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FAQ

This area is devoted to helping our customers solve any problems you may have with BookingCenter. Please read the FAQs for answers to common issues. If you can't find your answers here, please contact our Support Department and we'll be happy to help.

FAQ Index

BookingCenter Overview

Downloading & Demo

Buying & Upgrading

Installation Help

Registering Your BookingCenter Product

Learning & Using - Desktop Property Management System

Learning & Using - MyPMS

Online Bookings

Local Help

BookingCenter Add-on Modules

Reporting

Rates

BookingCenter Overview

How Does BookingCenter Work?

BookingCenter is a synergistic combination of Software, Central Reservation Service and Network distribution from a Company committed to making management and marketing easy. We are the only company (we know of) that offers complete setup and training with every BookingCenter package. Read below to understand this valuable offer:

Software

BookingCenter has been performing as a premier property management solution since 1992. We have over 800 customers on 5 continents using our Property Management Solution (PMS).

BookingCenter is the simplest, easiest-to-use Property Management System for managing ALL aspects of your hospitality business. We have two general purpose PMS systems: the Desktop Pro which runs on a single PC or as a client <--> server solution with up to hundreds of PCs (and Macintoshes!). Or the web-enabled MyPMS which runs through a web browser from anywhere. Either PMS is as powerful a tool as you will ever need to grow and expand your operations.

We provide add-on modules to the core PMS such as:

All versions of BookingCenter Software (for Windows and Macintosh) provide an Internet booking component that allows users to book online from your website(s). The Software connects to the Service as often as your property needs over any Internet connection.

Included with all versions of BookingCenter are pricing and allocation tools enabling you to price your rooms specific to your Agents and through multiple channels of distribution.

Take a tour of the BookingCenter Software through our website at http://www.BookingCenter.com/demo/

Central Reservation Service

When the Software connects to the Central Reservation Service (over any Internet connection), it updates the Service with your current rate and inventory - and downloads into the Software any bookings that were added, canceled, or modified over the Network.

The Service is a Central Reservation Service that keeps a 'single image' inventory for each property.

What's more, everyone who signs up for the BookingCenter Network can access the Member's Area of BookingCenter.com. From here, property managers create, delete, or modify bookings and manage their online marketing programs. Basically, management of the entire booking operation from anywhere on the Internet.

Take a tour of BookingCenter Service through our website http://www.BookingCenter.com/demo/html/service/index.html

Global Booking Network

For simple and easy global distribution, BookingCenter connects your current rates, availability, and content to over 3,100 travel networks and websites such as the Pegasus, Yellow Pages, the Sabre, WorldSpan, Amadeus, and Galileo GDS’s (Global Distribution Systems) used by over 800,000 travel agents around the world. There is no better distribution system ANYWHERE! And with our easy-to-use tools, you can manage a smart marketing and allocation strategy to each online Agent that BookingCenter publishes to, as well as create your own Agent network.

View a sample of our current Network partners - the places consumers can book your properties - at http://www.BookingCenter.com/partners.html.

If you choose NOT to publish over the Network, you can still use the Service and sell bookings from only your website(s). All bookings occurring over the Network incur a small commission or transaction charge, as we need to pay our Network partners for delivering new business to you.

Setup and Training

We have a service for customers where we actually setup their entire database and get BookingCenter ready to go! Our employees customize the Software to your property, then you the completed system. The reality is, setup is 95% of the hardships learning a new system. Learning is SO MUCH easier once the system is configured for your operation.

The 'Setup' service is especially helpful for new users of management systems and those who don't wish to use their time configuring software. It's simple, we have a few forms that we ask you to fill out. Once these docs are completed, just fax them to us (number below) and give us 10 business days to complete the customization. It's the easiest way to get going and is included with all BookingCenter packages.

With BookingCenter you will be up & operational in 10 days - selling in real-time from your front desk through your website and into the biggest travel markets on the planet. Why wait? This is the only way to run a hospitality business - call in BookingCenter!

How do online bookings work?

