Frequently asked Questions and Answers

What makes Guest Centre different to other reservation systems?
Well, actually a lot. Guest Centre is the only reservation system that allows you to choose whether you would like to accept online bookings from your own website or only online enquiries and at the same time allows you to send offers to your telephone and e-mail enquiries within one system, immediately updating your reservation calendar and reducing duplicate data entry. It is also the only system that offers two different payment options, a free version for the smaller establishments with slightly higher transaction fees and a subscription based version with low transaction fees.

What main benefit does Guest Centre offer a potential guest?
If you have opted to accept online bookings, Guest Centre lets the guest choose to book online or to make an enquiry. With the widest choice of payment options, Guest Centre achieves a higher conversion rate compared to other systems and increased convenience for your guests.

What are the main benefits to an establishment using Guest Centre?
The main benefit is that you will need only one system to accomplish what many establishments today are doing using several other systems to make offers to guests, to accept online bookings, to accept credit card payments, to invite guests to write a review and to send e-mail newsletters to your guests. From a financial perspective, just add up what all these systems cost every month and you will see that Guest Centre is the answer. Guest Centre is a very user friendly reservation system, a debtor management system, reporting system, and all information is updated continuously in real time and stored for future reference.

How does Guest Centre help my establishment with my marketing?
Guest Centre assists you in receiving guest reviews, which are a great tool to promote your establishment. It also allows you to send e-mail newsletters to your guests (optional) and Guest Centre’s reporting function provides you important information about the source of enquiries and bookings and about the market segment your client base is made up.

How does Guest Centre’s pricing structure compare with other reservation systems?
For the smaller establishments, Guest Centre offers a free version with no monthly fees, you pay only transaction fees if you make use of the integrated payment gateway. For the larger establishments with higher transaction volumes, Guest Centre charges one flat fee per user account for all basic functionalities and allows you an unlimited amount of establishments and rooms under one user account. With that, Guest Centre is the most affordable reservation system currently on the market and offers you a number of functionalities that many establishments today only accomplish by using several other systems.

How do I know Guest Centre is for me?
Are you currently using two or more different systems to send offers to your guests and to accept online bookings and credit card and debit card payments?
Are you still sending booking forms (fax / e-mail) to your guests?
Are you paying expensive monthly fees for a credit card facility?
Do you only accept payments by bank transfer?
Are you creating invoices manually in Word or Excel?
Does your system allow you to offer loyalty discounts without of the guest having to remember login details?
If your answer to any of the above questions is "yes", then we are 100% sure
Guest Centre will make a big difference in the way you run your establishment!

Questions about the functionality and features of Guest Centre

I am currently using another system to make offers to my guests, will I still need this?
No. Guest Centre allows you to send offers to your guests. You can set the expiry date of your offer and your guests can confirm the offer by making a deposit payment, they can re-enquire or have the option to ask you a question.

I have an enquiry form on my website, will I still need this?
No. Guest Centre integrates into your own website and guests will use the enquiry form provided by Guest Centre to make enquiries. All enquiries are directly received into Guest Centre and you will not need to capture the guests details manually. The enquiry form is branded with a header banner including your establishment name and logo.

I am currently using another online booking system, will I still need this?
No. With a simple to implement link from your website, guests are able to check availability and book online.

If I use Guest Centre, do I have to accept online bookings?
No. Within your establishment settings, you have the option to deactivate the online availability check. In this case, guests will only be able to make an enquiry.

If I receive an enquiry via telephone or e-mail, can I use Guest Centre to make the guest an offer?
Yes. Simply enter the guests name, surname, e-mail address and telephone number in the simple form, choose the date of arrival and number of nights and the room(s) you would like to offer, add a message to the guest and click on submit.

When making offers to my guests, I use a standard text that I copy and paste into the e-mail, can I do this with Guest Centre as well?
Guest Centre allows you to predefine unlimited standard messages. When making an offer to a guest or replying to an enquiry, you simply choose the message you would like to insert from a drop down field, modify the message if need be and submit the offer.

I have several establishments, will I be able to use Guest Centre for all of them?
Yes. With one user account and one monthly subscription fee, you will be able to add as many establishments as you would like to. Each establishment will have its own reservation calendar and you can easily move between in establishment without of having to logout and login again.

Do I have to make all my rooms available online?
No. If you have chosen to make your establishment public, you can still choose for each room whether you want to allow visitors to check availability and book online or not.

Can I add extras and make these available for online bookings?
Yes. Same as with each room, you can add extras such as dinner, airport transfer, etc. and you can choose for each extra whether you want to allow guests to include these extras in an online booking or not.

Does Guest Centre allow multiple seasons?
Yes. You can add as many seasons as you require. Guest Centre is unique in the fact that it allows overlapping seasons, that means you can set one main season for your standard rates for the entire year and you can add shorter seasons for special periods such as school holidays, long weekends, low season, peak season, etc. By giving these seasons a higher priority, Guest Centre will always apply the rates for the season with the higher priority. All seasons are displayed in your reservation calendar.

Does Guest Centre support only rates per person or also rates per unit?
Within your establishment settings, you can choose whether you would like to structure your rates per unit only or per person; in this case, you can set a single rate, a per person sharing rate and a rate for each additional person in a room.

