Let's imagine this: It's late in the night and you're on a highway, enroute to your destination. You're tired, drowsy and in desperate need of some rest.
Thankfully, you spot a decent hotel on the side or some 'Inn' at the next exit, with a petrol/gas station occupying the closeby area and if you're lucky, a modest fast food joint alongside.
You decide to make your stop for the night, and walk into the dank lobby. You watch the listless receptionist stamp your credit card and hand you a key to your room for the night. No, not a card but an actual metal key.
Eagerly awaiting the feel of a bed behind your back, you turn the key to your room, walk past the chalky television set, aged furniture and just jump onto your bed surrounded by decrepit upholstery. And Boom! You're out in no time. You wake up the next day, return the keys to the front desk, managing to blurt out a “thank you,” and head back out on your way. In the next few minutes, you’ve forgotten that your little ‘Inn’ ever even existed!
Do you want your Hotel to be like this one? Forgotten and never to be remembered again?
No. Ofcourse not!
Here is where a ‘Hotel Management Software’ comes into the picture. If you are not familiar with the term, read on to find out what exactly is hotel management software, its features, process of implementation, and why it is important in today’s scenario!
What is Hotel Management Software?
Gone are the days when traditional ledgers and book keeping systems were popular for managing a functional hotel. With the increasing demand for sophistication, the business processes have shifted towards taking over advanced technologies for greater efficiency and performance.
The hotel software specifically serves for the purpose of maintaining essential records and processing of the given data for analysis purposes. It also focuses on various departments of a hotel namely Customer Database, Food Division, Maintenance and Cleaning, Employee Statistics, Tax Reports, Construction Benefits and the like. To serve all these sectors skillfully while creating better opportunities for growth on an economic and financial scale, businesses all over the world are opting for this kind of software.
Considering the availability to create better optimization facilities, this hotel management system software can be successfully hosted on either cloud support systems or some remote server where the database can be efficiently managed to deliver high end performance.
The problem with hosting on servers is one has to quite often depend on secondary hosting services to ensure data security and also generate the necessary traffic flow to substantiate the inputs.
Cloud system hosting is highly preferable compared to the server based hosting mainly because of the added advantage of better data protection with competitive pricing options made exclusively for the various business requirements. Also, the reliability factors of cloud based hosting serve for greater popularity amongst the users.
- An excellent user interface specifically designed with smart solutions to enhance user experience is highly recommended
- Availability of important modules like sales and catering, Inventory systems, Invoice generation, online hotel billing software is highly important considering the compliance with the investments made.
- Extensive database facility with easy retrieval and real time updation features for enhanced performance.
- Reduced time complexity in the various operations.
- Detailed report generation and analysis for better economic standards.
- Exquisite monitoring facilities for better management and critical decision taking.
- Availability of full time support system in case of emergency situations.
- Back up facilities available to provide loss of data and ensure better data precision.
- Availability of guest response system for added functionalities.
- Customizable widgets and options as per the business requirements and the type of clients obtained.
- Creative solutions to enhance the existing business in compliance with the market standards.
- Research on the applicability of the software in terms of the application feasibility as per the business specifications.
- Choose the best hotel PMS software to implement in the business from the given shortlisted items.
- Research on the essential data which needs important incorporation into the given database.
- Synchronize the PMS software with the database obtained by an expert. This will include initial setup and various installation procedures for better configuration of the corresponding tools.
- Deliver detailed guidelines and the necessary training to the corresponding client regarding the various functionalities and working of the hotel software.
- Monitor the hotel software after the installation and adjust the parameters in terms of its implementation.
Hotel Property Management System
2016 wasn’t exactly the greatest year for hospitality, what with all the ruckus that Brexit and the US elections have left leaving the industry in a state of ambiguity. However, there are several good things to be drawn out of this too. Cloud-based hotel management has been rapidly making its way into the mainstream. A large number of hotels have abandoned their on-premise legacy systems for PMS(Property Management System). This is great for the hospitality industry, as it enhances connectivity and makes real-time integration possible.
Cloud Based PMS
The growing fame of the cloud-based PMS has reshaped the very picture of hospitality industry. Hotels that are using the cloud software have benefitted so much that the competitors have little choice but start using the platform themselves.
Here are some of the factors that made cloud migration possible in 2016, and the biggest challenges hoteliers have faced while changing into the new system:
- Evaluation of Software : A property management system is a program at the end of the day and hence the kind of management required at every point means that running the system isn't going to be an easy job. Service providers do not permit unrestricted access for trials, and prefer to conduct demos to address queries. Due to this, hoteliers are not overwhelmed and don't usually blame the system for problems arising from their own hotel’s management.
- Costs and Functionality : With rising costs and occupancy numbers in several areas, hotels are pressurized to lower their costs and save everytime they can. Most of the PMS in 2016 did not offer a solution – they only included a front desk system and modules. Even as local companies were offering cheaper systems, they lagged behind in functionality and real-time integration with many global OTAs. Hotels equipped with a mobile PMS functionality can save almost 60% in recruitment costs and also broaden their employability.
