This guide is an overview of the Accommodation Module in Certain, in which you set up Room Types and Hotels at the account level, for use in Accommodation Blocks and Sub-Blocks in events.
- Enabling Accommodation for an Event
- Accommodation Statuses and Currency Label
- Room Types
- Accommodation Blocks
- Accommodation Sub-Blocks
- Registrations > Accommodation
1. Enabling Accommodation for an Event
Configuration > Options
To enable accommodation for an event, go to Plan > Configuration > Options, and select Accommodation Module in Functional Areas Needed by This Event.
To enable room sharing and roommate matching, also select the Room Sharing sub-module.
The event now includes an Accommodation option on the Plan menu.
When you go to that page, the Left Navigation panel includes links to the pages described below: Configure, Hotels, Blocks, Sub-Blocks, and Room Types. And if the Room Sharing sub-module was selected, also Roommates, Pending, Matched and No Match.
In addition, Manage > Registrations will include a link to an Accommodation page, as described here.
As always in Certain, detailed context-sensitive help is available for every page: click Help and Support and then Page Help, from whichever page you are on.
The basic outline of the workflow for setting up and using the Accommodation Module in Certain is as follows. Click the linked steps below for more details:
- Add Accommodation Statuses
- Specify Currency Label
- Add Hotels
- Add Room Types
- Add Accommodation Blocks
- Add Accommodation Sub-Blocks
- Configure Roommate Matching Preferences
- Set up Accommodation Section in Registration Form
- Specify accommodation requirements on registration form
- Assign (or edit) accommodation if required
- Auto-Match Roommates
- Approve roommate requests
3. Accommodation Statuses and Currency Label
Accommodation > Configure
You can define Booking Statuses and Action Codes that you can apply to registrants' accommodation bookings on Manage > Registrations > [Attendee] > Accommodations, under "Hotel Confirmation Information", where they are optional fields.
How you configure them, if at all, depends entirely on your accommodation booking procedures.
You can include these fields on reports for internal use or to send to a hotel. For example, you might add Accommodation Action Status and/or Accommodation Booking Status as columns on a "Room Reservations" report.
Go to Plan > Accommodation > Configure. See screenshot below.
- Accommodation Booking Status – Used to record the current status of an attendee’s accommodation booking. For example, “New Booking”, “Pending Confirmation”, “Upgrade”, or “Replacement Booking”.
- Accommodation Action Code – Can be used to indicate what action the planner should take next for a booking with this code. For example, “Change Request”, “Upgrade Required”, or “Review Accessibility”.
Enter the item and click the green ✓ button to save it, adding it to the list of statuses displayed.
There is one other “background” item we can set up. On the Details page in Plan > Event Setup, you can select a Currency Label to be used for amounts on room blocks in the Accommodation module. The same label is used on flights in the Travel module (see Travel Packages Guide). Note that this is only a label, used on reports, etc.
To add a hotel to your event, go to Plan > Accommodation > Hotels. Click Add New, and enter the hotel details on the Hotel Detail Information page that opens.
In the Supplier Details section, most of the fields are optional, but the Name, Unique Code and Street Address are required.
In the Hotel Information section, enter these three fields; the hotel will be available for creating accommodation blocks:
- Number of Sleeping Rooms
- Label for Reg Form – Text used as the label for the hotel on registration forms.
- Description – Text describing the hotel, for use on registration forms.
When you click Save, the hotel is saved as a new supplier record, and becomes available on the account-level Suppliers page, which you reach from the top-left Menu.
Before you can set up accommodation blocks using this hotel, you need to have Room Types set up.
5. Room Types
Room Types are set up for the account, and used as part of the definition of Accommodation Blocks in events. The same room types can be used for multiple hotels.
To add, edit or view room types, go to Plan > Accommodation > Room Types. Note that you do this from within an event, although the room types do exist at the account level, so all existing room types in your account are visible here:
There are three values required for each room type.
