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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Millennial Kids Changing Global Travel

A growing segment of the global travel industry is the youth fragment. According to a report by The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and World Youth Student & Education Travel Confederation (WYSE), they generated US$ 165 billion in 2010, with the figure expected to double in the forthcoming decade. This emerging division of the worldwide travel industry has made travel specialists ponder on a rather different business model, shifting the focus on experience as well as ensuring that the millennial kids are connected throughout their stay.

The influence of globalization and technology has led to youth valuing experiences and the feeling of ‘being connected’ over traditional hotel frills. Thanks to the free internet program, Facebook for example, is now available to smartphone users in selected countries. The young travel community wants to experience the place they reside at and hence, wants a place with a local touch. Hotels that can help them connect with local, traditional and authentic places as well, fulfills their desires after all. From the looks of it, quite many hotels have hardly changed the way they operate over the last decade, still consisting of the same in-room conveniences, check-in process and high-rise, heavy curtains. A young traveler is no longer looking for white-linen service or stewards to carry their luggage up to their room. When the modern generation of young travelers enter a hotel, they want to be connected with a steady internet connection, feel entirely at home and be in a setting where they can experience something.

With the support of the World Wide Web, an 80’s or 90’s kid now also has access to unprecedented information, easily accessible from a desktop, laptop or even a mobile device.  The internet has also multiplied the opportunities for social interaction through travel. With social media and budget-travel tools like Airbnb and Skyscanner, they found out that travel wasn’t nearly as expensive or challenging as previously thought of.  Looking at friends’ photographs of past trips on Facebook or Instagram, viewing TripAdvisor’s ‘hidden gems’, arranging to stay with locals or getting tips from numerous travel blogs, helps young travelers to bond before, during and after their trip, redefining the global travel scene.

For those hotels that have changed, regardless their size, it has been for the better. Receptions for instance, have become smaller in size, and communal and get-together areas with a mix of comfy sofas, work and meeting spaces, have been on the increase. Guests are able to sit wherever or serve themselves with what they’re craving the most, as the formal divider between lobbies and restaurants are now nearly non-existent. Rooms are now smaller as many young travelers spend majority of their time in social places.

In conclusion, these young travelers are looking for a home-away-from-home. They thrive in environments where they can be part of an experience by networking with the people that live there as well as staff. Satisfaction can be derived when they drink coffee surrounded by other people in a reception, rather having a coffee machine in their room – hence being involved. Internet and social media platforms have aided these young lads in changing the traveling scene around the world.

So for those hotels still operating as they were a decade or two ago, they need to adopt more and more technology if they want this business, the technology must help them get exposure across the globe. Hotels must also be sensitive to online social discussions and comments to ensure their brand is not losing out. Technology today helps hoteliers and the cloud is a boon to such properties who aspire to have similar solutions like five-stars, but do not want to bear that much capital expenditure.  Do consider cloud-based hotel pms solutions and see what fits your needs and helps you grow.

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.

Three Key Ways to Infuse Technology into Hotel Operations

By M Dave

From check-in to check-out, digital innovations have the potential to enhance every aspect of the guest experience. Many forward-thinking hoteliers are leveraging cutting-edge technologies and platforms in order to remain competitive in the digital age of hospitality. Following are three key ways to infuse technology into your hotel operations:
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Hotel Apps – Hoteliers are realizing that digital apps can be great tools for helping guest’s access hotel information and customize their experience. They are offering apps to help guests to upgrade rooms and offer discounts as well as convenient mobile booking options. Some hotel apps even allow guests to notify the concierge before arriving at the door step, setting up room service, nearby restaurant reservations and more amenities right from their mobile devices.

 Social Media – An active social media presence allows you to engage with customers, stay on their radar, build loyalty and buzz for your brand. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest enable hoteliers to share images of hotel facilities and cool on-site happenings. Visually appealing posts can also give potential guests the opportunity to see what your property has to offer before making the commitment to book a room. Facebook, in particular, is a great social tool for hoteliers as it offers a booking engine that allows guests and travels agents to select and book rooms directly from your page.

Keeping it Mobile – Today’s digital-friendly customers’ research and book on-the-go. They expect hoteliers to keep pace with their “real time” needs. Innovative hotels are finding ways to do just that by placing roving “digital ambassadors” in their lobbies armed with iPads to help speed up the check-in and check-out process. Some properties have upped the digital ante even more by allowing guests to virtually check in 24 hours ahead, receive a bar-coded email confirmation which they can later scan upon arrival to receive their key.

There’s no doubt that guests are expecting smart hotel technology solutions that help make their hotel experiences more convenient and pleasurable. Don’t have a disconnect with your clientele! Keep technology top-of-mind in order to attract guests and remain competitive in the digital age of hospitality.

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.

The 5 Most Important Features of a Property Management System

By M Dave

Just as your guests need certain amenities like beds and showers; your hotel needs a Property Management System (PMS) with certain features and capabilities. A PMS is the centrepiece of technology at any hotel and represents a significant investment critical to everyday function. Its features and capabilities allow it to be just that. Here are five essential elements that every modern PMS should include:

  1. Flexibility – This is a broad, but important, element of a modern PMS. Hotel management today demands flexibility from its tools. Your PMS should be able to seamlessly adapt to changing business needs as quickly as they arise. Whether you need to adjust configuration, focus on a new market, or take your PMS mobile to bypass the front desk, your PMS should offer the flexibility to adapt to changes.
  2. Cloud or on-premise – From data security to data backups and beyond, the benefits of a cloud-based PMS are numerous. Whether you go with a privately-hosted solution or a system purpose-built to live in one of the public cloud providers, eliminating costly and complicated on-premise hardware is a win-win. However, for those properties that frequently experience connectivity challenges, it is essential to choose a PMS that offers offline capability or the option of on-premise installation.
  3. Interfaces – No property management system can function as an island. Modern hotels require multiple systems to manage every facet of their business and your PMS should be a central hub to communicate between all of the different systems. Ensure your PMS has real-time communication with all mission-critical applications to eliminate bottlenecks and discrepancies in data between systems that can lead to inaccurate information, poor customer response times and missed opportunities.
  4. Online Booking – Direct booking from your own website represents the most important growth channel for most properties. Reservations through your own website not only provide the best revenue opportunity, but also allow you to develop a closer relationship with the guest. Your PMS should be able to provide a seamlessly integrated online booking channel, preferably without commissions or per-booking fees.
  5. Easy to Use – A modern PMS should be easy to use with minimal training required for proficient use. Like today’s Smartphone and gaming system interfaces, your PMS should be walk-up-and-use simple for every user at your property. Even better if the PMS can distinguish between users by role or login and present to them the information they need most. Sophisticated systems simplify PMS use, guiding the user though their tasks and workflow without requiring lengthy training or memorization.

These features may seem simple, but without just one of them your PMS is not performing to its best potential for your hotel. Some great PMS in market that are worth considering on the budget end apart from the most common ones are mycloudhospitality (http://www.mycloudhospitality.com/) , WISH.NET (www.prologicfirst.com) and Guest line (www.guestline.com)