As the hospitality industry becomes increasingly complex, technology becomes essential in streamlining operations and automating processes. In this context, hotel management software has revolutionized the industry globally. Whether a small independent property or a hotel chain/group, hotel management software has empowered hoteliers to efficiently manage their end-to-end operations and improve their overall service quality. This guide will offer you an in-depth overview of hotel management software, its benefits, features, and how it can help hoteliers like you to run your business successfully.
What is hotel management software?
Also known as Hotel Property Management Software (Hotel PMS) or hotel management system, it enables hoteliers to efficiently manage reservations, housekeeping, guest data, accounting, distribution, etc. It automates several tasks, including room allocation, check-in and check-out, room service, and bill posting. Additionally, it provides real-time data and analytics that hotel owners can use to make informed decisions. The core advantage of hotel management software is that it frees up staff time and allows them to focus on guests rather than repetitive tasks.
Do I need hotel management software for my small and independent hotel?
Yes, of course, you need it. Smaller properties are more likely to be overwhelmed by daily operations due to a limited workforce, owner-driven management, and manual efforts. It leads to time-consuming and error-prone processes, resulting in business opportunities and revenue loss. Also, it impacts their guest service capabilities. That's why you need hotel management software for your small and independent hotel.
Picking up the right hotel management software for my small hotel
Technology changes faster in response to users' evolving needs. Up until 2010, on-premises/legacy hotel management software was in demand. But today, it has become obsolete as it couldn't help hotels with their desired business outcomes, including keeping costs under control, improving operational efficiencies, selling more online, and, most notably, serving guests better.
It has led to the rise in cloud-based hotel management software. It offers several advantages to hotels of all sizes, including:
- Reduces software ownership costs by eliminating the need for costly hardware and upfront capital investment
- Helps save more with free system upgrades
- Ensures quicker implementation and faster go-live
- Allows users to access the software on the go via the web, mobile, and laptop
- Takes care of data security
- Allows for easy and seamless integration with other third-party solutions
Benefits of a cloud-based hotel management system
Hotel management software has revolutionized how hoteliers like you operate by streamlining their daily business processes. It simplifies all your department-wise tasks and helps you save time to pay attention to your guests' needs.
Go live quickly: As mentioned above, with a cloud variant, you don't need to set up a server and other hardware. It speeds up the implementation process, ensuring your property goes live quickly.
Save costs: Again, as you don't need costly servers and several other related hardware, you get to save a lot. You don't have to pay upfront for the solution, as you can get the cloud version on subscription-based pricing. Moreover, you can see additional cost savings as you don't have to:
- Pay for software upgrades as they are free
- Spend on system/data security as the vendor takes care of it
- Spend on hosting your vendors' software implementation team at your property as they (vendors) do it remotely
Access hotel data on the go: The whole world has gone mobile, and you, too, must follow the same to gain much-needed flexibility. You can access the hotel management software on the go - via web browser, mobile, laptop, etc., to keep an eye on hotel positions and execute tasks from anywhere you want to. During pandemic-induced restrictions, your non-guest-facing staff can work from remote locations by securely accessing data.
Reduce error and save time: It speeds up everything - from accepting reservations over the phone, sending confirmation emails, upgrading rooms, canceling/modifying reservations, assigning rooms, marking housekeeping tasks, checking in, bill creation, checking out, and even sending out feedback forms to guests. Automating such tasks reduces errors and eliminates confusion by ensuring real-time data flow across departments.
Know your guests: The system securely captures and stores all guest data, allowing you to gain valuable insights into their preferences. It is essential to provide personalized services that exceed guest expectations during future hotel visits. Having happy guests is crucial for increasing the chances of repeat business. Repeat guests spend more during their stay, which benefits your business. Then, they write positive feedback about your property across booking/review sites, improving your brand's reputation.
Gain insights into your operations: To enhance your business performance, it is vital to base your decisions on reliable data. It can help you pinpoint areas that need improvement and those that are functioning well. Hotel management software-generated reports can aid in planning your strategies more effectively.
Sell more online: Your competitors are trying to sell more; we know you also want the same. Hotel management software helps sell more via OTAs and your website via seamless integration with a channel manager and web booking engine.
Offer contactless guest services: Contactless service is a buzzword these days, as about 90% of guests like to book a hotel that offers such services. Some smart hotel management systems offer contactless solutions to help you allow your guests to finish pre-check-in formalities, check-in, unlock the door, raise service requests, make payments, and check-out with their smartphones.
Features that matter
When choosing a hotel management software for your small hotel, it's crucial to examine its features and ensure it meets your technological needs for digitizing operations.
Easy-to-use front desk and housekeeping console: Ease of use is essential. Your staff must find the system extremely user-friendly. The front desk should offer up-to-the-minute clarity on your reservation statistics. It should help them upgrade rooms and split reservations by dragging and instantly dropping them per the guest's requirement. Managing room status, assigning daily tasks, and viewing real-time room status from the front office are critical operations your staff can execute properly.
Revenue and rate management: Today's intelligent hotel management software has basic revenue management capabilities. It dynamically changes rates based on your hotel's occupancy, guests' booking window, guests' length of stay, demand, and many other critical aspects. Also, it allows you to track competition rates to sell at better rates. See if the system will enable you to create relational rates, multiple rates in a single stay, change daily rates, etc.
Point of Sale: It must allow you to set up unlimited POS outlets at no extra costs to sell more non-room items and grow revenue. It also captures category-wise POS details, so that sales are posted on appropriate account heads, preventing revenue leakage.
Reports: The reporting feature needs your extra attention. There are a few trusted hotel management systems that offer 100+ reports. Ensure that the system you plan to implement offers MIS reports, daily business reports, manager flash reports, history and forecast reports, and occupancy analysis reports. These are critical for you to make data-driven decisions.
Third-party integration: Even though you can manage to run operations at your small hotel with a cloud hotel management system, you may still need a few more third-party solutions for other departments when your business grows. For this, look for a system that seamlessly integrates various third-party solutions, including channel manager, revenue management system, POS, accounting, guest ID scanner, CRM, door lock, contactless solutions, etc.
Selecting the right hotel management software partner
Once you have examined the features and functionalities, it is time to look for the right technology partner. It can be challenging when the market has many claiming to help you with everything you want. Look at hospitality technology providers known for offering matured and stable hotel management software with 99.9% system uptime. Analyze successful competition and see what they are using. Most importantly, it would help if you worked with a technology partner that understands your unique needs and offers a cloud-based all-in-one solution to sell more rooms at the best rates to increase occupancy and revenue at your small hotel.