- Room Code – (Required) The unique code identifying this room type, used in the planner’s reports and select lists. Example: “DBL”.
- Description – (Required) The description or “name” of the room type, used in registration forms and email messages. Example: “Double Room”.
- Occupancy – Select the maximum number of occupants from the drop-down list (1 – 10).
Click ✓ to save the room type, adding it to the list displayed.
Note that any changes you make to an existing room type here will apply to all accommodation blocks in which it is used, in any events.
6. Accommodation Blocks
An accommodation block is a pre-booked block of rooms at a hotel, for a range of dates. To add, edit or view accommodation blocks, in the event go to Plan > Accommodation > Blocks.
To group and sort the blocks displayed, click Date, Hotel, or Room Type. (The illustration above is by Block.) Or you can click one of the Utilization buttons, to show a utilization report By Hotel, By Date, or By Attendee.
Adding a Block
To add an accommodation block, click Add New, and enter the details in the Accommodation Block Information pop-up window illustrated overleaf. (To edit an existing block, click the edit (pencil) icon, to open the same window.)
- Select a Hotel and Room Type from the drop-down lists of those set up on Accommodation Hotels and Accommodation Room Types.
- Select a Start Date and End Date to define the period in which the rooms in the block are available.
- Room Rate – Optionally, enter the cost per room night. This is in the currency set as the Travel & Accommodation Currency Label, as shown by the label in the column header. (When you have saved the block, you can edit the Room Rate for individual nights; they do not all have to be the same.)
- Select Show Block Online if the block is to be shown to attendees on a registration form. If not selected, then the block is available to planners only.
- Enter the Inventory – the total number of rooms available per night.
- By default all attendee types are listed in the Allowed column under Attendee Types that Can Select this Block, so all attendees would be able to see and select the block on the registration form. To restrict this to only certain attendee types, drag any of them into the Not Allowed column to hide the block on the form from anyone of that attendee type.
- Click Save to close the pop-up window (or Save & New if you want to add more blocks).
- Your new block is now in the list on the Plan > Accommodation > Blocks page, where it shows the details of each room-night.
- Note that if you are editing an existing block, rather than creating a new one, then an Override Info check box is also displayed. If selected, an Inventory figure must be entered. If not selected, then any new dates in the block must have an Inventory figure; Inventory for existing dates may already have been used and therefore reached zero.
Searching for Blocks
If you have a long list of accommodation blocks, you can navigate through them using use the First / Previous / Next / Last navigation buttons in the lower right corner, or you can enter any part of the hotel name or room type in the search box in the upper left corner:
To edit the details of a room night in a block, click the pencil (edit) icon in the Actions column, and adjust the Rate and/or Inventory.
You can also add new inventory at a different rate, by clicking the + (add) icon.
7. Accommodation Sub-Blocks
A sub-block is a set of rooms from one or more Accommodation Blocks (see page 6). It can include rooms from more than one hotel (or just one), and can include one or more room types. It has an inventory of rooms for a range of dates.
You might choose to use sub-blocks for accommodation at your event if, for example,
- distinct groups of attendees are traveling from out of town, and you would like to set aside a subset of your room block inventory for each such group; or
- the room blocks are at multiple hotels and/or of multiple room types.
Adding a Sub-Block
To set sub-blocks up, first be sure that you have already set up the accommodation blocks to be used, then go to Plan > Accommodation > Sub-Blocks.
Click Add New to open the Accommodation Sub-Block Detail pop-up window, in which to enter the details of the sub-block.
- Give the sub-block a unique Sub-Block Name.
- Click in the Select Block(s) box to display a list of the blocks set up.
- Click a block to select it, and click more if required. A section is displayed for each block selected, listing the room nights in that block.
- For each block, in the Allocated column under Sub-Block Inventory, select the number of room nights to allocate from the block to the sub-block. Do this for each night required.
- Click Save to close the pop-up window (or Save & New if you want to add more sub-blocks).
