Checkfront review by Cairns Holiday Homes
Overall, it's a terrific system. Discovering how good it is takes time and frustration. Going from manual pricing to online quoting taught me that the human brain can do things so much more easily than an automated system which has its limits. It took me a while to figure out what I could do and could not do in the pricing possibilities that I could offer. Having said that, the Checkfront system is pretty damn impressive in what it can do but a slog to find out the limitations.
The invoicing and notification system is excellent. It allows for a sequence of events - the initial request and removal of item from inventory, the paying of a deposit and the sending out of a reminder for the balance. It has also allowed us to record bookings that come from another listing site. The notification system is good but , as with with all automatic sequences, you need to think carefully before setting a sequence in train because the same message notification might not be right for everyone. It takes a lot of thought to set up the generic sequence that will most often be used. However, it is very easy to make adjustments to the message before it goes out.
Checkfront may be used more for booking tours rather than holiday homes but it's flexibility allows for many different set-ups. Therein lies the problem with regard to the help pages. They are quite helpful with regard to what any particular feature is but most examples tend to be about booking tours rather than accommodation. I spent a lot of time working out what I could do and how I should do it, more or less by trial and error. In some ways that is a good thing because I learnt so much more about the system by the sheer repetition of trying so many ways to do something. However, it would have saved me a lot of time to have some real examples of how to set up and overcome particular problems.
So far, I have only two irritations with the software. One is the mobile phone app which could be much improved but is not actually a bother because I really do not need to carry my office in my pocket. The other is the Inventory calendar. I wish I could highlight the row that I am working on because it is very easy to start making alterations to the wrong row. I also wish that I could highlight a period of time to add or remove a property from inventory. You can only do that one day at a time which is tedious and non-intuitive. There are other ways round this and perhaps there is a good programming reason for the limitation.
Great Booking Software
We run a glamping business and have been using Checkfront for 3 years and it works great. The initial set up was a bit of a slog as we have an complex booking system, but it all works well. The team at CheckFront is always very responsive and helpful - with written suggestions and video walk-throughs for set up issues.
There is a lot of flexibility in the this product, with many features. Developed by a small Canadian company, that is very responsive to questions and feature requests. Very supportive with assistance for technical issues in my set up.
With all the features and parameters to set up, there is lots of things that can get out of lineament. Sometimes I will spend hours trying to puzzle out why something that I have set up does not work as it should. The team at CheckFront is always great is helping me get it fixed.
Overall Poor, but with Some Plus Points
Checkfront is fairly easy to use and offers you the possibility to set it up for a multitude of product types, such as transportation, restaurant reservations and experiences. The ability for customers to pay directly on an invoice with various payment methods is neat. For a small business, Checkfront does the job.
Reporting is poor and does not offer many customisation options. Not being able to assign a guide for an experience shows that this software lacks basic functionality. Employee scheduling in such an app is a must. It doesn't have to replace an employee scheduling software, but one should be able to directly assign an employee to an item on the schedule. The widgets on the dashboard didn't really provide relevant information for day-to-day operations. The daily summary list does not offer a great overview on the day's happenings and looks rather messy. Customer support was very average, more often than not. I never really felt that Checkfront took an interest in our business. We were planning on adding more than 10 users and were asked to pay a large sum, yearly and in advance. At this point, we decided it was time to move on.
Best small-medium hotel booking system I've come across...
Bookings for different room types, transport and activities is made easy through using Checkfront. I dont have to worry about double bookings and I know exactly who's coming in and out of my resort, even when I'm not there. My staff find it easy to use and we are able to amend things quickly and easily. For the customer it's also very clear to book what they are looking for.
Ease of navigation and clear information layout especially on a laptop.
Sometimes find a few features a little tricky to get my head around on my own but that doesnt matter because the customer support is amazing and they always find a solution.
Antwort von Checkfront
Hey Jeremy, thanks for your positive feedback! Happy to hear that you're enjoying using all the many features we provide and that Checkfront has made bookings easy for you. We're always happy to assist should you need anything :)
Accommodation Management Software
Make no mistake, Checkfront is a cleverly designed system with great features and is very reliable. I don't think we have experienced any down time. Our membership has been quick to embrace the new software and bookings are now very efficient, particularly through integration with STRIPE. Checkfront easily integrated into our Membership Management software. From an administrator's perspective, once you have configured the system to your needs, it is easy to manage updates and amendments.