- Lack of Flexibility : Properties often struggle to find a system perfectly in tune with their needs. Smaller hotels with under 20 rooms have very different needs from that of boutique hotels having 100 rooms. Owners of smaller properties feel that they’re paying for features they don't need, and this is a major problem particularly for people who are used to out-dated systems.
Latest Hotel Technology Trends
For hotels, technology is more than just a stratagem to lure and impress their customers with their ‘elegant’ hospitality. It’s most importantly a way to make their guests remember their stay at their hotel.
For you as a hotel business owner, a good techie can definitely guide your way. We’ve put together a list of 5 very important hotel and hospitality technology trends which you can use to grow your hotel business. Check them out:
1. An Accessible IT Security :
In the world of technology today, a better and accessible IT security is the biggest priority for any kind of business. As the Manager/ Director of a hotel, you have a humongous amount of customer data that needs protection, not to mention your own. If you fail to provide security to your customers regarding their credit cards, personal info et al, then repeat business will end up becoming a pipe-dream for your hotel. Customers always expect the business to be secure. You need to understand that they simply take this fact for granted which implies that you cannot!
The dire consequences of hacking have been everywhere in the news lately. Yahoo just had about one billion of their accounts hacked. Imagine having to inform something similar to your customers. Not good, isn’t it?
The likes of Hyatt Regency too have faced the wrath of hacking in one such incident where a targeted malware program was used to steal the credit card information of their customers. If hackers can access Yahoo and Hyatt, they can very comfortably bypass the security systems that you have installed at your hotel. Especially if you decide to buy a cheaper version or whatever system comes within your budget.
Hence, always research the system that will be put to use, find out what it offers, and then take a gander at our top network security software product listings.
2. Functional Mobile App
Phones are used by everyone, everywhere. Plus, they’re the best way to pull up all the details that are needed without complex procedures. So you must definitely have an app for your hotel that makes accessing all the information easy and even better - Use it for enabling Bookings!
Hotels are now depending on hotel-branded customer mobile applications to establish a connection with their customers, and it seems like a good time for you too.
A mobile App is all about simplicity and convenience. With facilities like mobile check-in or a mobile key, there will be no need of approaching a front desk. The customer will directly be able to head straight to his/her lovely bedroom waiting for just a swipe of the phone. A recent Hospitality Technology Research Report noted that almost 80% of hotels planned to make this facility available within a span of 18 months.
You can also think of a Messaging System within your app that will let your guest send a quick note to the staff about something they need. We can all move forward from the old-fashioned way of picking up that old landline for Room Service.
Creating your own app may seem like a difficult task. Here are 4 Hotel App Builders that you can explore and get yourself started:
iii) Adiante Apps
3. Technologically Advanced Rooms :
Isn’t it boring to find out that your hotel has an old TV set and a sticky laminated remote for a nominal 16 channels? How much could it possibly cost to get a decent flat screen TV?
Well, yes, it does cost a lot, but these days it’s a lot more affordable. The reality is that as time passes, technology goes on becoming out-dated. This may lead to customer dissatisfaction, and hence an upgrade to the basic technology in each of your rooms won't be such a bad idea. This is exactly where a guest mobile app can be useful. You can interface it with TVs for a better viewing experience. If you improve your HD content and upgrade to flat screens, you’re already doing better!
4. Wi-Fi Connection With A Decent Speed
Everyone wants to use the Wi-Fi when they check into a hotel. The WiFi password is probably the first thing that's asked at the reception desk. It is a good time to get good Wi-Fi connectivity that isn’t very slow, else your competitors will leave you way behind in 2017.
Your hotel may get a bad review just because of the slow WiFi connectivity. Your customer may get impressed with a friendly reception, an elegant lobby, a smooth check-in process, a comfortable room, bed and a delicious hot breakfast the next day. But there is always an open window for negative impression because of low / slow functioning Wi-Fi.
In conclusion, customers will always want good Wi-Fi, and they most definitely expect it to be free. As fiber optic networks offering lightning speeds continue to become more and more affordable in 2017, it is high time that you get one for your Hotel!
Imagine walking into your room, to find a bottle of your favorite drink sitting on the table and a bowl of some fresh snacks just the way you need at that moment. And then wake up the next morning to a friendly employee handing you your favorite breakfast to start the day!
With a plethora of data and the best hotel management software that also offer (GEM) Guest Experience Management options, in 2017 you will be able to access all the tools with which you can create a personalized profile for a repeat customer.
You can also try to be innovative. For example, when a customer checks in, you can impress them by asking if they'd like a 5:30 a.m. wakeup call followed by a hot breakfast at 6:30 after the gym which is exactly what they had wanted. What they don’t realize is that this is exactly what they'd asked for the last time, and you made sure to take note of it.
There are many things that are powerful than anticipating your guest's needs. Your hospitality should make them feel comfortable and at home. It is important because it means that they will choose to stay at your hotel the next time and they’ll be confident about being taken care of.