Does Guest Centre generate statements and invoices that I can send to my guests or hand out on departure?
Yes. You can send or print an invoice for your guest at any stage of the booking process. The invoice serves at the same time as a statement and is always up to date with the latest amounts paid and outstanding balance. Invoices for travel agents, tour operators and corporate clients can also include a voucher number or order number.

Does Guest Centre allow me to store additional information about my guests?
Yes. Guest Centre offers an easy to use guest profile, which allows you to store additional information for each guest. The guest profile for example contains the guests address, full contact details, date of birth, identity number and company address for corporate clients. Guest Centre also allows you to add information about the guests likes and dislikes and lets you assign the guest to a segment (individual traveler, corporate, travel agent or tour operator) and you can define your own guest groups which allow you later to sort and manage your guests more effectively. You can also block a guest entirely from making a reservation in the future.

I always send my guests an e-mail a few days prior to their stay with directions, will I still have to do this?
No. Guest Centre automatically will send your guests a few days prior to the arrival a reminder which also contains your full contact details, directions and GPS coordinates to your establishment as well as check-in and check times or any other instructions you specify during the set-up.

Are messages sent between myself and the guest stored for future reference ?
Yes. Guest Centre offers you an integrated messaging system to allow your guests to ask a question and to allow you to send messages to the guest. All messages are stored online for future reference in case of a dispute.

Does Guest Centre help me in obtaining Guest Reviews?
Yes. Guest Centre automatically sends a thank-you note to guests who stayed with you, inviting them to write a review about their stay. You will be notified of a new review and will be able to publish the reviews to your own website. Guest Centre provides with an overview of all your reviews and an overall rating for your establishment.

Does Guest Centre provide me with statistics and reports?
There are a number of useful reports such as Booking Value, Payments Received, Outstanding Payments, Commission, Occupancy and a housekeeping schedule (check-ins & check-outs). There are also a number of marketing reports, providing you with information about the source of your enquiries, the percentage of your repeat business, the split between individual travelers, corporate, travel agents and tour operators as well as local vs. international visitors. In fact, with Guest Centre, the most important statistics are displayed right on the dashboard to allow you to keep control of your business.

Does Guest Centre help me with my daily check-ins & check-outs?
Guest Centre displays automatically today’s check-ins and check-outs on the dashboard, including any paid and outstanding amounts; this way, you will never forget to charge a guest before check-out (not even for the mini-bar or laundry service).

How does the newsletter function work (optional feature - additional fees apply)?
All you have to do is to write an e-mail newsletter (in Guest Centre) and choose the segment (individual traveler, travel agent, corporate client, tour operator) and the group (for example local or international) and send your e-mail newsletter. Guest Centre will automatically send the newsletter to all guests that match the segment & group. If you would like to boost your corporate clients repeat business, you would send an e-mail to all your corporate clients; if you would like to offer a special for the upcoming season to international travel agents enticing them to book early, you would choose for the segment “travel agents” and for the group “international”. Please note that while the segment is pre-defined by Guest Centre, you can create as many guest groups as you would like to. Guest Centre asks each guest when making an enquiry to give permission to receive your newsletter.

Can I use the e-mail addresses stored in Guest Centre for any other e-mail campaign?
Yes. Guest Centre stores all guest contact details from guests who only made an enquiry and guests who stayed with you. You can view and export all guest details to use for your e-mail newsletters. Guest Centre asks each guest when making an enquiry to give permission to receive your newsletter.

Questions about online enquiries and online bookings

Can I turn off the real time booking function?
Yes, you can give your guests both options. Many guests prefer to communicate with you before making a booking, others don’t have much time and prefer to book online. The choice is yours.

Will people be able to see all my bookings?
No. Guests viewing the availability online will only be able to query the availability for specific dates. Guests will never see the entire reservation calendar.

Do I have to reserve blocks of rooms?
No. You have complete control over your inventory and availability. You can make rooms public or private at any time and as you wish. Rooms booked online are automatically updated in your reservation calendar.

How do I know an online booking has been made?
You immediately get an email with the details, as well as a detailed SMS to your mobile phone (optional). Online bookings automatically update your availability in your reservation calendar.

Questions about the payment options and payment process

Do I need a credit card facility to use Guest Centre?
No. With Guest Centre, you can accept any credit cards.

Does Guest Centre store credit card details?
Guest Centre does not store any credit card details at any time during the booking process. We have taken this step to protect your clients and yourself from credit card fraud.

Does Guest Centre allow payments via online banking?
Guest Centre offers South Africans who have an online banking account with any of the major South African banks the option to pay via SID (Secure Instant Deposit). SID is a new technology which takes the guest directly into the guests online banking facility to process a payment. Payments made via SID are instantly confirmed.

What about corporate clients and travel agents?
Guest Centre has an integrated invoicing function and is set by default to provide corporate clients, travel agents and tour operators with the possibility to confirm their reservation, print an invoice and to pay off-line by bank transfer into your own account (no transaction fees apply). All this is done by your guest without of any effort from your side.

