UPDATE 3/7/17 – This post has been updated with two more free and open source hotel reservation software options since the original article went live.
We all know the saying “the best things in life are free.” But are they really?
Free products always make me suspicious. I mean, there has to be something defective about that free couch sitting out next to someone’s trash can. It’s trash, after all.
But sometimes free stuff leads to the best finds.
I’ve found grade-A hockey sticks, tables, and even televisions just sitting out on the curb. Maybe that couch is a little suspicious, but those other items assure that whatever risk you take when you take them home is relatively small. No financial investment necessary.
Now imagine having the ability to tailor that product to your needs.
Want a purple coffee table instead? Throw on a paint job. Done. Need the couch to be a different color? Just get a slipcover.
All free and all customizable.
It’s pretty similar when it comes to free and open source software. While not a paid hotel management system, this “trash” is really a treasure.
So here’s the thing about free and OS software: while an absent price tag mitigates risk, these solutions are still stellar, with some even performing above and beyond traditional, paid software. You can even alter the software to fit your property’s specific needs.
Don’t believe me? See for yourself.
Below, I’ve found the top seven free and open source hotel reservation systems so you can get a handle on your hotel reservations. Each is defined whether they are free, open source, or both. Solutions are listed in alphabetical order.
HotelDruid is an open source program designed for hotel management. It has a web-based interface that can be accessed from computers, tablets, and smartphones. The software also has a big community — you can take any questions you have about the software to the busy forum on their website and get help from other HotelDruid users.
This software isn’t exclusively for reservations, but it does have reservation functionality. For example, visitors can check the availability of room types and what dates they would like to stay, and then check rates. If the rooms are available, guests can fill out a request form, which will be sent to you via email or within HotelDruid’s messaging system. If you would rather have an instant booking engine, you can buy an add-on module to do that.
- Configurable based on the number of rooms you have, as well as other criteria like room rates
- Offers a point-of-sale (POS) system for bars and restaurants
- Comes in English, Italian, or Spanish with modules for other languages
- Totally free and modifiable due to an AGPL free software license
- Some may find the forum adequate when issues come up, but other users may struggle without the option to get live support
Jomres is a free, open source plugin for Joomla and WordPress content management systems (CMS). This solution is a perfect fit for property owners, entrepreneurs looking to break into the hotel industry, and travel agencies. Jomres is tailored to meet the needs of a variety of property types, including single and multi-property sites, hotels/B&Bs, and apartments or villas.
- Frontend management
- Customizable email templates
- Book specific rooms/book by room type
- Facebook Page integration
- Enables guest reviews and comments
- Multilingual and accepts multiple currencies
Cons (Capterra Reviews)
- Initial learning curve
- No payment gateways
- Only serves Joomla and WordPress CMSs
KWHotel is a popular hotel management software system, earning 4.5 out of 5 stars in 13 Capterra reviews. The software is optimized for small and medium hotels, and it has a universal design meant to accommodate all sorts of reservation systems, even non-hotel businesses like yacht rentals. Although there are paid versions of the software, they do offer a free version with limited features.
- Unlimited access to the basic modules and functions, include necessary features such as calendar, reservations, rooms, reminders and guest management
- Professional technical support via Skype, phone, email and TeamViewer
- Access to updates
- Free version is only available for a single workstation
- Targeted at small hotels so may not be effective for a larger hotel
- Doesn’t provide access to KWHotel’s more advanced features, such as the ability to use it on as many workstations as you want, access to all modules and functions, and lots of customization options
This free and open source reservation software enables hotel owners to create their own booking site with a variety of features to help differentiate your hotel from the rest of the pack. Qlo serves an unlimited number of rooms and room types, making this free and OS solution perfect for a variety of hotel properties.
- Testimonial/reviews feature
- Room occupancy/vacancy tool
- Multi-language site translation
- Search engine optimization (SEO) tool
- Partial-payment booking and integrated payment gateways
- No security feature
- No protection against growing data breaches
This Colorado-based startup is an active member of the Drupal community that “integrates in every page of the website and allows for a seamless experience that keeps the user on your site and works on all devices.” This solutions accommodates lodges, hotels, and B&Bs and has since been downloaded a stunning 64,100 times, currently serving more than 1,966 rooms. While not free, roomify Locanda is still an open source solution.
- Accepts direct bookings
- Receive enquiries from your guests
- Update room availability and room rates in bulk
- Third-party channel integration (like TripAdvisor)
- Craft special offers, deals, and discounts
- Calendar function to check a room availability/reservations
- Not as widely-used
- Potential small errors in need of fixing
- Works only within a Drupal open source framework
While roomify is an open source solution, it’s (unfortunately) not free. roomify’s cloud solution comes in three different levels (Casa, Locanda, and Property). Locanda is best suited for hotel properties and runs at $29/month.
First released in October 2012, this free hotel reservation software is designed for Joomla and WordPress, and promises the advantages of customizability, interoperability, and flexibility. Solidres serves hotels, apartments, B&Bs, villas, and resorts. Demos for both Joomla and WordPress are also available.
- Accepts multiple currencies
- Free MySQL support
- Media management tool in central location
- Create coupon and loyalty reward packages
- Google Maps integration for easy directions
- Extension only for Joomla and WordPress CMS
upbooking is a Spain-based brand of Ma-No Web Design & Development that been involved with website design, development, and internet marketing for more than 15 years. Free updates and upgrades are also included in their free edition of Standard. A long and detailed list of features make this free reservation system a true deal for hotels on a budget.
- Multilingual customer interface
- Branded layout templates using HTML and CSS
- Customizable terms and conditions for guests
- Define conditions for room cancellations
- View site-visit stats and reservations made with conversion rates
- Only serves:
- Three hotel properties
- Three different types of rooms’
- Three board kinds
If you’re interested in a more expansive free and open source solution, we also have a rundown of general free and open source hotel management software for more comprehensive solutions.
However, free and open source isn’t for everyone. If you prefer a paid hotel reservation solution, be sure to check out Capterra’s reservation software listings.
And if you have a favorite free and open source hotel reservation software option that didn’t make the list, let me know in the comments below.
Looking for Hospitality Property Management software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Hospitality Property Management software solutions.