  • BookingCenter is a complete Property Management System - it runs through a web browser, as a single computer, or on your Local Area Network. The Software manages the day-to-day functions of any hospitality business and seamlessly integrates into the BookingCenter Central Reservation System that powers your website and your Internet marketing efforts.
  • When a potential guest is browsing through your website and they decide to make a booking they simply click on the "Make a Booking Now" button and they are automatically taken to the Online Requests page that is branded from your website.
  • From this page (which loads with your name and banner) they can run a live query to see if you have rooms available and at the corrtect rate and restrictions (siuch as a 2-night minimum stay).
  • If you have a room they would like to book, they fill out the online form and their booking request is sent directly to you by email or fax and all the booking information (credit card information, guest and booking details) are immediately downloaded into your BookingCenter Software.  The guest also receives an email confirmation of their request.
  • An automatic confirmation of the booking is sent to the guest comprised of the messages YOU want - either signaling a confirmed or unconfirmed status.
  • You collect the deposit in the usual way - by credit card if you can accept them, by check, Money Order, or Cashiers Check if that is your policy.
  • Depending on your cancellation and deposit policy, you can bill them online - automatically - or locally through whatever payment processor you use.
  • The only addition required to your website is to place one of your buttons or one of our buttons (shown here) in an appropriate place in your website. Or, purchase a Package from BookingCenter and we will do all the work for you.

What are the system requirements to use BookingCenter:

Desktop Product

Operating Systems: Windows 3.1, Windows 95, Windows 98/ME/2000/XP/Vista and Windows NT

  • Video: 800 x 600 VGA
  • RAM: 8 megs of free RAM
  • Hard Drive: 40 megs (for backups, use external hard drives, ZIP discs,
  • Network: Network card (to take advantage of multi-user capabilities); modem (any speed) and an Internet connection (to take advantage of Internet bookings).

Operating Systems: Macintosh System 7,8, and 9

  • Video: 800 x 600 VGA
  • RAM: 8 megs of free RAM
  • Hard Drive: 40 megs (for backups, use external hard drives, ZIP discs,
  • Network: Network card (to take advantage of multi-user capabilities); modem (any speed) and an Internet connection (to take advantage of Internet bookings).

Operating Systems: Macintosh OS X 10.1 - 10.5 (Leopard)

  • Video: 800 x 800 VGA
  • RAM: 64 megs of free RAM
  • Hard Drive: 140 megs (for backups, use external hard drives, ZIP discs,
  • Network: Ethernet card (to take advantage of multi-user capabilities) and an Internet connection (to take advantage of Internet bookings).

MyPMS: any Internet Explorer version 6 or higher.

Management Tool: any web browser.

How do customers make bookings over the Internet?

Customers will come to you from one of three places:

  1. New bookings will come through your property's marketing efforts. Visitors to your website will click a 'Book It' or 'Check Availability' button to make and confirm their booking. We enable your website visitors to view and book available inventory at your pricing.
  2. Visitors booking travel from a major web portal such as Expedia, Orbitz, Yahoo!, AOL, Excite, Travelocity, Orbitz, TravelWeb, PlaceToStay.com and 8,200+ others (for a partial list, click here) will find rooms based upon the search mechanism of the Partner site. If you list your rates and inventory with these major sites, your property will be booked by customers who would have never found you otherwise.
  3. Travel Agents who use any of the GDS (Global Distribution Systems) will book directly with you
  4. Visitors to www.BookingCenter.com will find your property via the partner sites we maintain with other BookingCenter properties and Local Distribution System providers. Some of these travel entrepreneurs will want to include you in their sites - with your permission, of course:-)

How do I get paid for my bookings?

You receive payment based upon your standard business model. If you are providing a room rental, you receive payment information from your customers who book online. If you have a cancellation or a nonrefundable policy, these can be transacted according to the law and business customs you operate. Usually you accept payment from your guests when they check-in or check-out.

Distributing rates and inventory to other websites for more bookings?

