Calculators on reception. In 2016? Seriously?

I was sitting in a hostel lobby recently, not a client of GuestCentrix (yet) and noted evolution of mankind happening right in front of me.

It’s the evolution where the left hand (or right one for your lefties) has been replaced by a calculator. It is certainly an odd look, and not one that seems to be rather helpful to the guest – very Edward Scissor Hands. And what is it that has caused front desk hospitality staff to sprout a calculator where their hand once was?

Calculators for Reservations

Here is what happened:

  • Guest walks to the desk and asks for a dorm for the next few nights. The lowest bed rate was $25 for Thursday, $35 each for Friday and Saturday and then $22 for Sunday night. All printed on a piece of paper next to the computer.
  • “Its $107.00 in total for the four nights.”
  • Wait for it…
  • “I think”

Actually no, it wasn’t $107, it was $117. And all of this done painfully on a calculator, with that very annoying tapping sound only angry presses of buttons can make. There was $10 about to be lost with that calculator. $10 lost because of a poor excuse for a PMS being used.

There is more:

  • “Hang on, I better check if we have a bed for those nights”
  • Tapping a keyboard for the PMS
  • “No, sorry, we don’t have that dorm available”
  • More taps of the calculator.
  • “It’s actually $136 for the four nights. Smaller dorm”

By the time the front desk user had wasted time looking at pieces of paper and smashing the calculator a nice little queue had formed in the lobby… the coffee counter could not be accessed and the tour bookings dried up.

Calculators on Check In

The same story was repeated when a guest came to check in. The calculator was used, the front desk person “estimated” the full cost of the booking and relayed this information to the guest. Why was it causing such an issue this time?

  • The bed was booked at different rates for different nights
  • The bed had been booked on Hostelworld where the guest had “prepaid” a small sum
  • A key deposit was requested

We all know that most hostels take payments in advance, on arrival. And a PMS that does not help and does not display this information to the front desk user is just a waste of a PMS. Again, the reception staff managed to confuse themselves and the guest on how much the booking should have been charged for.

Calculators on Shift Close

The last part of this sad little tale about human evolution is the overuse of the calculator when the morning shift hands over the afternoon shift. That time when the cash is counted. And floats are balanced (or unbalanced in many cases).

Out comes the Excel spreadsheet with some magical formula that was probably designed by a previous front desk person.

  • Reports were printed from the PMS
  • Numbers were manually added in the spreadsheet
  • The staff member took a phone call
  • The incorrect numbers were added into the spreadsheet
  • The cash was counted, and it didn’t balance
  • The front desk person was frustrated
  • The next guest who arrived at the front desk was confronted by an angry receptionist
  • The cash dropped was short of what was taken, and no-one really knew

Who Cares?

As the operator of the hostel, it’s you. It’s you who should care. In all three of these examples, you have just lost money. You have just seen revenue potentially walking out the door. You have also just made an entire case for a poor review on Trip Advisor.

  • Just because “that’s the way we do things around here” does not make it the right answer.
  • Just because “we are comfortable with our old DOS based PMS – we know how it works, our staff are all familiar with it”

Your staff equally are familiar with calculator. They have been using it for years, and for years getting it wrong. That calculator hand is costing you money.

So what can you do as a hostel operator?

Call the team at GuestCentrix to start with.

  • GuestCentrix Hostel.Web displays your rates to the front desk staff in all your dorms for any number of nights in a click of a mouse
  • GuestCentrix Hostel.Web lets you take control of your daily rates and displays them in an easy to view rate grid, alongside the bed availability, so you can take away that stuck on piece of paper
  • GuestCentrix Hostel.Web shows the front desk user what the balance of the booking should be on arrival
  • GuestCentrix Hostel.Web provides advanced cash handling functionality to ensure cashiering is completed quickly, accurately – with full reporting to highlight any cash shortages

GuestCentrix – Profit from our Experience

Contact GuestCentrix today

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