Flexibility and features: We have fairly specific requirements and a complex process for booking accommodation. I must say that Checkfront has been able to handle all of the complexities we have thrown at it. I do like the notifications feature.
As much as we like the software itself the support staff in my opinion are second to none. as well. I have been in the IT industry for more than 40 years and have experienced the lot, from dreadful support to the best. I would rank the support at Checkfront up there with the best. They are helpful, courteous and prompt to respond. I especially like the chat capabilities that give you extended time outside business hours, given that we are in Australia and in an awkward timezone to Checkfront.
As with most SaaS web based software, the reporting could be a little more extensive (from our perspective). It is adequate but there is not much control over the standard reports, particularly around guest lists over a selected time period. However, it does provide enough basic information around bookings, sales and a decent dashboard for "at a glance" information about bookings.
Along with flexibility comes complexity. For us Checkfront was the outstanding candidate, given our very specific requirements but it did take a bit of time to become familiar with it and configure it to our needs. Once set up though it is easy to move from one season to another (we are a ski Club).
It was cheaper for us to go down the track of separate software for Membership Management and Accommodation Booking, given the complexities of our booking process. As a result we do not have integration of membership across both systems. That being said, we have not found this to be a show stopper.
We love it!
We love it and may change our entire booking system over to it !
That customers can see the calendar of what is booked - we do not have to manage that!
They can't double book
Not much we don't like - maybe could be easier to block off a day . Had to play around a bit to figure it out
Awesome, simply awesome
I book over a hundred volunteers each year and it's a one-person show here. I don't know how I did it before CheckFront, I really don't. So many steps are now automated for me and it's a breeze to keep track of bookings. I use notifications a lot to send volunteer handbooks, orientation videos and other important documents that I used to have to track and send manually. What a relief to be done with that and to be using notifications instead.
I am able to integrate nearly my entire workflow in one place from reservation to payment, notifications and more. For me, it just works.
Can't think of anything off hand. If it could take my volunteer application as well, that would have 100% of my work in one package.
Everything you need as a guide
Checkfront allows me to have a customer website to take bookings but also the ability to take bookings and payments from a variety of other sources and manage them all in one place.
Checkfront allows you to set up a tour guide website relatively quickly without the hassle of knowing how to code. Although the designs are limited they are perfect for displaying tours available for your clients and making it easy for them to check availability and book tours. The backend system is what makes this powerful, allowing me to manage my tours whether they were booked through the site or via agents.
Some of the set-up if requiring special options is rather complicated but the help notes are clear and comprehensive. It is just a matter of persevering and checking to make sure you've got it set up right.
SUPERB PERSONAL FIRST CLASS CUSTOMER SERVICE
ABILITY TO DISCUSS NEW REQUIREMENTS FOR IMPLEMENTATION
EASE OF USE
CLARITY OF REPORTS
EASE OF SUPPORT CONTACT AND CLARITY OF SUPPORT INFORMATION
DOES NOT QUITE FACILITATE OUR FULL RANGE OF TICKETS
Some of the best customer support, I have seen.
Overall great experience, wouldn't look for anything else.
Setting up was a bit difficult, but I was helped alot by different customer service personnel. They even had a gorgeous looking lady leaving me a personalised video about my questions answered, which was a great thing to discover first thing in a morning.
Some of the features, I would still want to see, are slow to be developed on the updates. I know, they have been added to the future developments, but when these things will be reached, god knows.
Great System & Exceptional Service for my Rental Business
That said considering Checkfront is relatively inexpensive for what they offer and it's not a custom built program I can't really fault them. Some people complain about various needs not being met but unless you want to pay big dollars for a custom package you can't expect to have all your wish list met. I'm in the processes of resolving this by having my developer use Checkfront's API to integrate into my website. One of the things we're doing is adding Delivery and Collection as a separate step in the booking process.
We've been very happy with Checkfront. I can't even imagine trying to run my business without them.
I have used Checkfront for five years and the service has always been outstanding. They always reply very quickly to my emails. I've phoned them a couple of times but really there's no need to phone as their email response is so good. It also means you have a record of what's discussed. Having an inventory based rental system that allows my customers to book online and keep stock updated keeps me ahead of the competition. I love the customised notifications that are specific to the items booked. The free add-ons are amazing. Being able to link to my accounting software makes life simple.
