For the last 3 years since HermesThemes was launched there were numerous people asking about ways to reliably take direct hotel reservations using WordPress. However this is not an easy task technically speaking, if you stop to consider all the small things that have to be taken care of.
One of these aspects is room inventory management: when a room is available and when it is not? If you mismanage room inventory while taking direct reservations (with deposits or pre-payments) then you will certainly get double bookings (a room sold twice for the same period of time).
This problem becomes even bigger when you use multiple channels to sell your rooms: OTAs like Booking.com, TripAdvisor, etc.
For this reason I have always recommended to sign up and use a specialized third-party service for taking reservations and property management. Many of these services are used by HermesThemes customers. Thanks to these services you have to manage all of your inventory in a single place. For example if you get a booking on Booking.com – it will become unavailable across other channels. If you don’t use a reservation system like this, you will often be open to unpleasant situations with double bookings.
The downside of these services is that they all cost a certain amount of money, be it a sign up fee, a monthly service fee, a fee that depends on your property’s capacity, etc. So if you are only getting started with a small hotel, B&B or a holiday rental, it might not be worth it.
After reviewing numerous WordPress plugins and solutions that promise to be “the only reservation plugin you will ever need”, I was always left disappointed and frustrated.
Many of the reviewed plugins usually have limited features or were developed by people that never ran a hotel and don’t know what a plugin should actually accomplish.
AweBooking Plugin – A Good Alternative for Small Properties
For the last couple of months I have been eyeing AweBooking, a premium WordPress plugin that is supposed to accomplish a lot. After playing with it for a few days it does look like a very good product.
So after thinking about it I have decided to make all HermesThemes themes compatible with this plugin (except Castello). All current HermesThemes customers will be able to download the plugin directly from our website, from the Member’s Area, just like you did with the purchased themes.
For a general presentation of the plugin’s back-end (admin panel) you can check the screen-shots displayed in the documentation page: How to Set Up AweBooking Plugin.
In my opinion this plugin will work well for people with small properties with low traffic. If you get 2-3 bookings a week or if you rent out just one property, then this will be fine. You will have to manually take care of the availability calendar, but it is acceptable for seasonal properties with not too many customers.
But if you run a hotel with 10+ rooms and want things to be more organized and automated, then you should consider signing up for one of the specialized reservation and property management systems.