BookingCenter works with distribution partners, including GenaRes, HubX, Pegasus, and all 4 GDS systems, to make sure your rate and inventory is bookable in real-time at thousands of travel-related websites. We operate asynchronous connections to other Global Distribution Partners to maintain 24 x 7 'real-time' connections to over 3,100 travel websites and access to the SABRE, WorldSpan, Amadeus, and Galileo network of Travel Agents. (For a partial list of Distribution Partners, click here). We have excellent pricing and allocation tools that allow you to sell a percentage of your inventory ONLY at prices YOU define to each Network partner. Complete control and flexibility - we don't talk about it, our Software DOES it! Also, we work with major 'Meta Agencies' to allow you to enroll your property in the Consortia Programs, providing contracted rate relationships with serious corporate, government, and group/leisure buyers.

How reliable is it?

BookingCenter employs powerful Oracle databases, running on Linux and Apache servers.  Our servers run 24 hours per day, 365 days per year.  We have comprehensive backup and disaster recovery procedures in place. If there is no inventory available per a guest's enquiry, the system will ask the guest to submit an email to you with the requested room information. No matter what happens, you will have a chance at satisfying every guest at your property.

How much does all this cost?

BookingCenter charges a one-time license fee to use the Desktop Software or a subscription fee to use our MyPMS (web software), with prices available at the BookingCenter Store. The BookingCenter Network charges a commission or a subscription fee for all successful bookings that come through the Network AFTER the guest has checked out. We will send you a bill at the end of each month with a list of your Network transactions. You pay the commission/subscription fees only for the guests who booked online and actually paid you.

How secure is all this?

The BookingCenter system co-locates our servers in a Level 1 Co-Location facility (Nacio Systems) behind our corporate firewall, run with strict security permissions, and is monitored 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by our staff in Canada, Australia, and the United States. Plus, we operate transaction-level backups to assure your data is never compromised.

BookingCenter maintains a strict PCI CISP compliance policy. Our MyPMS product uses a certified VitalNet gateway for the MyCard system from TSYS. The actual gateway is the Vital VirtualNet SSL with our certification under the names "MyPMS" and "BookingCenter".  You can check our latest PCI certification document here and our Self-Assessment as a SAQ-Eligible Service Provider Service Provider here.

Our Booking Engine uses an AuthorizeNet or PlugNPlay certified gateway system for storing and processing cards for our other products. As a Service Provider processing and storing credit card data, as requested by the credit card industry, we provide a detailed self-assessment of our BookingCenter PCI CISP compliance here . If you would like other information about our security and data protection, contact us here.

Downloading

Find the correct file to download or demo one of our online, web-based products

Desktop Property Management System: When logged on to the Store or the Download page, choose the platform of computer you use - Macintosh or Windows - the platform will determine the correct file to install.

Web-based MyPMS: Click here to Demo MyPMS. Get more info on MyPMS.

Web-based Management Tool: Click here to Demo the Management Tool. Get more info the Management Tool

If you are already a BookingCenter customer and have an active Support and Maintenance Contract, login to the Support Area (http://support.bookingcenter.com) using your Site ID and password. This will allow you to update to the current version of the BookingCenter Desktop software.

Resolve download problems

If you have trouble downloading BookingCenter files, you can do the following:

Buying & Upgrading

Find Product Information

There are two places to find product information.

  1. The Products page (http://www.bookingcenter.com/products/index.html )
  2. The Online Store - If you click on the Product name, it will provide information about that product in a new window.

Purchasing Online

BookingCenter.com is a secure website - shop here.

Purchasing From a Local Reseller

BookingCenter attempts to work with local resellers to provide local support, installation, and training for your booking business. To find one near you, go to http://www.bookingcenter.com/reseller.html and choose one in your region. Contact them by email, telephone, or walk to their local offices!

Purchasing a CD-ROM Version

After you have selected which product best meets your needs and you have proceeded to "buy it", there is a "ship by" option box, simply choose CD-ROM and we will mail you one within 48 hours.

Buy or Upgrade Your BookingCenter Product

Buy

Purchase all BookingCenter products from our online store.

Updates

Updates are free to BookingCenter customers who have current Support and Maintenance Contracts. Login to the Support area of BookingCenter.com at http://support.bookingcenter.com - you will need your SITE ID and password to login.

