Channel Management is Fundamental to Hoteliers

Hoteliers, now more than ever, need to concentrate on revenue and distribution management. The industry not only faces corporate budget tightening, but flight costs have increased and the decreasing value of world currencies plus job uncertainty has affected tourists’ spending budgets.

Last year, more travelers continued to book their travel using web booking engines. The success of Online Travel Agents (OTA) and the expansion of the online/offline press referring people to internet led technologies have enticed consumers to the cyber travel market.

Hence, it is the priority of any hotelier during this time to ensure yields and occupancy remain high, making the most of the sales channels available to maximize revenue over the coming years. With reports that RevPAR is dropping, hotels need to think intelligently and maximize on the tools they have to ensure the business remains strong.

Today, consumers are influencing room rates more than any time in history. The internet – with multiple price comparison websites and booking channels – provides a choice. The savvier consumers get; the more likely rates will continue to fall. However, if hoteliers take control of their presence and rates online, revenue managers can make more accurate forecasts to identify occupancy and rate levels to ensure sales are on target. In 2016 hotels were managing an average of TEN third party websites to distribute rates and inventory, five years on and the average is 25.

The challenge for many hoteliers in managing these channels is to ensure accurate rates and inventory allocation to optimize each channel to increase sales and maximize revenue. There is no point selling across the internet for the sake of being online; it must be approached intelligently to avoid the mismanagement of rates. To make the most of the internet and online distribution channel revenue managers should look at technology to save time and make money.

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By utilizing cloud-based tools to manage the distribution of rates online, revenue managers can ensure rates are accurate across all third-party websites, allocate rooms to the channels providing either a greater return or greatest number of bookings, and forecast future rates and occupancy levels. mycloud HOSPITALITY technology has been developed to ensure time spent managing online rates is reduced to improve productivity and reduce human error. mycloud Property management system, (hotel PMS Software) can give you a snapshot of all online sales activity in a single screen, manage rates and rooms on third-party websites then make all the relevant changes you need to increase yields.

At this time, hoteliers need to turn to technology such as hotel software to help them through this down-turn to remain competitive. Solutions and systems to support the revenue manager are constantly being developed that will reduce time spent distributing rooms so more time can be allocated to managing the hotel.

Without a doubt the travel industry will pick-up much quicker than it had in the past, with the rise of Eastern economies and larger worldwide travel markets, knowledge of price and availability will be fundamental to hoteliers. Further with the internet becoming a leading factor in booking travel, it is essential that it is the key platform to sell rooms. However, at the same time, the internet is a world of its own, which is broken into its own segments and markets so it is essential hoteliers know who its customers are and how to reach them – being on any third-party website isn’t going to provide the expected return.

As we have seen throughout the media and even in our own industry – belts have tightened and the economy is not as strong as it was – but we know that we have recovered before and should prepare for when it does. In the meantime, it is essential to focus on making the most of what you have by optimizing sales by using the internet to benchmark and allocate rooms efficiently to achieve greater occupancy and therefore increased yields.

 

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The rise of the small and mid-size independent hotel

A family vacation on a resort island in Maldives, a friend’s get-together in Ibiza, or even a team business trip to Singapore, travelling has always been something that everyone looks forward to. The last two decades or so have seen the global population rise, lifestyles have changed, an increase recorded in earning and spending power and youth as well have more access to funds, as they undertake part time work while studying.

More importantly, the hotel industry prospered over the years and international hotel chains established hotels like never before. According to Statista, as of January 2016, Marriott International group was on top of the list with the most number of hotel rooms, amassing 1.1 million rooms globally

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A large branded hotel has grown from the challenges that have confronted independent hotels in recent times. Without a big brand’s financial aid and scale, small hoteliers have no other option but to work harder to succeed. Moreover, independent hotels quite frequently lack an international sales force, a central reservation system or nation-wide popularity available to chain hotels, making them even more reliant on the pricey online travel agencies to drive bookings. Should you be the owner of a small hotel, and if you had thought of financing expansion or renovation for instance, you’d know exactly that pay back rates from lenders are no way close to affordable.

