Before we start, I want to tell you that we earn money from Cloudbeds as an affiliate. However, it will not cost you any more money to buy and we will only recommend tools which we use and love.
I decided to review Cloudbeds because here at Olive & Lake because we use it – a lot.
You can be sure that we’ve tested Cloudbeds extensively. We’ve set it up for many clients and work with it daily.
If you contact us before buying Cloudbeds, we will provide you with a complete setup free of charge (our fees are covered by our commission), get you connected to your OTAs, and train you how to use it. Completely free.
We can sometimes also get you a discount on your first month.
First, we have to see if Cloudbeds is suitable for your business. We’ve found that Cloudbeds is a great choice for many properties, but it’s missing some features specifically requested by some of our clients.
In some cases, we might recommend other systems where we think they suit our clients’ needs as best as possible.
Note that this is a very thorough review of Cloudbeds and is more than 5,000 words. Bookmark this page and come back to it later!
Check your hotel’s rates on multiple channels.
Here are some of the reasons why we recommend Cloudbeds and some areas where we think the platform could be improved.
Cloudbeds is a Property Management System (PMS), channel manager and booking engine all rolled into one.
This is the “heart” of the system and keeps everything syncing together. You can connect MyAllocator to OTAs such as booking.com, Agoda and Expedia.
It’s also possible to connect Google Hotel Ads and other Metasearch Engines – but this takes a little work and you need a 3rd party integration to do it. Olive & Lake offers a hotel metasearch service and we can do the setup for you.
MyAllocator is also regularly updated and new channels are added all the time.
You can connect to 100s of channels, so it’s likely that you’ll find partners suitable for your hotel.
Connecting to your OTA channels is also a simple procedure.
First, you need to open the connection to Cloudbeds from your channel.
Depending on the channel you may either be able to do this yourself or you might need to reach out to your market manager.
When this is done, you can then go to setup the channels in MyAllocator. Click on the name of the OTA and then follow the on-screen instructions for each channel.
You can only do this after the channel has opened the connection to Cloudbeds otherwise it will fail.
You can then map your rooms and rates, set your adjustments and multipliers and edit any extra settings.
Cloudbeds will notify you when the connection is complete.
Olive & Lake will connect your channels for free. Please contact us to get a free trial of Cloudbeds today and see if it it’s for you.
The property management system has a refined and easy-to-use interface. There are so many features that I can’t cover them all here, so I’ll just cover some of the notable features.
If you want to know if Cloudbeds has the features you need, then “contact us” and we’ll chat with you to find out if Cloudbeds is a good fit for your hotel.
These three sections will be mostly used by the hotel’s front desk team.
On the dashboard, you can easily see the arrivals, departures, today’s activities and a 14-day outlook.
The calendar is a joy to use on a desktop, but it’s not so great on a mobile.
This isn’t usually a problem, but sometimes it’s nice to just get an overview of what’s happening when you’re not at a desktop.
It would even nicer if this was an app on your Android phone where you create your own overview dashboard!
However, it’s most likely that you’ll be managing your bookings on a desktop. So, this isn’t really an issue.
The information is clearly arranged, the colour codes on the bookings and the dots make it easy to get a summary of the booking.
A helpful feature here is the ability to easily drag and drop bookings to different rooms. If the price changes, Cloudbeds will notify you and give you the choice whether to move it for free or change the customer’s total amount.
Another great feature is the ability to set up user groups and assign users to a group. You can then set which features are available for each user group.
An example is that you only give your accountant access to reports and not bookings. Similarly, you can restrict accounting reports from the front desk.
Safety is also important and there is a two-factor authentication for all accounts. After getting an invite, users have to login with their own email address. Then, they need to enter a phone number or use the Authy app to login for the first time on a device.
Another great feature is that Cloudbeds keeps a log of everything. The log isn’t editable, so you can see which actions have been performed by each user.
This is very helpful to identify areas where you team are having problems and might require re-training.
Email scheduling is a great feature which can really help you to upsell and provide excellent customer services on autopilot.
It’s one of our favourite features and you can really give your new guests peace of mind before they arrive.
You can set specific times and events for emails to send. For example, you can set emails to send on a specific number of days before arrival or after their departure. Emails can also be sent on reservation status changes.
