How can we choose a management software for hotels?

come scegliere software gestionale hotel

If you are a hotelier looking for a new hotel management software for your accommodation (hotel, farmhouse, country house, b & b …) you will surely be full of questions and you will probably try to understand what are the features that you can not do without .
There are many software solutions that would spread long lists of functions, additional modules, connections to services and much more; what we will do in this article is try to understand which are the main functional blocks you can not do without.

First of all, we start from the essential concept that in order to efficiently manage one’s own accommodation, it is essential to have a hotel management software that is able to simplify both daily and planning work.
For this reason, the management software PMS (Property Management System) needs to be integrated with 4 key features that are:

  • booking engine;
  • channel manager;
  • analysis and revenue tools;
  • marketing tools.

In the next lines we will analyze how these tools should be connected to the management software.

1) Booking engine integrated with PMS management software;

The booking engine is the tool at the base of the disintermediation hotel, is the backbone to define a sales strategy that does not sink its roots only in the sale through the OTA portals.

We open a short parenthesis only to remember that if your structure depends massively on the OTA portals, ie the number of bookings you receive come mainly from these channels … then you have a problem (even quite serious).
One step towards solving this problem is certainly that of having a booking engine.

How do I choose a good booking engine?

First of all, the booking engine must offer an attractive interface that is both simple and fast; able to record a reservation in a few steps even by users without special knowledge of the web.
The second fundamental factor is that it is integrated with the management software PMS.

Booking engine integrated with PMS: what does it mean?

  1. Rates, offers, conditions of sale, restrictions, rooms etc are specified directly in the management software PMS;
  2. Each booking received through the booking engine must be entered automatically in the management PMS schedule.
  3. The booking data must be saved in the customer database of the management software (CRM) automatically.

2) Channel Manager synchronized with the management system

The purpose of the channel manager is to make the hotelier forget the manual operations of synchronization and updating of rates and availability on the various OTA portals such as Booking.com, Expedia or Hotels.com.

A good channel manager fights every day alongside the hotel owner to avoid problematic overbooking, which otherwise would lead to very unpleasant situations that could affect the professionalism of the structure.
This battle becomes much easier if the sales rules (prices, availability and restrictions) can be specified in a single software, of course we refer to the management PMS.

For this reason, to allow the hotelier to work in an excellent way and to reduce to zero the possibility of making mistakes, the channel manager must be integrated into a single software solution.

From a purely practical point of view, the scenarios that can occur are:

  • The hotel receives a reservation from an OTA portal, this will be sent to the channel manager who will manage it by sending it to the hotel management software, which will show the details of the case;
    or
  • The hotel inserts into its management system a reservation received directly. As soon as the booking is entered automatically the management software PMS must inform the channel manager that the number of rooms for sale has been reduced by 1 unit; the channel manager will update the OTA portals with the reduction of availability.

3) Management software for the control of the revenue hotel

You can not make rates choices based on impressions.

When you manage a company that operates in the hospitality industry, first of all you need to know your numbers, only in this way you can analyze them carefully, thus defining sales strategies and budgets.
The idea of improvising revenue policies based on the sixth sense or summary analysis is therefore not humanly conceivable.

First you need to start with knowing the fixed costs and variable costs of the accommodation, these are the basis for drawing a line in the sand that represents your break even point (price below which it is not convenient to sell).
It is out of the scope of this article to explain what are the criteria and strategies with which to define the bottom rates of your hotel, but what we want to convey is the need to have a software solution that can present numbers and indices to the hotel so that you can make informed choices in the tariff area.

For this reason, a management software for hotels must be able to highlight comparative data on personalized time intervals, must also be agile and simple enough to give the hotelier the ability to adapt BAR and OTA availability in a few clicks.

4) Hotel Marketing tools in your hotel management software

The diktat is one and only one:

Do not try to follow trends, create them!

A well designed hotel management software must integrate marketing tools that can promote site, promotions, rates and social networks in an effective and targeted way. The aim is to offer the potential customer the stay he has always wanted, analyzing opening rates and conversions of the campaigns sent.

