Small scale accommodation properties are in a constant battle with the big players. Renowned hotel chains are in most cases expensive, which in turn means tremendous marketing budgets, access to the latest technologies and hefty partnerships with travel agencies. However, that doesn't mean there is no room for campsites, hostels and family hotels. Not only that small-scale hospitality businesses have their own niche audience but they also have one great advantage over the industry behemoths – they are free to experiment with everything that comes to your mind. From marketing tactics to giving the latest technologies a try, hotel owners can quickly jump from solution to another until they find the one that works best for them. What's even better, they don't have to worry about paying forfeits to their partners just because they don't have such.
Today we are going to talk about the things hotel owners and managers should consider before choosing a hotel management system. But first, do really small hotels need hotel management software? We know you can keep your records in your notebooks but what if we told you there is an easier and cheaper. It may sound counter-intuitive that by using a software (even a paid one) you can save money when pen and paper cost almost nothing. Keep reading, there's a whole new world to discover.
We have already discussed why every hospitality business needs a property management system, right here. In short, it can boost your revenue, it can save you time and money, it can improve your guests' overall experience, and it can help you outperform your competitors. Nevertheless, you have to choose wisely before going for the first “free hotel management software” that pops up in Google's search results. We advise you to compare a couple of options before going for one. Here are the things we believe you should consider when doing your research.
We know you are not going to be the only user of your new property management system. You know it too. On the contrary, you would like a software that is easily manageable by each and every staff member.
A good hotel management software is easy to navigate, has intuitive design, and offers a smooth user experience (UX). These days time is more precious than money and no one wants software that needs long and hard training sessions. Hotel owners are not going to waste weeks or even months training their staff so that everyone can use the property management system. On the contrary, every program you choose should be so intuitive that even people with no training can instantly start working with it
Put simply, if a specific hotel management software seems way too complicated, it's probably better to just move on. During your research try every software that you think might be of good use and compare their usability. If you are having trouble and there is no quick support in sight (like a FAQ section) we advise you not to waste more of your precious time. When a hotel management system is giving you a headache during your trial period, you know it's not for you.
Do you remember how in the not so distant past there was a program for everything? Whenever you had to compose a document or a presentation, you first had to purchase and install Microsoft Office and then start working. Want to listen to your favorite tunes? Well, you needed a player (Winamp was my fav). We can go on forever. Today we have Google Sheets, Spotify, Netflix and hundreds of other apps that are online 24/7 all year long. You just open your browser, log in to your account, and do whatever you need to do, regardless of your location.
The same goes for hotel management systems. We bet you don't want to install anything on your computer. And that is just fine because programs have a bad name for being slow RAM-exhausting. Luckily, there are cloud-based hotel management solutions that are already packed with features you can use on the go.
In fact, you can access them from anywhere in the world that has a decent internet connection. This means that you as a hotel owner can monitor what is happening at your property without having to physically be there. You can hop on a plane for a vacation or a business meeting and still keep in touch with everything that takes place back in your hotel, hostel, campsite or whatever it may be.
What does it mean for software to be reliable? It means that you can use it whenever you need it without having to worry about security, crashes, bugs, and so on. When choosing your new (or first) hotel management software, make sure it is already set up. No installations, no system requirements, no updates. You don't want and don't have to think about that. You have a hotel to run, remember?
Reliable software is always there when you need it. You can check reliability by reading reviews by other users and research how the service provider proceeds and protects your commercial data as well as your guests' private data.
Also, reliable software offers a variety of features that every hotel owner/manager needs – online reservation engine, API, invoice generator, and a trustworthy payment system.
There is a reason why you are looking for a hotel management system, isn't it? You want to up your business. You want to achieve more by doing less hard work. And this is exactly what a proper hotel software will help you do.
By ditching the old notebooks for a hotel management software you can save hundreds of hours per year from daily tasks such as accepting reservations, checking in and out your guests, generating invoices, keeping a record of your guests, etc, etc, etc. Most hotel management solutions will do these boring tasks for you faster, better, and to some extent automatically. This significantly diminishes the chances for human errors that sometimes turn costly.
But let's give an example. Instead of manually writing down your guests' arrival date, names, and other details you can simply embed a registration form on your website that automatically sends all this information to your hotel management software. Later when your guests arrive, you just hit the “Check-in” button and hand them the keys. As simple as that. When it's time for them to leave the process is just as simple.
Of course, sometimes you will have questions. Of course, sometimes you'll need help. It is essential to have your questions answered as quickly as possible. Reliable hotel software has most of your questions already answered in their FAQ sections. We know it is crucial to receive support on the spot, so our advice is to look up for a hotel management solution that offers reliable support. Also, we believe you shouldn't have to pay for receiving help.
You can find software and virtually any price. The tricky part is how do you know what are you paying for? Is it fair to pay for a service that you use only during the weekends or during the summer period? We believe it isn't. In addition, paying for features and extras you don't actually need is unfair. What is fair is paying only when you make any money out of any system.
If you are not into researching the market, you can give Roombre a try! It is user-friendly, reliable, web-based, and fairly priced.