- Your new sub-block is now in the list on the Plan > Accommodation > Sub-Blocks page, where it shows the details of each room-night.
Searching for and Editing Sub-Blocks
When viewing the list of sub-blocks on the Plan > Accommodation > Sub-Blocks page, you can search for a subblock by typing any part of its name in the search box in the upper left corner:
And you can navigate through a long list of sub-blocks using use the First / Previous / Next / Last navigation buttons in the lower right corner.
The only editing you can do for a sub-block is to edit the entire-sub-block. Click the pencil icon in the section header for that sub-block. That opens the same Accommodation Sub-Block Information window described above, in which you can change the numbers allocated, and add or remove blocks.
To delete a sub-block, click the delete icon (x) in its section header. Note that you cannot delete a sub-block that has active reservations.
For accommodations to be included on a registration form, accommodation blocks must first be set up, as described in Accommodation Blocks section. You cannot include accommodations on a form if there are no accommodation blocks.
To enable attendees to specify their accommodation requirements, include an Accommodation section (and optionally an Accommodation Entry section) in your registration form; and in that form go to Plan > Forms > Accommodations to configure that page.
1. Accommodation Entry
If this optional section is included, it is normally with other sections (such as Questions or Attendee Type), and must be on the page immediately prior to the Accommodation section.
Its purpose is to ask the registrant if they need an accommodation reservation, how many rooms they need (if they are travelling with family, for example), and what their arrival and departure dates/times are.
If the Accommodations section is used without the Accommodations Entry section, then a registrant is only able to request one room. The Accommodations Entry section enables the registrant to request any number of rooms, up to the limit you set.
2. Accommodation Section
This is the main section, which collects the accommodation reservation information, including the accommodation block or sub-block, room type, guest names, payment guarantee, and other information (such as roommate preferences).
Arrival and Departure Dates
If Collect arrival and departure dates? is selected in the Accommodations Entry Setup, then the arrival and departure dates and times are collected on both the Accommodations Entry and Accommodations sections of the form. (The attendee is able to select different arrival and departure dates for each room.)
If you do not collect the registrant's arrival and departure dates on the Housing Entry section and a given room type does not have available rooms for the entire run of the event (i.e. one of the nights is sold out), then that room type will not be available in the Accommodation section.
Accommodations List Setup
The accommodations available to the attendee are listed at the top of the Accommodations section. You can configure that list, including whether to display images (from the hotel records), whether to show hotel addresses on confirmations, and by customizing the text of messages.
Caution: The No rooms available text is shown to attendees instead of the accommodations select list when there are no rooms available. If you remove the default text then the attendee would see a blank accommodation page, without any feedback indicating how they might correct the situation. (If you are in doubt as to how to use this section, we recommend leaving the default text in place.)
Accommodations Payment Options
The payment options set here are for gathering the attendee’s credit card details for hotel payment guarantee; they are not anything to do with payment processing.
Choose whether payment guarantee information is to be collected, what should be shown on the confirmation, the instructions for the attendee, and the credit card options.
Text Labels for Accommodations Room List
You can customize the labels shown on the form and on the confirmation, for the Room #, Guest Name, etc. Note that if a label is set for Room Rate, then the rate per night is displayed to the attendee. The Number of Guest Names to Collect (per Room) determines the number of rows shown to collect guest names.
Custom Questions for Room and Guest Category
The form can collect one question about each room, and one question about each guest in that room. (Custom questions specific to accommodations do not count against the limit of 90 custom questions.)
Example Guest Category questions: Gender (M/F), or Guest Type (e.g. Attendee | Guest | VIP | Staff).
Example Room Category question: Payment Classification (Guest pays all | Guest pays incidentals | Master account pays all).
Accommodations Edit Permissions
You can select whether attendees can change their room type, arrival date or departure when editing an existing registration; and whether they can cancel their room reservations (in which case you can customize the label and the warning message).