This discussion also includes the possibility to send estimates in a simple but extremely professional way, creating templates that can enchant future customers even before they arrive in the structure.
Too often you see hotels (even of good quality) send emails with imaginative formatting due to scraps of copy and paste with typos that can create embarrassing quid pro quo with their prospective clients. Not to mention the incredible amount of time needed to create tailor-made offers to every customer who contacts the front desk (especially during high season).

Conclusions

We can therefore say that nowadays to keep pace in such a competitive market it is essential to have a management software that in a single environment gives the possibility to manage every aspect of its structure (booking synchronization, check-in, billing, campaigns of email).

 

How to turn reviews into revenue

gestione recensioni Customer Alliance Slope

Reviews are very important for any hotel, they are the visiting card that invites the guest to book your hotel or to run away and see another hotel if your online reputation is not good. This is why it is necessary to take care of your own image, even if in the multitude of daily tasks of a hotelier, it is not always possible.

How can you make money with your hotel reviews?

Thanks to Customer Alliance now you can!
Customer Alliance, a company based in Berlin, was founded in 2009 by the idea of two young entrepreneurs, who decide to give hotels more power over their online reputation.

Reviews bring visibility to the hotel and convert user visits to your property’s web page in direct bookings. Collecting, distributing and analyzing the reviews of your hotel has become even easier and more immediate thanks to the unique Customer Alliance solution.

The reviews of the hotel collected and distributed on strategic channels aim to get more visibility and consequently more direct bookings by guests.

The solution to manage all-round online reviews

The German company has invented an optimal solution to better manage the hotel’s online reputation, allowing the hotelier to save time and money. The solution offers a complete overview of online reviews related to your structure and helps you to collect new ones thanks to the invitation by email and SMS. The purpose is precisely to not let even a review escape.

With the distribution option you can direct reviews of their guests on different channels like TripAdvisor, Google, Facebook in a few simple clicks. In this way, your hotel is guaranteed homogeneous visibility and strongly present on all review platforms.

Customer Alliance and Slope

The Slope software solution integrates seamlessly with the Customer Alliance, allowing the user to directly manage online reputation from the Slope control panel.

The integration is simple and automatic, so that the hotelier can save time in the management of the reviews, this in order to concentrate more on the services to offer to the hotel guests.

How to choose a management software for hotels and why you should retire your current management software

come scegliere software gestionale albergo e hotel

A hotel management software is undoubtedly a fundamental tool for the hotel owner and his team. Without modern software it is virtually impossible to manage any accommodation facility efficiently and economically.

If we could choose only one concept, just one, to pass to a reader who has no intention of continuing to read beyond this period, then we would choose this:

If you are the manager or director of a hotel and DO NOT USE modern management software correctly, then you are very likely to be losing money, a lot of money!

It is known to insiders that the hospitality industry works like this, an empty room has a cost, every day that an apartment remains unsold it is not only a loss of income but also a series of inevitable fixed costs that add up.

We immediately state to our readers that in this article we will not respond directly to the ambitious question of “how to have rooms always full” (we have written other posts that revolve around this theme) but we want to explain what we think are the concepts to know in order to choose and evaluate a management software.

If you too are one of those hoteliers who thinks:

My management software is a “Ferrari” but we use only 10% because it does so many things and it would take a lifetime to learn all of them.

Um, we’re sorry to tell you, but probably your software is NOT a “Ferrari”!

Throw away the instruction manual

Steve Jobs was firmly convinced that a product should not have an instruction manual. If a technology product needs a manual or a guide then it means that this has been designed badly.

To have a product that does not need a manual, however, there is a need for meticulous project work, study of interfaces and implementation rigor.
The logical disposition of the elements must make the user experience natural, intuitive and immediate because only in this way a user is able to use an instrument in its entirety.
Suffice it to say that the greatest innovations of the new millennium are born as a synthesis of simplicity and immediacy, only thanks to this fundamental feature were born and spread tools such as: social portals, work software, tablets, smartphones and virtual shops. These tools are used daily by people of all ages thanks to their immediacy and ease of use.

Returning then to the key concept of the article, a management software for hotels, to be really powerful (a real “Ferrari”), must be a software:

  • easy to use;
  • with an excellent usability (user experience);
  • that offer features fully exploited by all members of your team. In practice, software that helps you in your daily operations and can guide you and your employees in daily tasks.

