Management is an integral part of any industry and hospitality is no exception. A large part of this process used to be carried out manually, or using outdated methods that involve spreadsheets. This was time-consuming and errors would still manage to creep through. Dedicated management systems were hard to come by, and most of them were developed by the large hotels for internal use.
The emergence of cloud based hotel management software opened up a whole new possibility for hoteliers around the world. Private companies began to pop into existence, developing sophisticated management systems that were accessible to any independent hotel. For the first time, small and mid-sized properties were able to utilize the same powerful tools that were once beyond their reach.
Property Management Systems (PMS) began to gain a reputation as a basic necessity in hospitality. There are many reasons why:
- Improved Efficiency –
Repetitive duties such as conducting night audits, assigning housekeeping responsibilities, managing reservations and so on could now be automated with a cloud PMS. This speeds up the various processes and it also decreases the likelihood of having to deal with human errors. Not only does this have a positive effect on the hotel’s revenue, it also reduces the load on staff, allowing them to better focus on the guests.
- Better Distribution –
Distribution is a vital part of a hotel’s business and with the vast magnitude of online platforms available today, hoteliers who don’t maintain a strong online presence could be missing out on these benefits. A good cloud PMS can integrate the property to a channel manager, pushing inventory across multiple OTAs. It can also connect the property to the Global Distribution System (GDS), giving the hotel much better visibility and boosting occupancy.
- Simplified Management –
Updating room inventory across all online platforms including OTAs has always been problematic for hotels. A cloud based hotel management software allows hotels to integrate completely to the channel manager, enabling real-time modification of room inventory across all channels when a booking is made online. 2-way XML connectivity enables the PMS to update availability when reservations are made through offline sources too.
- Extensive Reporting –
Collecting data from each department of the hotel can often be a laborious process. It doesn’t end there – the information needs to be analyzed, numbers need to be verified and discrepancies have to be hunted down. A good cloud PMS offers powerful reporting tools capable of compiling all the information entered into the system and generating dozens of specific, visual reports. This allows managers to spend less time gathering data and more time analyzing it.
According to recent surveys, a large number of hotels continue to use traditional methods to manage their operations. Tradition is hard to break, and owners may be hesitant to stop doing something that hasn’t caused them many problems yet. But it usually only takes a trial on the system for hoteliers to discover the unseen potential that their property has been harboring.
Bed & Breakfast lodgings are becoming an increasingly popular choice for local and international travelers. A gradual change in mindset has resulted in more tourists seeing through the pomp and grandeur of mega-hotels and focusing instead on their individual reasons to travel. This growing niche of travelers want to live like locals rather than tourists, and is bringing more power to smaller inns.
Gone are the days when B&Bs were thought of as traditional country houses known for their antique furniture and mellow ambience. Today, travelers choose B&Bs not just for their cultural appeal, but also the technology, luxury and amenities they offer.
The downside to all this is the sheer number of B&Bs springing up around the world. There are over 27,000 in the United States alone – and those are just the ones listed on bedandbreakfastworld.com – driving competition up. Standing out from the crowd is particularly difficult, considering all the management and distribution software most properties use. This is where employing a reliable bed & breakfast system (essentially PMS) comes in.
- It boosts your operational efficiency –
Efficient management of check-in and check-out timings is important for any property but while hotels can limit the damage arising from any confusions quickly; overbookings or mismanaged reservations can be very costly to a B&B running on limited funds, especially since they have far fewer rooms to offer. Such errors can hamper the guest experience and lead to negative reviews, which can in turn dissuade potential guests from selecting your hotel. There’s no better cure for this than prevention and fortunately, a B&B reservation software can guarantee just that.
- It can make life easier –
While hotels have a large number of staff members with well defined duties; most of the house-keeping, reservation management and even breakfast preparation may be carried out by the owner in the case of a B&B. So identifying and automating repetitive tasks can make life much easier for the owner, allowing them to devote more time to enhance their guest’s experience. Some systems even send out timely review requests to guests who’ve just completed their stay.
