Get our latest content by email

Subscribe to our newsletter

What Is the Difference Between a Room Type and Room?

Confused with setting up Rooms on your OTA's? Check this post out for a simple explanation

Picture of Tim Zenderman

Tim Zenderman

Founder & Former CEO

Image for Blog Post: What Is the Difference Between a Room Type and Room?

Let's start by defining room. A room is the physical place where your guests stay. "Room 1" or "Purple Room" may be good names for one of your rooms at your hostel or hotel. Generally, these names are for internal use, and for guests once they arrive.

On the other hand, a room type is a standard category, or a collection of rooms that are identical. They have the same type of bed, same quality, same type of bathroom, and they sell for the same rate.

For instance, if Dorm 1 and Dorm 2 are both 6-bed shared dorms and both sell for the same Rate - then they should be part of the same Room Type.

Room types are inventory. And Booking Channels, like, or Hostelworld care only about inventory.

Why is it important to know the difference between a room and a room type?

One ordinary day we were contacted by a hostel manager from Uruguay. I met him over video call to get to know him and he told us that he has been managing two hostels for a couple of years. One of the first things he mentioned was that he wasn't very good with technology, which I didn't think was a big deal as we always say that BananaDesk is super easy to learn.

When meeting with potential customers, we often ask them if they use any OTA to offer their property and invite them to connect one of those channels to our platform so that they can have a full Bananadesk experience during their trial period.

I showed him how to set his room types to move forward with the connection between and BananaDesk, and we agreed to stay in touch via our chat.

When I accessed their extranet, I couldn't understand the room set up. They had created a room type for every available bed.

This made me think that this was not the first time I had seen such a configuration. That's when I realized that the sales channels are not clear when it comes to explaining it. Even though a room type is a standard category, as I said at the beginning,

  • uses room and room type indistinctly.
  • Hostelworld offers to create a new room type, but does not explain what it is.
  • Expedia uses the terms in the same way as Booking, interchangeably. At one point it even uses the word unit.
  • Airbnb refers to room types as Listings

It is clear that so many different terms when setting up an account on these channels means that hostel managers are confused about the most efficient way to sell their rooms on OTAs.

What are the benefits of setting up your room types?

Maximizing Occupancy

When you separate each Room into its own Room Type, you miss out on opportunities to fill up your hostel or hotel. Categorizing Rooms together in Room Types helps you maximize your Occupancy.

It's easiest to understand this with a simple example:

Let's say you have 2 Rooms that are identical ("Room 1" and "Room 2"). Let's also assume that both are identical triple rooms. But, since you haven't yet read this article, you created them as separate Room Types.

Now let's say that someone books Room 1 from Jan 1 - 3. Then another person books Room 2 from Jan 3 - 6. Your Reservations Calendar should now look something like this:

Now, when someone searches for available Rooms at your property from Jan 1 - 6, it will show no availability. Why? Because there is no Room Type with more than 1 unit available for those dates!

If both Rooms were part of a "Triple" Room Type, then you would have 1 room available on each of those 6 nights. And you'd' be able to fill up every night. Bam. Not losing revenue. Making more revenue. Good things happening.

Now, you may be thinking "But wait. I don't want guests to be switching from one room to another in the middle of their stay!?" and that's understandable. In this case, you could play some Calendar tetris to re-accommodate the first two bookings into Room 1. The third booking (for the 6 nights) would go in Room 2.

Obviously, there are some cases where it will be hard (or even impossible) to prevent bookings from switching Rooms. It's not the best scenario, but it's better than leaving Rooms unfilled.

Simplified Rates and Management

Rates are set per room type, so when you have too many Room Types, you end up having more rates to set. Let's go through an example:

Let's say you have 5 rooms that are identical, but you created them as 5 different room types. When you go to set your rates, you will have to set rates for each of those 5 room types (even though they are the same rate).

And the same thing applies to managing those Rooms everywhere (photos, descriptions, etc.). Every time you need to make a change, you'll need to do it 5 more times.

Too much time wasted on a task that could so easily be simplified.

An oversight could result in you selling a room for a tenth of its original price. Or it could prevent you from getting bookings for the high value of your rates.

Analysis and Reporting

The last point here is that your reporting will be much better. Why? Let's check out an example:

Let's say I have two "Double Ensuite" Rooms and two "10 Bed Dorm" Rooms, and I create each one as its own room type. When I go review my occupancy report, I'll see something separated out into each Room Type like this:

Image of Occupancy Report with Duplicate Room Types

The problem is that I'm going to be analyzing my data on the wrong dimensions. The fact that Room 3 had higher occupancy than Room 4 is completely irrelevant. Why? Because they are exactly the same type of Room! The reason that one Room had more people than the other, is probably because the property decided to fill up Room 3 before Room 4 as guests arrived. Why is this important for an Occupancy report? The answer: It's not.

The reality is that when you look at your reporting you want to be looking at your Room Types.

Image of Good Occupancy Report

This makes a lot more sense. Now, I can tell how my 10 Bed Dorm sold compared to my Double Ensuite's. I may even consider converting some Double Ensuite's into 10 Bed Dorms? Or into a smaller Dorm room? All of my reports will start making more sense too.

So, you've now got a good idea why it's so important to create your Room Types in your Extranets the right way. Questions? Let us know through the chat!

Subscribe to our Newsletter to get our latest content by email!

You can unsuscribe at any time.


Share this article

Simple management for small properties

Avoid overbookings. Synchronize your offer. Simplify your life.