Switching from Switch.cm to BookingAutomation

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Set Up Guide
This page explains how to set up your account when switching from Switch.cm to BookingAutomation. 

Set Up help

You're now only a few steps away from accepting on-line bookings. We provide plenty of support tools which will help you during the set up process.

There is context sensitive help throughout our system. If you are stuck, click on the ? icons. You can also use this Wiki for help.

We provide a range of video tutorials.

{{#fas:lightbulb}} Tip Where you see this {{#fas:copy}} icon you can click and then copy the value of this setting to other rooms or properties.

{{#fas:lightbulb}} Tip We recommend you let our Setup Wizards guide you through the set up process.

Terminology

Properties can be Hotels, Hostels, B&B´s, holiday houses, vacation rentals, apartment houses, camp sites. You can have one properties or multiple properties of different types.

A property can have only one or very many different rooms.

Rooms are a way of splitting your property into separately bookable units. Rooms can, but do not need to, represent physical rooms.

They are rented units i.e. bedrooms in a hotel or B&B, vacation rentals, holiday homes, beds in hostel dormitories, camp sites, houseboats, cabins, tours, classes or cars etc.

An Offer is the price combined with certain conditions. Each room/unit has one or more offers. "Offer 1" is your standard offer to the guest which is always displayed.

Multiple Properties or Rooms

Hotels, B&B´s and inns are usually set up as one property with a number of rooms. If you have several independent lodgings e.g. apartments or villas you can still set them up as rooms if it suits your marketing strategy. Each room (which can also be an apartment, house etc) can have its own pricing and booking rules.

Making different properties means each can have it's own property booking page (if required with individual design). You can also use a multiple property booking page with advanced search functions (e.g. facilities, location) showing all properties.

If you're renting your property as a whole, you still need to define one "Room" which in your case represents your complete property.

If you are using the channel manager we advise to set the booking system up as similar as your booking channels. If your lodgings have different hotel/property codes for booking.com etc. then they must be setup as different properties in the system.

For further information see here.

Step by Step Guide

Step 1 - General Account Settings

Click on {{#fas:cog}} (SETTINGS)

  • Go to ACCOUNT and complete your details
  • If you want to use a language other than English on your booking page, go to ' {{#fas:cog}} (SETTINGS) BOOKING ENGINE > INTERNATIONALIZATION and tick the ones you want to use. If you enable more than one language you will see tabs for each language in your descriptions, information on your booking page and notifications. Descriptions have to be entered in each language tab.

Step 2 - Property and Room Set Up

By default each BookingAutomation account has one property with a room and a price.

You can import additional properties and rooms or create them manually.

Import from Airbnb

If you have a listing on Airbnb you can import it and create a new property with a new room or add a room in a property you already have in BookingAutomation. Click here for instructions.

Import from Booking.com

You can import your property from Booking.com to BookingAutomation.

Manual creation

Step 1 - Create Property

  • Properties and be added in '{{#fas:cog}} (SETTINGS) PROPERTIES
  • After you have added a property go to '{{#fas:cog}} (SETTINGS) PROPERTIES > DESCRIPTION and complete your property information

Step 2 - Define Rooms and Offers

  • To set rooms up go to '{{#fas:cog}} (SETTINGS) PROPERTIES > ROOMS . A click on EDIT will open a field where you can set the name and quantity of "Rooms" of that type available.

If you sell dorms for which you sell individual beds and not private rooms please also see how to setup dorms.

  • Go to {{#fas:cog}} (SETTINGS) PROPERTIES > ROOMS > OFFERS and define your offer(s).

An offer is the price combined with certain conditions. Each room/unit has one or more offers. "Offer 1" is your standard offer to the guest which is always displayed.

You have the option to sell a room with different prices eg. packages, promotions or discounted conditional rates. Each offer can have its own "Booking Type".

{{#fas:lightbulb}} If you copy a room all settings will be automatically applied to the copy. If you want to link prices between different rooms remove the prices before you copy the rooms.

Step 3 - Create prices

Without prices the system can not show availability.

If you have several rooms with a similar pricing structure you can "link" prices with or without offsets to multiple rooms.

The system has two types of prices:

  • Daily Prices (recommended)
  • Rates

This Setup Wizard guides you though the setup.

{{#fas:lightbulb}} Click on the "Price Check" button on the CALENDAR or SUPPORT page then on "Calculate" to find our why you have not price or how a price is calculated.


Daily Prices

Daily Prices are prices for one date. Daily prices are easy to manage and are the best choice for most customers. Multiple prices per date can be defined for example for different minimum stays or different offers. Please find more information on the help page for daily prices.

Rates

Rates have a start and end date so they apply to a range of dates. Rates contain many rules about the conditions which must apply to make them available.

Use rates instead of daily prices:

  • If your prices are fixed ahead and you do not want to adjust them and you have none or few seasons
  • If you want to allow guest to enquire when no price can be found but the room is not fully booked
  • If you want to grant referrer discounts

Please find more information on the help page for rates.

Combination of Daily Prices and Rates

{{#fas:exclamation-triangle}} If you use rates you do not need to set up Daily Prices for every day. If required you can use a Daily Price to adjust the prices for an individual date or date range.

  • You can use Daily Prices to override the a rate for a few individual dates. If you you often adjust prices use Daily Prices only.
  • You can add a gap fill rate to fill gaps when using daily prices with minimum stays is required

{{#fas:exclamation-triangle}} Rules in rates have no effect on daily prices.