Every customer of BookingCenter has a customized Online Support Area where the latest upgrades offered for your product are listed and can be downloaded. By downloading the BookingCenter Update, you will only be downloading a small file (~ 2 meg) that will update your current BookingCenter to the current version. This makes upgrades easy and self-serviced.

Upgrade from Guest Tracker, WinRoom, or Avail to BookingCenter

Upgrading from a previous Management System is easy with BookingCenter. If you have been using Guest Tracker from Munsenware, WinRoom, or Avail, then BookingCenter staff will COMPLETELY transfer all your archival data, future and past bookings, Guest database, and past receipts & deposits (if available).

Complete transfer is available - and guaranteed - ONLY when BookingCenter completes a Datafile Setup - see the Packages section to see which setup package best works for your needs. This enables you to have all historical and future information from your previous system into BookingCenter.

Importing Guest Records from previous systems

The BookingCenter Desktop and MyPMS software allows you to import Guests from previous management systems or from databases you have kept of past Guests. Specific instructions for preparing your database file are available on p.82 of the Reference Manual (download the Reference Manual). Also, we have a sample database file (comma delimited or CSV) for download to prepare your Guest database for import into BookingCenter :

Installation Help

Windows NT Installation Errors

Directions for NT specific problems can be found here.

Updating to a new version of BookingCenter.

Free updates are available to all current BookingCenter customers with an active Support and Maintenance Contract. From the Support Area of BookingCenter, you will download the Latest Updater of BookingCenter. Simply double-click this file once it has been downloaded to your computer (usually these files will download to your ‘download’ folder, which is different for everyone's computer) it and it will automatically upgrade your version of BookingCenter.

However, keep in mind that the new version will still read from your old datafile - so MAKE A BACKUP, please! Backing up is as simple as copying your datafile to a new disk, or to the same disk in a new folder/directory. The first time you launch the application BookingCenter will reorganize your datafile to make it compatible with the new version of BookingCenter.

Registering Your BookingCenter Product

Register Your BookingCenter Software

All BookingCenter software has a datafile. This datafile contains all the information about your property you entered into BookingCenter. DO NOT throw away your datafile! You can use the datafile you created during your Demonstration of BookingCenter once you register your software.

There are two ways to register BookingCenter software:

  • For BookingCenter PRO customers:
    You must purchase the software on the Internet at our online store. Or find a local reseller to purchase from. **Remember** resellers provide more than software - they can also train and support your business.
  • For BookingCenter LITE customers:
    During your 45-trial of the software, you will notice that every time you launch (open ) BookingCenter on your computer, it asks if you'd like to register it. To cease this message, simply purchase a license from our online store.

Once you have purchased the Desktop software, a Lock Code and Site ID will be sent to you allowing you to continue using your BookingCenter software.

  • For MyPMS customers only BookingCenter sales staff can register the product for you.
  • For Managemnent Tool customers only BookingCenter sales staff can register the product for you.

Register for the BookingCenter Global Booking Network to sell and manage bookings over the Internet

The beauty of BookingCenter is the way it enables you to make the Internet work for your business.The Network allows you to price, manage, and sell your rooms over the BookingCenter.com Network. Check out the great places you could be selling - over 8,200 websites and the entirety of the GDS systems! Millions of new customers at the end of a telephone line!

Finding Your Site ID and Password

Desktop Pro and Lite: When you Unlocked the BookingCenter software, you entered a Site ID in the Parameters | Company Information screen. You will need this code to register additional software and to work with your Internet distribution at BookingCenter.com. Do the following:

  1. Open BookingCenter
  2. From the BookingCenter Menu, choose Parameters.
  3. Click Company Information
  4. Click “Register”
  5. In the top of the screen at top is the Site ID. Copy this and paste it into your browser as requested

Your password was assigned to you when you registered for BookingCenter.com. Find it in your email or email support@bookingcenter.com with your site ID and Company name and we'll email your password to you at your email address on record.

Learning & Using

Resolve Installation Problems

We have a variety of technical support plans to meet your needs. We first suggest that you refer to the FAQ section at BookingCenter. With your download of BookingCenter products you are can utilize our free email support, support@bookingcenter.com, for 30 days. After that time we offer Support and Maintenance Contract to help you resolve any problems.