- It keeps you ahead of the curve –
Technology has grown so rapidly that even though you can run a B&B with just a computer and spreadsheet, your competitors are using sophisticated bed & breakfast systems that enable them to spend a lot more of their time with guests, enhancing their experience and inevitably strengthening their hold in the area. In addition to listing their properties on major OTAs, such technology also allows them to decrease their operating costs over time, freeing up funds to invest in better marketing – further widening the gap between their reach and yours.
Attracting more guests requires you to automate tasks like managing your presence on OTAs in real-time, updating rates and packages across all channels, and quickly converting cancellations on one channel into booking opportunities on another. Technology like a cloud-based software can make it really simple and error-free for your B&B to manage all this and more. Making sure your property is cashing in on this overwhelming enthusiasm for B&B accommodation is critical to getting the best return on your investment. Fortunately, property management software has also evolved with the ages – a number of companies have introduced hotel management software that can double as B&B reservation software and can be operated online, helping smaller accommodations manage their operations as efficiently as the big brands.
For any new hotelier, building solid brand recognition and maximizing room occupancy right away are keys to continued success. Using Cloud-based hotel software when just starting out is an excellent way for new hotels to organize their operations and distribute rooms online to bring guests in right away.
A single-point Front Desk interface and administration console allows a new hotelier to immediately streamline operations. Hoteliers can organize their bookings on an intuitive reservation chart, assign housekeeping responsibilities, and manage various points of sale. With these fundamental operations under control, hoteliers can focus their attention on creating a memorable experience for their guests as well as other bigger-picture business decisions for the future.
New hoteliers should also focus on creating maximum market reach and building their brand promise to potential guests. This can be achieved by integrating their PMS with a Channel Manager that can effectively distribute the hotel’s inventory across a variety of Online Travel Agencies (OTAs). Through 2-way XML integration with the Cloud, real-time updates ensure that rooms are being sold online at the proper price and are then reflected on the hotel’s Front Desk reservation system. This integration prevents human errors that lead to lost or double bookings and maximizes the hotel’s online visibility, which is especially important for a new hotelier who is just starting out in the hospitality business.
A new hotel can also enjoy immediate global connectivity by integrating with a Global Distribution System (GDS). The GDS distributes hotel inventory across major booking resources, and any reservations or updates are reflected in the hotelier’s PMS in real-time. With 100,000 portals connected to the GDS, this integration is an excellent way to ensure a hotel’s maximum exposure to the online marketplace.
With more and more travelers depending on online travel resources and social media, it is crucial for hotels that are just starting out to develop an online presence on every possible channel right away. , Web-booking engines, review media sites like TripAdvisor and Facebook-booking engines that integrate with the hotel’s PMS are all important ways to capitalize on this trend. A strong online presence will build brand assurance for a new hotel, and for small hotels, this is especially useful to attract more guests from diverse areas as opposed to being limited to their immediate geography.
A Cloud PMS system is an important asset for any new hotelier. It helps to organize all key operations and build an online presence from the onset, so that hoteliers have more time to build their guest experience and strategize for future plans. Hoteliers may be hesitant to incur many expenses when just starting out and Cloud PMS will suit their needs just fine as this software has no initial investments – there are zero infrastructure expenses, no maintenance costs and you get unlimited user access at no additional price. Such software provides high return on investment and will continue to benefit the property well into the future as it is agile and ready for integrations with the latest technology in the market.
Global distribution system has been an essential part of the hotel industry since the 1970s. It is a powerful platform that allows travel agents and travelers to compare rates and look for various hotel options. GDS has many advantages as it contains the complete list of itinerary in one place to provide ease of access to the traveler. We list down some of the attractive features of a GDS system and their advantages:
Packages: Hotels can offer combined packages that comprise of the hotel tariff, air travel charges and other services. This provides a convenience factor to the guests as they see a better rate which works as a highest selling point.
Marketing: Investing in a GDS is a good option for hoteliers who wish to market their brand without much cost. The system showcases your hotel to various clients across the globe, thereby helping your brand increase its visibility and revenues.
Audience: GDS has the capabilities of reaching out to a wider audience therefore broadening your reach to all kind of travelers including leisure and corporate.