You have to keep a very close eye on products being returned. If something isn't returned it's very easy for it to "fall off the system" if it's not noticed on the due date. It would be good to be able to scan items back in or at the very least for the item to remain on the desktop until it's been checked off. I understand Checkfront are working on this. The only other concern for us has been that delivery and collection has to be booked as an actual item and not offered at Checkout. Our customers are confused by this no matter how many prompts we add. I believe it's because customers are used to an online retails experience where it is common practice for Delivery to offered after items have been selected and you are at the final stages before payment.
Checkfront Booking Engine
Using Check-front as my online booking engine. Great tech support. Tech Support is friendly, knowledgeable, and usually very quick to reply.
The software is great value for the money. Best out there in my opinion. Great telephone software support during the set-up/onboarding. Ongoing support via email is extremely good, with tech support promptly replying with step-by-step detailed explanations and screen videos of how to address the issues.
1. For vacation rental managements, this software in it's current version is very awkward & time consuming to update rates, descriptions, etc if the property falls in more than one category, such as a being 4 bedroom, ski-in/ski-out, base area location, private hot tub & pet friendly. For each category, rates need to be added for that property each time a rate change or new set of dates is added. It seems to be that there should be a main listing that communicates with each of the categories the property is listed under. In the initial set-up, an "alias" can be used, but once the property is up, new rates, fees, taxes, etc have to be added to the property in each category it is listed under. Takes way too much time to do things this way. Needs to be an option to "link" the same property throughout each category it is listed in so rate adjustments can be done with just one entry.
2. Wish they had ongoing telephone support though the email support works well
3. Wish Checkfront had calendar connections with other vacation rental sites such as VRBO, HomeAway, AirBnB, Expedia, Booking.com and so one so once a reservation is made on one site, all the other booking calendars updated at the same time.
Haliburton Forest Review on Checkfront
Overall, we have been extremely satisfied and find that checkfront has more benefits than cons, but it would be nice if the cons could be improved. We have only been using checkfront for a little over a year and couldn't ask for an easier program to use. It has definitely improved how we manage our reservations and are constantly learning about new features and how others work.
This is very user friendly, both on the back end/set up side as well as the user side. The reservation system we used to use is extremely limited. We love that we can create a reservation and easily make changes. Our old system was not as user friendly and we would have to delete a reservation and re-create it even if we wanted to something as simple as change a date.
The website version is awesome, but the mobile app is not as user friendly as we would like and we are not thrilled with the reports. For the app, we are unable to check booking documents or update the reservations. That's great that we can check them in, but if they need to add a feature or change their dates at time of check in, we have to switch over to the web version, then switch back for payment. Which is another issue. We have connected checkfront with square, and a lot of the payments don't register with checkfront, so we have to first take the payment, and then record the payment. Very frustrating. We already had a few issues with the checkfront reports, which we have been able to work around, but now that we have connected to square, we are finding it extremely difficult to balance and now our bookkeeper has to refer to multiple reports, which of course does not help. One huge thing that would help is that our items in checkfront be able to communicate with square directly. Right now they convert over and say 'Custom Amount'. In one square report the booking id is referenced, but not others. Very, very frustrating. But if an item, like snowmobile passes, could actually transfer over as snowmobile passes, that would be huge. There are a few other issues, but those are the main setbacks we have currently.
Checkfront Has Changed The Game
Overall our experience with Checkfront has been hugely positive. The support provided by the team throughout the customisation process was always fast, easy to understand and tailor made for me.
After operating our business for years without an online, pre-paid bookings system we had no idea of the positive impact Checkfront would have, not just for our business but for our lives. Red Star Music is a recording studio and rehearsal spaces and there was initial concern that introducing this type of system would 'scare away', deter or frustrate existing customer but to our surprise, the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. It has been a win/win situation for everyone.
Pros for customers:
* No longer have to rely on getting in touch with us to book and check availability.
* No longer have to request invoices.
* Checkfront with the addition of digital access to the spaces means we are able to be open 24hrs a day, 7 days a week.
Pros for us:
* Protection from financial losses due to people not showing up for bookings, cancelling last minute and refusing to pay. With Checkfront's pre-paid system and our compulsory terms of agreement, the responsibility is placed entirely on the customers to organise themselves.