Therefore, you can use emailing scheduling for a few reasons.
Before your guests arrive, you can provide them with helpful information, arrange a pick-up service, or offer them upsell items. For example, you might want to sell tours, tickets to a special event or offer other services you provide. You can really increase the total amount per booking.
Similarly, you can ask for reviews after guests have checked out or provide them with a discount code to get a special price on a return booking.
There are endless possibilities and this is a great feature from Cloudbeds.
Olive & Lake can work with you to set up emailing scheduling to make the most of your contact with guests from the point of booking until after they check out. Contact us and we’ll be happy to give our advice and set this powerful feature up for you.
Inside the reservation page, you can access the folio which is where all transactions are listed.
You can use this with a POS or connect it to QuickBooks Online to automate a lot of your processes.
For example, where the guest puts the cost of a meal on their room, this transaction can be recorded in the Folio. You can either do this manually or let Cloudbeds do it automatically from your POS.
Moreover, when the guest settles the bill, the transaction can automatically be added to QuickBooks or another online accounting suite.
Using these different services in this way, you can automate the entire process.
Olive & Lake can help you to integrate Cloudbeds with 3rd party services. Contact us to help you get the most out of Cloudbeds.
Documents is a good feature where you can securely upload documents. This might include ID scans, registration forms, etc. You don’t need to print everything which means you can save money, free up space, and reduce the amount of paper you use.
Cloudbeds’ reporting is mostly good, but it’s not perfect.
You can get reports for just about everything you need from bookings, channel production, income, tax reports and more.
There are reports for RevPar (REVenue Per Available Room), occupancy, average daily rates, channel production, financial, tax, activity, and stock reports.
However, they are missing a critical piece of information which we like to look at when taking on new clients and this is the “lead time”.
The lead time is the amount of time from the date of booking to the stay date. Knowing this can tell us a lot about who is booking.
Guests who book many months in advance will look at many websites during this time and you need to make sure that your hotel stands out and is more memorable than the other sites the guest visited. This will increase the possibility of them coming back to your website to make a booking.
In another example, somebody who is booking only a couple of days before they come to stay, might have just done a quick search on Booking.com and looked for the cheapest place. In this instance, you might want to ensure that you have cheaper options available or turn on a last-minute promotion.
When looking at performance for our clients, I tend to look at this first to get an idea of who is booking. Unfortunately, Cloudbeds doesn’t provide this as of yet.
It’s important to try and learn as much about our guests as possible. We need to understand our market.
The booking engine from Cloudbeds (MyBookings) is good, but it isn’t great.
The good news is that the team at Cloudbeds are continually updating it and it continues to get better.
However, at the time of writing, I feel that there is a significant flaw from an upselling point of view which I hope is updated quickly. We have asked but haven’t yet seen any changes!
Cloudbeds has got upselling back to front.
You can increase your income by upselling things such as tours, room upgrades, packages, etc. This is good.
However, you have to enter your credit card details before you see the upsell items. This is bad.
It’s confusing because it feels like you’ve got to the end of the booking process before being offered added extras. Some guests have complained to our clients that they missed the upsells and packages we were offering.
We had a situation where a client was selling packages and some guests were confused that they first had to select their room and then pay for it. The guests mentioned that the room amount was different from the package amount advertised on the website and they thought it wasn’t correct. Luckily, they contacted the hotel to complete the booking.
It seems that some sales were lost because guests weren’t clear – which is never a good thing.
On nearly all other booking engines, upsell items are offered before entering payment details which influences conversion rates.
D-EDGE’s booking engine starts with the room selection, then goes to the extras selection and finally you can enter your payment details. This is the correct way to deal with upsells.
Another example is LittleHotelier by Siteminder. Although they have the upsell items in the correct place, their booking engine isn’t great and I don’t like the table based layout, it looks “old fashioned”.
You can see in the screenshot below, that first you select the room and stay dates. Then you choose the upsell items, and finally, step 3 is entering the payment details.
I think Cloudbeds needs to change the order of this process. We have requested it, but we haven’t had an answer to it yet.
Cloudbeds allows for plenty of customisations to their MyBookings booking engine. You can also add different customisations for each supported language if you want them to look differently.
