Checkfront – Online Booking, Simplified

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checkfront.pngThere are a lot of inventory and sales management apps out there.  There are also a lot of reservation and booking apps for tracking your appointments and scheduling clients.  So far, it seems, never the twain have met.  Until now.

Checkfront.com is an online inventory, reservations, and sales management tool that also processes payments and even gives unified access to distribution channels.  In short, it’s an all-in-one small business back-end.  Even better, for the budget-minded, it’s Software as a Service (SaaS), so you only pay for what you’re using.

Originally built and tailored for the hospitality industry, such as hotels and bed and breakfasts, Checkfront has a lot of potential for other businesses in need of both reservation taking and inventory control for online sales or on-the-spot requests.  Like a hair salon that also sells proprietary beauty products that it may not keep in stock or only in limited quantities.

There are are a lot of possibilities for an app that can do everything Checkfront says it can and deliver on it.

Currently, the app is in beta, but appears very robust.  Some of the more tedious things like entering a lot of inventory data, allow for CSV import, but for the most part, setting up a new business on Checkfront is time-consuming.  There isn’t a way around that without making the app useless, though, so that’s not points away from Checkfront by any means.

Once you’re set up with some data, though, it delivers a lot of useful tools.  You can schedule appointment types in various categories (most of the defaults center on hotel reservations or dining reservations) with price tags included.  So the South Wing could be set up to have 8 rooms at $100/each per night, for instance, while the Presidential Suite has only one listing and is $300/night.  Ad in some specialty products that can be set up to be waiting in your room (say, special bath salts or organic cleaning service) with more price tags, and you’ll begin to see how versatile Checkfront can be.

Reporting leaves a little to be desired if you’re a serious graph hound and number cruncher, but for most it’s probably just about what you’d need.

The app is free to try and worth checking out.  Unless you’re very new or have some time, though, don’t expect to build your entire business into Checkfront in an afternoon.  If you plan to integrate it into your website, it does have an API you can have your developer link with.


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