* Protection from human error during the bookings process (on our part).
* We are now open 24hrs/7 days a week and no longer are required to have onsite staff members collecting payment whenever there are bookings.
* We have more time to focus on other aspects of the business and our lives rather than having to be on call around the clock. Our phones are very quiet these days and we have more bookings than ever.
Understanding that our needs are fairly complicated when it comes to a customised bookings system, there are really only a few very minor things:
It'd be nice to be able to set a rule that a certain time slot booking can only be booked when another before it is in place. For example - we'd like to run a 2hr discount session from 9-11pm as a gap filler on week days but we only want customers to be able to book that session if a 5-9pm session is already booked so that we aren't blocking a potential 4hr 7-11pm, higher value session. Does that make sense? No biggie though!
There are a couple of things with the mobile app however:
1. If I'm away and I want to check tomorrow's bookings on my phone to see whether I need to be there or not, I can open the app and see in the list of customers from earliest to latest (top to bottom), but I have to tap into each individual customer to see what time they are actually booked, making it difficult for me to get and overall visual of how I'm going to organise the day, hire gear etc.
2. I often want to be able to contact customers when I'm away to give them instructions but there doesn't seem to be any way for me to access contact details, phone/email for the bookings in the mobile app. Being able to tap copy their phone numer and send a quick text would make life much easier.
Versatile, Cost-Effective Platform with Good Customer Support
Checkfront helped us migrate from a very inefficient reservations system (email and paper) to one that is largely automated and this has vastly improved our customer experience, saved us a lot of staff time, and given us better tools to manage and understand our business. As a small non-profit tour operator with tight margins, we are not only very happy with Checkfront's pricing structure, but also grateful that they offer a non-profit discount. In spite of a few limitations, overall we are very happy with Checkfront and have been using it for 3+ years.
Checkfront is very affordable relative to other tour booking platforms (they charge a flat annual fee rather than a percentage of sales - which I believe is the fair way to operate), and it works great for many purposes. There are lots of options for customization, and it is easy to learn how to configure and manage the platform using Checkfront's tutorials and documentation. There are lots of helpful integrations (Stripe, PayPal, Google Analytics, etc.) that are easy to set up. Checkfront support is always very responsive and helpful.
Checkfront is designed to work across many types of booking environments including hotels, hourly tours, daily tours, weekly tours, etc. Because these types of businesses have different needs, Checkfront balances those but, in my experience, isn't perfect for any one type of business. As a tour operator, sometimes we have needed to come up with workarounds to meet our specific needs or live with certain shortcomings. Checkfront support is always helpful, but if there is a feature that you need, the best you can do is submit a "feature request" and hope that enough other people request the same feature for development.
Easy-to-use booking software made in Canada
The software is easy to use for clients and staff alike. As a result, we spend less time answering emails and the phone as people book themselves in. I also love that the company is based in Canada, and that the team is very responsive and the software is constantly developed. There is an affordable option if you just wanted to get started with booking software that does not break the bank.
A few very specific things would be great to straighten out. For example, we offer 2 different overnight tours - the 2-day Seal Cove Adventure and the 3-day Cape Chignecto Adventure. We cannot run those tours parallel or overlapping - it is either one or the other -, so we set the availability to 0 by hand in the inventory the other tour every time an overnight tour gets booked. This way, however, we also have to block out the day before to ensure no overlapping tour gets booked even though in reality the date is available as the last day of a potential trip that starts earlier. It's not a huge impact, but we might loose a few bookings to this.
Also, we cannot accept single bookings for tours where nobody else is booked on yet as we require a minimum of 2 guests for any tour to run. We have set the booking form (at least for the overnight tours) so that the field 'Adults' is automatically filled with the number 2. We do, however, accept single bookings if other people are booked on already, and we also would accept a pair of Adult/Child as a minimum. I wonder whether there is a way to streamline this.