Who is the guest paying?
All payments made through Guest Centre are made via Guest Centres merchant account and on-paid into your own bank account on the next business day following the transaction.

Can I see what amounts are still owing to me ?
Once logged into Guest Centrel, you have easy access to a detailed list of all transactions processed through Guest Centre including all amounts on-paid and amounts still owing to you.

If a guest pays directly into my bank account or by cash or cheque, can I capture these payments in Guest Centre?
Yes, you can capture any payment made on a reservation in Guest Centre and provide your guest with a statement / invoice which includes these payments. These payments are also visible in our reporting function.

What deposit do you take?
Guest Centre let's you decide on your deposit strategy. You can set your own deposit percentage within your establishment settings.

Can I enter my own cancellation policy?
Yes. When setting up a new establishment, you can enter your own cancellation policy, which will be displayed to the guest before accepting an offer.

Questions about specials, discounts and commission

Does Guest Centre allow me to offer a loyalty discount to my guests?
Yes. Simply by visiting the guest’s profile, you can define any percentage as a loyalty discount. The next time the guest books with your establishment, a welcome-back message will appear on the guests screen informing the guest of the loyalty discount.

Do I need to maintain different rate sheets for my corporate clients, travel agents and tour operators?
No. You simply define the discount / commission percentage within the guest profile and the discount / commission will automatically be applied to all future enquiries / bookings.

Does Guest Centre support long-term discounts?
Yes. You can define your own long-term discounts for each season that you have set up individually. You can choose between a percentage or free nights for 3 different periods, ie 7 days, 14 days and 21 days.

Does Guest Centre support minimum stay periods?
Yes. Guest Centre allows you to define minimum stay periods for each season individually and allows you to define a cut-off period, ie 30 days prior, after which the minimum stay is automatically removed.

Does Guest Centre support last minute specials?
Guest Centre allows overlapping seasons, whereas you set the season applicable for the price calculation by giving different priorities to each season. This allows you to have one basic season running over the entire year and on top of that, you can add additional shorter seasons in between with different rates. This way, you can easily set special rates for any period, even just for the upcoming weekend, long weekends, school holidays, etc. This also helps you to ensure that there is always a price in the system for any day of the year.

Questions about the costs and contract

Does Guest Centre charge commission?
No, we do not charge any commission, we only charge transaction fees for Master Card & Visa, Debit Cards, Secure Instant Deposits (SID), Diners Club and American Express transactions. These fees cover the banks payment processing fees as well as credit card transaction fees.

Can I test Guest Centre before I make a decision?
Yes. Simply sign up for our free trial period. Please note that even during the trial period, all basic feature are fully functional for you to make a decision.

Am I locked into a contract?
No. You can stop using Guest Centre any time, for subscription based accounts, we only request a 30-day notice period.

Is my information secure?
Yes, as long as you do not hand out your confidential information only you have access to your system.

About the system, installation and set-up

For what type of establishments is Guest Centre ideal?
Guest Centre is ideal for small to medium size establishments such as Bed & Breakfasts, Guest Houses, Lodges, Boutique Hotels, Self Catering Accommodation and Backpackers.

How big do I have to be for Guest Centre to make sense?
While Guest Centre is priced to be an affordable solution for even the smallest establishments, it works just as well if you have 50 or more rooms.

What must I have to operate Guest Centre?
All that is required is a computer and internet connection.

Is Guest Centre supported by all internet browsers?
Yes. While we do recommend to view Guest Centre in Google Chrome, Guest Centre does operate in Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox and Safari.

Do I need to install Guest Centre?
No. Guest Centre is an online application and does not require any installation or downloads of updates.

How difficult is it to learn to use Guest Centre?
It's as easy as browsing the internet.

Can establishments in remote areas also operate via Guest Centre?
Guest Centre is a fast loading application that works with Dial-up, ADSL or wireless connections.

Can I use Guest Centre with any operating system?
Guest Centre is an online application and therefore, works on all operating systems.

How long does it take to set up?
Once you have registered your account with Guest Centre (less than 1 minute!) and set-up your establishments, we will be able to integrate Guest Centre into your own website (to do this, we require the host, username & password for your website or you can ask your webmaster to complete the integration). Our commitment is to get your establishment live within 48 hours after registration.

Will I need training and who will train me?
While we have made every effort to ensure Guest Centre is the easiest and most user-friendly reservation system, we do provide you upon registration of your user account with a step-by-step user manual. There is also an extensive Help section in which you will find instructions regarding the set-up and features of Guest Centre. And of course, you can contact our help desk at any time via telephone, e-mail, skype or our free online chat.

Will this work from my own website?
Yes. Guest Centre offers you different option how to integrate the system into your own or any other website. Guests visiting your website will be able to make an enquiry or book online directly from your website. The Guest Centre interface is branded with your company name and logo and therefore, guests will always know they are dealing directly with the establishment.

Can I use Guest Centre with more than one website?
Yes. You can display your unique link on any website and can define a source code which will be added to the link information so that you know where the enquiry or booking comes from.

Do you provide support ?
Yes. You can contact us any time via telephone, e-mail, skype or by using our free online chat.