However, be frightened no more as traveler perception is changing. Vacationers are not quite looking for that chandelier above their dining table but would rather pay the premium for a memorable experience. Luxury is now shifting from having to being with consumers, transitioning from retaining a luxury item to experiencing luxury. Whilst travelers admired the consistency of a notable hotel chain, knowing that the next Marriott they stay at will always look like the last Marriott they stayed at, it is not quite the same now. They are looking for genuine, local experiences and want culture as part of their stay, which small, independent hotels like yours can offer.

Because of their global operations, quick changes within the hotel chain’s group are not possible and hence, small hotels now have an advantage. By integration with their local communities, independent hoteliers are able to provide these authentic experiences for their guests. There’s no complying with any other bigger brand, allowing such hotels to provide guests with the exclusive and one-of-a-kind travel experience they want.

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Wondering how you could adapt as well? Here are few ways. As Mendes Cavin (Founder & Managing Partner, Miners Hospitality) puts it across in his article on Hospitality Net, create experiences. Take the spa experience into their rooms, offering them a variety of gels and soaps. Go the extra mile and a new experience in luxury is crafted for your guests. Moreover, keep it exciting at all times. As a hotelier, keep on differentiating yourself to stay ahead of your competition – provide basic internet access at no additional charge or even offer a better deal or package, that incorporates an authentic native experience to the guest.

Additionally, innovation and tech has brought about numerous solutions to solve issues and ease daily operations, keeping the hospitality business lively at all times. Almost every other hotelier has had to give the slightest of attention to the cloud – capitalize on it. Earlier hotels had to spend piles of cash to get basic technology solution to run their business, but now with cloud there is no capex and smaller and mid-size hotels can get world class Cloud based PMS solution, this advantage levels the playing field for these properties and now they can be better connected and can better control guest experience. This business-building resource that was not anywhere close to accessible or affordable for an independent hotelier, is now obtainable with just a few clicks for set up.

Yes, to operate as an independent hotel is quite a challenge, but the future for hoteliers like yourself is bright. Embrace your individuality, it might be an awful time or the best time of the year, but for independent hotels, change is happening for the better.

Evolution of PMS within the Hospitality Industry Catering the Needs from Big To Small Hotels

By M Dave

Irrespective whether your hotel is a small boutique hotel with 20 bedrooms or a magnificent luxury hotel with 100+ bedrooms, having a comprehensive multi-functional Property Management System (PMS) is critical for every hotel entity. The market is flooded with plethora of PMS which are designed to meet the needs of small and big hotels alike. However the big dominant players in market like Brilliant (i-Tesso) and Opera (Micros) have very robust systems designed to more suit the operational needs of large hotels, but practically we can’t really use those PMS to streamline daily operations at small and budget hotels.

The main issues being that most of the features will be redundant in small hotels and it will also involve heavy financial commitments by small hotel owners. If one actually analyses it makes more sense for small hotel owners to reinvest into expansion plans within their hotel to make their property more competitive Hence, the question is do small and budget hotels with about 20 bedrooms really need any kind of PMS?

The answer to this question is ‘Yes’. All big and medium hotels can afford to go for a robust property management system to look after their operational aspects including guest bookings, online reservations, food and beverage costing, accounting, report generation, sales and marketing, HR and payroll, maintenance management and quality management. But on the other hand a small hotel needs to have a PMS which would help them to automate some core day to day basic operations.

With small hotel business gaining ever increasing importance every year, due to their great customer service and quirky style, they have become a very significant part of the service industry in last few years. Small technological companies like Prologic First have seen this market potential and tapped it with very innovative software’s like mycloud hospitality (http://www.mycloudhospitality.com/).