Complicated systems for Dummies :)
I own and operate Stellar Micro Creations, in Rome, Italy. I have absolutely no experience with systems and programming. The check front booking system was incredibly over my head because it was very complicated but in the end it is good that it was so complicated because now I know that it can accommodate every complicated need of booking for my products.. I learn more and more options as I go along. The thing that has made this all possible for me to do is the fantastic support team at Checkfront. Once I got into the groove of communicating with Checkfront I have made hastened the development of my learning curve and am WAY more relaxed and not worried because I know that there is a support team that can help me. Anyway, I have so much more to say. There is also support in the Blogs. I had changed my approach to how I would start my business by reading one of the blog posts about referral business instead of using the costly Adwords which were not really working with my small companies start up budget. I consider the support team and the system as a partner of my business.
I like that this software can accommodate any complicated idea that I want to achieve when it comes to booking my tours.. and also I have just discovered the power of the Partners accounts. It has broadened my idea of how I can sell and increased my success potential. I do not have a lot of experience in this field but the featured of check front has given me a platform of growing my business and gives me a vision of what I can accomplish..
I haven't really discovered anything so far that I like least because I am in such a learning curve.. I am in the mode of discovering all the new things that I can do so far.. I might have a comment on this in a year or so. Oh yes!! It would be fantastically helpful if Checkfront would send a notification to my cell phone from the app or something that I have got a booking.. I have to log into check front all the time to see if I have a booking..
Checkfront = Next Level
Checkfront affords is the ability to automate so much of the reservation process that not only do we have extremely organized and fluid interaction with customer’s reservations but we can streamline so many other elements of our system such as housekeeping as well.
Multiple configurations allow us to customize our back and front facing reservation database even though we are not a traditional hotel. Support is usually very detailed and forward thinking. If what we want can’t be accomplished, we always get good insight on workarounds and temporary solutions, that sometimes work better than what we had planned. CF constantly works to improve itself. We get monthly updates that bring new funtctions and extension platforms into the mix. It’s about 75% of the way to eliminating the rest of our internal support platforms - loyalty rewards, staff scheduling, & customizable customer profiles are the remaining topics we’d like to see incorporated into CF.
We hold little hope that our feature requests will ever be developed. Configuration on the backend comes with a significant learning curve. One can get lost in the labyrinth of configuration options. I understand it’s necessary for all the functionality on the front end but if hotels are configuring this themselves, the labyrinth could be a little less complicated (topics re: parameters, & alias are very confusing).
My Experience with Checkfront
I operate a charter yacht in the USVI. Checkfront is my booking calendar if record. I use it to manage availability, and as a direct booking channel.
I've stayed with Checkfront for the past two years because it meets most all my needs at a reasonable price point.
The addition of tipping functionality is important to me. It will likely drive my purchasing decision in the future, as I shift towards a daysailing business from a term charter operation.
The software meets most of my expectations. I especially appreciate the flexibility I have when setting up inventory items.
Perhaps more important is the quality of support you provide. Each time that I have had a need to reach out, my inquiry was handled by a knowledgeable and concerned person, who rapidly resolved my challenge and typically taught me something along the way. Thank you.
My biggest issue with the service is that my clients don't have the option to tip while they are checking out. As a service provider, tipping is critical, especially for the crew. If the client was presented with the option to add a tip, I know that my income would increase significantly, perhaps 10%+
Antwort von Checkfront
Hi Craig, thanks so much for this detailed review. It's been an absolute pleasure working with you, and we're so glad we've been able to provide the flexibility and support you need!
Based on the update we've received from our support team, we're glad to let you know that you're already on the official feature request list for the 'tipping feature'. In the interim, we do have a work around for it and should you be interested in knowing more and setting it up, our support team would be more than happy to walk you through it.
Once again, thanks for your feedback. We value your business with us :)
Perfect for our Family Business
Really, us integrating Checkfront into our website and online booking was a game-changer for our family business. It has literally saved me so much time and sanity on making/changing/cancelling customer reservations, as well as monthly reports for my own records (and comparing year over year data), as well as for Hotel Tax, and easy viewing for scheduling our employees and cleaning. A true game-changer for taking our business to the next level.
Seamless integration with our website. Easy to streamline with our credit card processor. Powerful Reports at our fingertips. Customer Service if there is an occasional snafu. Helpful community and tutorial videos when setting up new accounts, items, events, etc.
This was tough, but of course there is a bit of a learning curve when you are first setting up all the parameters that are right for you business. Plenty of customer service and a large community support to post your questions, or search for an answer because someone has already crossed that bridge successfully. Also loved that once I set up my "Item Event" (think: 3 day minimum stay for Labor Day) then I can easily use a copy button to make each subsequent year's Item Event. So I do not have to recreate the wheel.
