Overbooking types in Cloudbeds PMS

There can be different types of overbookings in the Cloudbeds platform. This article explains the most common scenarios where overbookings happen, why they happen, and how to handle them accordingly.

Overbookings caused by room blocks or courtesy holds

Cloudbeds PMS allows you to create room blocks, courtesy holds, or set a room out of service.

If you are fully booked and have unassigned reservations, the system still allows users to create a room block, courtesy hold, or set a room as out of service, and it can lead to an overbooking. An example of when this would be used is in cases of unexpected maintenance or if a room temporarily needed to be blocked for repairs.

If you have auto-room assignment activated, the system will not be able to auto-assign any reservations to a room which has a room block on it for any point during the reservation's date range. If the room is not auto-assigned, it will need to be manually assigned by clicking on the blue "assignments" button.

warning notification will appear to confirm whether you truly want to create a room block despite having full occupancy for that accommodation type.  If you select that you want to continue, an overbooking will be created:

Overbookings caused by manually adding a third party reservation
  • Third Party Sources can be used to manually register a reservation on Cloudbeds PMS, which was made via your third party partner (OTA, wholesalers, travel agents or corporate clients).
  • It is possible to create reservations using third party sources, independently of the room availability. The system allows you to create a reservation even when there is no availability for the room type or there are stay restrictions in place (Minimum or Maximum Length of Stay, Closed to Arrival or Departure) because in theory, you would have a special agreement with your third party partner to reserve the rooms for them.
  • This practice could cause an overbooking if not done cautiously. Continue reading below to learn how to create a third party reservation when there is no availability and how to set user permission to prevent an overbooking.
Create a third party reservation when there is no availability
  • Follow the steps to create a new reservation. Make sure to choose one of the Third Party Sources
  • Continue with the process and confirm the reservation creation
  • You will receive a warning about overbooking. Click Continue to proceed

Even if there is no availability for the period specified, the system still allows you to select the room to make the reservation.

Disallow users from creating overbooking by manually adding a third party reservation
Disable user permission to create overbooked third party reservations

Property Owner has access to User Management menu by default. Any other users needs to be granted permission by the Property Owner.

You can allow an overbooking if you are expecting a cancellation or there is another room for your guest at your property. Otherwise, you can have an actual overbooking. To prevent a user for making this mistake, do one of the options below:

  1. Access the roles page to edit the corresponding user's role
  2. Under the section Reservation, switch off the permission Create Overbooked Third-Party Reservations and Create Third-Party Reservations if you don't want the user to create any third party reservations at all.
  3. Remember to Save your changes
Deactivate all the third party sources

By deactivating all the third party sources, no user (including the Property Owner) will be able to create a reservation from third-party sources. Follow the steps in this guide to deactivate the third party reservation sources.

Overbookings caused by moving a reservation between accommodation types

Reason/background:

  • If you have unassigned reservations, that means there are available spaces shown in your calendar. As such you are able to drag and drop the reservation from one room type to another. However, if the category was already full this will cause an overbooking.

The system does not inform you that the overbooking may occur, it only offers you to recalculate the total price or cancel this action.

What to do:

  • To avoid such type of overbookings, before dragging some reservation, make sure that for those dates there are no unassigned reservations. Learn more about how to find and handle unassigned reservations.
  • To research why this overbooking was allowed, use the Activity Log. If you are still unable to identify or correct the cause of the overbooking, reach out to our Support Team, including all the reservation details, such as: the booking ID, the dates, the rooms, channel affected, confirm which information is incorrect and which you expect to see; and we'll be happy to research this for you.

Making changes with quantity of rooms can also cause overbookings: If you are changing the number of rooms, be aware that it can cause overbookings. For example, you have 8 rooms for Standard Double and 8 reservations for one day. Once you are decreasing the number of rooms to 5 in accommodation room types section in settings, you will have 3 overbookings for that date.

Overbookings caused by simultaneous bookings

A simultaneous booking occurs when the last available room within the room type is booked almost at the same time (within a 15 minutes slot) on different channels.

Example:

  • A property has the availability of 1 for Double Deluxe and the property receives:
    • Booking 1- Double Deluxe (May 5th - Booking.com -12:10 pm)
    • Booking 2- Double Deluxe (May 5th - Expedia - 12:15 pm)

Reason:

This Overbooking occurred due to nearly simultaneous bookings. Here is what might happen:

  1. The first customer searches for availability on Booking.com. If there is availability, he/she is expected to proceed to the booking details section and is given a 15-minute time slot to finish the booking process. While this process is not finished, the availability is still open. 
  2. On Expedia channel, the second customer will be able to search and find the same availability of 1, that will allow them to start the booking process as well. 
  • Usually, if a customer does not finish within the 15 minutes time slot, they will be logged out of the system as the system will need to refresh and check for availability again.
  • But, if both at the same time complete this booking on different channels, there is nothing we can do to stop this simultaneous booking from occurring; as even if we send the availability of ‘0’ during the booking process, the channel will disregard it and allow the booking. 
  • Cloudbeds PMS can only try to close availability on all connected channels as quickly as possible, but sometimes, the customer is already far along the booking process so that the booking website will still allow the booking to occur.

One great practice employed by many large scale hoteliers and by high volume independent hoteliers, is to not offer last room availability to their channel partners. Some properties will offer 8 of 10 rooms, for example, and sell the last 2 rooms on their own website, via walk-in, or via phone reservations. This allows them to control the potential of overbooking.

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