Staff in the hotel is not set, there are periods of high season in which there is more need for help, for this reason the management software should not be a brake in the choice of a receptionist or a hybrid figure that will take care of the front desk and other tasks.
For this reason it is necessary to adopt software solutions with which an operator can become familiar in half a day, without the need to purchase packages or training courses.

Speaking of management software we are then to define what are the basic functionalities that fully fall within the sphere of competence of the management system:

  • Booking calendar;
  • Check-in and check-out management;
  • Housed and ISTAT cards;
  • Management of rates, prices and restrictions;
  • Billing system;
  • Tax reporting;
  • Statistical reporting;
  • Lists;
  • Rates;
  • Booking conditions.

The above list is an idea of maximum with regard to the functionality that must be performed by a management software for hotels, but it is important to remember that a PMS can not be taken alone but must be connected to a booking engine and a channel manager.
Thus creating an ecosystem of integrated and connected software tools you can drastically simplify your work and reduce the possibility of making mistakes.

As we have explained in other articles of this blog, management software is not the only thing a hotelier needs to keep up with the continuous changes in the tourism sector.
The management system is fundamental to combine the tools that allow the hotel to increase its profits by raising the number of direct bookings and its online presence.

Just think of the marketing tools that once were seen as auxiliary tools and contour, today they have become primary tools to sell more and nibble that economic marginality that at the end of the year considerably shifts the hotel budgets to positive signs.
Email marketing campaigns must be defined in calm periods and the sending must be scheduled for the exact day in which it is believed that it will be more successful.
It is important to have a unique tool that keeps track of all customers (customer relationship manager CRM) and that in a single screen shows:ù

  • Customer details;
  • Documents;
  • Past and future bookings;
  • Note;
  • Email campaigns sent;
  • Estimates sent;
  • Tags and membership groups;

Therefore, buying a management software for a hotel that is an end in itself (not connected to instruments able to increase the number of bookings) is a big limitation that can result in a significant economic loss for the hotel.

The management software for hotels is also known by the name of PMS, this is the acronym of Property Management System, a term widespread in the hotel sector, but often is incorrectly interchanged with the term CRS which instead means Central Reservation System.

What’s the difference between PMS and CRS?

A CRS software is a centralized reservation management system, created to connect a structure to all its sales channels (GDS, Booking Engine, OTA, Metasearch …) while a PMS is the part of software dedicated to the management of the accommodation.
A receptive structure needs both the tools and it has the necessity that these work in symbiosis between them, for this reason it is fundamental to choose a software solution that contains both.

What’s the difference between a cloud based hotel management and a non-cloud (on premise)?

A cloud management software is accessible via an internet connection because the server machines that run the application are “remote” or physically located outside the building of the accommodation.
A non-cloud software (on premise) is installed on a server owned by the hotel owner. The hotel owner and his staff are therefore responsible for maintenance, security and updating of the server machine.

Choosing a cloud management solution compared to a non-cloud offers a number of significant advantages, and some of these are:

  • Zeroing the risk of damage and server failures;
  • Ability to access information from multiple locations also located;
  • No server maintenance management;
  • Speed in receiving platform updates from the supplier;
  • Automatic data backup;
  • Reduced costs by not having to buy server machines;
  • Drastic reduction of the risk of data loss (viruses, human errors, damage to the machine).

Why you should NOT choose a “cheap” hotel management software

I need something simple, without too many frills, an immediate solution that does 4 things but does it well.

Pay attention to this sentence, evaluate it well because management is at the base of your business, sometimes choosing savings is much more expensive than selecting a software solution for your needs.
A modern management software is an investment, and as such a hotel entrepreneur must measure its ROI.
Measuring ROI is not always easy and immediate and for this reason many hoteliers run into the mistake of choosing an inadequate solution for their needs.

In the specific case of a management software solution for the hotel, there is the risk that investing little, then buying an unsuitable management solution, in the end there is a significant economic remittance for loss of income, in short, to put it popular proverb: “who spends little, spends a lot“.