You can change the general colours of the bookings page so that it looks like your website. This is easy to do; you just need to select the right colours in the “Customize mybookings” settings page.
Olive & Lake can help you to set up your website for cross-domain tracking. You can use this data to analyse whether your hotel marketing efforts are getting you a return on your investment.
You can also set a custom header and footer. You will need use HTML and add custom CSS code to style it.
If you don’t know how to do any of this, Olive & Lake can help you. Contact us, and we can arrange a free trial and see if Cloudbeds is a good fit for your hotel.
Having your PMS, channel manager and booking engine in one package can make it cheaper than having to buy them individually. Moreover, it makes it easier to set up and maintain.
You don’t need to waste time connecting your booking engine to your channel manager or your channel manager to your PMS, it’s already done for you.
Integrations with 3rd parties are also helpful because you can connect your whole hotel into one system. This can make processes automatic, saves you money, and makes you more efficient.
If you contact us prior to buying Cloudbeds, we will help you get all set up for free! We will do the set up for you. You just need to supply us with the details and images we need, and we’ll do the rest for you.
We’ll set it up according to your specifications and then give you training and support for free.
We can also arrange a free trial where you can test it out first.
It’s fairly easy to add your room details, taxes, policies, payment options, etc. Cloudbeds does a particularly good job of guiding you through this process.
However, it can be time consuming and you must complete many steps before you can go live.
Part of this process is to ensure that you don’t get overbookings, your prices are correct, and that all bookings have been correctly entered.
After you’ve completed the setup, it will be reviewed by the support team before you can start connecting to your channels and putting your rates live.
Olive & Lake will do this configuration for you. We can optimise everything for you by selecting the best images, ordering images correctly, writing descriptions, uploading policies, etc. We’ll also add items and services for you. Contact us before buying Cloudbeds and we’ll set up everything for free.
For any service we buy, it’s important that we get good customer service.
We put Olive & Lake’s name on the line when we recommend services, so we need to know that problems can be fixed quickly.
Cloudbeds’ has always replied very quickly to our support requests. They usually reply within an hour or two.
Cloudbeds’ support team are excellent.
Cloudbeds also has a way to request features which other users can vote on.
It seems that many ideas are not being implemented, but that isn’t always a bad thing because not all ideas are good ideas!
Many feature requests seem to be “planned” for a while. The majority of “shipped” features, at the time of writing, are from a long time ago (over 1 year).
Cloudbeds comes in four flavours: Essentials, Plus, Premier and Enterprise with Essentials being the cheapest.
All packages include features such as the Property Management System, Channel Manager, Booking Engine, Email Automation, Reports, Finance & Payments, and Invoicing.
I would recommend guests use at least the “Plus” package because we usually want to customise the booking engine, set advanced rate plans, and use a split folio. These features are not available on the cheapest “Essentials” package.
The cost varies depending on the type and size of your business. Prices are calculated by how many rooms you have and whether you pay monthly or annually.
For B&Bs and Hotels, prices for the “Essential” package are between $70 and $235 per month depending on how many rooms you have.
The “Plus” package ranges from $99 per month to $271 and the “Premier” package ranges from $112 to $379.
If you pay annually, you can save 8% on this price.
In our experience, we find that Cloudbeds often has special offers and introductory rates which they offer when we request a quote.
The Essentials package comes with the following features:
We feel that this package isn’t suitable for most of our clients who need a few more features than what this package offers. In most cases, the Plus or Premier packages are generally more suitable.
The Plus package comes with everything in the Essentials package plus the following features:
From a digital marketing and revenue management point of view, we need to make use of the “Advanced Rate Plans & Packaging” – this allows us to create and manage multiple rate plans for each room type.
For example, we could have a breakfast included, room only and non-refundable rate plan for each room type. This allows you to offer exact prices to guests based on their needs and can help to increase bookings.
Similarly, being able to create packages is essential for most hotels. For example, you might want to create spa packages, weekend getaways, tour options, etc.
We can also use this feature to create promotional codes so that we can offer specific discounts to guests who have a promo code.
This can be especially helpful for returning guests or other specific promotions you want to create.
We also usually want to customise the booking engine.