Learn How to Use BookingCenter

You can download BookingCenter free for 45 days. During this time we encourage you to play with the many functions of the software program to familiarize yourself with the valuable tools that BookingCenter offers. Our FAQ section can help answer the most frequently asked questions, and with your download you also get an excellent “QuickStart Tutorial.pdf” that helps familiarize you with BookingCenter as well as a complete Reference Manual. Both of these document are installed in your /BookingCenter/ folder and can be viewed with Adobe’s FREE Acrobat Reader.

All new users of BookingCenter also get 30 days free email support. Feel free to email support@bookingcenter.com with questions.

Read the Manuals - the Quick Start Guide and the full BookingCenter Reference Manual.

If you look in your BookingCenter directory/folder, you will find the BookingCenter Mac Tutorial.pdf (for Mac) or the BookingCenter Win Tutorial.pdf (for Windows) These are Quick Start guides that help you get started using the software. Download it as well from the Support Area.

For MyPMS and The Management Tool there are Tutorials and Reference Manuals posted online here.

Business Process Documents - excellent reference materials for your Desktop Pro front desk.

If you look in your BookingCenter directory/folder, you will find the BookingCenter Business Process Docs. These are simple "cheat sheet" guides that help the front desk, accounting, and management staff perform common daily tasks with BookingCenter. Download the doc from the Support Area.

Also, there is a full Reference.pdf found in the same directory as the Tutorial. This is a full set of documentation to give you all the information about BookingCenter. Download it as well from the Support Area.

Finally, take a look at the Online Demo - as it gives a good overview of the system.

Online Bookings

What do I need to begin selling online?

  1. You must be a BookingCenter customer by purchasing or registering your BookingCenter product (either PRO, Lite with Network Add-on, the Management Tool, or MyPMS). Click here for more information on becoming a BookingCenter customer.
  2. If necessary, have BookingCenter customize your property 'profile' - click here for information on this service.
  3. Publish your property information to the BookingCenter Global Booking Network to create your property's rooms, rates, policies, etc. Find out how by clicking here.
  4. Begin accepting bookings from your network of websites as well as the BookingCenter Network (optional). For a complete list of Network partner sites, click here.

Where can I get the Online Checklist to prepare my BookingCenter for Network sales?

Some users of BookingCenter had the Online Checklist installed with their software in the /BookingCenter/ folder/directory on their hard drives. If it is not here, you may download it from the Support Area. This document provides a step-by-step guide for selling online.

Local Help

Adding Your Own Comments to Your Online HELP

Click the “?” icon on any BookingCenter Desktop window. This brings up the “Help” window for that particular area. Click “Edit”. Now you can add comments to the BookingCenter Help.

Installing a New HELP File for BookingCenter

By logging into your Support Area, you can always download the latest Help files. Occasionally we update these files, so check in for language or feature updates to the Help section. When you insert a new Help file into the BookingCenter Desktop Property Management System, you will be deleting the one that is there and replacing it with the new one. If you have written custom 'Help Notes' in your Help file, these notes will be deleted when the new import file is imported.

If you want to take advantage of a new Help file, simply do the following:

  1. Get a new help file from BookingCenter Support or from logging into your support area at http://support.BookingCenter.com and save the file on your computer. The file is called 'help.txt' and can be opened and edited using a word processor or spreadsheet program. This allows you to add comments to the Help file appropriate for your business.
  2. Launch BookingCenter and choose the Parameters from the BookingCenter menu.
  3. Click the button called 'Import Help' and you will be asked to clear the existing records or not. If you choose YES and proceed, all your previous notes will be cleared (deleted). If you choose NO and proceed, only the new help files will be imported, but any updates to existing records will be ignored when importing, so you will only get partial updates of the Help records.

Once completed, the new Help file will be available from the BookingCenter Desktop Property Management System by clicking the “?” icon on any window.

Find Local BookingCenter Resellers and Developers In Your Area.

Go to the Contact Page and look for one closest to your area/country.