.

Step-2: Greet the guest properly. (Read this tutorial:h ) “Good Morning, Front Desk.
This is XXX hotel. How may I assist you?”

Step-3: In this stage be sure about the name and when guest wants to check in and
check out. Try to understand this conversation:
Guest: “I want to make a reservation”

Agent: Ok sir. May I have your name or How should I address you?

Guest: I am Robert Temple.

Agent: Ok Mr. Temple, are you our priority Club Member?

(Ask to ensure about guest) Or

“Did you stay here before?”

(If guest says yes then ask following question)

“May I have your company’s name, please?”

(Ask this question to know what price was offered before and what is guest preference
and other information related to that particular guest i.e. to retrieve the guest history)

Step-4: After confirming about guest proceed to the next level. In this case, first look
for room inventory. You may either find any vacant room or no room for sale. Now,
follow these steps in those cases.

If you don’t find any room Available:

Agent: I am terribly sorry, Mr. Temple. All our rooms are booked on XXX date. If you
wish then I can put your reservation on waiting list or (offer other options with regards
to a different date and type of rooms) or would you like me to recommend another

Now if guest want his reservation to be put on waiting list then take full details about
the guest and give him a reservation number.

If you find a room Available:

Now your approach will be to know which room will best match with guest. Follow
these steps:

Agent: OK, Mr. Temple, will you travel alone or not?

(As a agent your duty is to recommend such room which match with guest. If guest
travel with family then you cannot recommend him a single room and on the other
hand if he comes with a family or friends then you should look for family room or
others which is for more than 1 person.

Agent: Mr. Temple, currently we have deluxe room, suit and studio room to
accommodate your family.
(If you have different types of rooms vacant then give some options to guest.)

Step-5: Try to highlight different features of each type of rooms and their price. If
there any is any discounted offer, offer it. Be ready all the time for up selling.

Step-6: Make reservation properly. First be sure about guest name.

Agent: How should I spell your name sir?

Guest: It is R-O-B-E-R-T Robert and Then T-E-M-P-L-E Temple

Agent: Is it R-O-B-E-R-T Then T-E-M-P-L-E ?

Guest: Yes, you are right.

Then politely request him for guaranteed booking.

Agent: Mr. Temple as you know our hotel is a busy hotel. So, I would like to
recommend you to guarantee your booking as we have very high occupancy rate, you

Step-7: Explain your procedure for guaranteed reservation.

Agent: Mr. Temple I just make your reservation guaranteed. This will ensure your
booking. Now, if you do not come on XXX date, without informing us then one night
room rate will be charged from your credit card as penalty. But if you like to change
your reservation then you have to inform us 24 hours in advanced. I guess you
understand our policy.

Step-8: Get contact details.

Agent: May I have your contact number, please.

Step-9: Offer more services to your guest.

Agent: Mr Temple, would you like us to arrange pick up service for you at the airport ?

Guest: Yes, that’s great.

Agent: OK sir. It is for US$ XXX inclusive of taxes. For transportation facility please
provide us with the flight details, prior to your date of arrival our concierge will contact
you and reconfirm all the arrangements.

Step-10: Now you will approach to close down the selling. Repeat all required
information to be sure that you have made proper reservation.
Agent: So, Mr. Temple now I am going to repeat your reservation details. You like to be
checking in on XXX and your checking out date is XXX. You preferred non-smoking,
twin bedded supreme room for you and your family. Room rent is XXX US$ per night
which included complimentary buffet breakfast. You also pay in advanced for
transportation service. Your confirmation number is XXX”

Guest: Yes, you are right.

Step-11: Thanks the guest for his calling and finish the conversation.

Agent: Thanks you Mr. Temple for choosing XXX hotel. We look forward to see you on
XXX. Have a nice day.