Select an option for Room Sharing:
- No Room Sharing – The default setting.
- Optional – If selected, additional fields are displayed, as illustrated below.
- Required (based on room type capacity) – If selected, additional fields are displayed (the same as for Optional, but without the labels for the ‘No’ and ‘Yes’ options).
Text Labels for Room Sharing and Roommate Matching
You can customize the labels used for room sharing and roommate matching, as illustrated here.
To customize any of the error messages that an attendee might see while entering their accommodation requirements. To customize accommodations error message, click Advanced at the bottom left of your screen.
If room sharing and roommate matching are enabled for the event (see here), then you can automatically match roommates (see here). But before that, you need to configure the options to be used when doing so (see Roommate Matching Preferences below), which usually needs to be before you set up the registration form (as explained above), to ensure the relevant fields are included on the form.
Roommate Matching Preferences
To configure the options for controlling roommate matching, go to Accommodation > Roommates.
Scroll down to the Roommate Matching Preferences section at the end of the page, where you can set the criteria for the roommate selection process.
Registrant can select roommate from a drop-down list – If selected, the registration form displays a dropdown list of roommates.
Registrant can provide a roommate request – If selected, the registration form displays a text box in which the attendee can enter a roommate name.
Priority / Data Fields / Conditions – The preferences you set here restrict which attendees can be matched to each other. You can use up to 6 data fields, each with conditions of "Equal" (i.e., values must be the same for a match to be made) or "Not equal" (i.e., the values must be different). For instance, planners commonly wish to match attendees' gender and smoking preferences, but may wish to set additional criteria, such as stipulating that roommates must be from the same organization.
Required – If selected for a data field, then the values of the field must match for all roommates sharing a single room. (Otherwise, Certain will try to match the values of this field for all roommates in the room, but if it cannot match them then it will still put the roommates together, rather than having two people in two separate rooms.)
An example of required matched fields is for "Gender" to be "Equal", while an example of optional match fields could be for "Office" to be "Not Equal". This means that if you place all roommates in rooms and have two people left, one male and one female, then these last two people will each be put in their own room. Conversely, if the auto-match results in two males left from the same Office (e.g., San Francisco), the system will go ahead and put them together even though it tried to pair roommates from different offices, rather than use two rooms for the last two people.
Default selections include (1) ‘Gender’ being Equal, Match Required; (2) ‘Smoking Preference’ being Equal, match not required; etc., as illustrated above.
Choose the attendee data fields that will be used to (1) ensure a compatible match in Roommate Matching, and (2) filter out incompatible roommate options from the drop-down list in the accommodation section of a registration form. (Note: Certain only allows registrants to be matched if they have selected the same room type—you don't need to select room type here.)
These Matching Preferences are only used to ensure compatible roommates. If you also want one or more of these fields to be shown to the registrant during registration (for example, for them to select their gender), you should add those fields to the form.
To run the automatic roommate matching process, go to Plan > Accommodation > Roommates.
The first two sections of the Auto-Match Roommates page are Summary and Auto-Match, as described next. (The third section is Roommate Matching Preferences, as described above.)
The Summary section is a non-editable table showing the total numbers of registrants as follows:
Shared Rooms (matched) – Registrants who are sharing a room and have a roommate. (See the Matched sub-tab, described here.)
Shared Rooms (not matched) – Registrants who are sharing a room but don't have a roommate. (See the No Match sub-tab, described here.)
Shared Rooms (match pending) – Registrants who are sharing a room and have a pending roommate assignment. (See Pending, described here.)
Single Rooms (not shared) – Registrants with a room reservation who are not sharing.
No Room Needed – Registrants who don't need a room.
A technical note: The system calculates the values for each row based on each complete registration's "Primary Room Reservation"; defined as the first non-cancelled room reservation in each registration record based on date created (i.e., the same room reservation that is required to have Guest 1 Name = Registrant Name).