The other features can be helpful to streamline your processes such as guest management, taking payments or organising your house keeping.
The Premier package includes everything contained with the Essentials and Plus packages, as well as:
If our client’s budget supports it, then we would recommend this package. From a revenue management perspective being able to upsell items at the point of booking can increase income.
Moreover, if you want to connect to a POS or your accounting suite, then you need to have the Marketplace functionality.
We often find that having these connections can save time and money. You can speed up the process because there is no manual data entry and you can focus on other areas of running your hotel.
Accounts don’t need to be manually entered and anything sold in your restaurant will immediately be placed in the guest’s folio.
You can also set prices depending on the room relationship.
For example, if you have a double room and a twin room, you can always set the twin room to be $10 more expensive than the double room.
This feature helps you to track your competitor’s prices. It can also automate pricing rules according to the data it finds and other pre-set rules.
Here, you can set your competitors and you can see them organised into “compsets”. You might, for example, want to keep separate “compsets” for nearby hotels or hotels in your class.
You can only search for hotels in your area and when you find one, you click “Add”. Then you can choose the data from a specific channel depending on what data is found.
Rules and alerts are an extremely helpful feature which allow you create rules to automatically adjust the price. For example, you could increase prices as your occupancy hits a certain percentage.
There are also restriction-based rules which can edit restrictions. For example, you can change the minimum length of stay when availability decreases.
Finally, there are “Compset” rules based on your competitor’s price. Here, you can lower you price if it is found that your rates were the most expensive in the area.
You can either set rules to fire automatically or alert you so you can make the change yourself.
This is a very powerful feature, but it requires careful consideration and you must ensure that rules are set up correctly.
The Rate Manager is yet another way you can edit rates on a day to day basis. We rarely use this feature.
If you need payment to a 3rd party service like Stripe, PayPal or Authorize.Net, then you’ll need this feature.
Shared inventory is one area where CloudBeds needs to improve.
Having said this, I also understand the complex nature of shared accommodation why it needs to be set up correctly so that it doesn’t result in costly overbookings.
I can understand why Cloudbeds is being overly cautious in this area.
In fact, before turning on shared inventory, Cloudbeds makes you agree that this could result in overbookings and that they are not responsible.
This doesn’t defer from the fact that it’s still too basic.
Here is the problem.
You can connect one accommodation type to another, but only one.
Let’s say that you have a double room which also can be a twin room by separating the beds. This isn’t a problem.
But what if you have one type of accommodation which needs to link to more than one other type of accommodation. This kind of set up isn’t possible.
Imagine you have a villa. You have three options for renting that villa:
If a guest books “Upstairs Only”, then “Downstairs Only” is still available and the “Whole Villa” is unavailable. Moreover, if a guest books the “Whole Villa”, now both “Upstairs Only” and “Downstairs Only” should be unavailable.
Cloudbeds cannot do this. Although this won’t affect many hotels, we have realised this issue a few times. This feature really needs to be addressed.
If you’re getting many reservations from a single company, such as a tour operator, then you might want to combine them into one group.
I haven’t used this feature a lot and don’t have much to say about it.
When you open a brand-new hotel, you don’t need to worry about migrating data because you won’t have any.
If you’ve already turned on your sales channels like Booking.com before connecting it to MyAllocator, then you might have a few bookings to import.
In this case, it’s easier to just enter them manually yourself. In fact, we use these bookings as a way to train your team how to enter bookings manually.
But what if you’ve been open for a long time already and have years of bookings both past and present?
Cloudbeds can import your data for you. They will give you a quote based on your current system and how much data there is to import.
One of the best features of Cloudbeds is that they have an API, or Application Programming Interface.
They don’t allow any service to connect to their API which is a good thing because it maintains quality of service, but they do allow 3rd party providers to connect to their API.
Here, we’ll talk about some of the integrations which we find most helpful.
To provide up to date inventory and rates to metasearch engines such as Google, we need a way to connect it. Cloudbeds does this through a 3rd party called Adshotel. It does what it says and it works. There’s not much more to say about it!
Olive & Lake offer a metasearch ads management service for hotels and can take care of setting up your ad campaigns, managing your budget and optimising/reviewing campaigns.