Helpful for Small Businesses
Overall we are very satisfied with Checkfront. Any time we have had to contact support for a problem, they respond quickly and provide satisfactory solutions.
Basically Checkfront is fairly easy to use. As a tour operator, there is a lot of flexibility given to obtain the information we need from our passengers. We feel it is easy to maintain and fits our needs. For our guests using the software, we have never received any negative comments and feel it is user friendly. We like that we were able to link our liability waivers for the guests to complete ahead of time which saves a lot of time and paper. Another timesaver is the way the bookings are linked directly to our Quickbooks account. Overall, we are very satisfied with everything that Checkfront does for us.
Reporting seems to have a fair amount of issues. We have contacted support about this and they are aware of the problem but just haven't figured out a solution yet. This is very time consuming to manually calculate monthly and yearly sales totals which are definitely incorrect in the Checkfront system.
A powerful tool to manage your guest house bookings
Despite some small shortcomings I am quite happy with Checkfront product and support service.
Very well thought out and feature rich to accommodate the quirks of your business with good booking calendar and discount options. The support is also great and response times are less than a day. We been using Checkfront for 7 years now and have no plans to move away despite some small shortcomings. Highly recommended.
The ability to make integrations to other services like accounting systems are limited. With the rise of functional programming like AWS lambda, I think its trivial to add some capability to integrate to other systems using similar event triggered functions or webhooks. Checkfront does have something like this but its quite limited.
There is no support for multi item discounts as yet so customers are unable to get a discount if they book multiple inventory items. This is a key feature that I hope they will have in future.
The ability to style the embeddable iframe booking page is also a bit limited and I can't get it to match my website style.
By far the easiest and straightforward system I found to use for my business. We have had positive comments from our customers who said they found booking on to a workshop fairly simple and easy to do. The calendar is very clear and makes it easy to see what bookings we have each day.
Limited ability to customise gift certificates on layout and does not look very professional. Could be a lot better looking for our customers to receive as a gift.
Always have problems uploading images and resizing issues.
Customers get confused with first booking screen where it states enter promo/voucher code and try to enter their gift certificate number here rather than at checkout.
Could be made clearer on the gift certificate that they need to use the G code below the barcode when redeeming their gift certificate. We have had to put a couple of paragraphs on our website to explain to customers how it all works, so feel the checkfront system could be improved a lot in the gift certificate area.
Monthly cost is quite high- we are a very small business and no discounts available and packages unable to be tailored to our needs so we are paying for things we do not require.
I would like to be able to speak to customer support on the telephone if I have any problems rather than just on email.
I have a very small business. I wanted software to handle online bookings. In no time it was done!
It handles all my bookings. It's like I have someone in an office full time.
The most thing I like about this software is the support. Even before I became a customer, Checkfront was answering my questions. I didn't know if the software would handle the things the way I wanted. The tutorial got me started and it provide the base for me to ask intelligent questions. Checkfront answers each question quickly and usually gives me 2 to 3 step by step solutions I could use. The software interfaces seamlessly with my website and their E-Commerce handles my selected payment method flawlessly. Because my business is seasonal, I simply select hibernation mode and my monthly charges are ended until next season. I had no idea what a great fit it would be.
The only 'Con' I have is when I search help I can't think of the right term to define what I'm looking for so, I get frustrated with the search. However, I can easily overcome that by dropping a note to Checkfront support.
Best and quick to reply!
I've been using Checkfront since day 1 and also have been one of the first companies that support their tour operator applications. I think it is now almost 11 years..
What can I say, just 'simply the best! I've met the team at a conference/travel technology event once and it just shows that this company is built and run by people - real people with a passion to make it easier for anyone to run their business without worrying about the technical details. Keep it up Team Checkfront!
It's got it all.. from booking setup to distribution channels.
Not easy to integrate and display various currencies. Or take payments in different currencies, but hey - they are working on that.
Also not easy to hide certain products from the public and only allow access with an URL for special events or products that may only be viewed by some customers.
Resource management feature is not live yet, but it sounds like this will be a complete game-changer; making it possible to manage all guides, transport, the hiring of equipment and even activities and accommodation required for trips and tours.