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This software helps small hotels to have a comprehensive PMS and at the same time is very friendly to their pocket. Such software just requires a tablet or a computer along with internet connection to just get started with managing their properties with features like accounting, POS, reservations and reporting all on a single screen. This will help them to tackle their operational issues like lack of skilled manpower, higher attrition rate, revenue leakage and pilferage due to the absence of proper accounting software, customer care and inventory management.

Loads of such software’s are available now in the market like mycloud hospitality, Room master, sabee app etc. The good thing about the cost of such software’s is that they are available on a monthly payment plan with as little as £2 per rooms. Some notable features about mycloud hospitality software that I came across while researching to give an idea is as below:

  • Little or no up-front investment and quick start-up
  • No long term contract and easy exit option and
  • Low investment, low risk
  • Quick implementation
  • Needs little or no training
  • Secure access from anywhere
  • High availability
  • A comprehensive Front Office service
  • Round the clock support

This highly user-friendly and scalable software is capable of streamlining and automating operations for small hotels just as they need it. So, if you are facing some operational snags while running your small hotel operations, you may consider trying a free demo of mycloud hospitality software by Prologic First or any such software available in market which is a smart way to manage your properties.

5 Common Mistakes when Choosing a Property Management System (PMS)

By P Kumar

We make decisions every day, but we tend to consider our bigger decisions more cautiously. Choosing a Property Management System (PMS) is no different. There are several factors that play into making the right decision when selecting your new PMS. But nevertheless some factors can be easily overlooked if you don’t know what to look for. Avoid the following five common mistakes, and get the most out of your company’s investment –

  1. Choosing by price alone – The old axiom of “you get what you pay for” generally also holds true for Property management Systems. The least expensive system may be unsuitable to manage your business and the headaches it causes may not be worth the money saved. Choose a PMS based on functionality, flexibility and usability. Optimize your investment by selecting a cloud PMS instead of an on-premise system, and use a SaaS pricing model instead of one-time upfront costs.
  1. Opting for more system than you need – There are some very large, comprehensive Property Management Systems on the market that offer a mind-numbing amount of features and detailed functionality. Unless you’re running a very complicated resort or hotel, you may end up paying for functionality that you’ll never need to use.
  1. Not choosing modern technology – Technology for hotels evolves constantly. To best position your business for future trends, choose a system built on a modern platform, which will ensure that you can enjoy a long and prosperous relationship with your PMS. Explore and compare cloud based PMS with traditional on-site Client Server solution. Both come with their own advantages and caveats.
  1. Moving too quickly – The process of choosing a new PMS can be lengthy. First you need to identify your needs, evaluate the different contenders, sit through demonstrations and sift through pricing and competing proposals. It can be tempting to try and expedite the process in hopes of implementing it in advance of your busy season. Give yourself ample time to go through the process and, if needed, delay your decision in order to give your company time to choose the best fit.

 

  1. Not revisiting your business practices – Many of your existing business processes, such as setting rates, may have been established several systems ago. Selecting a new PMS is an opportunity to modernize your business practices. You may find greater efficiency and greater revenue potential by choosing a system that will allow you implement some changes to your business.

Avoiding these common mistakes will make your PMS selection process much easier, and ensure the system is one that is not only worth the investment, but is the best investment for your hotel.

How to Choose a Property Management System for Your Small Hotel

By M Dave

Are you considering buying a property management system for your hospitality business? A PMS is a significant component that will keep your business running smoothly. Taking some time to examine the various features and aspects of property management systems will ensure you select a PMS that will do the most for your hospitality business and help keep operations running smoothly and effectively for years to come.

