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?
- Rates, offers, conditions of sale, restrictions, rooms etc are specified directly in the management software PMS;
- Each booking received through the booking engine must be entered automatically in the management PMS schedule.
- 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;
- 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).
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).