This is a “must have” for any digital marketer. With Cloudbeds, we can ensure that we’re tracking all your sales, building audiences to target with paid ads, and more.
Tracking visitors is an integral part of optimising your website. We cannot effectively do digital marketing without tracking sales on your website.
Integrating with your POS is a great way to increase efficiency, save time and reduce costs.
Cloudbeds integrates with many different POS systems.
However, setting it up can be complicated. Contact us and let’s chat.
Choosing the best POS for your hotel is beyond the scope of this review, and there are many options available which work with Cloudbeds Research and test each one to ensure they do what you need them to do.
Quickbooks is the industry standard for accounting software.
After connecting Cloudbeds to Quickbooks, there’s no need to do manual data entry which is inefficient and prone to human error. After the setup is complete, everything is automated.
Setting it up can be tricky, but we’ve done it many times. Just let us know and we can help to connect Cloudbeds to your Quickbooks account.
I could write many blog posts about why Zapier is amazing (and I probably will!)
Zapier can connect Cloudbeds to Google Sheets, Mailchimp, Google Calendar, SMS services, WordPress, Xero, Gmail and 2,000 plus other integrations.
Zapier isn’t free, but it can save both time and money by automating certain processes.
They offer some widgets, be we found them to be limiting and not very customisable. So, we didn’t use them.
Due to the limitations of these widgets, we always create our own for our hotel websites.
There are a few ways you can properly integrate Cloudbeds on your website to give a seamless booking experience for your guests.
You can use an iFrame to embed the booking engine directly on your website.
The drawback by using an iFrame is that it’s much harder to create widgets with date selectors and you can only link to the page containing the iFrame.
Here, you can link directly to Cloudbeds’ booking engine using the link you find in the Mybookings option. This will take customers away from your website to Cloudbeds’ website, so make sure that link opens in a new tab.
The advantage of this is that the booking engine has URL parameters which we can use to create our own widgets.
For example, you can build widgets with check-in and check-out dates. You can also build language specific widgets to direct people viewing your website in a specific language to arrive on the booking engine in the same language. Similarly, you can build widgets which allow guests to land on various currencies.
We’d love it if we could build our own widgets which link to a specific room. For example, if on our website the visitor is reading about the double room, we would like them to go to a page with prices for the double room. Instead, they have to find that room and get the prices. This would cut out a few clicks.
We prefer to build our own widgets so that we can customise the sales experience for each website and track sales across domains. If you need help with this, please contact us and we can help you to integrate Cloudbeds with your website.
If you’ve seen our website, you probably know that we love WordPress, if not here are 13 reasons why we love WordPress!
Although Cloudbeds doesn’t have any specific WordPress plugins, it is still easy to integrate Mybookings on your website by creating your own simple widgets and links.
Cloudbeds prices start at $70 per month and increase from there. Each property is different and has different requirements, so there isn’t a one price fits all solution. There are multiple packages, addons and 3rd party integrations which can increase the price further.
Yes, it uses a secure connection to your dashboard and there are other security features. There is two-factor authentication for logging in. For users who need access to credit cards, there is a further password which must be used. Only the owner of the account can make these changes.
Many types of hospitality businesses use Cloudbeds. We’ve set it up for guest houses, hostels, boutique hotels and resorts.
Cloudbeds is a Property Management System combined with a channel manager and a booking engine. It provides everything you need to quickly start taking online bookings across multiple channels.
We have used Cloudbeds in many properties and recommend it where we see it a good fit the hotel.
Olive & Lake has also helped businesses move from one system to another. This complicated process involves moving the data, adding in future bookings, changing the channel manager connections, and then dealing new bookings which come in when you’re not connected to the OTA.
On top of this, staff need to be trained and new processes for your team need to be developed. It isn’t easy to change, but we can guide you through the entire process.
Well done, you made it to the end of this monster blog post! Treat yourself to a 14-day free trial of our parity checker software.
Cloudbeds is the fastest growing hospitality management software in the world, providing fully-integrated tools to manage properties of all types and sizes – building revenue, driving bookings and increasing operational efficiency. In this comprehensive guide to channel managers, they provide expert advice on how to evaluate online distribution technology.
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