How to choose a management software for hotels and why you should retire your current management software
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;
- 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;
- Past and future bookings;
- 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“.