Step 4 - Enter existing Bookings

To avoid double bookings it is advisable to enter the bookings you already have. You have different options:

  • Channel (OTAs) Bookings - For Booking.com, Airbnb and Expedia we have the option to automatically import all upcoming bookings. We recommend to use this method because for bookings imported directly from Booking.com we will then be able to automatically import changes. The button is available in {{#fas:cog}} (SETTINGS) > CHANNEL MANAGER > AIRBNB MAPPING/BOOKING.COM/EXPEDIA after you have set the connection up.Step 6 - Setup Channel Manager - below
  • Other sources and Past OTA bookings - Download your bookings from Switch to an Excel file which you modify so it is suitable for upload to Beds24. Bookings must have a checkin between 1 year in the past and 5 years in the future.


Step 1: Download your bookings from Switch

You will have a file which looks like this:

600px-Switchxls.png view large


Step 2: Modify the downloaded file

  • Delete all rows above the column headings (here the first four rows)
  • Delete all bookings for future dates from Airbnb, Booking.com, Expedia. You should import these directly from the channels so the channels can update them to BookingAutomation.
  • Exchange the names to match the names BookingAutomation uses:

Name =

E-Mail =

Column Name Switch Column Name BookingAutomation Notes
Name First Name
E-Mail Email
Phone Phone
Room Room
Pax Adult
Source Referer
Status Status Valid values for the status column are the New, Confirmed, Cancelled Request or Black.
Booking ID Ref The REF number must be blank for new bookings or the booking id number of an existing booking to modify it. If it is the word GROUP, the booking will be added as a new booking to the previous booking in the file to create a booking group.
Booking Date Time Entered
Check In FirstNight To reliably import dates use the FirstNight and one of LastNight or CheckOut columns (no space between words), the dates should be in YYYY-MM-DD format (i.e. 2015-01-30).

If the dates are not in YYYY-MM-DD use the date format selector to specify the order of month and date.

Check Out CheckOut
Arrival Time Arrival
Room Type Roomid The Roomid number must be set to a BookingAutomation room id in your BookingAutomation property, otherwise the booking will not import.

Your file should now look like this:

Switchxls1.png view large


Step 3: Create .csv file

Use the “Save as” function in your spreadsheet program and save the file with UTF-8 encoding and use commas, tabs or semicolons to separate the data fields.

Step 4: Allow BookingAutomation to upload your .csv file

  1. Go to {{#fas:cog}} (SETTINGS) > ACCOUNT > ACCOUNT ACCESS
  2. Enable the setting “API without API key” by setting it to “Allow Any IP”.

Step 5: Make a test upload

Step 6: Upload all bookings If the test booking is imported as you expect, upload the file which contains all bookings.

Step 5 - Set up payment collection (optional)

You need to connect a payment processor to automatically collect payments in {{#fas:cog}} (SETTINGS) >PAYMENTS > PAYMENT COLLECTION. Stripe is our preferred partner which offers the best functionality.

Step 6 - Set up the Channel Manager(optional)

Set up the channel manager to synchronise your sales channels. Use the help pages for the channels you use

Step 7 - Use your own E-mail address (optional)

Set the system use your own Email address for sending in {{#fas:cog}} (SETTINGS) > ACCOUNT >OUTGOING EMAIL.

Using your own E-mail address is mandatory if you want to use Auto Actions to automate work flows.

Step 8 - Check and Customise your Booking Page(optional)

Go to {{#fas:cog}} (SETTINGS) BOOKING ENGINE.

You have the option to fully customise the look and the content of your booking page. For an overview of your options please go to Customise Booking Page.

Step 9 - Install a Booking Widget (optional)

Booking widgets connect your website to your booking page. There is a choice including booking buttons, booking boxes, booking strips, calendars. Go to {{#fas:cog}} (SETTINGS) > BOOKING ENGINE > BOOKING WIDGETS. Choose the widget you want to use. If required you can customise the appearance. If you need help please click on the HELP button on the top rights of the widgets page.

Copy your widget to your website. To install the booking widgets on your web site you will need the ability to edit the HTML of your page. This may involve knowing the passwords for your web server and the ability to transfer your files. Your web hosting service should be able to provide information and assist you with this.

Step 10 - Do some test bookings to check everything is working

This is how you can check everything is working:

1. Your own web site Click on the screen icon in the top right menu of the control panel or go to {{#fas:cog}} (SETTINGS) > BOOKING ENGINE to view your booking page and make a couple of test bookings.

The 'Price Check' tool shows you which prices and rules apply for specific dates//selections and why a certain price or rule was applied or not applied. Just enter your booking condition then click on 'Calculate'. You can find links to the 'Price Check' tool on the RATES, CALENDAR and SUPPORT pages.

2. Channels Channels which receive prices from BookingAutomation: Go to {{#fas:cog}} (SETTINGS) > CHANNEL MANAGER >BOOKING.COM (for example) and click on 'View Actual Data' to check what we are sending. If you are not seeing and are not receiving error messages and the display on channels page is correct the connection is working.

Channels which only receive inventory from BookingAutomation: Check if the availability on the channels website is the same as on the CALENDAR page in BookingAutomation.

Congratulations! You are now receiving on-line bookings. New on-line bookings will be added automatically. You can also enter new bookings manually clicking on "Add Booking" on the BOOKINGS page.

More customisation options

Other Features and Functions

When you click on FUNCTIONS in SUPPORT you will see links to the menu pages of key features and functions or check the start page of this support wiki.