Hotels and the entire hospitality industry are having to identify new and better ways to do things because of the coronavirus pandemic. Following months of shutdowns, many guests are still apprehensive about returning to travel and staying in hotels.
Hotels are charged with the task of not only marketing to them in a way that will allow them to feel comfortable but also with creating a wonderful experience while they’re there.
A lot of this relies on having the right technology, meaning it may be time to implement new hotel management software.
This can also be an important way to reduce interpersonal interactions as part of a push to follow social distancing guidelines. A good hotel management system can help you if you’re working with a pared-down staff too.
The following are things to keep in mind as far as choosing hotel management software. These tips are especially relevant to smaller and independent hotels.
Before you begin comparing platforms, you need to think about the features most relevant to your business.
Some of the features to think about include:
- The ability to see your reservations listed on a calendar page
- Options to help add upsells to bookings
- The ability to check guests in and out, perhaps using their mobile device.
- Other front desk features to look for are folios, alerts, and upgrades.
- Rate management
- Group management
- Reservations that work alongside third-party platforms
- Housekeeping management features
- Account management
Some of the overarching goals you should keep in mind when you select software include that it’s an all-in-one solution with a variety of essential functionalities combined in one centralized location and accessibility from anywhere.
You want to make sure all guest data is organized for customer satisfaction, and ideally, you should find a platform with back-office management features.
Sales Channel Management
The importance of working with third-party platforms was mentioned above, but more specifically, you want a system that will ensure you’re not double-booking rooms. You want to be able to use your platform as your sales channel manager.
That way, online travel agents will be able to see availability in real-time to reduce the risk of double-booking.
International Booking Capabilities
If you want to appeal to international travelers, look for a solution that makes it easy for them.
For example, you want to look for software that will let you partner with international online travel agents, and you also want different language and currency options represented in your software platform.
A big part of running any successful business is transparency and visibility with regard tokey data points. By having visibility in a centralized location, you’ll be able to make more numbers-driven business decisions, which are important any time, but especially since we’re still dealing with coronavirus.
You want advanced reporting features that are going to show you things at a glance like your occupancy rates, and your income and outstanding payments. You also want to be able to see which of your discounts and promotional programs are most effective, and the booking sites that are best for your hotel.
You want to choose a management platform that’s easy for your employees to use. You want it to be up-and-running with a minimal learning curve, and not a lot of training required. The simpler to use the system is, the more value your employees and your entire organization will derive from it.
When you choose any software platform, but especially something as critical to your day-to-day operations as hotel management software, you want to make sure there’s robust customer support when and how you need it.
For example, is support offered everyday of the week? If not, what do you do if you run into an issue on the weekend, which is likely when your hotel is busiest? Would this create problems in the guest experience?
In which time zones is customer support available, and is support offered in your language?
Does the provider offer employee training?
Are there on-demand resources available when you need them, such as online tutorials?
What happens when a new feature or update is rolled out?
Finally, think about flexibility too. For example, how do you pay for the software—is it monthly or do you purchase it outright? Which works best for your needs? Are you locked into a contract and is a free trial available so you can see how the platform will work for your needs?
Choosing hotel management software is a big decision, but also one that can greatly increase your revenue if you take your time to find the right fit.