Real-time information: GDS displays the real-time rates and status, therefore bringing in transparency for both travelers and hoteliers. When the rates change, hotel managers can alter price points or introduce special offers for the agents to take notice and suggest new opportunities to their clients.
Reduced manpower: A GDS acts like a trustworthy middleman that relays real-time information, thereby reducing the dependency on the staff and management.
Hotel GDS software is a technology that is built to make life simpler. It saves time, effort and provides your property a greater exposure. It is a management program where room sales, inventory and rate settings are sent through OTAs, GDS, mobile and social media outlets. Therefore, instead of having a separate medium to send out to each of these entities, a centralized approach will simplify the process and broaden the reach.
Point of Sale software is a new-age technology tool which replaces the age old system of manual reporting and entry that hoteliers use to follow. This tool has provided a big relief to hoteliers by eliminating large chunk of workforce, especially from the departments that are involved in regular outflow and inflow of cash. When the POS software was launched, it received a warm welcome by the industries and now the tool is becoming widely popular in the online market world too. The credit goes to the internet revolution that has also made online bookings and reservations popular.
The POS system of the hotel management software is a great boon for hoteliers, especially restaurants and retailers who receive a significant amount of revenues from the online transactions. In such businesses, where orders happen online, it becomes tough for the staff to manually handle such large volumes sitting at the front desk or their offices thus a POS is built to target such issues. A POS eliminates the chances of errors and mistakes that often happen during transactions. Furthermore, when it comes to consolidating the records, it becomes tedious for the person handling the check-out to get the right figures. A POS normally consists of all necessary modules integrated into one system, with real-time data processing. The transaction can be of any kind, be it hotel booking, inventory related or online purchase.
Online POS software also helps in enhancing the guest satisfaction levels. During the peak season, when hotels receive a large chunk of guests, owning to the extreme work pressure, many guests are not well taken care of. This may result in guest dissatisfaction. With the help of POS, hoteliers can keep track of their guests orders and services which directly get billed to their folios. Guest details, history and purchase patterns are maintained in the system which can later on be used for business purposes.
Guest satisfaction is given the topmost priority in the hospitality industry and the POS is strategically built to provide the best of experience to both guest and hotelier.
Internet and technology has changed the course of the hospitality industry with millions of hotels offering online booking facility to their guests. In fact, the tech-savvy travelers find it much easier to book hotels of their choice and at their own convenience. This growing trend has changed the travel process in the last many years with more and more travelers going online for ease of booking and instant confirmation. Hotel booking engine saves a lot of time and provides the right information about the room to the guest prior to his booking. Most hotel brands have managed to increase their revenues through the booking engine whilst reducing dependency on the online travel agents.
Here are the benefits of a booking engine:
- The booking process is quicker with a booking engine. The traveler can search, select and complete the process including payment within minutes. The traveler also receives the booking confirmation instantly
- The booking reservation software is available 24×7 so even if there are bookings coming at mid-night, the system will work flawlessly
- The accuracy of the bookings is higher for the guest who can examine the details at various stages before the checkout
- The booking engine is a commission free tool that increases the chances of direct bookings. All the more, hotels can have a complete control over their pricing
- A booking engine provides a strong platform for hotels to build their brand
- The web booking engine is directly linked to the PMS system hence it doesn’t require any manual efforts from the staff. Since the system is automated, there is no possibility of overbookings or double bookings.
- The booking engine helps free up the staff time so that your staff can work on other important hotel functions and dedicate more time for guest satisfaction.
- The guest details are recorded during the booking which makes it easier for the hotel staff to further use it for marketing purposes.
- Hotels can upsell add-ons or various services that differentiates them from other brands. This feature is not available with any third party sites.
- The online payment feature reduces the manual workload and provides a comfortable and secure platform to the guests.
It is vital for hotels to provide a mobile optimized booking engine as mobile bookings are on rise. PhoCus Wright research US mobile travel report also suggest that the travel industry will see $25.8 billion bookings from mobile alone, which represents 8 percent of the total travel market and 18% of the online travel market. Apart from this, hotels should also provide a booking engine on Facebook for the travelers who are present on the social media channels.