The Auto-Match section is where you can initiate Certain's automatic roommate matching feature.
Click the AUTO-MATCH button to automatically match roommates based on the preferences specified in the Roommate Matching Preferences section (here).
If the Re-do auto-match check box is selected when you click AUTO-MATCH, all existing matches are broken and all registrants are re-matched.
Tip – When Manually Matching Roommates
To match two or more specific people to a room (especially useful when you have 250 or more unmatched registrants):
- Run AUTO-MATCH; this will reduce the number of people in the No Match tab.
- Find the people in the Matched sub-tab, and break the existing auto-match.
- Using the No Match sub-tab, pair the desired roommates together.
The Pending sub-tab of the Accommodation tab is only displayed if the one of these two options is selected in the Roommate Matching Preferences:
- Registrants can enter their roommate's reg code to be matched, or
- Registrants can select roommate from a drop-down list option.
The Pending Roommates page shows a list of roommate pairs that are pending approval by the planner: room reservations that are being shared and have pending roommate requests.
The pairs are created when
- an attendee successfully enters another registrant's reg code on the form, or
- an attendee selects another registrant from the drop-down list on the form.
Click Approve All to approve all pending roommate pairs and move them to the Matched tab.
Click Decline All to un-match all pending roommate pairs and move them to the Unmatched tab.
If you go to the Accommodation > Matched sub-tab, you see the Matched Roommates page: a list of all matched roommate pairs. These include roommates that were manually matched by the planner and those that were auto-matched.
Accommodation > No match
Room reservations that are being shared and have not been matched.
The Unmatched Roommate contains two sections: Roommates to Match and Available for Matching.
Roommates to Match
When the page is first displayed, this section is empty. When a check box in the Match column is clicked in the Available for Matching section, the roommate is added to the Roommates to Match section.
All roommates are listed in a single table, with a Match button in the Match column. When this button is clicked, the roommates are matched and moved to the Matched tab (see Matched Roommates above).
Available for Matching
This section contains a list of all unmatched roommates. These include registrants where room sharing = yes and cancelled = no.
When you click the Match button in the Roommates to Match section, the system enforces the Roommate Matching Preferences you defined.
If a potential match breaks a rule, a warning is displayed, which you can choose to override to force the match.
The system enforces this rule at all times: registrants must be in the same hotel and room type to be matched. In other words, you cannot match someone in hotel A with someone in hotel B, nor someone in room type A with someone in room type B.
Registrants’ last names are hyperlinked; click one to go to the Accommodation page for that attendee, as described next, where you can edit their room reservation.
10. Registrations > Accommodation
When the Accommodation module is enabled for an event (see here), then Manage > Registrations for an attendee includes an Accommodation page.
Here you can see and edit the number of Rooms Requested, and their Room Reservations. Click an accommodation reservation to edit it, or click Add New to add one. (Cancelled rooms may be viewed, but cannot be modified.)
The screenshot below illustrates the page when you are editing an attendee’s accommodation booking. Most of the fields are self-explanatory so are not listed or explained below.
Select Allow overbooking? if you want to force Certain to accept the reservation even if doing so will exceed the room block inventory. Only select this option if you are confident that you will be able to provide the additional rooms reserved beyond the existing block.
Note that once cancelled, a room may not be modified or un-cancelled.
The registrant who enters the room information is called the “Group Leader”. If the registrant reserves more than one room, then the person listed as Guest 1 in each room is considered to be the Room Leader for that room.
Hotel Confirmation Information
The Action Codes and Booking Statuses available for selection are those set up on Travel > Configure.
The other fields are for information provided by the hotel, such as Confirmation Number or Room Assignment.
The options for Checkout Payment Method are:
- All charges to master
- Pay on own
- Room and tax to master
- See Notes
The options for Hotel Guarantee are the various credit cards: Amex, MasterCard, Visa, etc., after which you enter details such as Credit Card No., Card Holder, and Expiry.