How to choose the right hotel software from reliable vendor
5 points you need to consider
Technology has become an integral part of the modern hotel business. At the very least, contactless payment for services has become a default feature by the year 2021. And big chains like Hilton are transforming rooms into hyper-personalized spaces, allowing guests to control lighting or heating from their own smartphones.
However, the number one invention that helps hotels immensely, remains the Hotel Management Software. It can be perceived as a “brain” of your property, which ensures the well-coordinated work of all its departments. Collecting the slightest information about your guests' preferences or providing a fully contactless guest experience – these are just a few examples of what this software can offer you.
Choosing the right solution for your property is not an easy task. Today’s market is full of different options, and it seems like finding the right one takes an eternity. Nevertheless, everything is much easier when you have a complete checklist of the important things to keep in mind.
Want to make your hotel more tech-friendly? Looking for a new system that suits your needs best? This article will help you figure out where to start.
Getting ready to make the right choice
Before moving on to choosing the right solution, here is what we suggest you do:
1. Determine the type of your hotel Before you ask Google to find you that very perfect software, create a “portrait” of your hotel. To define what type of property your hotel belongs to, you need to evaluate the following criteria:
- property’s size and location
- available services
- your main target markets
- facilities and amenities
- the number of rooms
You can start with basic characteristics like location, size, and the number of rooms. For example, suppose you own a medium-sized hotel in Germany. The number of rooms in your hotel ranges from 30 to 50. There are several popular tourist spots nearby, as well as excellent infrastructure in your area.
All these details will allow you to understand which specific components of the system will be useful to you, and which you are unlikely to use.
2. Decide what kind of PMS would align with your business goals Your main task at this stage is to ask yourself some questions. What do you expect from this solution? What problems should it solve? Is the provider of this or that software really trustworthy?
In order to make this easier for you, we are going to analyze several universal requests from the hotel owners. Using them as an example, we will show how a good modular Hotel Management System can suit the needs of different users.
It will also help you understand what to expect from such software and what options are currently available on the market.
“I need a system that will perform its basic functions”
If you are a small family hotel owner or simply want to optimize fundamental processes only, then this is your case. And here are the tools you will need:
- Cloud-based Property Management System (PMS) with Front Desk to manage main administrative processes.
- Channel Manager to sell your rooms on various OTAs and avoid overbookings due to real-time synchronization. The Channel Manager will help you to gain visibility on the world’s largest marketplaces, such as Booking.com and Expedia.
- A website with your own Booking Engine to gain direct bookings and save on the fees for OTAs. A great example of such a website is the Waldhotel Harz, which has an integrated Booking Engine by HotelFriend.
The main markers of quality of such a system will be a seamless integration of its components and the absence of extra payments. It is also crucial that the installation of the system does not take much time and does not require special training.
The software should be user-oriented, and since you are a hotelier and not a programmer, each minute that you could spend on your guests is your most precious resource.
In addition to these core features, there may also be:
- A Smart Task Management that helps you to delegate tasks more efficiently and improve collaboration between different departments.
- Accounting and Invoicing for fast and secure financial reporting and analytics.
- Central Reservation System to eliminate overbookings and facilitate the booking process.
- Digital Cash Book for daily accounting that helps hoteliers to store cash receipts and monitor fee income from one place.
- Financial Reporting to always have a full overview of all key performance indicators.
- Payments module to process and manage payments via such payment gateways as Stripe.
“I need a system that would help me automate even more operations in my property”
If your requests are not only limited to the need to abandon thousands of Excel spreadsheets, here's what else you might find useful:
- Quick check-In that allows your guests to skip waiting lines at the front desk. This option will not only save the time of your guests but also help maintain physical distance, which is crucial during the pandemic. Your clients will be able to check in by filling out the form in advance and adding digital copies of all the necessary documents.
- Fast room access is a feature that allows your guests to get the key without any fuss and go to their room right away. After your guest checks in on their own and you receive a registration form, there will be no need to waste their time at the front desk.
- Keyless entry option is another important attribute of the COVID-free hotel. This solution will provide your guests with an almost completely contactless experience. The ability to open a room using your own smartphone can become a real highlight of your property.
“My hotel needs not only a PMS but also its own application”
Having your own application will greatly expand the range of your capabilities. The app is a great way to upsell your services. In addition, it is a tool that will allow your guests to communicate with the administration, pay online and complete fast check-ins on their own. (Check out 8 reasons why you should use Hotel Concierge Guest App).
HotelFriend can offer you the following ways to customize your app:
- Basic customization: you will receive an app template that you can customize with your own logo and change its color scheme.
- Your own unique design: the provider will make an app that looks like your own.
- Complete customization: you are free to change the app as you wish, according to your preferences.
A unique application specifically designed for your hotel will give you a huge advantage over the competitors. Let your guests enjoy a higher level of secure contactless service.
Checklist of 5 key points to consider
Summarizing all the information mentioned above, we have created a small checklist of questions that can be your food for thought when choosing a Hotel Management System.
All of them concern fundamental areas of your business, namely customer experience, automation of administrative processes, marketing, distribution, and scalability.
To get the most out of your system of choice, it must have the means to improve each of these components. Here's what can help you make the right decision:
- Is the solution guest-oriented?
It is worth paying attention not only to your own requirements but also to what this system can give your guests. Instant messaging, online check-in, and the availability of a dedicated app have already become the norm for hotels all around the world. Therefore, guests will definitely expect to encounter at least one of these features at your property.
- Can it help you to improve your marketing strategy?
A good marketing strategy will help your business stay afloat even during the most difficult times. And to create it, you need information about potential customers and guests.
OTAs often not only refuse to provide this information but also sell it to third parties. Therefore, in order to regain control over your target audience, pay attention to providers that give you such tools as CRM and Booking Engine.
- Does it have everything you need to automate daily operations?
First of all, evaluate the quality of the PMS. Be sure to find out if the provider assures support at all stages of its implementation. In addition, there shouldn’t be any hidden costs, and all of the products should be in flawless sync.
Also, the program should include Reporting and Staff collaboration tools to ensure a productive workflow on a daily basis.
- Does it allow you to sell rooms efficiently?
Receiving direct bookings from your website is important, just as receiving them from Online Travel Agencies and Global Distribution Systems (GDS). All distribution channels can be managed from one place with the help of the Channel Manager.
It will give you full control over your inventory and prices across multiple channels. In addition, you can access reports to find out which channel turned out to be the most profitable for you.
- Is it a scalable solution that adapts to your business?
No matter how big or small your business is, you need a product that scales with your business. When choosing software, make sure that it will continue to work just as well as your business expands.
- In addition, choose a solution that allows you to take only what you need and not overpay for unnecessary functions.
We hope that following all these tips will help you to choose the right Hotel Management Software for your property. Choose wisely and aim for the one that will strengthen your business in the long run!
HotelFriend is a global provider of business software with offices across Europe. The company specializes in R&D in the travel and hospitality sectors, cloud computing, e-commerce, CRM, ERP, and the development of mobile and desktop apps.
Business Development Manager
+49 30 46999 5418