Considerations when Buying a Property Management System (PMS) for Your Small Boutique Hotel

Here are 6 factors to consider as you begin the process of shopping for a new property management system (PMS) for your small boutique hotel:

  1. Security Features – Will it help us protect our guests’ data and support our efforts to prevent any potential security breach? In case of breakdown will it be able to back up the data.
  2. Reputation – Is the system provider a long-standing, reputable company committed to the unique needs of the hospitality industry? Have they been working in this industry in different countries?
  3. Configuration Flexibility – While the initial system configuration is important, also important to consider is the system’s flexibility in accommodating your ever-changing business scenarios. Configuration flexibility translates to ease of use, extensibility and a greater return on investment. If the property management system offers limited configuration flexibility, it may cause daily challenges because it cannot accommodate a variety of offerings.
  4. Integration possibilities – How well does this PMS play with other systems? Software that is limited in integration possibilities will leave operations challenged in going above and beyond in guest service and make your daily tasks more onerous.
  5. Functionality – What are the key functionalities and features that distinguishes certain software from another? What are the features that will best serve your operations? It is far too easy to be impressed by the bells and whistles and cool features that in the long run do not actually serve in helping you better manage your business and increase revenue.
  6. Training & Support – Does the company have a strong team with solid hospitality experience? Do they offer online and onsite training as well as crucial support for the transition? What kind of software support can you expect? Hospitality is a 24/7/365 industry; it’s important that assistance is available whenever problems arise to limit disruptions to your business.

Since this is a cluttered market of PMS a few names that do stand up and tick all the above factors are companies like Prologic First for a good comprehensive budget PMS system and Micros and i-tesso for hotel who seek more luxurious and expensive system. However both systems almost have the same features and work pretty much the same, leaving it just to a matter of choice and most important finances.

The Key to the Challenges in Hospitality Industry – ‘Technology’

By M Dave and Aditi Gupta

If we have a microscopic look at the challenges faced by  the hospitality industry on a whole today we will notice that an independent boutique hotel or a five star modern hotel chain, both face the same challenges alike in their day to day operations.  In this article we will look at 3 significant challenge themes faced by the hotels:

Challenge No 1. – Open 24 hours

The longer working hours in hospitality are here to stay. Business in this sector no longer closes in a normal 9 to 6 shift but instead work goes around the clock to suit the needs of international travelers arriving at all times. Most of the hotels including small B&B’s  have now expanded their horizons to extending  their properties into a multipurpose venue to maximise their cost- effectiveness. They are now serving snacks, meals and drinks from pre-work coffee to late-night cocktails, not to mention playing host to meetings and catered functions as well. In such a high pressured environment, there is no scope for downtime and reliability on technology that runs without a glitch has become one of the pivotal factors for success. For example, today’s PMS are more resilient and prepared for disaster recovery, with features such as auto back-up in case of malfunction.

Challenge No. 2 – Pushy and Demanding Customers

There has been a clear shift in the industry trends, where the businesses have moved from ‘provider push’ to ‘consumer pull’. Today’s customers demand more value for money from services and products and are extremely unforgiving of delays. Which brings us back to the topic of reliance on technology… it’s unacceptable for hotel PMS systems to fail during check-in/check-out and for queues to build at the concierge/reception.  Keeping this in context, technological vendors have responded with offline working solutions in case of an internet mishap.

Challenge No. 3 – Business Knowledge

Technology is the key to knowing and analysing one’s own industry and business. Today’s PMS systems shine a spotlight on the comprehensive features that they provide for the hospitality business like revealing trends and anomalies, forecast, revenue comparisons and so on. Using the business intelligence functionality provided with these solutions, managers and owners can analyse what is sold, when and to whom. These systems come with real-time accurate reporting tools that help the hotel manager to be on top of his game and maximise the ADR’s. This helps the hotel to achieve their targets and increase profits. Such technologically advanced systems can provide you with a helicopter view of the business and can help establish patterns and vulnerabilities that an individual can’t see.

With such increasing importance and reliance on technology it is difficult not to see hotels big and small investing in different systems suiting their hotels. With such high surge of vendors in the industry, some notable budget friendly vendors with great support service that I came across some software’s like mycloudhospitality, WISH.NET and @your WSIH while researching by Prologic First. (www.prologicfirst.com)